Who can diagnose a specific learning disability?

Who can diagnose a specific learning disability? 2016-10-20T10:26:37+00:00

While a student’s teacher or tutor is able to screen for possible difficulties in any given academic domain and put in place an appropriate intervention, it is important that the final diagnostic process be undertaken by a specialist in the area. This generally involves:

  • A Psychologist (preferably with educational and/or developmental training) in the identification of a specific learning disability such as Dyslexia, Language-based Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia
  • An Occupational Therapist in the diagnosis of Motor-based Dysgraphia or Developmental Coordination Disorder, and
  • A Speech Pathologist for difficulties related to Specific Language Impairments or speech sound disorders.

It is important that the diagnosis is made by a practitioner who is qualified to administer the range of standardised assessment tools required to make a clinical diagnosis. Depending on the assessment required, these tests may include standardised measures of: intellectual ability and cognitive skills; expressive and receptive language ability; underlying processing strengths and weaknesses; and, academic achievement across a range of domains, assessed under a range of conditions (e.g. timed versus untimed). In order to administer these tests, expertise in test administration and registration with a regulatory body such as the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority or Speech Pathology Australia is required. The diagnosis of dyslexia, or any other specific learning disability, cannot be made by someone who assesses vision, hearing, movement, neural activity or any other skill in isolation.

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