What is a specific learning disorder?

A specific learning disorder or learning disability is a developmental disorder where a child demonstrates great difficulty in learning to read, write, or perform math problems.


The most common type of learning disability is dyslexia, which is a neurobiological disorder characterized by difficulties with word recognition, decoding words, reading fluently, and spelling. Dysgraphia is a term used to describe difficulties with writing, spelling, grammar, and/or poor or illegible handwriting. Dyscalculia is a term used to describe difficulties with math facts and math calculation.

Why diagnose a learning disorder?

Early intervention is key to helping children overcome their challenges, avoid years of failure in school, and gain access to tools and accommodations that allow them to be successful in school and later in life.

How do you diagnose a learning disorder?

It is important to rule-out other causes that could contribute to a child’s limited academic skills; thus, comprehensive testing is required to make a diagnosis of a learning disability.

At PRISM, a specific learning disorder evaluation may includes the following components:

  • A diagnostic interview with the parent or caregiver that includes developmental history and current concerns

  • Intelligence testing

  • Academic testing in all areas of reading, written expression, and mathematics

  • Executive functioning

  • Phonological processing

  • Language screening

  • Learning and Memory

  • Social, emotional, and behavioral questionnaires completed by parents and caregivers

  • Input from teachers and review of curriculum-based measures, grades, and work samples

  • School observation

  • A comprehensive written report with results; DSM-V or medical diagnoses; recommendations for eligibility for school services (IEP or 504 eligibility); recommendations for parents; and recommendations for services in the community

  • A meeting with families to review the results, recommendations, and develop a plan for treatment and prioritizing services

  • A school meeting to review results and determine eligibility for a 504 plan or IEP

What do I do if I think my child has a learning disorder?

Contact us to determine if an evaluation is needed.