Learning Disabilities are a common reason for children to be unhappy at school and to resist doing
some or all of their school work. Learning Disabilities can occur by themselves or may further
complicate other problems such as ADHD, depression, or anxiety.
What is a Learning Disability?
A learning disability exists when a person has an unexpected problem learning certain types of
information when it appears overall that they are intelligent enough to learn it. For example a child
may be average in his ability to learn to read and write but have difficulty learning to add and
subtract. (This would be termed a Developmental Math Disorder). Or a very bright student may
be well above average in math and reading but have tremendous problems putting her thoughts
down on paper. (This would be termed a Developmental Written Language Disorder). In each
instance the child is likely to be frustrated and demoralized and may give up trying. They may look
inattentive in school as they tune out when the task just doesn't make sense to them. At home there
may be terrible fights or tantrums as the child tries to get out of doing homework.
How do I determine if my child has a Learning Disability?
Your child's teacher may have already picked up that your child struggles in a particular subject
and suggested that a psych-educational evaluation be performed. This would entail a psychologist
administering an intelligence test to your child and then assessing her academic performance with
other specific tests to look at various aspects of math, reading, and language (spoken and written).
Often learning disabilities are discovered when the child is being evaluated for other suspected
problems such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD. That is why when these other problems are
suspected it is very important for the evaluator to obtain school report cards and information about
the child's performance in school and on homework. When the evaluator comes across information
that suggests a learning disability they should recommend that a specific psych-educational
evaluation be performed by the school psychologist or by an appropriately trained psychologist in
the community. If a learning disability is found public schools are required to provide special
educational services to help the child learn by using alternative teaching methods geared to how
that particular child learns best.
You may find additional useful information about learning disabilities at www.ldonline.org
Warren J. Steinmuller, M.D.
1717 Cleveland Avenue
Charlotte, North Carolina 28203
Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
© 2004 by Warren J. Steinmuller, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
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Warren J. Steinmuller, M.D. Links from other sites are welcome.
Contact: 704 376-7654