Learning Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our FAQs.  If you can’t find the answer below, feel free to reach out to us via phone or online contact form.

When should children be screened for a learning disability?

There is some debate among psychologists and educators about when to screen for a learning disability, as there are multiple developmental pathways that young children can take which may appear to be disabling but are actually effective.

In general, it’s important to get screened as early as possible so as not to overlook potential problems in a child’s learning. Children can be screened for potential learning disabilities as early as preschool, but many parents wait until kindergarten or first grade before undergoing a more comprehensive evaluation.

What causes learning disabilities?

As there are a variety of learning disabilities, there is no specific unifying cause. However, most learning disabilities arise from an underlying cognitive deficit that impairs the child’s ability to learn in that specific area.

For example, dyslexia, the most common learning disability, often arises from an underlying deficit in the child’s ability to process and manipulate sounds. On the other hand, dyscalculia, or difficulty in math, can come from underlying deficits in reasoning or visual-spatial understanding.

Both of these are overgeneralizations, as there are various types of dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia, but there is often an underlying problem in the child’s neuropsychological makeup that accounts for the learning difficulty.

What post-evaluation support services does Dr. Malkin offer for learning disabilities?

The neuropsych evaluation process includes understanding the child’s profile and setting up a workable plan for the child. Dr. Malkin does not himself conduct academic remediation, but does provide consultation for families that need ongoing guidance.

Can you cure a learning disability?

As learning disabilities generally arise from an underlying cognitive deficit which is often relatively stable, there is generally no cure for them. Instead, there is a combination of teaching and environmental modifications as well as training for the student to be able to use their other cognitive strengths to work around their learning problems.

However, for some types of reading difficulty, the underlying deficits in phonological processing can be remediated. Combined with targeted learning styles, the child can learn to read as well as other children.

How are learning disabilities treated?

Learning disabilities are treated by adapting the child’s environment to better suit their learning style as well as teaching them techniques to work around their learning problems. Sometimes this can be done without changing the child’s academic program or classroom, but often this requires working through a special education system within the school. For children who are struggling academically, there will often be an individual education plan (IEP) set up for them through their school’s committee on special education (CSE).

What happens if my child does not have a learning disability but is still underperforming (or ‘behind’) in school?

Even without a specific learning disability, many children do struggle in school and can benefit from an educational plan that maximizes their strengths and helps them compensate for difficulties. To address this, Dr. Malkin goes through the results of every evaluation with the parents and works out an educational plan through which the child will be able to succeed educationally.