Learning Disability (SLD DSM-5 Specific Learning Disability) Assessment
The Psychological Assessment of Learning Disability
Every child deserves the opportunity to blossom.
Providing Psychological Assessment of Learning Disabilities, Testing for Accomodations, and career counseling for individuals with learning disabilities.
Clinical Psychology Associates of North Central Florida
Main Office: Gainesville (352) 336-2888
Satellite office: Ocala (352) 629-1100
Ernest J. Bordini, Ph.D.
Shannon Caramiello, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuropsychology
We perform psychological and neuropsychological assessments of learning disabilities, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other conditions which may interfere with learning and adjustment in children, adolescents, college students and adults. We also offer career counseling and assessment services.
Such evaluations are often used for diagnostic determinations, qualifications for services, exceptional student education and for accommodations in school and on tests. We also conduct evaluations for IQ assessment of evaluation of gifted students.
We have more than 25 years of experience in assessing learning disabilities in children, adolescents, college students and adults.
Does you child have dyslexia, dyscalculia or an often-missed nonverbal learning disorder? See our updated ABC's of Learning Disability Page for DSM-5 Criteria.
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR ACCESSING ARTICLES ABOUT LEARNING DISABILITY
FEDERAL DEFINITIONS CONCERNING LEARNING DISABILITIES ARE PRESENTED ON THIS PAGE
For A primer on Florida Educational Terms and Definitions See this article:
DB-Link, National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who are
Deaf-Blind, 345 N. Monmouth Avenue, Monmouth, OR 97361.
Telephone: (800) 438-9376; (800) 854-7013 (TTY).
ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities & Gifted Education, Council
for Exceptional Children (CEC), 1920 Association Drive, Reston,
VA 22091-1589. Telephone: (703) 620-3660; (800) 328-0272.
National Health Information Center, P.O. Box 1133, Washington,
D.C. 20013-1133. Telephone: (301) 565-4167; (800) 336-4797.
National Information Center on Deafness (NICD), 800 Florida
Avenue, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002. Telephone: (202)
651-5051 (Voice); (202) 651-5052 (TT).
National Organization on Rare Disorders (NORD), 100 Route 37,
P.O. Box 8923, New Fairfield, CT 06812-1783. Telephone: (800)999-6673; (203) 746-6518; (203) 746-6927 (TT).
American Association on Mental Retardation, 1719 Kalorama Road,
N.W., Washington, DC 20009. Telephone: (202) 387-1968.
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), 11 Penn Plaza, Suite
300, New York, NY 10001. Telephone: (800) 232-5463; (212)
502-7600 (Voice); (212) 502-7662 (TT).
American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), 4720 Montgomery
Lane, P.O. Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. Telephone: (301)
652-2682; (800) 377-8555 (TT).
American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), 1111 North Fairfax
Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Telephone: (703) 684-2782; (800)
American Psychological Association, 750 First Street N.E.,
Washington, DC 20002-4242. Telephone: (202) 336-5500.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 10801
Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Telephone: (800)
638-8255; (301) 897-5700 (Voice/TT).
The Arc (formerly the Association for Retarded Citizens of the
U.S.), 500 East Border St., Suite 300, Arlington, TX 76010.
Telephone: (817) 261-6003; (817) 277-0553 (TT).
Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH), 29 W.
Susquehanna Avenue, Suite 210, Baltimore, MD 21204. Telephone:
Autism Society of America, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 650,
Bethesda, MD 20814. Telephone: (800) 3-AUTISM; (301) 657-0881.
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (CH.A.D.D.),
499 NW 70th Avenue, Suite 308, Plantation, FL 33317. Telephone:
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), 1920 Association Drive,
Reston, VA 22091. Telephone: (703) 620-3660.
Epilepsy Foundation of America (EFA), 4351 Garden City Drive,
Suite 406, Landover, MD 20785. Telephone: (800) 332-1000; (301)
Family Resource Center on Disabilities, 20 East Jackson
Boulevard, Room 900, Chicago, IL 60604. Telephone: (800)
952-4199; (312) 939-3513; (312) 939-3519 (TT).
