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Expert Q&A

I have a learning disability and suspect my 7-year-old daughter does, too. I want to get her tested but my husband thinks we should wait. What do you suggest?

My daughter is 7 years old and young for her second grade class. As a past special education teacher, I am pretty sure I have a learning disability (never formally diagnosed) and I’m pretty sure my daughter has one, too. She struggles in school. And after reading the information on visual processing, this seems to fit my daughter and me perfectly.

We’ve seen her problems increase since preschool - difficulty with writing, flipping of letters (I still do this!), finding relevant information in reading, writing quickly, and judging distances. Teachers have noticed her problems but have always brushed them off because she is young. My husband wishes to wait to see how she does in three years.

My problem is that I know how hard school was for me and I don’t want my daughter going through the same thing. To make things more complicated, she also has strabismus (a vision condition in which the eyes are misaligned) and juvenile diabetes. Should I push to have her tested at the very least? Or wait as my husband suggests? Thanks!

Your daughter has real problems and needs help now. Your history only reinforces this fact. Try to explain to your husband that the “wait until she fails” tactic not only delays getting her the help she needs now but does a real number on her self-esteem. (If this does not work, get a copy of my book, The Misunderstood Child: A Guide for Parents of Children With Learning Disabilities, and ask that he read it.)

She needs a formal assessment that might include psychological, educational, and occupational therapy testing. These data will clarify the areas of difficulty and the types of interventions needed.

Don’t give up. Push for a formal assessment to clarify her areas of difficulty and the types of services needed. If you are not successful with the school and you cannot afford private testing, seek a private educational consultant to advise you on your rights.

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