Should My Child Be Tested for a Learning Problem?

Moms are very astute when it comes to their children, so when something is not right, moms usually know.

Typical children feel overwhelmed or unhappy about homework at times. They may even come home saying they feel stupid or hate school once in a while. But when an otherwise happy, energized child routinely whines, sobs, and wilts at the thought of homework or school, or berates himself for his stupidity, it is very likely that learning is harder than it should be.

While doing homework with their children, parents often notice things that don’t seem quite right and wonder if this is typical or if what they are seeing is a sign of a problem.

Here are some “red flags” that may indicate that learning is harder than it should be for your child.


  • Doesn’t recognize words that they read earlier on the page
  • Has to sound out every single word when reading
  • Adds, changes, omits, or repeats sounds in words
  • Skips or changes small common words like the, of, and to
  • Has trouble sounding out words for reading
  • Can’t remember or tell about what they read


  • Can remember words for the spelling test but can’t spell them correctly the next week
  • Has to spend an excessive amount of time trying to learn spelling words


  • Takes forever to do writing assignments because they can’t think of anything to write
  • Has great ideas when speaking but can’t seem to put them on paper
  • Writes with much simpler vocabulary than they use when speaking
  • Has terrible handwriting
  • Has a killer grip on the pencil
  • Has extremely dark or very light wispy writing
  • Has poor letter formation when writing


  • Words or ideas get out of sequence
  • Has trouble expressing themselves so they give up
  • Has poor articulation
  • Mumbles or slurs words


  • Has to reread and reread
  • Often says, “What?”
  • Need instructions repeated
  • Asks questions that were just answered
  • Tries to change topic or direction
  • Answers don’t match the question
  • Answers are vague or not specific enough
  • Too wordy – talk around something – sounds good but not really saying anything


  • Can’t remember math facts
  • Doesn’t understand math concepts
  • May seem like they’ve got it one minute and then act completely confused the next
  • Makes many “careless” errors
  • Gets steps out of order


  • Not keeping up in school
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Low confidence
  • Spends hours longer on homework than their classmates
  • Can’t do homework unless a parent is sitting right there
  • Forgets to turn in assignments
  • Anxious

If your child has consistent challenges in one or more of these areas, testing should be considered.  This will help you better understand your child’s struggles and learning needs and is a first step in getting help.

Functional Academic and Learning Skills Evaluation

At Stowell Learning Center, we do a Functional Academic and Learning Skills Evaluation to explore the student’s basic academic skills as well as the underlying thinking/processing skills that provide a critical foundation for learning and paying attention. The testing allows us to:

  • Help you understand why your child is struggling
  • Create a plan for solving the learning difficulties that is geared specifically to your child’s needs
  • Determine the best way to help your child become a successful learner and catch up academically

Why Smart Kids Struggle and What Can Be Done

Reading, writing, spelling, math, and school skills are supported by numerous underlying learning skills.   If one or more of these underlying skills is weak, it will cause the student to have to work harder, longer, and less effectively than expected.

But the brain is amazing!  Brain research over the last 30 years and the decades of clinical work in the trenches actually working with children and adults with learning challenges, have shown that these underlying learning skills can be developed.  The brain can change.  New, more efficient neuropathways, or connections in the brain, can be made so that learning can be easier.  Once the brain is getting the information it needs, it can do the job it is meant to do – to learn!

At our center, we identify and develop the weak underlying learning/processing skills that provide the critical foundation for learning.  While there are no overnight solutions, most learning and attention challenges can be dramatically improved or completely corrected.

If you have a struggling student, we would love to help you understand and permanently change those struggles.  To learn more…

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night

Click here for details and RSVP:


“Helping smart but struggling students dramatically improve or completely correct their learning and attention challenges by developing the underlying learning skills that are not supporting the learner well enough.”
We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
Jill Stowell, M.S.
Author:  At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities
Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers

Recent Posts



Ready to take the next step?

Speak to a Learning Specialist to learn more about the results from students and parents at Stowell Learning Centers.