While a child’s teacher or tutor may be able to screen for possible difficulties in any given academic area, it is important that the actual diagnostic process be undertaken by a specialist in the area. This involves a Psychologist (preferably with educational and/or developmental training) in the identification of specific learning disorders.
When considering other developmental disorders that can impact on learning, Occupational Therapists can diagnose developmental coordination disorder; and Speech Pathologists investigate difficulties related to developmental language disorders or childhood apraxia of speech.
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, is required. The diagnosis of a specific learning disorder cannot be made by someone who assesses vision, hearing, movement or any other skill in isolation.