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Primary Care Liaison

Learning difficulties - school problems

  • This pre-referral guideline covers learning difficulties and school problems in children from 5-18 years of age.

    Initial work-up


    • Standard history and physical exam. Include history from parents/ caregivers regarding onset and course of symptoms and family history of similar patterns.
    • Hearing and vision assessment.
    • School history.
    • Consider contributing causes eg anxiety, family dysfunction, auditory processing problems.
    • Consider co-morbidities e.g.ADHD, other  behaviour disorders, language disorders, developmental disorders, intellectual disability.
    • Consider administration of PEDS Screening Tool (Parents' evaluation of developmental status)

    When to refer

    • Significant parental concern PEDS Screening Tool
    • Child not functioning as expected in school.
    • Cause of learning problems not clear.
    • Routine school supports e.g. reading recovery, not effective or not sustained.
    • Previous assessments not well understood, or integrated into school or homework programs.
    • Child developing anxiety, low self esteem.

    Information needed

    • Demographic data.
    • Birth, developmental and medical history.
    • Family and social history.
    • School history.
    • Copies of previous of mental health, language, cognitive, audiology assessments.
    • Treatments: recommended and delivered.
    • Response to treatment.
    • Information regarding previous medication interventions.
    Referral form Referral form (Word)
    Parent handout Parent handout (pdf)


    Kids Connect (RCH Primary Care Liaison)

    Kids Health Info (Parent factsheets online)

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    Contact information

    Clinical advice

    Centre for Community Child Health:

    (03) 9345 6150

    Mental Health Intake:

    1800 445511

    Centre for Adolescent  Health:

    (03) 9345 5890

    RCH Emergency Department:

    03) 9345 6477



    Booking enquiries 
    appointment rescheduling

    (03) 9345 6180 

    Rural doctors only

    (03) 9345 6789 

    Admission enquiries


    General admission enquiries:

    (03) 9345 6172

    ED admission enquiries:

    (03) 9345 6477

    After hours / Switchboard:

    (03) 9345 5522



    Seriously unwell child:

    (03) 9345 7007

    RCH Drug info-line:

    (03) 9345 5208


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