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What is a learning disability?

Sep 08, 2020

Do you wonder if your child has a learning problem? Children have difficulty learning at school from time to time, but some children struggle to keep up year after year. Children may have difficulty understanding or retaining information, have poor performance at school, and are possibly at risk of being retained in the same grade. Many schools give a “retention letter” or similar warnings letting parents know that their child is at risk for being kept in the same grade the following year. Parents worry because they do not know how to help their child learn to read, learn math, or other subjects, and wonder whether grade retention would be beneficial or detrimental to his academic future and self-esteem. What could be the cause of your child’s learning struggles? Could he have a learning disability?

 Learning disabilities are neurological disorders that can make it difficult to acquire specific academic or social skills. Learning disabilities affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, store and respond to information despite average intelligence. This group of brain disorders can affect different areas of your child’s learning, including reading, math, writing, listening, and speaking. Children who have learning disabilities have a higher risk of failing at school, causing social and emotional problems that affect their lives during childhood, adolescence and even adulthood.

What are the signs of a learning disability?

In Preschoolers

  • Delays in communication, slow language development, or speech difficulties. Difficulty understanding when spoken to or problems communicating their thoughts.
  • Difficulty following routines or with memory skills. Difficulty understanding and remembering multiple instructions.
  • Uneven motor development or poor coordination. They may have delays in obtaining their developmental milestones such as learning to sit or walk, learning to color, or having difficulty using scissors. They may have difficulty forming numbers or letters.
  • Socialization difficulties including interacting with other children and playing.

In Elementary School

  • Difficulty learning individual units of sound (phonemes) and numbers/letters (graphemes). Not being able to consistently blend sounds and letters to form words. Difficulty with sight words. For upper grades, difficulty with reading comprehension.
  • Difficulty with spelling and grammar. Difficulty forming numbers and letters.
  • Difficulty with math skills and calculations. Difficulty with math facts.
  • Organizational skill deficits. Difficulty with concepts.
  • Difficulty with listening comprehension and oral expression. Difficulty becomes apparent with more complex information.
  • Difficulty organizing their writing and their expression during oral discourse.
  • Difficulty remembering to turn in their work or remembering to do projects. Difficulty organizing and planning in a manner that helps them complete their projects.

Through the comprehensive services we provide at Monica Oganes & Associates, one of our school psychologists or neuropsychologists can do psychoeducational testing. Using the latest and most appropriate assessment instruments on the market, our team of experts offer exclusive services to bilingual children, children who are learning English, or children who have had many academic interruptions due to frequent school changes. Through testing, we can discover if your child has learning problems such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia.

Our evaluations are comprehensive. First, we analyze instructional opportunities and other exclusionary factors by conducting a thorough clinical interview and by obtaining information about your child’s learning career. Our extensive experience working in the schools allow us to assess and understand your child’s learning trajectory at school. Through our experience working in hospital settings, we can assess medical or neurological conditions and their impact on your child’s learning and behavior. Through standardized assessment and curriculum-based assessment as needed, we will find your child’s areas of strength and weakness, and assess their contribution to his academic and behavioral difficulties, thus being able to discover whether the problem is due to learning disabilities or due to instructional opportunities and other factors. We will give you a complete and comprehensive evaluation report with our findings tailored to your child’s needs, identifying the areas of intervention and providing the specific strategies to be implemented at school and/or at home. Teachers can follow our recommendations to develop an individual educational plan for your child.

We offer individual educational evaluations for many school districts in Florida at our Miami and Orlando locations. We also make arrangements for international children who require our services, providing personalized and comprehensive services to address learning and behavioral needs while taking into account your child’s cultural and linguistic diversity. Our ability to combine the fields of school psychology and neuropsychology, and our ability to provide bilingual psychoeducational testing and bilingual neuropsychological evaluations in Spanish and English, make our practice unique. We have extensive expertise in the field of school neuropsychology.

To arrange an appointment for a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation or a neuropsychological evaluation, or to obtain more information about our services, please contact Monica Oganes & Associates at our Miami or Orlando offices. Dr. Monica Oganes and her team are committed to providing you with the highest quality services that will help your child improve his learning and behavioral outcomes. Children should not struggle to learn. We are happy to help him have a brighter future.