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What Is a Learning Disability Assessment?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A learning disability assessment provides diagnostic information to determine the nature and severity of the condition, and develop recommendations for accommodations that may help. This testing is performed by an education or medical professional with training in learning disabilities, and may take several hours to complete. After the assessment, it is possible to use the information to work on a treatment plan and develop documents like an individualized education plan (IEP) to help a student at school. Information about the assessment may be entered in a patient chart or student record for future reference.

This process typically starts with a brief screening, which does not require formal training. Teachers, school nurses, family physicians, and others can conduct a learning disability screening to determine if an adult or child appears to have a learning disability. The screening may involve a series of questions answered both by the subject and the observer. If the score is indicative of a problem, the subject can be referred for a more formal learning disability assessment.

In the assessment, a care provider works through a series of prompts with the participant. These can include various cognitive tasks, an interview, and questions about history. Part of a learning disability assessment may require review of medical charts, school records, and other supplemental data that can provide a complete overview of the person's life and experience. This review of information can allow the care provider to make a diagnosis of a specific learning disability.

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Depending on who performs the learning disability assessment, the diagnosis can be used in a number of ways. Education specialists may recommend visiting a medical professional to discuss treatment options such as medications and occupational therapy. They can work directly with the subject of the assessment on what kinds of accommodations might be helpful at school or in the workplace to perform tasks. These might include more time for testing or a quiet office to facilitate concentration.

Medical professionals might discuss treatment options and refer the subject to therapists, educational specialists, and other people who can help. They can work with the information in the learning disability assessment to make recommendations for accommodations and activities to help the subject learn and work with a disability. These recommendations can vary, depending on the nature of the disability and its severity. For people with mild learning disabilities, simple measures like tutoring may be enough, while disruptive conditions may require more extensive options.

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