If you suspect that a child has dyslexia, an evaluation can lead to a better understanding of the problem and to recommendations for treatment. Test results are also used to determine state and local eligibility for special education services, as well as eligibility for support programs and services in colleges and universities. Ideally, evaluation results provide a basis for making instructional decisions and help determine which educational services and supports will be most effective.
Warning Signs & Evaluation
If your child struggles with schoolwork and is falling behind, he or she may have a learning disability (LD). If your child has warning signs of LD, don’t wait to take action. Early identification through a formal evaluation process may help to qualify your child for the types of services and supports essential to ensuring your child’s progress in school.
Warning Signs & Evaluation
If you suspect that your child has a learning disability (LD), don’t despair. With early recognition and targeted intervention, children with LD can achieve as well as other children do. Students whose LD is identified and addressed before they leave third grade have the best chance at academic success, but it’s never too late.
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Everyone has trouble from time to time remembering names, balancing a checkbook, following directions, etc. For most people, these are not problems that they experience on a routine basis. For others, however, problems with learning and applying information interfere with their daily lives. Often, these individuals are not aware that they have learning disabilities. Many struggle for years to learn or perform certain basic tasks without understanding the reason for their difficulties. When they finally discover the cause of their problems is a learning disability, they speak of the relief that this knowledge brings. With this knowledge comes the ability to address the problem, to find ways to work around the disability, and ultimately, to meet success in life.
If you suspect that your child has a learning disability (LD), identification through a formal evaluation will help you know for sure. An evaluation will allow you to better understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses in learning, and may help to qualify your child for special education services. The evaluation process can be complicated, but NCLD is here for you with the top ten things parents need to know about LD evaluation.
There is no single “test” or even universally accepted approach to identifying learning disabilities (LD). The characteristics of LD often differ from one child to another, and what LD looks like in children will sometimes manifest in very different ways in adolescents and adults. Features of LD can be “hidden” in some situations and very much apparent in others. The key to identifying LD is therefore to identify areas of strength and weakness, rule in (or rule out) any complicating factors that might be contributing to learning problems, and hone in on the very specific nature of the struggle, so that timely decisions can be made about carefully targeted intervention and support.
As a parent, one of the most important things you can do to help your child get a good education is to understand how she learns—especially if you are concerned that she may be struggling in school. But sometimes knowing what to do and where to find help can be confusing.
If you suspect that your child’s learning difficulties may require special assistance, please do not delay in finding support. The sooner you move forward the better your child’s chances for reaching her full potential.
Children take different paths while learning to read. For some children, learning to read may seem effortless. Others may struggle with the same kinds of learning that appears to come naturally to other children their age. So when should you be concerned?
RTI (Response to Intervention) plays a critical role in how students are identified as having a disability and needing special education services. For many years, putting struggling students into special education was the only option. Requirements for special education eligibility were outdated and left students to struggle for years before help was provided. Students fell further and further behind, making it more difficult to catch up once help was provided.
You can’t determine a person’s strengths and weaknesses simply by looking at him or her. And you can’t fully understand your own strengths and weaknesses without making the effort to recognize exactly what they are. That’s why it’s important to follow a systematic approach to discovering your personal learning profile. A professional evaluation detailing your specific LD and your areas of strength, can be extremely useful, and a less comprehensive screening can be an important and useful first step toward success.
The following is a transcription of the podcast, “A Parent’s Perspective Taking the Private Route for LD Evaluation (audio).”
This NCLD podcast focuses on the process of evaluation for learning disabilities using a private evaluator. Read about the conversation between Candace Cortiella and Judith Halden, a videographer and mother of a young adult with learning disabilities.
Intelligent Thinking vs. Intelligence Testing
Much has been written during the past three decades about approaches to evaluation and decision-making regarding who does and does not qualify for the classification of specific learning disabilities (LD). The vast majority of students who have undergone assessments to determine eligibility under the LD category have been subject to a battery of tests, most often administered by individuals who had:
The following is a transcription of the podcast, “A Parent’s Perspective—LD Evaluation in the Public Schools (audio).”
The topic of this NCLD podcast is the process of evaluation for learning disabilities (LD) done by the public school. This transcript captures Candace Cortiella’s interview with Judith Halden, a videographer and mother of a young adult with learning disabilities.
From annual school check-ups to coughs and fevers, scraped knees, mysterious rashes, swollen glands and a host of other common (and not-so-common) symptoms, physicians and parents are partners in providing the best medical care possible to children and adolescents. Together with parents, medical providers are in the unique position of interacting with children throughout their school years, watching them grow not only physically but also in terms of their language, social-emotional and academic development. This perspective makes them ideal partners for both identifying potential learning problems and helping parents make wise decisions about the kinds of help that, if provided early and with precision, could truly be “prescriptions for success.”
NCLD advisory board member Dr. Donald Deshler talks about the National Research Center for Learning Disabilities (NRCLD) and its impact on LD identification across the nation.
A Note From Dr. Sheldon Horowitz of NCLD
Once you’ve read this interview (and I recommend that you read it twice: once to wrap your mind around the big ideas and again to absorb the details) you will appreciate the enormous contribution Don and his colleagues are making to the field of learning disabilities. To help you unravel these complicated research issues and see how they apply to your everyday lives, see my discussion questions following the article.
If you suspect that your child has a learning disability (LD) there are steps you can take to help your child succeed in school. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives parents the right to request a formal evaluation from their child’s school district at no cost. But before taking this crucial step, there are a few things parents should do.
In this Parent Perspective, a mother describes in heartfelt detail how she first noticed her preschool daughter’s speech and language delay—and the journey that followed. After seeking advice from private professionals and public school psychologists and teachers, she came to appreciate the value of her own insights and intuition.
Listen to Judith’s story and how she gained the confidence to work with professionals and make sound decisions about her daughter’s education and general well-being.
When you’re concerned about the progress your child is (or isn’t) making in school, what do you do? Where can you turn to for help?
This audio podcast features an interview with parent Judith Halden, who offers her tips, guidance and perspective for parents who may be considering going outside of the public school system to have their child evaluated privately for learning disabilities. It’s not only a matter of cost—public school evaluations are free, private ones are not—there are a number of important factors and differences parents need to keep in mind.
Get Ready To Read! is a service of the National Center for Learning Disabilities designed to support parents, educators and young children in the development of early literacy skills. There, you’ll find two free screening schools that provide a “snapshot” of your pre-kindergarten-age child’s skills.
The following is a transcription of the podcast, “A Parent’s Perspective—The Parent Role in the LD Evaluation Process.”
On behalf of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, it’s my pleasure to introduce Judith Halden, a videographer and parent of a young adult with learning disabilities. My conversation with Judith will focus on the identification and evaluation process and the critical role parents play in this aspect of their child’s journey.
When parents are concerned that their child isn’t making appropriate academic progress, what steps do they need to take and when?
If you have recently found out your child has a learning disability (LD) you are probably feeling overwhelmed with stress, information and pressure to make decisions about what’s best for your child. NCLD is here to give parents like you the resources, guidance and support you need on your child’s LD journey.
If the school informs you that they are using Response to Intervention (RTI), you should go ahead and request an evaluation in writing as soon as you think your child may have a disability. Making this request is critical because your written consent puts a 60-day timeframe on both the completion of the RTI process and the evaluation. The process of determining whether your child has a disability such as a learning disability and needs special education cannot go on indefinitely.
When the mysterious lady took me out of class that day in kindergarten, I thought nothing of it. I assumed everyone in my class was meeting with this woman. I was unaware of it then, but this stranger was a school psychologist, and I was being evaluated for learning disabilities (LD).