The Chesnie Cooper Educational Centre

The Chesnie Cooper Educational Centre

August 16, 2007 14:03 ET

Learning disabilities affect up to 20 per cent of North American pop

Effective treatment available when LD properly identified

Attention: Education Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - Aug. 16, 2007) - Learning Disabilities (LDs) are extremely common. Over 15 per cent of the Canadian population have "low literacy skills" according to a report by ABC Canada Literacy 2005. The International Dyslexia Association puts the number at 15-20 per cent. That means in a class of 30 students, 3 to 5 children will have an LD and need special education to overcome it.

In layman's terms, an LD is anything that causes a student to fail to learn for no apparent reason, this according to DSM-IV-TR, the Bible of mental health diagnosis. A learning disorder does not mean that someone is lacking intelligence. In fact, a person with an LD might earn an "A" in math but "F" in reading, or vice versa.

"This point needs so much emphasis because virtually all people with an LD secretly think they are not intelligent. Almost universally, they believe they are 'stupid,'" says Dr. Deborah Cooper, psychologist, and director of The Chesnie Cooper Educational Centre*. "Disabilities are neither predictable nor preventable - they are not the result of bad parenting, laziness, lack of will power, or lack of foresight. They are not anyone's fault."

The key to successful treatment of LDs is correct diagnosis. However, due to similar symptoms, CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Deficit) can be misdiagnosed as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This is an important distinction as one requires medication, the other does not.

Christine Rick recalls that her son was in Senior Kindergarten when the school observed he was having experiencing high levels of frustration; it was suggested he needed occupational therapy. A learning disability was not suspected because his grades were good. But in grade 2 he was experiencing even higher levels of frustration and was depressed. The Pediatrician referred him to a psychologist who, after an educational assessment, determined he had ADHD. However, over the next year and a half, his depression heightened and the problem worsened.

"My son [now] is 9 years old and in grade 4…This school year, things came to a head. My son withdrew into himself. He wanted to be alone. He hated school and wanted to be home schooled. He wished he was dead," reports Christine. "I was distraught and unsure what to do next."

Mrs. Rick's pediatrician referred them to Dr. Chesnie Cooper, a psychologist renowned for her research and specialization in helping people with CAPD and other learning disabilities, Her awareness of the similarity of the symptoms of CAPD and ADHD is critical in the depth of her testing as well as her remedial follow through.

"After only 2 visits and a conference call with Dr. Chesnie Cooper, significant changes began to take place in Edward's life," says Mrs. Rick. "My son now sleeps through the night; he smiles and laughs. He tells jokes and loves to be around people; he loves school again; and he is feeling more confident about himself."

"Someone with an LD, by definition, has "at least" average intelligence. As soon as a diagnosis has identified what is holding someone back, the way opens to effective treatment," says Dr. Cooper. "Such is the case with Edward Rick and many others like him."

* A division of The Chesnie Cooper Psychology Professional Corp. IN: EDUCATION, HEALTH

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