Home > Learning Disabilities > Diagnosing and Assessing Learning Disabilities

Diagnosing and Assessing Learning Disabilities

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 27 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Diagnosing Assessing Assessment Learning

When one hears about a learning disability, they frequently assume that the term refers to students or children. While this is often true, there are many adults that learn in different ways and may be challenged by certain features of everyday life. Diagnosing learning disabilities among the adult population is an important and necessary activity.

Why Assess Adults?

You might be wondering why diagnosing adults with learning disabilities is a concern at all. Isn't it true that most learning-disabled adults were once children with learning disabilities? Since today's schools are fully equipped for assessing learning disabilities in children, one might assume that adults and their families would be fully aware of their special needs. However, many adults, especially seniors, may have grown up without ever realising their learning disability. They may have been seen as slow or lazy, but the system in which they were educated was largely unaware of their needs.

The Process

So how is diagnosing learning disabilities among adults accomplished? There is no single assessment that identifies learning-disabled adults with certainty. The assessment procedure may vary depending on whether diagnosis is required for educational needs, employment needs, placement in services or self-awareness. The process usually begins with an initial interview followed by tests to establish intellectual and academic abilities. Assessment also includes evaluation of social skills and emotional behaviours.

Diagnosing learning disabilities in adults is essential because these individuals face many extra challenges in daily living. They are unable to process information quickly, but at the same time are reluctant to seek assistance. Managing money is difficult as well. The basic maths skills required to balance a cheque book, pay bills or even make proper financial choices is beyond their comprehension. The work history of adults with learning disabilities almost always means that retirement income will be minimal. These individuals are also at much higher risk of being victimised by fraud.

Achieving Goals

The goals of adults with learning disabilities are no different than those of other adults. They are looking for ways to become more independent, they would like to be engaged in a job that is personally satisfying, and they want to establish meaningful relationships with friends.

The tendency for families of children with learning disabilities is to continue caring for them into adulthood. While this may be emotionally satisfying for the family carer, it limits the independence of the adult with a learning disability.

There has been a shift toward focusing on independent living for adults with a learning disability. One reason for this new direction is that this generation may be the first to see learning-disabled adults outliving their carer parents. Advances in health care have resulted in the ageing of the population. The number of learning-disabled seniors who have outlived their family carers is growing.

