A Specific Learning Disorder disrupts the normal pattern of learning academic skills due to the involvement of underlying difficulties that are not simply due to inadequate opportunities or instruction.
The following points are very important to consider with regards to specific learning difficulties:
- They do not include intellectual disabilities.
- They result from impairments in one or more processes related to perceiving, thinking, remembering or learning.
They can manifest at a mild, moderate or severe level of difficulty in areas such as:
- Reading with regards to word recognition and word decoding and reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension.
- Written expression.
- Arithmetic calculation and mathematical reasoning (solving math problems).
- They are life-long in their duration.
- They are neurobiological and/or genetic in origin.
It is important to identify slower than expected progress in specific academic areas as early as possible. A referral for an evaluation should then occur in order to provide clarity about the involvement of underlying learning difficulties and the need for effective intervention and support.
A neuro psychology assessment adds value by providing a more holistic view of brain function related to the problems which may have been previously identified by educational psychologists. Referrals to specialists for appropriate intervention are made subsequent to the above assessment eg. speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and remedial therapists.