Learning Disorder Assessments & Identifying Impairments
Brain and Body Integration (BBI) offers learning disorder evaluations to individuals ages 6 to 50. Typically, those who are interested in this type of evaluation tend to struggle in school and there seems to be a disconnect between what they are intellectually capable of doing, and what they are actually achieving within the classroom. The discrepancy between intellectual ability and academic achievement is one way in which we can identify the presence of a learning disorder according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5th edition (DSM-5) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At BBI, we use well-researched cognitive and academic achievement measures in order to assess for strengths and weaknesses that represent various profiles characteristic of typical or atypical academic and cognitive development.
These tests are also able to identify the three specific learning disorders that the DSM-5 has identified. These disorders are: Specific Learning Disorder with impairment in Reading, Specific Learning Disorder with impairment in Writing, and Specific Learning Disorder with impairment in Math. You may also be more familiar with classic terminology that refers to learning disorders such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. These terms refer to impairment in reading, writing, and mathematics respectively. Although the DSM-5 (the diagnostic manual we use as psychologists) does not use these classic terms for diagnostic purposes, our team is familiar with these terms and we can explain how they relate to Specific Learning Disorder diagnoses.
There may be other factors that interfere with your ability, or your child’s ability to learn in an academic environment. For example, a child with an intellectual disability may struggle to learn in the classroom due his or her cognitive ability as opposed to an unexpected discrepancy between cognitive ability and achievement. Another common disorder that can impact an individual within the classroom is ADHD. This disorder impacts an individual’s ability to focus and sustain concentration for long periods of time. Therefore, academic achievement may be impaired as a result. There are many other factors that could explain low academic achievement in the classroom, examples can include: generalized or separation anxiety, depression, a history of trauma, high expressed conflict within the home, autism spectrum disorder or other neurodevelopmental disorders that impact cognitive development, etc. Thus, a comprehensive evaluation is preferred in order to identify all of the factors that could be impacting the individual’s performance within the classroom. This type of comprehensive evaluation can lead to more informed diagnostic conclusions, as well as a more targeted treatment plan.
If you are interested in a Learning Disorder Evaluation, there a few documents you can bring to the office that would help us during our assessment. Academic documents such as report cards or work samples can be helpful to document a history of academic struggle, and specific work samples may be helpful to show atypical writing patterns such as letter reversals. Also, documentation can be helpful if your child has an Individualized Education Plan, a 504 plan, or a history of Response to Intervention (RTI) in the classroom. Lastly, ask your teacher or your child’s teacher for their professional email address. We prefer to send questionnaires to educators so we can ask them to rate their student in various areas.
Learning Disorder Evaluations are often not covered by insurance, so feel free to contact us to determine if your plan covers this type of evaluation.