Learning Disabilities Program | Frequently Asked Questions

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Contact the Learning Disabilities Program

What questions can this evaluation address?

Does the child have a Learning Disability or ADHD? What is the nature of the child's problem? Is there a medical basis for the child's problems? Are emotional or social factors impeding the learning progress? Is the learning problem causing emotional or social problems? What are the best ways to address learning and development in terms of programs and specific interventions?

What approach is used in the evaluation?

The LDP evaluation emphasizes a neuropsychological approach to diagnosis and management. All the major areas where problems typically arise are covered. The focus is to understand and describe a child's learning style, as it affects academic and psychosocial development.

How does the comprehensive evaluation differ from a typical neuropsychological evaluation?

Similar to a neuropsychological evaluation, the LDP comprehensive evaluation provides a profile of a child's strengths and weaknesses and provides a diagnostic summary. Since the LDP evaluation is designed in particular to address children's adaptation in school, we also provide expertise in academic development and curriculum, including extensive recommendations that are targeted to educators. Our speech and language pathologists provide an assessment of speech and language disorders as they may be affecting academic, social and cognitive development, and make recommendations accordingly. Our medical experts can diagnose potential physical contributors to the child's problems and make recommendations about medication management if needed. Finally, our psychologist carries out interviews and projective testing in order to explore whether psychological or emotional issues are contributing to the child's problems and importantly the impact of learning issues on the child's mental health.

Why does my child need all the components?

Children evaluated in the Learning Disabilities Program at Boston Children's must complete all of the evaluation components. This way, all the evaluators are able to understand the many aspects of each child's abilities and use them when interpreting their own findings. The individual experts are also able to integrate the child's overall profile of strengths and weaknesses in their evaluations. It is not unusual for the team to discover problems in areas that are not obvious in a classroom setting or predict problems that may not yet have become apparent in a different area than the one that is currently most troublesome.

What About Follow-Up?

Learning problems are developmental. They typically evolve during the course of a child's development, varying in their nature and impact with new academic and social challenges at different ages. Children who have completed the Comprehensive Evaluation are eligible to participate in our Follow-Up programs at Boston Children's. Our staff builds an ongoing knowledge of the child and can follow children from elementary through high school, evaluating how well school programs are working and modifying recommendations as appropriate at new developmental stages.

I need an appointment as soon as possible. Do you have a waiting list?

Yes. When scheduling your appointment, simply indicate to the Program Coordinator that you wish to be on the waiting list. You must have a confirmed appointment before you can be placed on the waiting list. You will then be contacted if an appointment becomes available. 

When and how will I get the results?

Before leaving the hospital on the day of your child's evaluation, you will make an appointment to meet with the Case Coordinator to discuss the findings. The Case Coordinator is a member of the evaluation team who leads the team meeting and writes the overall summary report. The initial feedback typically occurs two to four weeks later. Parents are encouraged to involve the school in these feedback sessions, typically by phone. Written reports are generally sent out within 8 weeks of the evaluation date.

Will I get a refund if my child is sick?

In the case of illness or an emergency we ask that you notify us as soon as possible. We will make every effort to arrange an appointment swap between you and another patient scheduled in the near future. If this is not possible, you will be rescheduled for the first available appointment and placed at the top of the waiting list.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944