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How to get my child tested for a learning disability?

  • By Abi Hart
  • 8th November 2022

By Hannah Crampton

How to get my child tested for a learning disability?

Assessments can either be done by staff at your child’s school or nursery who are qualified, or by a healthcare professional or social worker. 

What is a diagnostic test for learning disabilities? 

Diagnosis can sound like an overly medical term. It is a term primarily used by health professionals and is often based on a child’s medical symptoms. Whilst a diagnosis can be useful and bring comfort, it is important to remember that a diagnosis does not always provide a definite description of your child’s capabilities and how they will develop. Nothing will help you understand your child’s learning disability more than one to one interaction.

A learning disability is typically diagnosed by completing two tests and noticing a significant difference between their scores. These tests are an intelligence (IQ) test and a standardised achievement (reading, writing, arithmetic) test. Having a diagnostic test will help you figure out the right support you need. Identifying any strengths and weaknesses is essential to getting the right support for your child or for yourself. 

What is diagnosis?

Diagnosis is the process in which a learning disability or other conditions are identified. A diagnosis for a learning disability may comfort others while someone else could take a while to digest the news. Everyone may react differently to a diagnosis and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Most families whose child has been diagnosed with a learning disability or the child themselves may want to know more about their learning disability. 

Here at Leeds Mencap we try to educate others on what a learning disability is, and where to find support. If you are interested in knowing more about what a learning disability is, please visit our new blog post on this topic here. If you are wanting to know how to support someone with a learning disability please visit our blog post here. If you are struggling with a learning disability and looking for support and information please visit our blog post here.

These pages are here for parents, wider family members, and anyone else who might be interested in finding out more about the diagnosis of a learning disability. 

Can a person with a learning disability get assistance?

Someone with a learning disability can access support here at Leeds Mencap. Depending on your child’s age we offer a range of youth clubs and playschemes and we offer workshops for parents such as sleep training and makaton training. We also have weekly coffee mornings where parents and carers can get advice and support from our friendly family support team. At Leeds Mencap offer a variety of support and whatever help we can not provide, we can put you in touch with the right organisations. If you are struggling with your child’s learning disability, please contact Leeds Mencap for help.

Dealing with a diagnosis.

Hearing the news that your child or yourself has a learning disability can be a shock. Some may feel better for having an explanation for their symptoms, while some may be upset and worried. Being told your child has a learning disability can be distressing for a parent. It is important to know there is support available.

One of the biggest concerns for a parent whose child has been diagnosed with a learning disability is that they may worry about their child’s future.  You may feel disbelief, disappointment, self-pity, shock, anger, numbness, guilt and denial. All of these emotions are normal. 

Some parents feel the period after diagnosis as a period of mourning, while others feel like it is like a bad dream, or that they are living in a bubble outside of reality.

Your emotions may vary dramatically, and parents have told us that they were quite frightened by the feelings they had at this time. This is perfectly normal, and you are not alone.

Digesting the information

When you first get a diagnosis it may be alot to take in, you probably won’t find out more information for at least a few weeks. You should try to deal with the information piece by piece as you need it, and don’t be afraid to ask people for support with your child. 

Conduct your own research on the topic, as well as asking health care specialists for advice. Some parents find knowing as much information as they can about their child’s learning disability, helps them to understand the situation and makes them feel better. Others may not want to think about the situation as it may be overwhelming and that is okay. Do not be afraid to ask people around you and specialists for support and how to handle the next few steps. 

Once your child’s learning disability is more understood, it will be easier for you to find the correct support and learn the best ways to help your child. Leeds Mencap are always here to help wherever possible. 

If you would like further support with a child who has a learning disability please email info@leedsmencap.org.uk or call us on 0113 235 1331.

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