Learning Disabilities Expert Forum
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Questions in the Learning Disability Forum are being answered by medical professionals. Topics include: Assessment and Diagnosis, Behavioral Issues, Emotional Development, Family Issues, Language-Speech Issues, Living With Learning Disabilities, Parenting, School Issues, Social Development

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My neice is 8 years old. She has problems retaining any information given. Her standard of work at school is of a 4 year old in all subjects. Trying to teach her anything has become a nightmare.
Ie: We have gone back to showing her a picture of a cat showing her the word. Covering the picture up and asking what the word says. (there is no retention what so ever).
There is no concentaion or will to learn. The flustration becomes anger!
She still cannot write her own name properly. Unable to make friends she seems very isolated.
The school has sugested she may have a memory problem.

We would love to be able to help her but we do not know what to do, where do go etc...
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    It would surprise me if the frustration was not just as intense for her as well as for you. I have yet to see a child this age who did not want to learn and be successful--she sounds like she's really having a tough time. If her skills are truly on level of a child in pre-K, then this sounds like more than just a memory problem. Discrete memory problems are fairly rare unless there is a neurological issue. Most times what looks like memory problems are actually problems with encoding new information (paying attention to it, storing it in working memory) or retrieval problems (the information is stored but the person has trouble accessing it--you have experienced this when you try to think of the word you want to say but cannot).

If her deficits are this severe, then I would recommend you ask your pediatrician for a referral to a neuropsychologist for a full evaluation. I would not recommend having the school do the assessment in this situation, because there may be a neurologically based condition that needs attention. Neuropsychologists have an extra year of training beyond even doctoral level psychologists. Their training includes learning extensively about medical issues that impact learning/thinking/moods. A neuropsychological evaluation will give you comprehensive information about what is wrong and lead you towards appropriate interventions.

Best Wishes
Rebecca Resnik
Thank you for your help. This information has been most helpful and we will pusue the matter. I will let you know how we get on in the future

Thank you
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