How do I have my 7 yr old tested for Dyslexia?

Julie - posted on 11/05/2011 ( 31 moms have responded )

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At my son's second grade parent/teacher conference it was recommended to me that he be tested for Dyslexia. To my surprise the school had no information, or resources on how to go about it. Do I see the Pediatrician? Optometrist? Is it a Neuro-exam? Do I need a referral or letter from the school? I was diagnosed in college, and hope if my son has a learning disability we can address it as soon as possible. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

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Leesy - posted on 12/07/2011

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My daughter's kindergarten teacher identified that she was having difficulties in reading to her potential midway through her kindergarten year. The school recommended we test her and they determined that she had what they termed "learning differences." We're in a great public school in Texas where they had resources to get her tested by a specialist employed by the district. They said that they were not a medical facility so they could not make a medical diagnosis of dyslexia. However, they were prepared to give her special assistance with a teacher trained in dyslexia who is employed by our school district.

However, we wanted to get a medical diagnosis to be sure. So friends told us about Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, not far from where we live. They have a special program for testing for the medical diagnosis of dyslexia as well as identifying other learning differences. We filled out paperwork and more paperwork (and our child's teacher did the same), and after a couple of months they gave us an appointment for her to get tested at the hospital. There was a long waiting list, but they did a huge battery of tests, ALL FOR NO COST, because it is a Scottish Rite Hospital. Coincidentally, our school system has a Scottish Rite-trained specialist who works with our daughter EVERY DAY in our school - which is a huge blessing. However, we have friends whose child was tested for dyslexia at Scottish Rite, yet they didn't have a specialist in their school system. So, they bring their child DAILY to Scottish Rite DAILY for training with their dyslexia - ALL FOR NO COST. Before you spend a lot of money looking for answers, look for the resources in the area, go online and find support groups in your area who might be able to tell you how they got the answers they were looking for. I googled "Scottish Rite dyslexia CA" and found 13 locations in CA who might be able to assist. It's been a huge blessing for us. Best of luck!

Linda - posted on 11/11/2011

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My son's shool district said that dylexia is a medical term and that leagally they can not use that term. The school identified him with a "specific learning disability" 4 years ago; however, there was nothing specifically identified that I understood. He has trouble reading, writing and spelling. I already knew that and I was at a loss for what to do to help. Finally last year a teacher told me he exhibited "dyslexic tendencies" which I understood.

You need to send in writing (email works and keep a copy) to the teacher, the principal and the director of special education a request to have your child evaluated for a learning disability. If you google requesting a ETR you should find a form letter on line. The school should either provide a neuropsychological exam or they should pay for your son to have one. If you disagree with the evaluation, you have the right to request another independent evaluation (google IEE).

If your son does have dyslexia... the school will probably say something like... a specific learning disability where he lacks phonological awarenees and decoding skills. If this is the case, you need to make sure that the Individualize Education Plan (IEP) includes intensive reading instruction based on an Orton-Gillingham program with a qualified instructor.

I believe that in all states you can look up the teachers teaching certificates to see how qualified they are. Also ask if they have received training in an Orton-Gillingham based program. What I found in my district is that special ed teachers generally have provisional certifications and are waiting for a "real" teaching position to open up.
Dyslexics are said to normally be highly intelligent who hide their disability by compensation. Hence the reason you need someone highly qualified to help your son.

Follow your gut and don't delay. If you think something is wrong, it probably is. Don't let the school tell you otherwise. I've been at this battle for 8 year now. Good Luck!

Kristina - posted on 11/07/2011

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Hi Julie. My husband and I went through the the testing last year with our 10 year old.
In our state, this is how it worked: the school had to test her in order to get an IEP established; however, they would not test her for Dyslexia and from what I understand, most states will not - not sure about CA. We then took her to an outside Psychologist to get her tested specifically for Dyslexia and to rule out ADD (since they generally go hand in hand and the schools always seem to think of ADD but not Dyslexia). The school won't even recognize or use the term "Dyslexia" instead they refer to her as having a "specified learning disability", but they don't specify what that is!
Some of the things our daughter has been doing since pre-school that we had no clue about were forgetting letters. She would literally know the letter "v" the first time you went through the flashcards, but the second time say she didn't recognize it. Very typcial of Dyslexic's. Also typical is not being able to or refusing to sound out words, adding letters to words that aren't there, particularly in the middle of the word. When she reads, she reads very choppy. She is in 5th grade now, and her reading level as progressed to a beginning 3rd grade level, but her spelling is still at a 1.5 grade level. Again, very typcial.
When we brought up the term Dyslexia to our school, we were told they don't test for that, that Dyslexia is a medical term. So we called the Doctor. The Doctor told us what a lot of people have mentioned, that the school HAS to test for it because it was an educational problem. So we were getting the run around from both places.
There are also some great tools on Dyslexia websites that will help and will help you understand how to get your son tested! I did all of my own research because the school basically refused to help!
Good luck! and remember, you are your son's advocate so you may need to stay on the school system. We just started our 2nd year with an IEP and already I can see where we need to constantly "remind" teachers of things that need to be done - like having her planner read to her along with ALL tests. Sometimes they "forget" the small things that are in the IEP. Google will become a close friend of yours over the next few months and beyond!

