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Ontario Psychological Association Guidelines for Diagnosis and Assessment of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Learning Disabilities

Author(s): Beal et al. (2018)

Purpose: This paper presents a standard, step-wise process for psychological assessment, along with a set of criteria for diagnosis of a Learning Disability (LD) that is consistent with current research. The intention of this approach is to bring consistency in the diagnosis protocols of psychology practitioners across age groups, settings and populations, and it is designed to be inclusive of all children, adolescents and adults, including those who are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds.

The impetus for the project was the observed variability in assessing and diagnosing LD resulting from advances in research, new diagnostic criteria for Learning Disorders in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association (2013), and the definition adopted by the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada in 2002 and ratified in 2015.

It is the product of a group of Ontario psychologists, including representatives from school districts, mental health agencies, hospitals, colleges and universities, graduate education and training programs in psychology, and practitioners in the community in private practice. It constitutes a consensus among the members of the group with respect to both the diagnostic criteria and the assessment process.

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