Assessment of Specific Learning Disorders

We all learn differently and take in information through different avenues, whether that be observing, listening, reading or doing. While we all have natural strengths and weaknesses, at times we may notice that we are having particularly difficulty with how we are processing and understanding the information in front of us. This could be a sign of a specific learning disorder, where the brain may find it difficult to process particular types of information in the way other people do. Examples of learning disorders are:

  • Dyslexia – A learning disorder affecting the way someone reads
  • Dysgraphia – A learning disorder affecting the way someone writes
  • Dyscalculia – A learning disorder affecting the way someone processes mathematical or number based information.

While signs are often noticed during school years, particularly by teachers, an assessment can help confirm the presence of a learning disorder, but more importantly provide guidance and recommendations on strategies to support the individuals learning.

What is Involved?

A comprehensive assessment of Specific Learning Disorders involves a number of steps, including:

  • Review of any past medical, therapy or school reports, if available.
  • Feedback from your child’s teacher (for child and adolescent clients.)
  • Client and/or parent/caregiver interview to gather the history relevant to diagnosis.
  • Completion of an Adaptive Behaviour Assessment.
  • Completion of an IQ assessment.
  • Completion of an assessment of Academic Achievement.
  • A feedback session to discuss results and recommendations, along with a report.
How Long Does the Assessment Take?

Prior to the assessment, you will be sent out an Intake and consent form, along with a form designed to gather a comprehensive background history. Please allow at least 1 hour to complete these forms.

The assessment itself is split into 2 parts – a clinical interview and completion of the IQ assessment and Assessment of Academic Achievement. The clinical interview involves a discussion around the reason for referral, discussing aspects of the background history (based on the answers provided in the intake forms) and running through the Adaptive Behaviour Assessment questionnaire. Where the assessment is for a child, this part of the assessment is usually completed with just the parents as it can take up to 3hrs to run through all the questions – quite a long time for young ones!

The second part of the assessment, the IQ assessment and Assessment of Academic Achievement, is done directly with the client, and can take up to 3 hours to complete. For young clients, parents are not normally allowed in the room as it can impact the results of the assessment, however this is flexible and dependent on how the child presents on the day. While we normally book both parts of the assessment on 2 separate days due to the time needed, it can be completed in one day if requested.

After the assessment, a comprehensive report is completed and discussed with you during a 30-45min feedback session.

Why Would I Need An Assessment?

The primary reason someone would seek out this assessment is due to concerns about the presence of a learning disorder. For children, this is usually first picked up by a teacher who may be noticing the child is having particular difficulty with an aspect of their learning, or is demonstrating behavioural concerns in the classroom environment when having difficulties with their learning. If you have concerns about your childs learning, it is good to check with the teacher first to see if they have identified similar concerns.

The benefit of obtaining a diagnosis can be immense, not only in ensuring the appropriate learning supports are put into place, but also to help with the flow on impacts an undiagnosed learning disorder can have on someone. Where learning disorders are left undiagnosed, we can find concerns coming up around self esteem, behaviour difficulties and challenges with resilience (sticking things out) or giving new things a go.

How Much does the Assessment Cost?

A comprehensive Assessment or Specific Learning Disorders takes a Psychologist approximately 9hrs to complete, which includes the time needed to conduct any interviews, complete the relevant assessments, review past reports/information, score the assessments and write the report. Currently, this means a Comprehensive Cognitive assessment with Anastasi Psychology will cost $1980.