/BY ANNA WISHNEFF/ //SPECIAL FOR THE AJT//

 

 

As the world becomes increasingly complex, children and teens face more challenges than ever. When a child is struggling with a learning disability, it has an effect on his or her overall lifestyle, making these challenges more difficult.

Parents want only the best for their children. But because there is no single symptom, and learning disabilities look different for each individual, parents do not necessarily see the signs and their child’s learning disability can go left untreated.

Warning signs of a learning disability tend to be different for children of different ages. For example, a child in preschool may have a difficult time pronouncing words, controlling crayons and coloring between lines, or learning life’s basics like the alphabet or colors.

Elementary school age kids tend to have a hard time with basic math, or learning to read and making the connection between letters and sounds.

Kids approaching middle school tend to show signs of being disorganized, have bad handwriting and avoid reading outloud. If a child is showing these signs, having him or her tested to see if there is a learning disability present can make a world of difference.

At Jewish Family & Career Services’ Child & Adolescent Services – Tools for Families division, we see this every single day as we conduct various psychoeducational evaluations. Proper pyschoeducational testing can help diagnose the correct disorder, ultimately allowing children to receive proper treatment.

Parents must remember that children with learning disabilities can and frequently do achieve success. The best thing they can do is take action.

While Tools for Families has served a number of children on the autism spectrum, we are currently growing our services to include a more focused autism evaluation.

Signs of autism become apparent beween the ages of 2 and 6. Some of these signs include a lack of our delay in spoken language, little or no eye contact, lack of interest in peer relationships, repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects), lack of spontaneous or make-believe play and persistent fixation on parts of objects.

Tools for Families recently expanded our team of psychologists to include Dr. Amy Kincheloe and Dr. Shana Richardson, both of whom trained at the Marcus Autism Center.

Dr. Lori Wilson, who leads the psychological evaluation services explained, “We are thrilled to have Dr. Kincheloe and Dr. Richardson join our team. They both come with experience in psychoeducational evaluations and, in addition, they both also have specialized training in working with children with autism and their families.”

Austim testing is available for individuals 18 months to 18 years of age. For more information about Tools for Families, please visit www.yourtoolsforliving.org or call (770) 677.9474.