International Rett Syndrome Association, 9121 Piscataway Road,
Suite 2B, Clinton, MD 20735. Telephone: (301) 856-3334.
Learning Disability Association of America (LDA), 4156 Library
Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15234. Telephone: (412) 341-1515; (412)
Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), 3300 East Sunrise Drive,
Tucson, AZ 85718. Telephone: (800) 223-6666; (602) 529-2000.
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), 200 N. Glebe Road,
Suite 1015, Arlington, VA 22203-3754. Telephone: (800)
950-NAMI; (703) 524-7600.
National Association of School Psychologists, 8455 Colesville
Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Telephone: (301) 608-0500.
National Association of State Directors of Education, 1800
Diagonal Road, Suite 320, Alexandria, VA 22314. Telephone: (703)
519-3800; (703) 519-7008 (TT).
National Down Syndrome Congress, 1605 Chantilly Drive, Suite 250,
Atlanta, GA 30324. Telephone: (800) 232-6372; (404) 633-1555.
National Down Syndrome Society, 666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.
Telephone: (800) 221-4602; (212) 460-9330.
National Easter Seal Society, 230 West Monroe Street, Suite 1800,
Chicago, IL 60606. Telephone: (800) 221-6827; (312) 726-6200;
(312) 726-4258 (TT).
National Head Injury Foundation, Inc., 1776 Massachusetts Avenue
N.W., Suite 100, Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: (202)
National Spinal Cord Injury Association, 545 Concord Avenue,
Cambridge, MA 02138. Telephone: (800) 962-9629; (617) 441-8500.
Orton Dyslexia Society, Chester Building #382, 8600 LaSalle Road,
Baltimore, MD 21204. Telephone: (800) 222-3123; (410) 296-0232.
PACER Center, 4826 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417.
Telephone: Outside of MN, (612) 827-2966; in MN, 1-800-537-2237.
Spina Bifida Association of America, 4590 MacArthur Boulevard,
N.W., Suite 250, Washington, DC 20007. Telephone: (800)
621-3141; (202) 944-3285.
United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc., 1660 L Street N.W.,
Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20036. Telephone: (800) 872-5827;
Assessing Children for the Presence of a Disability
Betsy B. Waterman, Ph.D.
NICHCY News Digest Volume 4, Number 1, 1994
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Public Law 101-476,
lists 13 separate categories of disabilities under which children may
be eligible for special education and related services.
determine if a child is eligible for classification under one of these
areas of exceptionality, an evaluation, or assessment, of the child must
Assessment in educational settings serves five
primary purposes 1. screening and identification 2. eligibility and
diagnosis 3. Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and
placement 4. instructional planning 5. to evaluate student progress.
Assessment and Federal Law
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Public Law 101-476,
lists 13 separate categories of disabilities under which children may
be eligible for special education and related services. These are:
a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal
communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3;
a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in
processing linguistic information, with or without amplification;
DEAF-BLINDNESS: simultaneous hearing and visual impairments;
HEARING IMPAIRMENT: an impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating;
RETARDATION: significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning
existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior;
DISABILITIES: the manifestation of two or more disabilities (such as
mental retardation-blindness), the combination of which requires special
accommodation for maximal learning;
physical disabilities, including congenital impairments, impairments
caused by disease, and impairments from other causes;
OTHER HEALTH IMPAIRMENT: having limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems;
EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE: a disability where a child of typical
intelligence has difficulty, over time and to a marked degree, building
satisfactory interpersonal relationships; responds inappropriately
behaviorally or emotionally under normal circumstances; demonstrates a
pervasive mood of unhappiness; or has a tendency to develop physical
symptoms or fears;
SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY: a disorder in
one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in
understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may
manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read,
write, spell, or do mathematical calculations;
LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT: a communication disorder such as stuttering,
impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment;
BRAIN INJURY: an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external
physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or
psychosocial impairment, or both;
VISUAL IMPAIRMENT: a visual
difficulty (including blindness) that, even with correction, adversely
affects a child educational performance
To determine if a child
is eligible for classification under one of these areas of
exceptionality, an individualized evaluation, or assessment, of the
child must be conducted.
