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Learning Disabilities

A learning disability is a disorder that affects a child’s ability to either interpret what they see or hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. These limitations can be displayed in many different ways: difficulties with mathematics, written or oral expression, attention, and self-regulation.  Yet, not all struggles with learning are learning disabilities. A child could simply acquire new information slower or could have other issues that affect new learning. This is why formal evaluations are so important, to help pin-point the problem, and then to address the issue.


Each evaluation includes basic assessment of brain functions and abilities. Observation of your child’s behavior and motivation are also important. Dr. Sheppard tailors each evaluation to fit your child’s needs and to investigate the reason for referral.  For example, your child struggles in school. These evaluations can determine if the root of your child’s struggles are due to a learning disability, attentional problems, a language disorder, behavioral issues, or a combination of factors.

Perhaps, one of the most important components to these evaluations is the provision of concrete, specific recommenda­tions that can be implemented in the classroom and home settings.

What to Expect

Appointments for evaluations generally last the majority of the day. They begin with an interview with the child and parent. Developmental and medical history, school progress, as well as general information about your child are gathered. It is important that you provide all relevant medical and school records. Then, your child will begin the formal evaluation. Testing includes paper and pencil tasks, answering questions, as well as hands-on activities. A psychometrist will generally administer the testing, under the supervision of Dr. Sheppard. Parents may also be asked to complete questionnaires about their child. An hour lunch break is taken at noon and at this time you will be responsible for your child. Testing will then continue until all tasks have been completed. A follow-up appointment is usually scheduled two weeks post-evaluation to discuss the results of the evaluation.

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