Learning difficulties don't have to hold you back. We can help

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Updated Oct 15, 2021 by Dr. Sheri Jacobson Dr Sheri Jacobson

Learning Difficulties Testing at Harley Therapy™ London

*We are unfortunately no longer offering learning difficulties testing with an educational psychologist. We do however have child psychologists and family therapists who are happy to provide ongoing mental health support for your child, teen or family in navigating a diagnosis attained elsewhere. We also offer child autism support and autism assessment and support for adults

Always struggling with what seems easy for others?  

Constantly frustrated by reading, writing, or maths? Or worried your child isn't coping at school? Learning difficulties can leave us feeling stressed, left out, and unable to progress. 

What are learning difficulties?

A learning difficulty, or ‘specific learning difference (SpLD)’, means the brain does not take in and process information in typical ways. Even though SpLDs affect your education, they are not about intellect. Many children and adults with SpLDs are bright, meaning their struggles can at first be overlooked.  

Benefits of a learning difficulties assessment  

Testing for a specific learning difference is more than just a diagnosis, it's about helping you reach your potential. An assessment and ongoing support can:

  • identify your strengths as well as what you need support with
  • find your unique learning style
  • create strategies for learning and moving forward 
  • develop a plan to access appropriate support 
  • raise your self-esteem and confidence.

Support for learning difficulties in London 

A learning difficulties diagnosis can bring awareness and support, but also means you are now navigating new terrain as a family. We offer child psychologists to help with co-occurring issues like anxiety and low self-esteem, as well as family therapy to help you cope together. One-on-one therapy for parents can also provide a much needed space to unload your worries and address your own self-care. 

Call us now on 020 8003 4173, or book online to make a confidential appointment with one of our talk therapists at Harley Street, in the City of London, or at London Bridge. 

Signs of learning difficulties

In children, learning difficulties can look like:

  • falling behind other students in certain areas and 'feeling stupid'
  • seeing learning as 'boring' and not wanting to do homework
  • overachieving in other ways, such as being very creative or chatty
  • frustration with learning that might lead to behavioural issues. 

In adults, learning difficulties can manifest as: 

  • avoiding reading, writing, or numbers
  • struggles in the workplace
  • anxiety and stress over daily tasks like banking, filling out forms
  • memory, time, and organisation difficulties
  • strained relationships as you feel misunderstood. 

Types of learning difficulties 

The learning difficulties recognised in the UK are dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. Many people have symptoms of several of these, so you might be given an umbrella diagnosis of 'specific learning difference’, or SpLD. 


The official UK definition of dyslexia offered by the British Psychological Society is of "a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed."


A common dual diagnosis with ADHD or autism, dypraxia is also known as ‘developmental coordination disorder’, or DCD. As well as causing problems with things like balance, spatial awareness, and hand-eye coordination, it also affects memory and can cause difficulties with remembering and organising time. 


This learning difficulty involves the connection between language and motor skills. Handwriting, spelling, and putting thoughts on paper can all be a challenge. 


When it's numbers and symbols that are confusing the diagnosis can be dyscalculia. As well as maths difficulties, it can lead to not understanding money, time, scheduling, or quantities. 

SpLDs Support - the Harley Therapy™ approach

At Harley Therapy we recognise that each client is unique. Our psychologists and psychotherapists are committed to understanding you, and to helping you navigate a learning difficulties diagnosis in the best ways possible. All of our team have at least five years of postgraduate experience, are fully accredited, and are trained at highly regarded institutions. With Harley TherapyTM, you are in safe hands.  

Further reading about learning difficulties and related disorders


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The NHS (National Health Service) is the UK's government run medical service. Their website is written and reviewed by medical experts.

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The UK Council for Psychotherapy

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is the UK’s leading organisation for psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. It regulates and registers trained and trainee counsellors.

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The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is an association for UK-based counselling professionals. It supports practitioners, enabling them to provide a better service.

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The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is the UK’s national radio and TV broadcaster. It’s the world’s largest, with 35,402 staff and 28 operating languages.

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Mind is a mental health charity covering England and Wales. It offers support to people with mental health problems and lobbies local and national governments.

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Turning Point

Turning Point is a UK charity and social enterprise which works in the mental health, learning disabilities, substance abuse, criminal justice and employment areas.

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The Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation is a UK charity which helps people to understand, protect and improve their mental health.

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Young Minds

Young Minds is a UK charity which works to improve the mental health of children and young people by providing appropriate support and resources.

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Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia that’s written and maintained by a global volunteer community. It’s the largest-ever reference work and receives 1.7 unique visitors monthly.

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How to book your session

Call us now on 0345 474 1724 OR

Book Online Now

All of our practitioners are qualified and accredited with reputable professional associations for counselling and psychotherapy.

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Harley Therapy Ltd. “Learning Difficulties Test London • Private Psychology • Harley Therapy™”. Harley Therapy, 15 Oct. 2021, https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/learning-difficulties-assessments-and-support.htm. Accessed 22 May. 2022.


Harley Therapy Ltd. (2021, October 15). Learning Difficulties Test London • Private Psychology • Harley Therapy™. Retrieved from https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/learning-difficulties-assessments-and-support.htm


Harley Therapy Ltd. "Learning Difficulties Test London • Private Psychology • Harley Therapy™." Last modified October 15, 2021. Accessed May 22, 2022. https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/learning-difficulties-assessments-and-support.htm.

Skype Therapy and Online Counselling

Learning Difficulties Assessment and Support in London

Educational psychologist services:

  • ADHD consultations
  • advice for other professionals 
  • autism assessment/support
  • dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia testing/support
  • EHC applications 
  • foster/ adoption concerns
  • IQ and cognitive testing
  • parenting and caregiver support
  • psycho-education
  • psychometric testing
  • school placements
  • SEND statements
  • statuatory assesments 
  • stress management
  • therapeutic sessions.
How do I get tested for learning disabilities in the UK?

You can either ask your GP for an NHS referral, but this may involve long waiting lists, or you can see a private educational psychologist for more immediate help.

Who can diagnose learning disabilities in the UK?

In the UK, learning disabilities are diagnosed by educational psychologists (children) or consultant psychologists or psychiatrists (adults). There may be GP involvement for some patients with more complex issues.

How do I get my child assessed for learning difficulties?

Your GP may refer your child to an educational psychologist after an initial assessment or you could consult a private practitioner directly. Your private clinic will liaise with your GP.


Is private testing available for learning disabilities?

Yes, private testing is available for learning disabilities in the UK but you must make sure that your practitioner is registered with a professional body such as the BPS or HCPC or GMC.

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