Diagnosing Learning Disabilities And Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Real-Life Situations
Wenger-Schulman, Annie-Rosa Sara
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Five professionals (I neurophysiologist, 2 neuropsychologists, 2 psychotherapists), who work with children who have Learning Disabilities (LDs) or Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (E/B Ds) as defined by the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA,) explain how they differentiate between these high-incidence disabilities. Their answers were compared to existing literature and the diagnostic criteria from the DSM IV, which illustrates that children with these disabilities show symptoms of multiple disorders and therefore suggests diagnosis is difficult and often ambiguous. The professionals differed in the techniques they found most effective in diagnosing children. The neurophysiologist and the neuropsychologists, relied primarily on testing, whereas the psychotherapists, found personal interviews to be more determinant in the diagnosis. These discrepancies suggest that research into standardizing the criteria for diagnosing both LDs and E/B Ds would be beneficial to the field.