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Learning difficulties clinic

  • What does the Learning Difficulties Clinic offer?

    Children accepted to the RCH Centre for Community Child Health - Learning Difficulties Clinic are seen over 2-3 sessions by a paediatrician to support primary school aged children with concerns about learning progress. There may be teaching and research activities in the clinic.

    Patients are bulk billed for their consultations and therefore will need a referral from their general practitioner.

    Who should I talk to about my child's learning difficulties?

    Learning difficulties should first be discussed with the child's classroom teacher and/or school leadership team.  Schools may also have access to psychologists and speech pathologists for further assessment and support.  School based student support services are best placed to review a child's academic progress and cognitive profile, as well as to provide advice and guidance on teaching approaches.  

    We recommend you discuss your concerns about your child's learning with their teacher and request implementation of an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

    When might I need a referral to the Learning Difficulties Clinic?

    Following discussion with your child's teacher and implementation of an Individual Education Plan, if you or your child's teacher still have concerns or unanswered questions about your child's learning progress a referral for additional assessment may be appropriate.  This may include:

    • Referral to student support services within your child's school (or school network), and/or
    • Referral to a local paediatrician or psychologist, and/or
    • Referral to the Learning Difficulties clinic.

    What do I need to provide in a referral to the Learning Difficulties Clinic?

    Following discussion with school, if you and/or your child's teacher feel that an appointment at RCH is still required, please ask your GP refer to the RCH Developmental Intake Team and include the following to help us triage the referral appropriately:

    • A copy of the student's IEP - detailing goals and intervention strategies implemented.
    • Copies of reports from any educational, cognitive, or language assessments (if available).

    Does the Learning Difficulties Clinic offer cognitive assessments?

    Depending on availability, educational and cognitive assessments may also be carried out by a provisional psychologist in the clinic, alternatively school and private (paid for by the family) alternatives for seeking these assessments may be discussed.

    Where can I access a cognitive assessment for my child?

    Cognitive assessments are completed by psychologists.  Should this referral specifically require a cognitive assessment, it is recommended the referral is directed to either school (Department of Education or Catholic Education), private psychologist, or university psychology clinic. 

    What if I have additional concerns about my child's development and behaviour?

    If you are concerned about additional areas of your child's development (such as social skills, communication, movement, eating and/or sleep) we suggest talking with your GP about whether a referral to your local community paediatrician is appropriate to access ongoing care.

    Clinic time

    • Thursday am


    • Associate Professor Gehan Roberts 
  • Make an appointment

    To make an appointment for this clinic, a referral from the child's doctor needs to be forwarded to the Community Child Health Specialist Clinic.

    Forward a referral to the clinic via:

    Fax: (03) 9345 5034

    Phone: (03) 9345 6180

    Please note:

    • You must have a referral from a doctor. Please note that a referral from your GP is valid for 12 months and a referral from a specialist is valid for three months. This must be forwarded to the clinic before an appointment can be made.
    • You will be asked if the child has a UR number (Unit Record Number) from The Royal Children's Hospital. If the child has attended The Royal Children's Hospital before, they will have a UR number. If the child has not attended The Royal Children's Hospital before, registration details will be completed at the first visit.

    Contact Clinics

    All clinics are held at the Specialist Clinics of the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.  

    Visit the Specialist Clinics page for more information.


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.