How to Determine if you have a Learning Disability or ADHD?

Students will usually discover that they have a Learning Disability (LD) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when they are at school. A recommendation for assessment may be made by their teacher, principal, or Pediatrician. Sometimes a parent just “knows” that there is a problem (usually as they experience difficulty while doing homework with their child). Following a psycho-educational evaluation, the student may receive an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) from the school based on their strengths and weaknesses, as well as accommodations for tests, assignments and exams.

Adults who have finished school are often interested in why they have had academic difficulties or are presently experiencing attentional problems in a variety of life situations. Others begin to examine their own learning problems once their children have been diagnosed with LD or ADHD. This is especially true when they are contemplating returning to school, or are having current difficulties in the workplace or with relationships.

It can be very comforting and a positive experience for many people, especially adolescents and adults, to receive a diagnosis or an explanation for the difficulties that they have had throughout their lives. It can be the first step in finding the help that they need.

If you suspect a Learning Disability or ADHD and are interested in getting an evaluation, please see the Assessment Services Section of this website.

When should you have an assessment?

Early Elementary

Although you might think that your child is too young to be assessed, the earlier a disability is diagnosed the better the prognosis; ie. interventions to teach strategies can be implemented sooner. If your child is having difficulty with the school material, is taking an inordinate amount of time to complete homework, or is having trouble with organization of materials, then an assessment may be warranted.


Middle Elementary 

Self-concept issues tend to be noticed at this point. An evaluation at this age would also be useful in order to choose an appropriate high school. Your child might be on an IEP and be receiving services at school, yet he/she continues to struggle.


High School 

High School poses its own set of problems with the increase of courses and teachers, as well as schedules. This often affects students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD. In the later high school years, a re-evaluation is often essential for government requirements or just to re-assess your adolescent’s progress. Furthermore, a re-evaluation at this point might be necessary or warranted in order to ensure that accommodations are continued for post-secondary students.

College and University

Most universities require current and comprehensive evaluation for students who require accommodations (within 3-5 years), as well as for students who plan on writing high stakes exams (e.g.: GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, UFI). A recent and comprehensive assessment that outlines the nature of the disability needs to be submitted to the test agency.


Individuals not in school

Many adults who are not currently at school and are concerned about attentional issues or past learning problems may want to proceed with an evaluation. They might begin to examine their own attentional or learning problems once their children are diagnosed. This is especially true if they are experiencing difficulties in the workplace, sustaining relationships, or anticipating returning to school. Adults who read very slowly and disfluently may have a Learning Disability.

For many people, having a diagnosis for what they have always suspected, can be a relief. It can help a person to understand his/her own experiences, feel less isolated and be the first step in getting help.

Warning signs vary with each individual child, adolescent or adult and one or more signs are enough reason for further investigation. If you suspect a Learning Disability or ADHD, and are interested in getting an evaluation, please refer to the contact page.

When we first contacted Marlene Dworkind (about our 8 year old son), she explained the testing that she would do to evaluate our son. She went into detail as to the appointments we and our son would attend, the tests, and the written report we would receive. This was very new to us. Although we were worried about our son, she made it very easy. Our son enjoyed the sessions and felt comfortable working with her. She made him feel good... This helped build the foundation for improved academic achievement that will help him for the rest of his life.

– Anonymous

The Assessment Process

The assessment is conducted over several sessions. The first session consists of an in-depth detailed interview to gather information about the client’s background. Additional sessions are booked to complete the evaluation.

  • Both standardized and non-standardized measures are used to assess cognitive functioning; processing (i.e., memory, language, phonological processing, visual-motor integration); academic achievement; attention; executive functioning, as well as aspects of social-emotional functioning, including anxiety.
  • Assessments are conducted over several sessions. The first session consists of an in-depth intake with the client and parents or significant other.
  • When appropriate, a school visit for young children may be included to observe the child in his/her classroom setting.
  • Once the assessment is completed, a comprehensive report is written. A feedback session is scheduled in order to present results and explanations, as well as to submit the report to the parents and student. The goal of the feedback session is to provide a diagnosis and provide concrete and relevant recommendations for support and remediation for both home and school.
  • Parents and students are advised about appropriate courses of action following the evaluation process.

Consultation and Referrals

After the assessment is completed, should there be a need for follow up and support, I have an extensive referral network for further services in the areas of:

  • Counselling Psychology
  • Remediation (individual and centres)
  • ADHD Coaching
  • Psychiatry
  • Speech and Language Pathology
  • Optometry
  • Audiology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Vocational Counselling

Contact me today to begin your road to understanding.