It Starts with a Learning Disability Assessment
Many adults have a learning disability and don’t know it. Are you one of them? Getting a professional adult learning disability assessment could be your first step to getting on the right track to a more successful and productive life.
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability can be challenging to identify because it’s not an across-the-board cognitive limitation. In fact, some people with a learning disorder in one area can be gifted in another. If you struggle to meet your potential at work or at school, or if you have trouble with certain seemingly “simple” or “normal” tasks, a learning disability may be the reason. Learning disabilities can also impact your relationships, your ability to manage finances, your time management, and more.
One way to think of a learning disability is that it’s a little like being left-handed. There is nothing wrong with being a lefty, but if you try to do certain things the same way right-handed people do, you won’t get good results. A professional comprehensive assessment will give you the information you need to establish new, efficient habits and behaviors. An assessment will also give you documentation for any necessary accommodations you may need in any educational setting, including college and graduate school, or at work.
The phrase “learning disability” has a lot of negative connotations. Perhaps you’re reluctant to consider that the phrase might apply to you. Don’t worry, a word can’t change who you are, but an accurate diagnosis can give you tools you never had before.
Test results may give evidence of learning disorders include attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and much more.
Why did I not notice it before?
Many adults who have an undiagnosed learning disability find ways to work around their specific struggles without realizing that their struggles are unique. Often, after a family member (usually a child) is diagnosed with a learning disability, the parent recognizes the same symptoms in themself.
Maybe a parent or tutor helped you through high school. Maybe you just barely scraped by when it came to grades. Whatever your story is, it’s never too late to find the tools and strategies you need to thrive.
What is included in an adult learning disability assessment?
A professional learning disability assessment has several components. Although the details of the testing process may vary on an individual basis, most include a screening, formal evaluation, a diagnosis, and recommendations.
Screening is an initial phase designed to help your assessor put your results in context. Screening may include an informal interview, a brief test, an inventory of your career interests and goals, and a review of your medical, school, or work histories.
Evaluation means testing for achievement, intelligence, and processing ability.
Your diagnosis is a formal statement of the results of your assessment, including the type of learning disability (if any) you have.
In a feedback session, you will also receive recommendations based on your diagnosis and the information you provided in your screening for how you can better meet your goals, both at school or at work and at home. Regardless of whether you receive a learning disability diagnosis, however, you will get detailed information about your areas of strength and weakness.
Are my kids more likely to have a learning disability if I do?
It’s not uncommon for parents and children to share the same or similar learning disability. Sometimes this is due to genetics. Other times, usually when executive function skills are involved, it has more to do with watched and learned behaviors. Issues with motor skills and difficulty understanding are two symptoms of disabilities that you especially want to watch for in your kids.
School-aged children through high school age can do an educational evaluation to see if they qualify for special education services or other academic accommodations. However, students will likely not qualify for disability testing with their public school unless they are significantly behind in one or more subject areas. If you hope to pursue an assessment through your child’s school, I recommend reading my article, “Is a Private Educational Assessment What Your Child Needs?” The good news is there are many benefits to pursuing an educational evaluation with a licensed psychologist outside of the school.