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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can you say a child has a learning disability when he just may be a late starter?

    My sons teacher has told me he has a learning difficulty, however he is only in kindy and has always been a bit slower on everything like crawling, walking, talking etc. Could he just be a late developer? Should i be worried?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Serving the interests of children and young people with childhood language and related disorders View Profile

    It may be worthwhile seeing your GP and/or paediatrician for a developmental assessment, They will be able to guide you as to what timeframes your child should have acquired certain skills, and can recommend further assessment by other professionals if needed. Remember that there is a wide range of ‘normal’ development, and if your child is having developmental difficulties, early intervention is integral.

  • With a passion to see people move forward and break free from the barriers holding them back, Grant is a highly experienced counsellor with over … View Profile

    Hi, I wouldn't hit the panic button just yet and don't confuse learning ‘difficulty’ with ‘disabilitiy’. If your child's teacher is noticing some things then it is worth doing what the previous poster suggested and have someone like a Paediatric Occupational Therapist have a session with them. They may pick up on a few areas that could be helpful for you to work with your child on, thus minimising issues in the future.

  • Alysha Coleman

    Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychologist

    Alysha is the Primary Clinical Psychologist and Director of The Institute for Healthy Living, a clinical psychology practice in Bondi Junction. Alysha has worked with … View Profile

    You are right in wondering whether your son is just a late developer. This is very different from having a learning disorder. Here are some suggestions:

    1. It may be helpful to talk to your General Practitioners, son's teacher, an Occupational Therapist or a Psychologist to clarify the areas in which your son is having difficulty. It is possible to help him ‘catch up’ and work on his areas of weakness through remediation.

    2. If your son still seems to be having difficulty after providing him with targeted help, a psychometric assessment conducted by a Psychologist can diagnose whether your son has a learning disorder. A learning disorder can be identified if a child's specific abilities (such as reading) fall well below the level expected based on his age and general cognitive abilities; or intelligence). If you'd like some recommendations on where to have such an assessment completed, send me a message and I can help you out.

    Goodluck!

  • Ida Shapievsky

    Psychologist

    Being a mother myself, I understand what it is like constantly worrying if you are doing the best job possible for your child. My passion … View Profile

    As many have suggested it is important to determine the difference between a Delay, Difficulty and Disability.
    Delay

    • Assumption that their learning problems will correct themselves over time
    • No need for treatment as children will catch up eventually on their own.
    Difficulty
    • Assumption that their learning problem will only improve marginally over time
    • They may need extra support
    Disability (LD)
    • Neurological based disorder.
    • This means that the child may have significant and long-term academic and scholastic problems.
    Dissability is difficult to assess at such a young age as we would usually also look at child's academic skills eg reading, writting, math skills. These skills can only be assessed is in Grade 3.  It is best to have a chat with your Pediatrician and/or Psychologist that specialises in child assessments.

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