JuLeah - posted on 11/07/2011

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@ Julie .... writing numbers backwards at age 7 is not cause for alarm.

Here is a check for you: Give tasks such as this ... put a 7 at the top of the page and many sevens below. Also put backwards sevens, upside down sevens .....

Have him circle the correct sevens

If he can see it, odds are he will be fine and just requires additional time and practice

Anne - posted on 11/22/2011

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You have to be tested by a psychologist. I am surprised the school doesnt have one. Unfortunately insurance usually doesnt cover it. I am dyslexic and a psychologist found it. It won't show up in any neurological, but sometimes it is something else and not dyslexia. An eye exam to make sure he is seeing and an hearing exam to make sure he hears well can rule out some learning disabilities. I have a masters degree, so being dyslexic is not the end of the world. Just make sure the school can handle a child with a learning disability. they have to by law.

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31 Comments

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Freda - posted on 06/09/2012

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The school is suppose to test your son as well as you need to get your own personal evaluation by going to your physician and getting a referral to a speech therapist who will test him when he first come in.



The school has the funds and they are to test your child but most schools wait until your child has failed a grade. The school when then seek a state psychologist to test your child. I noticed that my son was dyslexic at 2 yrs of age but he was diagnosed at 3 yrs old. I took him to my physician and asked him for a referral because I felt my child had other issues. He would not even talk at 3. He had maybe a 5 word vocabulary.

Julie - posted on 12/06/2011

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Thank you Mom's out there! After much ping-ponging back and forth, the school system did intervene. I was able to meet and discuss the need for testing, however it is benchmark assessment time and they did not recommend pulling him out of class at this point. I did get several tools to help him with his processing, and writing deficits. I am happy to say he tested in reading this week, and has jumped 4 levels in 3 months. Thanks for all the support and ideas, it really helps!!

Dorothy - posted on 11/22/2011

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Hey mom , I had to my son and have an independant weschler intelligent test, or the Wisc according to what state you are in , get onthe phone with your insurance compny they can lead you also I took my son to Lasalle Universties Pysc program they have lots of students who need the experience in doing these type of test and it is much cheaper,the dept chair heads it and they work hand in hand with me. I dont know what state u are in but get on the phone.Is your child in public or private school,if public the board of education has to supply the testing through your district.get him and advocate through parent involved network to help support you and to point you in the right direction.Private schools donot have to test the child. google "IDEA"independant education act . your child is elgible for a free and appropriate education in your state its called"FAPE" look into it .

Sabrina - posted on 11/19/2011

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Perhaps check with your Doctor first. My son has Visual Dyslexia. He was tested when he was 10-11 years old, he is now 27. This test was extremely interesting, he wore special coloured lenses for years and has recently just hads new glasses. He has just past his Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture. This was through Irlen Dyslexia centre in Forest Hills in Melbourne. I don't know of any other centres. I fee sure your Doctor should be able to help. Be assured your son is not stupid or anything else, he has a learning disability, he can be helped.

Rae - posted on 11/15/2011

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There have been many studies of children with learning differences (of which Dyslexia is one). Dyslexia is a neurological disorder and is hereditary. There are a mulititude of individual indicators of learning diferences and any given child can have 8 or more of these indicators presenting - so the possibilities are nearly infinite - one person will not present the exact same combination of indicators as the next. We took our son to the June Shelton School & Evaluation Center to be tested when he was 6 (prior to beginning 1st grade) where he was diagnosed as ADHD and "at-risk" for Dyslexia. They don't give the official Dyslexia diagnosis until 2nd grade, where his now and the diagnosis was confirmed. The school district we were in did not have any provisions for children with learning differences, so we moved to a new school district where they have a formal Dyslexia therapy remediation program in the school he attends. Additionally, they have placed him under the Section 504 umbrella which is a federal statute which requires schools to provide accomodations for children with learning differences, including extra time for tests, special locations (less distracting) and even someone to read the test to him, if necessary. The Section 504 umbrella will cover the child throughout school, even into college! Once you get your child under that Section 504 umbrella, do not let the school try to talk you out of it by saying your child is "cured". Remediation will retrain your child's brain, but because this is a (medical) neurological disorder, there is no "cure". There are several different specialized remediation programs. The Shelton School uses their own SEE (Sequential English Education) program in their school and the Shelton Scholars program. My son's school uses the Texas Scotish Rite program, Take Flight. There are many good sources of information and support for families of children with learning differences. Check out Rick Lavoie, he has some great books and DVDs on the subject. I have found them very helpful.

