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The LD Checklist: Recognize and Respond

The LD Checklist was created by NCLD in collaboration with neuroscientists, psychologists, pediatricians, researchers, educators, and parents. Its goal is to help users understand potential signs of LDs.

Teacher having a conversation with two students.
About this Tool

Most people have challenges with learning and behavior from time to time. During a child’s preschool years and throughout their school years, parents and educators should be on the lookout for patterns that may signal an underlying learning disability (LD). While variations in development are to be expected, unevenness or lags in the mastery of skills and behaviors should not be ignored, even in children as young as 4 or 5. And because LD can co-occur with other disorders, it’s important to keep careful and complete records of observations and impressions. These can be shared among parents, educators, and related service providers. These records will help them make decisions about needed services and supports.

LD—sometimes called specific learning disability or specific learning disorder—is a group of disorders that impact listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, math, and social skills. Remember: LDs don’t go away! They are not outgrown or “cured” by medication, therapy, or expert tutoring. But even though LDs are lifelong, they’re not a prescription for failure. Effective instruction and accommodations can minimize learning challenges, maximize strengths, and optimize student potential in academic settings. Early recognition of warning signs, well-targeted screening and assessment, effective intervention, and ongoing monitoring of progress are critical to helping individuals with LDs succeed in school, in the workplace, and in life.

Learn more about the latest research around early detection of learning difficulties in NCLD’s white paper, “Early Detection of Learning Difficulties: From Recognizing Risk to Responding Rapidly.”

Acknowledgements

This project was generously funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and in close collaboration with dozens of researchers, pediatricians, neuroscientists, psychologists, educators, and parents. Web development for this project was provided by nclud. In addition, NCLD would like to thank Kirsten Mettler, NCLD’s 2020 summer intern, for her critical contributions to this project.