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Assessing Learning Difficulties

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

It is that time of year where parents are going to teacher conferences and learning about their children’s progress in school. For some parents there will be discussions about difficulties their children are having in school. With 2/3 of the school year behind us and planning in place for school placement next fall, it is an important time to assess any learning differences a child may be exhibiting. The sooner a child is suspected of having any difficulty with learning, whether it be reading, auditory processing, writing or listening and attention, the sooner the diagnostic testing may be done to diagnose the problem.

As a parent, it is often difficult to “know” if your child is having problems with learning. Sometimes it is just a gut feeling and you should discuss those feelings with the teacher. If your teacher thinks there is a problem, listen to her/him, as they spend 8 hours a day with your child and they are there to teach your child and watch them succeed. Teachers are not trying to “label your child”, but they too are trying to teach your child to be academically successful and competitive in within school. If they see problems with learning, applaud them for addressing it. The earlier diagnosed the better the remediation and resources will be for their continued academic success.

Ideally, if your child is having learning issues speak with your pediatrician about resources for academic testing. There are options for testing both within the public school system or privately with an educational diagnostician. The information that you glean about your child’s learning style, strengths and weaknesses will be invaluable throughout their education.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

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