Diagnosing and assessing learning disabilities in adults often results in relief when a positive finding is made. The learning-disabled adult has likely fought with difficulties throughout their life and may have chalked up their problems to a general lack of ability. Assessment of a learning disability opens the door to available services, equips them with coping skills and moves them toward a more successful and secure status of independent living.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
How do i go about getting seen anywhere that's free?
Kncno111693 - 27-Sep-18 @ 7:40 AM
How do I go about getting a diagnosis for my learning problems iv been pasted from pillow to post & nothing I’ve struggled all through life
Maxiflirt - 28-Aug-18 @ 7:32 PM
I am a 43 year old female . I struggled at school and I've struggled holding down a job . I feel I'm not able to engage into a conversation with people without getting confused , so conversations are best in short sentences . I don't understand what some people are saying and get confused . I'm Luckyenough to have a husband and two lovely boys . But if I didn't have my husband I wouldn't know how to pay bills , what bills to pay and I would get very stuck if things go wrong . I enjoy my own i dependence but I do need a Great deal of support to acheave this . If I do any kind of traning I need support but the training doesn't sink into my mind and it's like I don't learn by it . I have NVQ 2 and 3 in health and social care which I'm proud to acheave but it's like the training hasn't sunk into my brain because I make stupid mistakes when I should know better . I don't know what to do . Please help me .
Nutty claire - 20-Apr-18 @ 11:36 AM
This article is both labelling and patronising. There are many people (human beings!)leading normal lives that suffer from a learning difficulty and who are not represented here in a useful or realistic way. Whoever wrote this sounds like they read a few books and thought they would publish an article as part of their level 3 certificate in supporting adults? Very basic. Thanks for the unhelpful notes on something we might all need more clarity and understanding, not just poorly defined commentary. This is pointless!
Note - 31-Mar-18 @ 10:00 PM
My son is now 17 he came out of school with a level 1 in English they didn’t help him enough to achieve better he went on to redo it with a certain place and they did a little dyslexia test and said he needed a bit of support which he didn’t get and failed his test andvreslly wants an apprenticeship but needs a certain level in English to get accepted , how do I get him the help to do and pass with a good grade to Persue his apprenticeship ? Please help
Lisa - 29-Mar-18 @ 11:15 AM
Hello, I have been through a battery of test for learning disability before and it all came out to be okay but I have always known there has been problem. My memory was tested and it was fine. But I'm not sure if I articulated my concerns properly to the assessor which is why she did not pick up anything. I'm not looking for anything to be picked up but I know there is a problem. My concerns have been reinforced by me loosing 3 jobs in about a year and half and they all have been due to me forgetting or not listening properly and people get frustrated at me. I always pay attention but it seems I dont hoover up everything that's been said to me. I have been called all sorts of names but I have managed to get through education with mediocre results. It normally takes me more than twice the time it takes normal people to absorb things. I think when I'm listening to instructions, my mind picks us some of it and disregards others. So when it comes to executing the task, I make mistakes. Is there anywhere I can go and seek a second opinion? Thank you
Rflower - 22-Feb-18 @ 7:08 PM
Hi I have learning difficulties called global developmental delay and I might have others and I’m wanting help for it if there’s anything you can give me or given me advice it would be great yours sincerely Dillon Day
Dillon - 14-Feb-18 @ 7:34 PM
Shell - Your Question:
How would I go about getting my daughter diagnosed with a learning disability, shes always struggled in school, has droped out of collage because she finds it too difficuilt and worries people thinks shes dumb, its not for lack of trying because she tries realy hard but it just dosent sink in, its like a block. Shes been let down through school, in primary school she was on a iep plan and ive recently found out its noted a learning disability ! I was unaware of this and high school never helped, maybe I was too young to understand the problems she would face in adult years. I look back and I have always known she was lacking. I just want to get a diagnosis so she gets the right help and support for her future. Could you please point me in the right direction

Our Response:
Start with her GP, even if they can't refer her directly, they will be able to give her a list of resources she can apply to for help with a diagnosis.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 16-Jan-18 @ 10:40 AM
How would i go about getting my daughter diagnosed with a learning disability, shes always struggled in school, has droped out of collage because she finds it too difficuilt and worries people thinks shes dumb, its not for lack of trying because she tries realy hard but it just dosent sink in, its like a block. Shes been let down through school, in primary school she was on a iep plan and ive recently found out its noted a learning disability ! I was unaware of this and high school never helped, maybe i was too young to understand the problems she would face in adult years. I look back and i have always known she was lacking. I just want to get a diagnosis so she gets the right help and support for her future. Could you please point me in the right direction
Shell - 13-Jan-18 @ 9:05 AM
Dawn - Your Question:
I have autism adhd epilepsy. I am trying to do my entry Entry level 1 at College but I struggle with reading writing I’m 43 years old My social worker says I know you have a learning disabilities but why do you want to be assessed I want to be under the right team with social services so I can use there drs ect and get help When I was a child I was at special school But my autism wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult

Our Response:
Did your social worker give you any advice about how you can get assessed and find the best help so you can continue at college along with your learning difficulties? Help for adults wanting to improve their education and skills seems to vary depending on where you live in the country. Start with Citizens' Advice or your local council who should be able to tell you of local schemes and organisations. If you live in London the People First organisation is useful. You could also try the Mencap Learning Disability Helpline 0808 808 1111. Also the SOS SEN organisation has walk in centres throughout the country.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 3-Jan-18 @ 11:12 AM
I have autism adhd epilepsy. I am trying to do my entry Entry level 1 at College but I struggle with reading writing I’m 43 years old My social worker says I know you have a learning disabilities but why do you want to be assessed I want to be under the right team with social services so I can use there drs ect and get help When I was a child I was at special school But my autism wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult
Dawn - 30-Dec-17 @ 12:49 AM
a761645 - Your Question:
May have a learning disability, could help to get it diagnosed and therefore help. I barely know my dr and phone is dead. Can you arrange an appointment any other way than through dr as this could take years like it already has.

