Specific Learning Difficulties/Disorders
Prior to formally assessing for specific learning difficulties, it is essential that the person has received a period of additional academic support targeting those difficulties.
*It is important to note that Reading Recovery does not count as evidence-based explicit instruction for reading difficulties.
Following such a period of additional support, the formal assessment process has 2 components:
(1) a cognitive assessment (WISC or WAIS) to exclude intellectual disability and to identify strengths and weaknesses in the person's cognitive profile; if a cognitive assessment was completed in the past it may not be necessary to re-administer it - please discuss with the assessing psychologist
(2) an achievement test (WIAT) to identify strengths and weaknesses in academic/learning domains: eg reading, spelling, maths.
The assessments require two separate appointments, usually on the same day, with a long lunch break in between.
The assessment results are used to establish if there are significant and 'unexpected' differences between the person's cognitive abilities versus their learning achievements. These are usually very specific areas: it can be a single area or there can be multiple areas of specific learning difficulties.
If a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder is required, we then also take developmental history, obtain school/teacher reports, consider the results of other standardised tests (eg NAPLAN, On Demand, Edutest, etc) and consult current diagnostic criteria (eg DSM or ICD).
Finally we write a comprehensive assessment report that serves as evidence of these learning difficulties.
This is a time consuming and therefore expensive process that is not subsidised by government (eg Medicare).
Some schools and/or agencies are able and happy to fund these assessments as a third party because the assessment results inform their service provision, including additional, individualised and targeted support.
We conduct these assessments locally, in our Shepparton clinic. Further afield, in Melbourne, SPELD Victoria also conduct these assessments, using a similar method.
Please call us on 5858-1757 if you have any questions or if you would like to book an assessment.