Parents often consult me about signs of a learning disability in their children. Sometimes difficulties are obvious, such as when an adolescent struggles year after year to pass math or when a child struggles to learn to read long after same-age peers have mastered it. At other times, signs of a learning disorder are not so obvious. Here are three signs of a possible learning disorder for which parents may want to seek assessment.
Spending Lengthy Periods of Time on Assignments. Parents often tell me that their children spend inordinate amounts of time on assignments. They assume that their children are getting distracted by cell phones or other devices, and sometimes they are. But when children spend three hours on what appears to be a 30-minute assignment, and they seem to be working hard to complete it, then an assessment and specific academic intervention may be in order.
Resisting Starting or Completing Specific Types of School Work. Some children slide by with passing grades in school, but their parents may notice that they avoid or are particularly slow to start some assignments. Parents of children with developmental reading problems, for example, often relay that their children hate to read or avoid reading anything not required for school. Upon being assessed, it is often discovered that these students hate to read because they never truly mastered phonetic decoding skills and need intervention to overcome the difficulty.
Continuing to Struggle after Tutoring. Many students struggle from time-to-time in particular subject areas and with particular teaching styles. Children who continue to struggle with concepts and specific content areas, despite tutoring intervention or instruction from different teachers, may require more specialized help and academic accommodations to succeed.
For more information about testing for academic, cognitive, and/or emotional concerns, including pro bono consultation, please contact psychologist Rebecca L. Marshall, Ph.D. at 678-893-5306.