Is it true that learning disabilities can be diagnosed in the teen years?
My child is in the 11th grade and I was advised last year that she may have a learning disability in relation to taking tests. I was surprised since I thought learning disabilities occur early in life and she never had a problem before. Is there a disability such as this that actually occurs in the teen years?
Learning disabilities are often diagnosed early in life because they are noticed by teachers when the student appears to have trouble in the classroom. However, learning disabilities can certainly be diagnosed at all ages, including adulthood.
Ask to meet with the school psychologist for testing. If you aren't satisfied with the results, you can always seek another opinion from an outside psychologist.
It's great that you are willing to get your daughter help now, to ensure that she continues to have the best possible education as she continues hopefully into college.
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tbullock, this is an excellent question asked by a number of parents of high school and college-aged students. Yes, it is possible for learning disabilities to be diagnosed during the teen years, in college, and later in adulthood.
However, you are correct in assuming that the majority of attention and research has focused on learning disability diagnoses in younger, school-aged students. There is little research that focuses on the experience of individuals with undiagnosed learning disabilities until late in secondary school or even post-secondary school.
Research supports the premise that girls, like your daughter, are at greater risk for a late diagnosis of learning disabilities as, typically, they do not demonstrate the same behavioral outbursts as boys with learning disabilities (Shaywitz, Shaywitz, Fletcher, Pugh, Gore, Constable, Fulbright, Skudlarski, Liberman, Shankweiler, Katz, Bronen, Marchione, Holahan, Francis, Klorman, Abram, Blachman, Stuebing, & Lacadic, 1997).
Please explore this further with her school's psychologist. If she does have a learning disability that impacts her test taking abilities, it would be good to have it documented before she takes the ACTs or SATs.
"Learning disability" is so vague and weaselly. You need to know exactly what it is.
You didn't mention reading. A bad reader will do badly at tests. Public schools do a poor job of teaching reading, in many cases, and finally, as material becomes harder, the children overshoot their literacy skills. Then the schools call the child dyslexic, cognitively impaired or various other terms. If the word "dyslexic" has been used, see video.
Otherwise, consider a testing center that will pinpoint the problem.