Do I need to have my child tested for dyslexia?

There are a number of valid reasons for which parents should have their child evaluated.

  • To confirm that the learning struggles are from dyslexia.
  • Upon identification of the problem, you will then know what type of help a child will need to be successful.
  • To spend your child’s valuable time only on interventions that work.
    • Many parents waste significant amounts of time and money on therapies or interventions that will not help.
    • Help your child’s tutor know what weaknesses and strength’s that your child has so that they better know how to help correct for those weaknesses.
  • To be able to request a specific type of intervention or therapy on a child’s IEP.
  • To be able to explain to your child that they just learn differently.
    • Most children are helped by knowing that they are not “stupid” of “lazy”.
  • To qualify for assistive technologies such as Bookshare or Learning Ally
    • these Audiobooks will open the world of grade appropriate literature to your child by the use of audiobooks at affordable pricing.
  • For college-age students, it is imperative for their success that they can receive accommodations for
    • standardized testing
    • college entrance exams
    • along with general course testing
    • possibly receive an exemption from foreign language requirements in college.
      • It is a well known fact that if a person is dyslexic in their native language they will also be dyslexic in a foreign language

How does one test for dyslexia?

  • There is not one single definitive test that says one is dyslexic.
  • There is no lab or x-ray test that a doctor can do in their office to diagnose dyslexia.

Instead, diagnoses are made by doing a  comprehensive reading evaluation which is more a battery of assessments used to  assess a student’s basic literacy skills.

  • It requires evaluators that are  very skilled and knowledgeable with respect to understanding how the brain learns language and how the brain learns to read.
  • Evaluators must have expertise in working with children, in addition to being able to recognize medical conditions that can cause learning problems.

School Screening versus Full Evaluation

Since October 2015, schools now screen for dyslexia.

  • A positive screening is not an actual diagnosis.

An Alabama Game Changers evaluation is different from a school’s IEP eligibility testing that uses a discrepancy model.

  • Most schools basically compare IQ to achievement.
  • If a significant severe discrepancy exists, then your child would qualify for special education services.
  • This discrepancy assessment model does not always
    • identify the problem,
    • assess the specific weaknesses or strengths of each child, or
    • guide the intervention needed to correct the learning difference
    • therefore, not closing the educational gap for this child.
  • For example, IEP eligibility testing could document a Specific Learning Disability in Reading but not specify this disability as dyslexia.
    • This is an important distinction because not all Specific Learning Disabilities in Reading meet the research based definition of Dyslexia.

Previously, it is important to recognize that most dyslexics were never identified and few ultimately failed enough to meet qualifications for an IEP. Although many erroneously

  • believe that dyslexics cannot read,
  • they can but must use different strategies to do so
    • These are intelligent children that work extremely hard to keep up.
  • Unfortunately for many children, these unused strategies will fail to keep them in synch with their peers by the 3rd to 4th grade if not sooner.
    • These children will always continue to struggle without the correct intervention and appropriate accommodations.

What is most interesting is that research  has shown that for many…

if this learning difference is identified when a child is just learning to read

and then early & appropriate intervention is given;

that this learning difference in many cases

should never progress to become a disability.

Identifying early and providing the correct intervention is key!

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