February 29, 2024

The process of testing for Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia involve a comprehensive assessment to identify and understand the specific learning challenges experienced by the child/adolescent. The process often begins with a referral from parents, teachers, or other professionals who have observed persistent academic difficulties or atypical learning patterns. A comprehensive psychoeducational assessment is then conducted that typically includes the following components: Intellectual Assessment, Cognitive Assessment to examine processing strengths and challenges, Academic Achievement Testing, Language and Literacy Assessment, Math Assessment, Writing and Fine Motor Assessment, and Behavioral Assessment and Observation.

These components are explained below:

  • Cognitive testing evaluates intellectual functioning, processing speed, working memory, and other cognitive abilities to identify strengths and weaknesses that may contribute to learning challenges.
  • Academic testing assesses the child/adolescent’s performance in reading, writing, and math to identify specific areas of difficulty and compare performance to age or grade-level expectations.
  • Language and literacy assessment focuses on assessing reading fluency, decoding skills, reading comprehension, phonological awareness, orthographical processing, and other language-related abilities to identify characteristics of dyslexia.
  • A math assessment evaluates mathematical/quantitative reasoning, calculation skills, mathematical fluency, number sense, and problem-solving abilities to identify characteristics of dyscalculia.
  • A writing assessment evaluates graphomotor skills, writing fluency, written expression, spelling, executive working memory, expository writing, and visual motor integration to identify characteristics of dysgraphia.
  • A behavioral assessment involves observing the child/adolescent’s behavior, attention, and emotional responses during academic tasks to gain insights into their learning process and potential barriers. Behavioral rating scales are typically completed by parents, teachers, and the child/adolescent.
  • In some cases, data from your child’s school may be considered as part of the assessment process to understand the student’s response to instructional support and identify persistent learning difficulties.

Based on the assessment findings, a diagnosis of SLD (e.g., dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia) is made, if the criteria are met. Recommendations are provided for educational interventions, accommodations, and support services, which are tailored to the child/adolescent’s specific learning profile.

It’s important to note that the testing process for SLD should be conducted by qualified professionals using standardized and evidence-based assessment tools to ensure accurate identification and support for individuals with specific learning difficulties. Additionally, the process should adhere to ethical guidelines and cultural considerations to provide a comprehensive understanding of the specific learning needs.