Learning Disabilities
PARENTS: Make sure a licensed psychologist evaluates your child--
not some type of 'learning specialist.' Here's why.



Are You Concerned Because Your Child
Difficulty Learning to read or solve math problems?

Children with a learning disability may display many of these characteristics:

  •      Difficulty learning individual sounds of letters or numbers.

  •      Difficulty learning how to blend sounds and letters to sound out words.

  •      Difficulty remembering familiar words by sight.

  •      Difficulty learning math skills and doing math calculations.

  •      Difficulty remembering facts.

  •      Difficulty understanding oral instructions and expressing oneself verbally.

  •      Difficulty organizing information and/or concepts.

  •      Difficulty organizing papers, binders, and notebooks. The child might lose or forget materials or do work and forget to turn it in.

  •      Difficulty planning out the steps and time lines for completing projects, especially long-term projects.

  •      Difficulty organizing thoughts for written reports and when speaking.




What Exactly is a Learning Disability?

The Federal definition of learning disabilities is: The term "specific learning disability" means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.  The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.  The term does not include children who have learning disabilities which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, or mental retardation, or emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. 

What is Dyslexia?
Click here to read more.
Dyslexia is a language disorder that is neurological in origin and often hereditary.  According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 15-20% of school age children have dyslexia.  This means in a class of 25 children as many as 5 children could have dyslexia.  It is the number one type of learning disability served in public schools.  Children with dyslexia have difficulty with reading and spelling.  Unfortunately, most teachers and reading specialist have not been trained in the most effective methods that children with dyslexia need in order to be successful readers and spellers.  If you think your child is dyslexic, get him or her evaluated as soon as possible so you can begin the most effective remediation program.  According to dyslexia expert Susan Barton, programs that don’t work well for children with dyslexia include: Hooked on Phonics, the Phonics Game, Reading Recovery, Accelerated Reader, Reading Recovery, and most commercial learning chains such as Sylvan, Kumon, and Score. 

Scientific, independent, replicated reading research supports the reading programs based on Orton-Gillingham sequence and methodology.  Dr. Orton and Anna Gillingham developed a unique method and sequence to significantly improve the reading and spelling skills of children and adults with dyslexia during the 1930's.  Orton-Gillingham programs are “best practices” when teaching reading to students with dyslexia.  An Orton Gillingham based reading system is simultaneously multisensory, systematic, and cumulative with direct and explicit instruction in phonics.  This type of program shows how reading and spelling are related and provide intense practice for a child with dyslexia.

One-on-one tutoring using Orton-Gillingham methodology is the gold standard for dyslexic reading instruction.  The benefits of this type of tutoring are supported by research.  Consider the evaluation and tutoring the best investment you can make for the future success of your child.  Their self-esteem will rise along with their academics.  For a list of tutors using Orton-Gillingham methods, call me.

How is Dyslexia Different from a LD?
Dyslexia is a language based learning disability but school districts do not specifically test for dyslexia.  They test for an IQ-achievement discrepancy to determine a learning disability.  Only individuals with severe or profound dyslexia will qualify for special education services in the public schools.  Individuals with mild and moderate dyslexia will continue to struggle unless their parents get them outside help from a tutor certified in an Orton-Gillingham method.  As a parent, your first step is to have your child evaluated for dyslexia by a dyslexia specialist.  Ask your psychologist what specific training they have had for dyslexia.  A dyslexia evaluation is different from a standard psychoeducational evaluation.  After the evaluation you'll know which type of educational program is best for your child.

If you think your child may be dyslexic, you can start by reading the best book
on the market today about dyslexia: Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, MD.

The best website about dyslexia is by Susan Barton: http://www.brightsolutions.us/

A Child May be Determined Learning Disabled if:

(1) The child does not achieve commensurate with his or her age and ability levels in one or more of the areas above when provided with learning experiences appropriate for the child's age and ability levels; and has a pattern of strengths and weaknesses documented in a psychoeducational evaluation.

(2) The child has not made progress using a response to intervention process.

Your child can be eligible for an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) if he or she has a documented disability.  An IEP provides the school district with additional funding to support and teach your child.

A comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation is needed to determine
if your child has a learning disability.  Call Dr. Forgan to discuss how
a student qualifies for public school services and the types of
available accommodations for students with LD. 


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