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Learning difficulty/disability in children ≥ 6 years


Minimum Referral Criteria

  • Category 1
    (appointment within 30 calendar days)
    • Definite history of loss of academic ability with deterioration in cognition suggestive of neurological disease. (IQ measurement is not required in order to accept this referral)
    • Child in out of home, where there is imminent threat of breakdown of current foster placement due to the complexity of the child's developmental concerns.
  • Category 2
    (appointment within 90 calendar days)
    • Acute severe functional deterioration in a child diagnosed with a learning disability
    • Child with recurrent suspensions, or at risk of expulsion from school or is unable to attend due to their learning and / or associated behavioural challenges.
    • A child currently in out of home care (OOHC) or at risk of entering or leaving OOHC, where they have previously been on a waiting list for this problem and were removed without receiving a service
  • Category 3
    (appointment within 365 calendar days)
    • Child with suspected moderate to severe learning difficulty / disability who requires timely assessment for purpose of diagnostic formulation, accessing NDIS and / or support for verification of disability in education setting.
    • Educational psychology assessment suggests intellectual impairment and the child has never been seen by a paediatrician for assessment.
    • Suspected attention deficit disorder

1. Reason for request Indicate on the referral

  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for GP/second opinion
  • For a specified test/investigation the GP can't order, or the patient can't afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient/family
  • For other reason (e.g. rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary

2. Essential referral information Referral will be returned without this

  • WISC or other equivalent IQ measurement within the previous 3 years or detailed information regarding learning abilities (such as NAPLAN report or reading, spelling, maths age equivalent levels) (provided by the school or another external provider). This is not required if there is a concern about developmental regression.
  • Review by school/private psychologist outlining area of difficulty
  • Nature of parents concerns
  • Are there significant behavioural or emotional issues suggesting that this referral would be better assessed under a behavioural category? It is acknowledged that behavioural difficulties can be secondary to learning problems
  • Report presence or absence of concerning features
    • Is there definite history of developmental regression, and if so what specific loss of skills has been noted?
    • Is the child expected to be in out of home care supervised by the, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs for more than 6 months?
  • Confirmation of OOHC (where appropriate)

3. Additional referral information Useful for processing the referral

Highly desirable information – may change triage category

  • Classroom reports of school performance and engagement with school work.
  • Other assessments of academic ability and achievement
  • Audiometry
  • Medical history
  • Family history, including family members affected with ASD, ADHD, learning difficulty or mental illness.
  • Copies of previous speech, occupational therapy, physiotherapy or cognitive assessments if available.
  • If the child is in foster care please provide the name and regional office for the child safety officer who is the responsible case manager.
  • Significant psychosocial risk factors (especially parents mental health, family violence, housing and financial stress, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs involvement).

Desirable information- will assist at consultation

  • Pregnancy and birth history
  • Other past medical history
  • Immunisation history
  • Developmental history
  • Medication history
  • Height/weight/head circumference and growth charts with prior measurements if available.
  • Other physical examination findings inclusive of CNS, birth marks or dysmorphology
  • Any relevant laboratory results or medical imaging reports

4. Request

Last updated: 13 June 2023