Who Can Diagnose Specific Learning Disabilities?

When trying to understand why a child is having difficulties in school, a teacher, parent, or another interested adult may propose dyslexia as a possible reason. Conversely, there are those who might hastily rule out a learning disability as a contributing reason for lackluster academic results.

However, mere familiarity with these conditions or knowing someone with a diagnosis is insufficient for an accurate assessment. The responsible adults in a child’s life should collaborate to determine whether a child has a learning disability and how to address such a situation with resources.

The Professionals Who Can Officially Diagnose Learning Disabilities

Approximately 1 in 5 children in the United States have learning and attention issues. Yet, a minimal portion of these children receive accommodations or special education, and millions go undiagnosed.

Only a qualified professional can officially diagnose a child with a learning disability. These experts have the training to consider all factors to make an appropriate evaluation. Those who can diagnose a learning disability include psychometrists and psychologists, specifically:

  • Clinical psychologists
  • School psychologists
  • Educational psychologists
  • Neuropsychologists 

School and clinical psychologists will already have the training to gather data and complete an assessment. But, not every educational psychologist and neuropsychologist has this same training. Still, the evaluation of an educational specialist can be relied upon to make the diagnosis.

In any case, these professionals usually consider the input of educators to arrive at their conclusions, meaning teachers and counselors have a vital role in the process.

The Part Educators Play

Educators, social workers, and therapists do not have the qualifications to diagnose a learning disability. That being the case, they should refrain from unilaterally asserting that a child has such a condition. However, educators provide valuable details about students that help psychologists with their diagnoses.

Teachers see how students perform daily and can share critical information about reading achievement. Instructors are also in the prime position to conduct screenings or assessments to arrive at a diagnosis.

Schools are ideal settings for identifying dyslexia. The environment allows a team with different perspectives to collaborate. A psychologist, speech-language pathologist, special education professional, psychiatrist, counselor, or classroom teacher can provide helpful insights. 

An even better arrangement is if the school has a formal response to the intervention process. Such an approach provides a framework for discovering which children have special needs and providing them with fitting assistance. Conscientious teachers can encourage their schools and districts to implement such an approach or improve an existing one.

Regardless of the methods a school or individual educator uses, universal screening for reading difficulties is critical in identifying dyslexic students that adults might otherwise miss. For example, a gifted student could be compensating for a learning disability and still achieving high scores without meeting their full potential.

With the right resources, an instructor can more quickly and accurately discover these twice-exceptional learners. Then, kids can get the help they need to thrive.

Practical Tools for Making an Accurate Assessment

Educators need appropriate tools for discovering learning disabilities. These should simplify the process with universal application and targeted interventions. Discover how the effective evaluations by WPS provide school-aged children with comprehensive resources, like the (TOD™) Tests of Dyslexia.

Krystal Morrison

I create this blog to share my daily tips about home improvement, children, pets, food, health, and ways to be frugal while maintaining a natural lifestyle. Interested to be a Guest Blogger on my website? Please email me at: [email protected]

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