Learning disabilities are often identified when a child begins to attend school. Educators may use a process called "response to intervention" (RTI) to help identify children with learning disabilities. Specialized testing is required to make a clear diagnosis, however.
RTI usually involves the following1:
Students who are struggling in school can also have individual evaluations. An evaluation can2:
A full evaluation for a learning disability includes the following3:
Usually, several specialists work as a team to perform an evaluation. The team may include a psychologist, special education expert, and speech-language pathologist (SLP). Many schools also have reading specialists on staff who can help diagnosis a reading disability.4
School psychologists are trained in both education and psychology. They can help to identify students with learning disabilities and can diagnose the learning disability. They can also help the student with the disability, parents, and teachers come up with plans that improve learning.5
All SLPs are trained in diagnosing and treating speech- and language-related disorders. A SLP can provide a complete language evaluation as well as an assessment of the child's ability to organize his or her thoughts and possessions. The SLP may evaluate various age-appropriate learning-related skills in the child, such as understanding directions, manipulating sounds, and reading and writing.6
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