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Learning Difference Assessments

Does your child seem incredibly bright, yet struggles in school? One possibility for this disconnect is a difference in learning styles. In the general population globally, about 1 in 5 people (20%) learn differently from their age matched peers. They often experience difficulty with reading (Dyslexia), difficulty in math (Dyscalculia), difficulty in penmanship, spelling and communicating their thoughts on paper (Dysgraphia) or maybe even all three (Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia). This difficulty stems from an alteration in the neural pathways of the brain which re-route information to the right side of the brain instead of the left side where most learning takes place. In the general population, it is an inherited difference and requires a unique style of academic intervention.

In the adoption world, the frequency of learning differences is exponentially higher. It may be as high as 40%–50% or even more. While some of our children’s struggles may indeed be inherited, the more likely causes are: life disruptions, lack of early engagement with caregivers, lack of intellectually stimulating play and emotional distress, all of which can cause an alteration in development of neural pathways. Many of our children experience anxiety, depression and other emotional factors post adoption that contribute to learning struggles.

At The Adoption Clinic, we offer services to help identify the specifics of your child’s struggles from an adoption perspective. We are experienced in sorting out what is emotional and adoption related as well as where the deficits are in the learning process. A Learning Difference Assessment is a multistep process. First, we will see your child in clinic to assess for health (including vision and hearing) and emotional wellness. We will want to address any ADD/ADHD, or emotional factors first. Then we will make recommendations and a referral for a Learning Difference Assessment.

Common signs of learning differences:

  • Delayed Speech or history of past speech therapy
  • Difficulty with word retrieval when speaking
  • Mixing up the sounds or syllables when saying long words
  • Articulation difficulties (r-l, m-n, s-sh-ch)
  • Past history of stuttering
  • Chronic Ear Infections
  • Chronic Confusion of Left versus Right
  • Difficulty Learning to tie shoes
  • Late in establishing a dominant hand
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Constant confusion of left versus right
  • Difficulty following multistep directions
  • Difficulty memorizing the names of letters and the sounds they make
  • Trouble memorizing one’s address, phone number, or the alphabet
  • Could not create words that rhyme by age of 4
  • Dysgraphia – poor handwriting
  • Letter of number reversals continuing past the end of first grade
  • Difficulty learning cursive
  • Difficulty learning to read – received extra tutoring
  • Slow choppy, or inaccurate reading:
    • Guesses based on shape or context or picture clues
    • Skips or misreads prepositions (at, to, of)
    • Ignores suffixes
    • Can’t easily sound out unknown words – despite being taught phonics
    • Cannot read high-frequency words
  • Terrible spelling
    • Cannot retain spelling words from one week to the next
    • Misspells high frequency words when writing
    • Often writes the wrong homonym
  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
  • Trouble with math:
    • Memorizing math facts or multiplication tables
    • Memorizing a sequence of steps
    • Directionality
    • Cannot read word problems
  • Extremely messy bedroom, backpack, and desk
  • Dreads going to school
    • Complaining of stomach aches or headaches
    • May have nightmares about school
  • Extremely poor written expression
    • Written expression not at all similar to oral expression
  • Difficulty copying off the board or with near point copying
    • Often makes mistakes when copying
    • Can only copy one or two letters at a time
    • Often makes mistakes when copying
  • Extreme difficulty taking notes during lectures
  • Unable to master the written aspects of a foreign language
  • Difficulty reading printed music
  • Homework can be a struggle – takes forever
    • Nightly homework wars
    • Unable to do homework without assistance