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Identify Learning Difficulties: Observation Checklist

June 28, 2016

Are you worried about your student’s grades or difficulties in school? The best way to help is to start with an accurate idea of what exactly is the problem. Use this checklist to identify it. Then click on the skill in parentheses to learn more.

Once you know the underlying reason your child is struggling, use your Mindprint Toolbox to figure out exactly what to do next. Always remember that the best way to have a full understanding is a combination of observational data and cognitive testing. While a psycho-educational evaluation can be expensive, you can start with a cognitive screener to determine if a full evaluation is warranted.

identify learning difficulty

Executive Functions

  • Does she have trouble staying focused for longer tasks or those she has less interest? (attention)
  • Is his work inconsistent or have random errors? (attention)
  • Does he have trouble following directions? Completing multi-step tasks? (working memory)
  • Does she have difficulty with planning? Staying organized? (working memory)
  • Does he have over-react to transitions or unexpected events? (flexible thinking)
  • Is she very uncomfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty? (flexible thinking)

Complex Reasoning


  • Does she understand easily but have difficulty performing well on tests and quizzes? (memory)
  • Does he freeze on tests or have test anxiety? (anxiety, memory)
  • Does she remember what she reads or hears more easily than graphs, charts or images? (Differences between verbal memory and visual memory)

Processing Speed

  • Does he have difficulty finishing tests or assignments on time even when he knows the information? (processing speed)
  • When she finishes work on time is it inconsistent quality or have lots of errors? (processing speed, attention)
  • Does written work take longer than you expect? (visual motor speed, fine motor skills)
  • Is he reluctant to answer when called on in class? (processing speed)

Social-Emotional Skills

  • Does she work well independently but have difficulty on group assignments? (flexible thinking)
  • Is there a decline in his grades without a clear reason? (depression)
  • Is she avoiding social situations or not want to go to school? (anxiety, depression)


If you want more information on any of these skills, consider a confidential Comprehensive Mindprint. We can help you understand if your child is having difficulties in any of these skills and what you will want to do next. O

This is one of many exclusive Mindprint guides found in the FREE Parent & Teacher Resources section of the Mindprint website.


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