Blog dedicated to learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADD and ADHD

Friday, April 07, 2006

Cognitive Skills Testing

Every single day medical specialists use tests to spot medical problems and prevent future catastrophes with heart scans, EKGs, cholesterol screenings, dental x-rays, and eye exams. It makes sense, doesn't it?

SO, ASK YOURSELF: Why should I accept any proposed solution for my child's learning or reading struggles without first getting expert testing to find the cause of the problem?
Consider this! The education industry is one of the only places where parents are asked to make life-shaping decisions with virtually no detailed knowledge. While there are disclosure laws in every state in the U.S. for you to buy a car, most professional educators simply expect you to nod when they say, "Trust me, your child needs Special Ed or tutoring, an IEP, and medication." Shouldn't you be able to have a conversation with a professional that explains (in a way you can understand) exactly why your child struggles and what you can do to prevent those struggles from continuing for a lifetime?

It's never too late to help your child, but it's close to impossible without the right information. Too often symptoms are treated with stock or group "solutions" without accurate knowledge of the exact cause of the problem.

If your child struggles to learn or read, you do have an alternative to guessing at solutions: Cognitive Skills Testing.

Science confirms its value.

There are causes that could contribute to learning and reading difficulties: poor or inadequate instruction, genetic sources, low motivation, etc. By far, the most common root cause of learning struggles is underlying cognitive skill weakness. A ten-year study by the National Institute of Health concluded that 88% of learning-to-read difficulties resulted from weak phonemic awareness - the cognitive ability to blend, segment, and analyze sounds.

The stakes for our kids are high.

Successful learning depends on strong underlying cognitive skills. Without accurately identifying skill weaknesses, students are forced to invent ways to compensate. Others give up and are plagued with lifelong struggles. Time is not a friend to a struggling student.

Persistent struggle destroys self-esteem. There is an ideal window of time for a young person's learning development. Neglect that window and it can seriously affect academic performance, job productivity, and even social standing. For those people, life's promises - and choices - quickly lose their luster. We recommend that parents get their kids tested as soon as they see any signs of trouble: disruptive or withdrawn behavior, low motivation, excessive homework, resistance to going to school, or general academic problems. Parents need to know that you can't observe a cognitive skills weakness directly. Left unchecked, over time the effect can snowball and reduce opportunities later in life.

Tomorrow's options depend on what you know and do today.

Today you may only see these symptoms: huge homework loads, family strife, the inability to stay focused, or difficulty following instructions. Behavior like this is almost always a sign of an underlying learning skill weakness. In early grades, even straight-A students can have skill weaknesses that can hinder them later in life.

A positive step needs to be taken early. It's easy to blame ongoing learning problems on bad teachers, crowded classrooms, and boring textbooks or accept the struggle as inevitable under the labels ADD, ADHD, or LD. Parents either surrender in defeat or grasp at anything that might offer a glimmer of hope. What they really need is to pinpoint the root problems.

Testing is like an x-ray machine for learning skills.

A high-quality testing instrument is important. LearningRx Child Learning Centers uses nationally acclaimed cognitive, achievement, and reading mastery tests to identify individual skill strength and weakness. These include the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities, the WJIII Tests of Achievement, and the GORT-4 Oral Reading Tests. The precise information we gain allows us to create an effective training strategy that is proven to boost learning and improve performance for each student. Our combination of testing and training allows us to team with parents and students to overcome specific weaknesses and target areas of potential gain rapidly - and put the mental skills in place for a lifetime of learning.

Learning skill "X-rays" don't have to be expensive. Just like good medicine starts with accurate diagnoses, so does good education. Cognitive Skills Testing can give you the information you need to overcome your child's learning or reading struggle in a surprisingly short time (weeks not years!)

Until recently, such testing was shrouded in professional exclusivity and excessive costs - often between $600 and $2400. LearningRx leverages its network of national training centers to offer testing to parents for a tiny fraction of what they would pay elsewhere.

Why? Parents deserve to know exactly why their child struggles and how to help them. We won't even recommend options to parents until the test results are in and we know the exact causes behind their child's symptoms. The only way to do this is to test. When it comes to your child’s future, why accept anything less than a definitive answer?

If you suspect there is unrealized learning potential in your child, don't ignore it. A simple cognitive skills test is the first step to finally unlock that potential. At LearningRx we offer affordable, accurate testing with no further obligation. We welcome your tough questions and the opportunity to help your child. Look for the number to your local center at http://www.learningrx.com/.


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