Don t let the heavy vocabulary fool you! Simply speaking, a test for pathological dysfunction determines whether or not you have some physical disability (one which you weren t aware of) that produces symptoms similar to those of a learning disability. For instance, quite often a person will manifest the symptoms of Dyslexia or Attention Deficit when in fact they have an inner-ear imbalance, or some congenital problem with their cerebellum. Again, we can t stress the importance of this enough: misdiagnosis is one of the most common barriers to combating a learning disorder. Taking a test for pathological dysfunction will rule out the possibility of physical misdiagnosis.
It is therefore our opinion that you should always take a test for pathological dysfunction first. Once a qualified physician has verified that you are physically of sound body, a proper diagnosis of Dyslexia or Attention Deficit can follow.
Tests for pathological dysfunction are covered by most health insurance and include:
- Audiological Evaluation. This testrules out hearing loss or any central auditory processing problems which may be confused with a learning disorder.
- Electronystagmography (ENG). ENG testing attempts to determine w hether damage to the structures or nerves in the inner-ear or brain are causing the patient dizziness or vertigo . The test can l ocate and determine the extent and progress of such damage. Since current research has been focused on the possible connection between inner-ear and cerebellum imbalance to Dyslexia and Attention Deficit, this test is highly recommended.
- Vision Evaluation Optokinetic Testing. This test verifies that your eyes can fixate properly on objects you attempt to see. If they cannot, perhaps you have what is known as Convergence Insufficiency.
- Neurological Testing. This consist of a serious of standardized neurological tests which measure the function of the entire nervous system, emphasizing those related to the cerebellum-vestibular or inner-ear system.
- Pulmonary Oxygen Intake Capability Test. This test determines the veracity of l ung function. Physiologists use it to measure pulmonary residual volume and vital capacity – the components of total lung volume. Vital capacity is an index to breathing capacity; it is calculated from the maximum amount of air exhaled after a maximum inhalation. How is this related to learning disorders? New research shows that th ere is correlation between ADHD learning problems and breathing disorders. It s therefore important to identify if breathing problems are present in the patient manifesting symptoms of ADHD. If breathing problems exist, therapy in this area may allow the patient to make great strides in his level of concentration.
- Hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is the condition brought about by not having enough blood sugar. A test for Hypoglycemia takes a sample of your blood and measures the amount of glucose it contains. Diabetes is diagnosed in this fashion, as well. Another sample is taken for comparison value after the patient has fasted. Then the patient drinks a standard amount of a glucose solution to “challenge” his or her system. The glucose challenge is then studied with additional tests performed at specific intervals to track the progression of glucose levels in the blood over time.
Again, why is this important? Because the symptoms of Hypoglycemia are weakness, mood swings, headaches, nervousness, irritability, or nausea. In more sever cases, there is the potential for visual disturbances, shaking, sweating, confusion, palpitations, anxiety, dizziness, aggression or severe fatigue. Many of these symptoms are experienced by patients with s ADHD/ADD.
- Scotopic Sensitivity Screening. Scotopic Sensitivity tests your reaction to a range of colors printed on a page. The most common color in the test spectrum is gray or blue. The tester evaluates whether or not your ability to read improves using characters printed in different colors.
Please note: SSS is currently considered a controversial test. Many experts have questioned its validity. Most colleges will not accept SSS results to qualify students for learning disability commendations. I will note, however, that I found SSS a very helpful process in getting to the root diagnosis for my own learning disorders.