Learning Disability – A Misunderstood Term

Learning disability, learning problem, special learning disorder and the like are terms created and defined for federal funding of provincial and local programs. But these definitions too often lead to students not getting help who need it and many who need help getting the wrong kind of help. Read about Individualized Education Plan IEP.

What is a Learning Disability?

A child is normally classified with a Learning Disability (LD) if his achievement test scores fall approximately two years below the IQ scores. The assumption is that the child has the mental skills needed but performance is lacking: he isn’t trying hard enough. But this is a false assumption that can be devastating!A frustrated, upset child with a learning disability.

IQ is but an average of numerous sub-tests that measure different mental skills required for learning success. Some of these sub-tests may be high and others low. Looking at the average will only mask the low skills that may be responsible for the poor performance.

For example, if your child scored low on a phonemic awareness sub-test (a necessary skill for reading and spelling) but high on all the others, his IQ would be considered normal or above. You would be told that because your child has the potential (IQ) he needs either more motivation or additional instruction while completely ignoring the cause of his difficulty – poor phonemic awareness! And the cause will go untreated and the struggles will continue. Phonemic awareness (and other thinking skills) can be learned.

A partial list of thinking skills our programs develop include: processing speed, working memory, attention, listening, visual processing, logic and reasoning, and all the foundational skills necessary for reading. List of abilities improved with the PACE program.

Learning Disability?  There are Solutions

But if the child wasn’t able to learn it at the same pace and with the same methods as his classmates, be assured that “more teaching” will not solve the problem. That’s why we use technology and science based programs to develop cognitive abilities, including phonemic awareness. These programs overcome the learning disability. They really do!

If you fix the problem, in most cases, the learning disability will go away. It is like being “swimming disabled” because you don’t know how to swim. Learn to swim and the “swimming disability” goes away.

How to Understand the Psycho-Ed

If your child has a psycho-ed, look at it! Look for the percentile (%ile) scores. Basically, the percentile score indicates your child’s position among 100 kids his or her age. The 95th percentile is near the top, the 50th percentile is in the middle (average), and the 1st percentile is at the very bottom.

Your child may have high, average, and low scores. The high scores are nice to have but they can’t replace the low ones. The low ones are causing the learning disability and need to be developed!

At the back of the Psycho-Ed is a page or two of recommendations. Read them and then consider this: if the teacher has three students with learning disabilities and IEP’s is it realistic for the teacher to live by these recommendations all day, every day, for every one of her learning disabled kids?

It is not. Therefore it is the parents who need to source out the solutions.

Not assuring that your child has the adequate underlying learning tools for learning is like asking someone to build a house today with nothing other than a hammer, handsaw and a screwdriver.

If you don’t have a Psycho-Ed

Your child could be on a wait list for years in order to determine if it is or isn’t a learning disability! And remember that the information is used to make accommodations and modifications, not fix the problem.

Our Assessment

If you suspect that your child may have a learning disability, you likely want an assessment so you can start working on correcting the deficits.

We don’t have a wait list and you can usually get your child in within a few days. Our assessment gives a clear picture of what underlying skills are weak and therefore causing the problems. Just as valuable, we are able to evaluate how your child performs on a more personal level. This includes things like, does she give up easily, get frustrated, or seek ways to avoid the task. Even though the assessment is low-cost it is very effective and clear for parents and teachers to understand.  Read more about it.

Go to our contact page or phone 604.539.1386 or toll-free 1.855.539.1386. We are located in downtown Langley, BC.