Learning Disabilities Program Your Visit

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Our comprehensive evaluation allows the child and parent to see experts from all relevant specialties in one efficiently organized visit. Not only is the child seen by the specialists, but the specialists share information and work together to develop one integrated diagnostic summary and intervention plan.

Because the evaluation is comprehensive, it can investigate potential medical or neurological bases for the child's problems, as well as provide basic neuropsychological testing and assess mental health and of course academic functioning. Importantly, the evaluators can determine how problems in one area of development may be affecting other areas of development and vice versa. Or they can provide information about which of several possible causes of problems are the most important. They can also forecast potential difficulties in areas that may not currently be affected to provide for prevention before problems become more concerning. The evaluation also helps parents and schools to set priorities since children often have needs in multiple areas

Who is best served?

Children between the ages of 7 and 16 or between 1st and 9th grade who have problems with school performance and adaptation, language, attention, and/or social skills are well served by the evaluation. The evaluation can also be appropriate for children with medical and/or neurological conditions that may be impacting their development and school functioning. The program is not well suited for children with intellectual disability or significant motor or sensory impairments.

Evaluation day

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The evaluation takes a little more than half a day. While the child visits each specialist on the Boston Children's team, parents meet with program staff to review the child's history and discuss current concerns. The specific evaluations are as follows:

  • The Neurology specialist will evaluate strength, reflexes, coordination, fine and gross motor skills. This information is used to determine whether there are neurodevelopmental signs of a learning disorder or possibly signs suggesting neurological impairment. Children will also be evaluated for ADHD.
     
  • The Neuropsychologist will administer a selection of cognitive tests and interpret them in order to characterize the child's overall learning profile.
     
  • The Oral and Written Language specialist will assess understanding and use of language, reading and writing achievement, and important relationships between oral and written language.
     
  • The Mathematics specialist will assess performance on an array of arithmetic, geometric and logical tasks to assess the level of mathematics achievement as well as the child's mathematics learning style.
     
  • The Psychologist interviews both parent(s) and child to screen for the presence of emotional issues both past and present that may affect or be affected by academic and social performance.

In the afternoon, after families leave, the team meets to develop an integrated picture of the child and an appropriate intervention plan. One member of the evaluation team, the Case Coordinator, leads the team meeting and will write a report summarizing the discussion and recommendations. This report is additional to the individual specialist reports.

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Our evaluators 

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Neurology
David K. Urion, MD
Catherine Chapman, MD
Pamela Schardin, RN-NP

Neuropsychology
Deborah Waber, PhD, Director
Gail Grodzinsky, PhD
Ferne Pinard

Oral and Written Language

Kristine Strand
Margaret Pierce, EdD

Joanna A. Christodoulou, MA, EdD
Marie Chan
Rebecca Givens Rollard
Kim Hall

Mathematics
Maria Marolda, MA
Ellen Boiselle, MA, PhD
Lisa Gross, MEd, JD

Psychology
William M. Mitchell, EdD
Kitty Petty, MEd, MA
Jackie Martin

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Request an Appointment

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Send RequestIf you do not see the specialty you are looking for, please call us at: 617-355-6000.International visitors should call International Health Services at +1-617-355-5209.
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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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Contact the Learning Disabilities Program

  • 1-617-355-2868
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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