What are the symptoms of a Learning Disability? Learning disabilities can impact a person in a variety of ways, and may present very differently depending on that person’s specific weaknesses. Some symptoms listed in the DSM5 include: inaccurate or slow and effortful word reading, difficulty sounding out words, difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read, adding/omitting letters or sounds in spelling, poor organization in writing, poor expression of ideas in writing, difficulty mastering number sense and calculation skills, problems remembering the steps in math, or difficulties with math problem solving. Learning Disabilities can be accompanied by a host of emotional and/or behavioural symptoms. For example, a person may become very anxious about school and tests and may even refuse to attend school. They may act out during class in order to escape work that is difficult, or they may appear lazy because they are discouraged.
How is a Learning Disability (Disorder) Diagnosed? The DSM5 indicates that the learning difficulties must be confirmed through a comprehensive clinical assessment. Typically, this includes a clinical interview, collection of background information and administration of standardized tests including measures of intelligence, academic achievement, memory, and other skills that contribute to learning how to read, write and do math. These assessments may be referred to as “Psychological” or “Psychoeducational” Asssessments.