Clark R. Clipson, Ph.D.
Clipson and Osterloh, APC

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Learning Disabilities
A learning disability evaluation is generally conducted when a child or adult is having difficulty in school or at work.  Learning difficulties can be caused by cognitive, emotional or situational factors, and a learning disability (LD) evaluation considers all these possibilities as part of the assessment.

An LD evaluation may be considered under one or more of the following circumstances:

  • A child is having difficulty learning to read
  • A student has trouble expressing themselves orally or in writing
  • A person has difficulty with spelling, grammar or punctuation
  • A student does not seem to be performing to their potential academically
  • A student takes an excessive amount of time in completing assignments
  • A student has difficulty with self-control and/or paying attention in class
  • A child has trouble with comprehension in either reading or listening
  • A student struggles with organization, planning and time management
  • A child is acting out in school, getting into trouble with his/her teachers
  • A student has difficulty getting along with classmates or seems immature
  • A student has suffered a head injury and is not doing as well in school as before the injury
  • An adult is having difficulty with their performance at work 
An LD evaluation generally consists of an initial meeting with a child's parents to obtain a complete family, developmental, medical, social and psychiatric history.  If the student is an adult, this information may be obtained from both the student and his/her family, if indicated.  Report cards, standardized test scores and work samples are also reviewed if available.  Behavioral rating forms for both parents and teachers are often utilized as part of the assessment process.  These forms allow for an objective assessment of a student's cognitive and emotional strengths and weaknesses.

During the assessment session with the student, a variety of psychoeducational tests are administered.  These tests may cover areas such as:

  • Intellectual functioning
  • Academic functioning (reading, mathematical ability, written expression)
  • Sensory-perceptual abilities
  • Simple and complex attention
  • Speed of information processing
  • Oral language skills (receptive and expressive)
  • Auditory processing
  • Visual processing, including visual-motor integration
  • Short and long-term memory
  • Reasoning and problem-solving abilities
  • Motor skills
  • Emotional functioning
  • Social functioning
At the conclusion of the evaluation, a written report is provided to the parents or the adult student which includes a diagnostic conclusion and recommendations for treatment and/or academic accommodations.  A summary report for the school may be provided in some cases.  Appropriate referrals will be made on the basis of the student's needs.

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