Our Response:
We can't arrange doctor's appointments for you unfortunately. If you are struggling and need help for alternatives to a GP or for updated contact details for your health services, you could try popping to your local Citizens' Advice.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 29-Nov-17 @ 11:26 AM
May have a learning disability, could help to get it diagnosed and therefore help. I barely know my dr and phone is dead. Can you arrange an appointment any other way than through dr as thiscould take years like it already has.
a761645 - 28-Nov-17 @ 3:00 PM
Hi .My daugther is being in a psychiatrist hospital since 24th march 2017 and now the referral her to do learning disability test. How long to get one appointment?There is any number I can calling to check?Thanks
Renata - 14-Apr-17 @ 10:12 PM
Am - Your Question:
Hi my father went to a special needs school due to spending a lot of his childhood in hospital, my father is unable to understand his bill, I really would like to have a proper report to point out his difficulties, as I was diagnoised with learning difficulties which my psychologist thought it may be hereditary, is ther any place in the north west I would be able to get my father tested. Thanks

Our Response:
Please speak to your GP, they should be able to make a referral for you, especially if your father's learning difficulties are affecting his daily living as you describe.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 2-Mar-17 @ 12:09 PM
Hi my father went to a special needs school due to spending a lot of his childhood in hospital, my father is unable to understand his bill, I really would like to have a proper report to point out his difficulties, as I was diagnoised with learning difficulties which my psychologist thought it may be hereditary, is ther any place in the north west I would be able to get my father tested. Thanks
Am - 28-Feb-17 @ 9:34 PM
Hi I would like to know if i have any learning problems but live in Burnham on sea in Somerset is there any local places I could go to to get diagnosed
Mu - 13-Feb-17 @ 4:07 PM
I would like to seek some advice please. My dad has recently been diagnosed with severe ADHD and Dyslexia. A number of years ago my mother took me to a center and they did some tests, they determined that i had a learning disability, but never said what it was. They just said that my mind works different to other children. I struggle with reading and writing and i struggle with sticking to one conversation and i seem to 'hedge-hop' from one subject to another. I also get easily frustrated. Kind Regards, Eve
eve - 26-Jan-17 @ 12:54 PM
Hello My Name is A Friend. Thinking of you and really think you should give this serious thought. it will help you get to the next level. Do not be full of pride anger or fear.#Do not be offended# It is done with love and concern. Please follow this up. Ask around for advice.
na - 1-Dec-16 @ 9:58 PM
I a learingdifficulties becausse have globally learning due to me being premature and I need a assessment please can you help me.
Hamza Ali - 1-Feb-16 @ 4:27 PM
@TM. If your daughter is unhappy and you think it would help her to be officially assessed, the try the BILD the British Institute of Learning Difficulties. They will point you in the right direction.
AboutLearningDisabilities - 9-Oct-14 @ 2:17 PM
My daughter is 20 years old and I have often wondered if she has a mild learning difficulty. She has always seemed to have a problem with her comprehension. When she was at school I would mention this to her teachers but they all seemed to think there was nothing wrong. She seems unable to talk about anything 'too complex' so conversations usually revolve around 'simple' subjects. Whenever she reads anything she often says she doesn't understand what is being said or what something means. She doesn't understand irony and many jokes tend to go over her head. She often gets frustrated and says she is 'dumb'. I feel this problem is holding her back from getting a good job. She just missed out on doing an apprenticeship because of not clearly understanding or remembering what was said to her so she didn't turn up the next day as she apparently was told to do. There's a lot more I could say but the main thing I want to know is if there is any kind of test she could have to see if she does have a mild learning disability. Mnay thanks
TM - 9-Oct-14 @ 12:12 PM
Hi there, I have often wondered why I do so badly in exams, failing most of the time. In the working environment it is quite the opposite because I pick up on things a lot faster. I despise sitting behind a study desk but I believe is it purely because I know I will fail, no matter how hard I try and study. I have come to the conclusion that I possibly have a LD, but I don't know how to establish it. Any advice? Thanks and regards B
B - 29-Aug-12 @ 8:47 PM
I an interested to know more about adult learning difficulties and have found your article interesting. Do you think that an adult who has fled his country of origin and has little English because he lacked education in his homeland would be considered to have learning difficulties
annie - 16-Mar-12 @ 2:42 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments