Is it possible my child has a learning disability?

Jo Ann D. LoRusso, Ph.D.

Jo Ann D. LoRusso, Ph.D.


My son is five years old and currently in preschool. He should be starting kindergarten in the fall. We have been working with him very hard on the alphabet and his numbers, but it does not seem like he retains much. Is it possible that he has a learning disability and what resources are there for a child that is not yet in the public school system?


If you are concerned about your child’s learning ability, by all means have him tested. You can contact private psychologists or contact your county or state educators. It will give you some information and relieve your anxiety. At such a young age, the results of the testing won’t necessarily determine whether he has a learning disability, but could indicate a learning DELAY which just means he has some catching up to do.

To help him catch up, regardless of the testing results, make the learning FUN! If you don’t already have them, get magnet letters for the fridge and letters for the tub. Help him recognize the letters in his name first. Play the memory game with him using the alphabet. Start with just 5 or 6 matching sets. Play alphabet bingo with him. And most importantly be positive and have fun! Always tell him he’s doing a good job.

Jo Ann D. LoRusso, Ph.D. | The PreK Connection | Early Childhood Special Education Consultant

Dr. LoRusso has degrees in cognitive psychology and early childhood special education with a focus in learning disabilities and early literacy. She currently teaches early childhood special education courses at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, works as a special education consultant, and has over 13 years experience working with young children with various types of learning issues.

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  1. Dr Arpana Bansal says

    Hello,my son is 4years three month old. I observe that while writing numbers he actually write some of the numbers reverse especially 2,7 and some times 9.His speaking milestones here delayed.But now he perfectly speaks almost every thing.His class teacher says he had little difficulty in writing.But during his final exams he performed unexpectedly well.He is shy child and find difficulty in socializing.But at home he behave absouletly well ,active ,plays well,ask many reasoning questions,remember things and follow instructions.Is my child suffering from Learning Disorder? What are the various test to confirm LD?

  2. Beth Luppe says

    May I politely disagree with the expert, who has more education than I? I have a MA in Special Education and degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Ed. I taught for many years and homeschooled my children. Our current system forces these abstract concepts on very young children who are not cognitively ready for these tasks. You say you have been working very hard… if he were able to spit out what you are asking him to memorize, I doubt that it would have much meaning… rote memory is not the equivalent of a learned task. In Europe these concepts are not introduced nearly this early, and they have a much lower rate of problems on their hands. Concentrate on lots of good play, outside time, no screen time, cooking with you, reading with you and see what happens. How can a child be “behind” at five? 🙁 Look into Waldorf Education which provides a much gentler approach to “learning” through these Magical Years of early childhood! They will not return! Play is the work of the young child.

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