THE FACTS ABOUT SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITIES.
Is There More Than One Type Of Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?
There are three types of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) which include SLD with impairment in reading(dyslexia), SLD with impairment in mathematics(dyscalculia), and SLD with impairment in writing(dysgraphia) To be diagnosed with a specific learning disorder, a person must meet four criteria and must be having difficulties in at least one of the following areas for at least six months despite interventions. Dyslexia includes difficulty reading including inaccurate, slow reading which is effortful, difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read, and difficulty with spelling. Dyscalculia involves difficulty understanding number concepts, number facts or calculation, and difficulty with mathematical reasoning (e.g., applying math concepts or solving math problems). Dysgraphia involves difficulty with written expression (e.g., problems with grammar, punctuation or organization). They often have high levels of intelligence but are functioning below their potential in one or more areas.
What Are Common Symptoms Of SLD?
This varies from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms are the same symptoms we see with ADHD including making frequent careless mistakes, difficulty sustaining attention especially when the task is perceived as boring or too challenging, difficulty following through on instructions and completing tasks, difficulty listening when spoken to directly, organizational and time management issues. They may appear to be in their own world. They often lose things necessary for tasks or activities or forget to meet deadlines. Parents and teachers may get frustrated because the child completes assignments but doesn’t turn them in or has no idea what is due and when. They may be seen as daydreaming instead of completing tasks and as taking an incredibly long time to complete assignments. Adults may have trouble organizing their work area, prioritizing tasks, and meeting deadlines. The difference is that with SLD there is a specific area where performance is significantly below performance in other areas. With ADHD there may be noticeable strengths and weaknesses, but the level of weakness tends to be more sporadic or across all subject areas.
What Is The Right Age To Get Myself or My Child Tested?
There really isn’t a right age because what can look like SLD can be signs of many other related disabilities. Normally noticeable deficits appear in elementary school. Early intervention services are so important to help your child to meet their full potential so if they are missing milestones give us a call. It’s never too late either to get the answers you need to help you to meet your full personal, professional, and interpersonal potential.
What Is The Cost Of Testing?
That depends. If you have insurance, testing may be paid partially or in full by your insurance carrier. Kelly can give you that information when you call her at 561-769-9437. If you are paying privately the initial and follow-up sessions are 150 dollars and the testing is 1000 dollars unless extended testing is required. Kelly can discuss that with you when you give her a call.
What Is The Best Way To Diagnose SLD In Children And Adults?
Although you can speak to your doctor or pediatrician about your symptoms, it is important to get a full evaluation by a psychologist that specializes in psychoeducational assessments for SLD, because many other disorders present with similar symptoms. The evaluation will include an intelligence test such as the WISC-V or RIAS-2 , an achievement test such as the WJIV, a memory and attentional capacity test such as the WRAML-2, processing tests such as the TAPS-4 and the CTOPP 2, and parent surveys such as the BASC, GARS, CAT-C ,and BRIEF. Other tests may be added or eliminated based on the age and symptoms of the individual. For adults a Neuropsychological Battery such as the NAB is added.
What Is The Process?
The first step is to give us a call at 561-769-9437 and set up an initial consultation, a date for the evaluation, and a follow-up appointment. If you have insurance, we will run your insurance and let you know if they will cover the testing and how much your patient responsibility is. Kelly our testing coordinator and behavioral specialist will send you paperwork through our portal for you to fill out. Some of it is just the typical paperwork and some of the forms ask more about the current symptoms you or your child are exhibiting.
On our initial call we will discuss your concerns and I will gather the information I need to decide what tests should be utilized and what specific symptoms we are looking for.
The testing appointment can be done in your home but if location or mobility are issues we can do the testing through Zoom. The testing usually takes between 3 and 5 hours depending on the age and the number of tests that need to be administered.
At the follow-up appointment we will discuss the results and you will receive a follow-up report that can be shared with your other medical providers, schools, and workplaces.
Are There Other Things To Rule Out When An Individual Is Experiencing Symptoms Of SLD?
Autism, ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, and Depression can mimic symptoms of SLD. Our testing will be able to assess whether autism, ADHD, anxiety or mood disorders are present and whether or not there needs to be additional follow-up. In older adult’s cognitive deficits may reveal age-related cognitive impairment or dementia which would need additional follow-up by a neurologist.
What If It’s More Than SLD And I’ve Only Asked For SLD Testing?
In our initial meeting we will discuss all of the symptoms you or your child are having to decide what testing we will do. We are prepared to give you an accurate diagnosis and have the skills and the testing materials needed to do that.
Are There Social Aspects of SLD?
Both adults and children with SLD may experience social awkwardness. They may not know how to appropriately engage in conversations without shrinking into the background. Individuals with SLD sometimes don’t speak up for themselves due to feelings of inferiority and may have difficulty making friends due to their low self-esteem. Difficulty with emotional regulation is common so individuals may experience tearfulness, high levels of anger and frustration, sadness and anxiety. They may also have difficulty processing social situations in the same way that they have difficulty processing academic information.
What Is Executive Functioning And How Is That Related To SLD?
Executive functioning includes the behaviors necessary to effectively complete activities and tasks. Often individuals with SLD have to be actively taught these skills which include organizing tasks and materials, shifting from one activity to another, initiating tasks, working memory, planning out assignments and prioritizing tasks, inhibiting impulses and emotional regulation. They may appear to be lazy or unmotivated to teachers, relatives, bosses, and parents, but that is not at all the case. They are more often feeling frustrated and defeated.
What Happens If My Child Is Diagnosed with SLD?
If your child is diagnosed with SLD they will be eligible for an IEP plan which will need to be generated by the school. If they have additional deficits such as ADHD or autism or other impairments such as a speech and language deficit they may qualify for additional services. Again only the school can create those documents so you will bring the report to the ESE contact at the school and they will set up a School Based Support Team Meeting where they will discuss goals, accommodations, and modifications that can be made to meet their needs.
Why Is It Important To Test Before College
Many people feel like if they have gotten through high school why look for services now, but that is far from the truth. The additional challenges of college may exacerbate symptoms of SLD. With a diagnosis of SLD you can get accommodations for both assignments and tests in class as well as for standardized tests such as the MCAT. LSAT, GRE, SAT, and ACT.
What If I Am Diagnosed With SLD As An Adult?
That depends on why you are doing the testing. The report is yours to share as you choose. Some people just want answers they have long been waiting for. Others want accommodations at work to help them to achieve success. Others are going back to school or are in school and need accommodations for classes and tests. Others are doing the testing as part of a request for disability or following an accident or medical incident. Whatever your reason we will help you to navigate the process and will provide you a list of necessary accommodations and modifications to help you to meet with success.
Accommodations Verses Modifications
Accommodations change the environment in some way to help you or your child to more effectively utilize it. Some examples of accommodations include preferential seating, audiobooks, ability to take breaks, and speech to text technology. We will include an extensive list of possible accommodations to meet you or your child’s needs in the final report. A modification describes a change in the curriculum. Modifications are made for individuals with disabilities who are unable to comprehend the content. This can include shortening assignments, or presenting them in a way that makes them more accessible to the individual. These will be included in your final report as needed.
Additional Help And Resources
Give us a call at 561-769-9437 and let’s get started.
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