Diagnosing Learning Problems

Diagnosing learning problems means looking at students clinically to determine the reasons they are experiencing school failure.

There are many reasons why a student may not be doing well in school, and there are many ways we can organize our space to help lower stress and create a supportive learning environment. Once those pieces are in place, we must begin to focus on individual differences to discover what may be preventing each child from reaching his or her full potential.

Important Questions

Following is a list of questions which may be asked to narrow down the area or areas of need for individual children. Identifying and treating the specific areas which may be limiting each individual child's progress is the mission of the clinical teacher.



Can he see? Is he able to hear?

Vision and hearing problems are often responsible for a failure to participate in classroom activities. Often children do not realize that this is any different from anyone else so they don't know to mention it.

Can he skip? Is he able to jump rope?

These and other coordination skills are absolutely essential to learning, and deficiencies in this area must be addressed in order for children to move forward in school.


Are there problems at the midline?

Cross dominance and other problems crossing the midline cause a great deal of difficulty with learning.


Does he have a sight vocabulary?

Lack of a sufficiently large sight vocabulary will sabatoge both reading fluency and comprehension and is the root of many reading difficulties.


Is his right hemisphere dominant?


Though it is true that all parts of the brain work together, the fact remains that there are people whose creative hemisphere dominates their thinking and the way they process information.

For these children the way to help them succeed is to include aesthetics - art, music, dance, drama - in classroom instruction.

Is he hydrated? Skipping breakfast?

Is he getting the proper amount of sleep?

These health issues directly affect a child's ability to focus which directly impacts learning. Educating parents about them is a must.


Does he have trouble paying attention?

The ability to pay attention is key to success in school.



Return to Reluctant Learners from Diagnosing Learning Problems



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See: Colored Overlays

Resources: School nurse or counselor



See:  Physical Coordination

Consult: School Physical Education teachers and Occupational Therapists


                                            See: Crossing the Midline for games and activities

Consult: PE teachers and occupational therapists


See:                                  Dolch Sight Words                   How to Teach Sight Words       Sight Word Games                   Sight Word Oldies


                    See:                                    Aesthetics and Learning         Music Education in Schools        Art in Education                      Children Dancing                      Teaching Math With Art            Songs for the Classroom           Drama in Schools



See: Focus Problems

Consult: Parents


                                           See:                                     Focus Problems                    Educating Children with ADHD