At some point in most students’ academic careers, work becomes more difficult and many children begin to struggle to achieve high grades. Many parents ask me, “How do I know if this is normal or if my child has a learning disability?” Some general signs that it may be time to have your student tested by a professional include:
- Difficulty in reading or writing
- Symptoms of A.D.H.D. such as maintaining focus or impulse control
- Trouble following spoken or written instructions
- Poor memory
- Making poor grades despite significant effort
- Frustration with school and homework and
- Low self-esteem.
Adults often live with undiagnosed learning disabilities such as ADD or dyslexia. Many of the executives that visit my practice are very intelligent, successful individuals. However, as they’ve risen up the company ladder, it becomes increasingly difficult to “keep all their balls in the air.” They constantly feel like they are juggling to keep track of their materials, their appointments, commitments, written communications, etc…
When is it time to consult a professional?
In a child, if the suspected disability is interfering with either your student’s ability to learn or his/her self-esteem, a diagnosis from a professional is warranted. It can be beneficial to address any learning problems early in a child’s life before the difficulties become compounded. Possibly some modifications and adjustments in your child’s structures could improve many aspects of daily life.
Similarly for adults – if you are reasonably successful and have been dealing with a learning disorder your whole life, it may not be necessary to have a formal diagnosis. Certainly individuals who feel that they have characteristics of ADD or ADHD will benefit by strengthening their executive functioning skills, which can make one more productive and less anxious at any age. By practicing effective executive functions, you will find yourself better able to keep track of your belongings, schedule your time efficiently, work productively and organize the chaos in your brain, home and office.
WE’D LIKE TO KNOW. Deciding to have psychological or educational testing can be a nerve wracking proposition for some people. What made you decide to get professional testing or assistance for yourself or your child? When did you know it was the “right time?”