Learning Disability Diagnosis – Elementary School

pieces-of-the-puzzle-1925422_960_720Parents hear a lot about learning disability diagnosis, the label, the accommodations, the solution, and so on. In reality, diagnosing a child with learning disability is a long and tedious process for all involved, child, parents, and teacher(s).

It would be ideal if we had a tool that could identify learning disability as it shows up. Teachers would be able to provide intervention right away and the child would learn to manage his/her learning difficulty. Unfortunately, when it comes to child development and learning curve, matters are much more complicated.

To start with, kids start formal schooling on all different levels. Some can write their name, while others are still learning how to hold a pencil. Both are common and acceptable in kindergarten.

Formal reading instruction starts in Pre-K and ends in 3rd grade, with hope that by the end of 3rd grade all students can read and are ready to transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Due to these reading years, diagnosing a child with reading difficulty is impossible. Children don’t all learn to walk at the same time, neither do they learn to read at the same time. In many cases, it isn’t until 4th and 5th grade that reading disability (difficulty) becomes clearly obvious. Therefore, a child with reading disability has suffered 6-7 years of schooling before being diagnosed and properly addressed.

Even when the teacher can identify the need, she/he has to go through months of documentation and paperwork before the child will formally be tested and diagnosed. The fact that there is no universal method to identify learning disability in any of academic areas (writing, reading, and math) is a huge disservice to our students and families.

All the while, students are expected to perform on the grade level and are tested accordingly. I personally find this to be a large disservice to our students and blatant disregard of existing educational research.





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