Specific Learning Disabilities: The Family Physician's Role

Michelle J Curtin, Deanna R Willis, Brett Enneking
American Family Physician 2019 November 15, 100 (10): 628-635
Academic underachievement, such as failing a class and the threat of being held back because of academic issues, is common. Family physicians can provide support and guidance for families as they approach their child's unique academic challenges. Specific learning disabilities are a group of learning disorders (e.g., dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyslexia) that impede a child's ability to learn. Understanding standard educational terms; looking for medical, family, and social risk factors associated with academic underachievement; and investigating the medical differential for academic underachievement can help direct the family to appropriate care. The physician can provide medical documentation to support an individualized education program evaluation and address risk factors that schools may not be aware of or cannot assess. The family physician can support children and families by understanding the connection between risk factors, medical and educational evaluations, and educational resources.

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