Specific Learning Disorders with Impairment in Reading and/or Spelling.
To get a diagnosis for a Specific Learning Disorder (SLD), the child must have received a minimum of six months of intervention first.
Ask the school if they can provide this. If they won’t then you can do it yourself at home or pay for a tutor. You could use something like Nessy, they have online programs for reading and maths. Whatever option you choose, make sure the intervention covers all of the academic areas you’re concerned about.
Some providers will do an initial assessment and provide an opinion on what’s could be going on, but they can’t give an official diagnosis without the intervention. Some will pro rata the fee between the initial assessment and then that after the intervention has been completed.
After six months of targeted intervention you will then need to see a psychologist for an educational assessment. If waitlists are long in your area, then put your name down on waiting lists but don’t do the assessment until you’ve completed six months of intervention.
Most schools will have a psychologist who services them and you can ask if they can complete a cognitive assessment. In most cases though they are very stretched and won’t be able to provide this individual level of support.
Universities usually offer cheaper assessments such as at the Robin Winkler Clinic at UWA.
DSF are great and many consider them the “gold standard” for assessments and reports BUT their waitlist is about 12-18 months. They do often have cancellations and many families get in much earlier. But you need to pay the deposit, send back all of your paperwork and be flexibile if appointments come up. Some families have found having a one off consult with DSF has been helpful while they are on the waiting list.
Find private providers here:
I’ve compiled a list of free or low cost screening tools that can help you assess whether your child would benefit from a formal assessment and/or targeted intervention.
You can download this really useful and practical guide designed for parents to help identify learning difficulties, what to do if you are concerned and which programs are and are not recommended for support.
SPELD NSW have the *best* range of free infosheets you can download covering topics such as:
Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation Literacy and Clinical Services are the WA-based branch of Auspeld. They are a member-based organisation providing advice, assessment, training and resources for families, adults and professionals.
Learning Difficulties Australia assists students with learning difficulties through effective practices based on scientific research.
Spelfabet has resources for non-professionals supporting learners with learning differences developed by an Australian speech pathologist.