How to identify learning disability warning signs

Neuropsychologist and published author Karen Schiltz, PhD shares what learning disability warning signs to look out for in your children and what to do if you notice something unusual in your child. Her best advice is to trust your gut and get help if necessary.
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How to identify learning disability warning signs

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What is a warning sign? What is a flag mean when you know something is quite not right with your child's learning? Well, a flag tells us a lot. A flag is a warning sign, it's a marker. There may be several flags. For example, you may have a child who's six years old who doesn't quite understand the alphabet. They won't know the alphabet. They may have trouble understanding that words are made out of sounds, we call that phonemes. These are flags that something isn't quite right. They may not understand what they're reading. They may avoid reading at all costs. They may cry. They may feel so frustrated. These again are flags of a reading disorder. Pay attention to your gut, understand that flags are important. Don't deny yourself child help. Get help immediately so you can find out if your gut is truly right.

Neuropsychologist and published author Karen Schiltz, PhD shares what learning disability warning signs to look out for in your children and what to do if you notice something unusual in your child. Her best advice is to trust your gut and get help if necessary.

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Karen Schiltz, PhD

Neuropsychologist

Dr. Schiltz is a clinical psychologist, licensed in the state of California. From 1985-1987, she completed a post-doctoral residency in clinical neuropsychology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine within the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. She received her doctoral degree in psychology in 1984 from the American Psychological Association accredited California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. Dr. Schiltz has conducted a private practice specializing in the clinical and forensic neuropsychological assessment of children, adolescents, and young adults since 1988. She has held an appointment as an Associate Clinical Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine within the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, since July of 2004. She also held an appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor within the same department from September 1993 to July of 2004. Dr. Schiltz has been a clinical supervisor within that department since August 1993 to the present time. Her faculty duties at UCLA include lecture presentations in the field of pediatric neuropsychological assessment, attentional disorders, accommodation assessment guidelines, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dr. Schiltz has written numerous articles on regulation and selective neurobehavioral disorders. In her 24 years of clinical work with children, adolescents, and young adults, she has emphasized the critical importance of integrating neuropsychological assessment findings to the application of accommodations to the classroom and home environments in a “user-friendly” manner. Dr. Schiltz supports a comprehensive team approach in the assessment and remediation of children who struggle with cognitive, learning, behavioral, social, and emotional difficulties. She sees a variety of students who are referred subsequent to or in the process of being diagnosed with a suspected learning disorder, attentional and concentrational compromises, suspected social communication disorder, memory disorder, neurotoxin exposure, scuba diving illnesses, seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury, cognitive changes due to medical illness or surgery, substance abuse disorder, pervasive developmental disorders, high cognitive ability profiles, among other neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions. Her experience has come from assessing children and working on intervention teams both in the hospital units as well as university and private-practice based settings.

In addition to her private practice and academic supervisory duties, Dr. Schiltz has written, co-written, and/or presented over 81 papers, manuscripts, and publications. Her book, Beyond the Label, was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. The book, along with coauthors Amy M. Schonfeld and Tara Niendam, helps parents and educators recognize the warning signs that may indicate a potential problem with a child and explain how to find the best help. Throughout the book, the authors stress that by focusing on behaviors and not labels, parents will be able to better understand the whats, whys, and hows of a child's learning and emotional challenges.

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