The IDEA specifies a number of requirements regarding evaluations of children suspected of having a disability.
These requirements are briefly summarized as follows:
a child is evaluated for the first time, the school district must
notify parents in writing. Parents must give written permission for the
school system to conduct this first evaluation (known as a preplacement
Evaluations must be conducted by a multidisciplinary
team (e.g., speech and language pathologist, occupational or physical
therapist, medical specialists, school psychologist) and must include at
least one teacher or specialist who is knowledgeable about the area of
the child's suspected disability.
The assessment must thoroughly investigate all areas related to the child's suspected disability.
single procedure may be used as the sole criterion for determining a
child's eligibility for special services or for determining his or her
appropriate educational placement. Rather, the evaluation process must
utilize a variety of valid assessment instruments and observational
All testing must be done individually.
other evaluation materials must be provided in the child's primary
language or mode of communication, unless it is clearly not feasible to
All tests and other evaluation materials must be validated
for the specific purpose for which they are used. This means that a
test may not be used to assess a student in a particular area (e.g.,
intelligence) unless the test has been designed and validated through
research as measuring that specific area.
Assessments must be
conducted in a nondiscriminatory way. This means that the tests and
evaluation materials and procedures that are used may not be racially or
culturally discriminatory (biased) against the child.
evaluation team must ensure that any test used is administered
appropriately by a person trained to do so, that the test is being used
for the purposes for which it was designed, and that the child's
disability does not interfere with the child's ability to take any test
measuring specific abilities (e.g., the child's visual impairment
affects his or her ability to read and correctly answer the questions on
an achievement test). [34 CFR Sections 300.530-300.532]
Other Assessment Questions
During the assessment process, we often ask questions such as:
How can we help the child to do his or her work?
How can we manage the child's behavior, or teach the child to manage his or her own behavior?
How can we help the child to be neater, faster, quieter, more motivated?
In what physical environment does the child learn best?
What is useful, debilitating, or neutral about the way the child approaches the task?
Can the student hold multiple pieces of information in memory and then act upon them?
How does increasing or slowing the speed of instruction impact upon the child's accuracy?
What processing mechanisms are being taxed in any given task?
How does this student interact with a certain teacher style?
With whom has the child been successful? What about the person seems to have contributed to the child's success?
What is encouraging to the child? What is discouraging?
How does manipulating the mode of teaching (e.g., visual or auditory presentation) affect the child's performance?
styles theory suggests that students may learn and problem solve in
different ways and that some ways are more natural for them than others.
When they are taught or asked to perform in ways that deviate from
their natural style, they are thought to learn or perform less well.
PRIMARY AREAS OF ASSESSMENT
areas in which students are assessed are: intelligence, language,
perceptual abilities, academic achievement, behavior, and
When the disability is related to a
medically related condition (e.g., sensory deficit, orthopedic
impairment, arthritis), assessment information from physicians or other
medical practitioners needs to be included as well.
one assessment technique should be used in any given area, and the
assessment team should clearly understand that each area encompasses
more than one ability.
Other aspects of behavior may be important
to assess as well. Adaptive behavior is a frequent focus of assessment,
and is a required area of assessment when a classification of mental
retardation is being considered for a student.
specifies "deficits in adaptive behavior" as one of the two
characteristics necessary for a student to be classified as having
mental retardation (the other characteristic being "significantly
subaverage general intellectual functioning" [34 CFR Section
We feature assessment using the Wechsler Scales (WAIS-III, WISC-IV) and
Woodcock-Johnson Battery (WJ-III), with additional neuropsychological
tests of functioning for assessment of language, perceptual-motor
skills, coordination, attention and memory.
This site is intended for educational purposes only. Consult with a
licensed professional before making any diagnostic or treatment
descisions about yourself or your child.