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Park Ridge Psychological Services provides a full range of services for individuals and families with academic/learning difficulties.

What is a Learning Disability?

A Learning Disability is a cognitive dysfunction that primarily affects a person’s academic achievement, despite having average or better cognitive abilities.

When is an Learning Disability evaluation appropriate?

An evaluation for Learning Disability is appropriate when there is a good possibility that a child, adolescent, or adult is not performing as well as he/she could in school.

Since Learning Disabilities create significant impairment in life, it is imperative that they be discovered and treated as soon as possible.

How is a Learning Disability Evaluation Performed?

First, evidence for failure to meet the demands of a classroom is reviewed. Second, standardized tests are used to determine whether there is a significant discrepancy between ability and achievement. Third, several neurological measures are given to discover which area(s) of processing are responsible for any discrepancies. Finally, medical, emotional, and academic factors are ruled out.

How long does the evaluation take?

After the initial interview/consultation, an appointment for the one-on-one testing is made; this is usually between 2 1/2- 3 1/2 hours. At the same time, teacher, parent, and client reports are given to complete. When all of these reports are returned, a feedback session is scheduled, usually within one week. During the feedback session, the results are reviewed, along with all recommendations, with plenty of time to ask questions.

What are the possible results of an L.D. evaluation?

First, a proper diagnosis is key in the treatment of L.D. As part of an assessment, a thorough list of recommendations is made. Possibilities include:

  • Classroom accommodations/modifications
  • Tutoring/extracurricular academic assistance
  • IEP/504 Plan
  • Behavioral management
  • Study Skills Training
  • Career Planning

Second, coordination with other professionals, including schools, physicians, and other mental health providers helps in maximizing the potential benefits of treatment for a Learning Disability. Dr. Paterno often attends school meetings, such as IEP meetings, in order to help parents advocate for their child, whether they have a diagnosis of LD or not.

Who Performs the Evaluation?

Dathan Paterno, Psy.D. specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Learning Disabilities. Of particular interest is teaching parents how to advocate for the L.D. child, how to help children and adolescents cope and achieve with L.D. ,and how to differentiate between true learning problems and problems of motivation and/or emotional difficulty. He is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and the Learning Disability Association.


Psychological evaluations are billed at $200 per hour, including one-on-one testing, scoring, interpreting tests, reviewing records, and writing a report. Generally, a full L.D. evaluation runs from 8-10 clinical hours.


While each client is held responsible for payment of services, many insurance companies include psychological testing in their benefits. For most clients, payment is expected at the time of service; however, payment plans are often accepted. Clients with Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans will have their insurance billed directly (apart from co-payments).

Measures utilized in an L.D. Evaluation


  • Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children, Fifth Edition
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales, Fourth Edition
  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Third Edition

Cognitive Processing

  • Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning
  • Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing
  • Bender-Gestalt Visual-Motor Test
  • Beery-Buktenica Test of Visual Motor Integration
  • Wisconsin Card Sorting Test
  • Color Trails Test
  • Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning

Emotional Measures

  • Revised Child Manifest Anxiety Scale
  • Kovacs’ Child Depression Inventory
  • Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scales
  • MMPI-2 & MMPI-A
  • Sentence Completion

Other Measures

  • Learning Disability Diagnostic Inventory
  • Learning Disability Evaluation Scale
  • Dyslexia Screening Instrument