Learning Difficulty Assessment
For difficulties with reading (dyslexia), written expression (dysgraphia), maths (dyscalculia), memory or attention (AD/HD)
Does your child mix up or reverse letters or jumble their sentences?
Do they have trouble with numbers, symbols or maths problems?
Find it hard to express their ideas clearly in writing?
Have difficulty remembering key concepts and facts?
Or do they constantly struggle to focus on their work or pay attention in class?
If any of these issues sound familiar, it’s vital to find out what is going on with their learning skills as early as possible.
Why is early action so important?
According to a 2015 study, students with learning difficulties risk falling into a ‘long term learning gap’ that persists into adolescence and adulthood.
And the authors warn this achievement gap “poses serious consequences—including lower rates of high school graduation, higher levels of unemployment, and lower earnings…”
You see, learning difficulties have cumulative effects—hurting academic achievement and emotional and behavioural development, year after year.
Which severely impacts children’s enjoyment of school and motivation to learn.
And can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, or even depression.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
The evidence is clear:
The EARLIER learning difficulties are identified and an effective intervention program is started, the BETTER the chance of improving long term outcomes.
In fact, research shows that when the right learning strategies and support are put in place early enough, positive results can be quickly achieved and maintained over the long term.
As well as helping school performance, early action also reduces emotional problems associated with failure.
And intervention during primary school also helps prevent the development of further learning difficulties, such as writing problems, in later years.
But it is essential that each intervention program is tailored to each child’s specific strengths and weaknesses (their “learning profile”).
That’s why most education experts recommend a full learning assessment with an appropriately trained psychologist as the first step.
How can a learning difficulty assessment help my child?
A comprehensive learning assessment will reveal the answers to these four key questions:
- What is actually going on with their underlying learning and processing skills?
- What level are they are currently achieving at with their academic skills? (Compared with what is expected for their age and year level.)
- What are they potentially capable of achieving?
- What are the most helpful learning strategies and interventions to put in place at school and at home?
You see, it’s NOT about “labelling” children with a disorder…
Instead, this information enables parents to make more informed decisions about their child’s education…
So they can make the required changes as EARLY as possible…
Ensure the right learning strategies are put in place at school and at home…
Empower their child with greater insight into how they learn…
And ultimately help them to reach their full learning potential.
But without this information?
Parents and teachers are basically “flying blind”…
What does a learning difficulty assessment involve?
The specific tests will vary based on the presenting issues and age of the child, however a full learning assessment will include the following:
- An initial review of your child’s learning history
- Standardised cognitive testing (thinking and reasoning ability)
- Standardised achievement testing (academic skills)
- Other relevant tests, if appropriate (for example, to assess working memory issues or attention/focus)
- Detailed assessment report with a clear summary and diagnostic opinion
- Specific learning recommendations for school and home
- Comprehensive parent feedback session to answer all your questions
The psychologist will also offer an optional follow-up phone call with the school to make sure the teacher understands the outcomes and recommendations.
Cognitive testing identifies any underlying issues with key skills such as:
- Processing speed
- Auditory processing
- Verbal learning issues
- Non-verbal learning issues
Achievement testing measures abilities in key academic areas such as:
- Oral language
How many appointments are required?
Depending on the specific tests required, there are normally four sessions:
- An initial parent-only consultation (50 mins)
- Assessment session #1 (91-120 mins)
- Assessment session #2 (91-120 mins)
- Feedback session for parents (50 mins)
What are the fees?
The total fees range from approx. $2,000 to $2,400 (less any private health fund rebates), depending on the specific tests required and the length of the testing appointments.
This includes the initial consultation, two assessment appointments, a comprehensive psychological report, a feedback consultation, detailed recommendations for home and school, an action plan and liaison with school or health professionals where appropriate.
The fees are normally broken up across the appointments over several weeks and you can instantly claim private health rebates* at each session via HICAPS.
(*Rebates vary depending on the health fund and level of cover but can be up to several hundred dollars in total.)
What is the next step?
If you think a learning assessment and a targeted intervention program might be helpful for your son or daughter the first step is to book an initial parent consultation.
This is a 50 minute parent-only consultation at our office in Port Melbourne. (We can also provide this consultation via phone for clients who are not local.)
At this consultation the psychologist will review your child’s learning history and give you expert advice for their specific needs.
If a full learning assessment is appropriate they will explain the process and recommend specific tests.
The fee for this comprehensive initial consultation is $250, less any applicable private health rebate.
Please note: Due to the length of the consultation a $50 deposit via secure card payment is required to book an appointment time in our online calendar.