As Linda posted - don't delay! You are the best advocate for your child.

Julie-Ann - posted on 11/11/2011

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try seeing your gp that might help, i was lucky that the school could arrange for someone to come to the school and do it.

Teri - posted on 11/08/2011

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I can totally relate. Dealing with the same issue for my 8 year old daughter. our school system does not reconize it or give resources. I have been seeking outiside help but feel like im going in a circle. we have been requesting since she was in 1st grade to have her tested for a learning disability but since her reading is her main weakness they have put it off, Finally the paper work has pushed thru and we now hve to wait 60 days to see if she will qualigfy for special ed reaading. Its still does not get to the root of the problem. Our next step is to discuss things with her peditrician and see if they can test her or refer her some where to elminate dyslexia. My daughters grandfather and uncle both are. It can be hereditary. We did have her tested at a learning center for auditory processing disorder and she had alot of weakness but cannot afford the program. they wanted 10,000 for 6 mnths of training to help strengthen theses areas. Please keep posted as to what resources you find and I wish you the Best of Luck.

Rose - posted on 11/07/2011

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You would be surprised how many teachers do not know the steps necessary for an IEP, I would contact the school counselor to discuss the possibilty of Dyslexia. Just another note, my son also wrote paragraphs backwards, but punctution and spelling were correct and was on reading level. This was in the second grade. GOOD LUCK

Julie - posted on 11/07/2011

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@ Kathleen, instead of calling your learning center for refferal, I just googled as you suggested and got a page of referrals. Thanks again, time to start "shopping"

Julie - posted on 11/07/2011

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@ Lynn: Speaking of needing patience's... I noticed you have 5 children! I am from a family of 5 myself :) I want to say that I admire you, and wish you and your children much success and happiness.

Julie - posted on 11/07/2011

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@ Lynn: thanks for the suggestion, I am calling for a Pediatric appointment today, and maybe he can lead me in the right direction. So far, I am putting all my "feelers" out there and hoping to get a response!

Julie - posted on 11/07/2011

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Kathleen, I will call the McNichols Learning Center to see if they have any Nor Cal referrals. Thanks for taking the time to give me this information..

Julie - posted on 11/07/2011

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Juleah, thank for the cool technique test tip. I will try it and see how it goes. How about writing letters and reading backwards? Any ways to screen that at home? One time he wrote an ENTIRE SENTENCE backwards, perfectly! We read it in the mirror and made a game out of it, but inside I was like, wth?

Kathleen - posted on 11/07/2011

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Dear Julie,
Mrs. Mc Nichols is a learning disability specialist, with PHds in her office and she really specializes in child development. She has earned many awards in treating children and adults with dyslexia. Her place is not a learning center like Sylvan, not just tutoring, but brain development. You can call her office to get a referral in your area. The people at Sylvan might know of a cognitive therapy specialist, or try calling the McNichols Learning Center in Newport Beach. Best, Kathleen

Lynn - posted on 11/07/2011

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if u are in the uk then as the school your son goes to has no resources on testing for dyslexia the only way you can go is to your gp your doctor and explain this to the doctor and he will put you in touch with the right organisation for all this it happened to my daughter several years ago and i was put in touch with the right agency and she was tested and then results sent to her school and they had to get a special needs teacher in school once a week to help my daughtger in a short time she was managing a lot better i wish u all the luck your going to need a lot of patience if she is diagnosed with this

Julie - posted on 11/06/2011

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Thanks Kathleen! We have the Sylvan Learning Center in our area. I will look into seeing what they have to offer this week. I had assumed it was tutoring based, but maybe they have licensed therapist who evaluate and treat as well. The problem my son has had since preschool is common in the early years of learning. Spelling letters, words, and numbers backwards. As well as switching words in sentences while reading. I was diagnosed in College so wonder if it may be genetic? It is interesting to hear your son actually had an illness, I am glad he got the treatment he needed. My boy has been doing this for years, so wondering what's up and if it can change with therapy. Wish us luck!

Kathleen - posted on 11/06/2011

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Sorry, one more thought. Joan is familiar with what the state provides and how to apply for everything, if you need advice.

Kathleen - posted on 11/06/2011

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Why did the teacher suggest he might have dyslexia? It turned out our son had been having hidden strep infections, and he needed to have his tonsils removed because the antibodies were interfering with his learning. Weird thing called PANDAS. Our dyslexia specialist is the one who pegged it, bless her. She is Joan McNichols of the McNichols Learning Center in Newport Beach, CA.

Kathleen - posted on 11/06/2011

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Dear Julie,
We went to a learning center in our area where they test for dyslexia. Just Google it! Good luck!

Marilyn - posted on 11/06/2011

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My experience with special ed is in Connecticut. I'm not sure whether the law regarding time limits to act is state law or federal. As I mentioned, the LDA (national and state level) should provide you with a wealth of information. They were helpful to me. Good luck.

Julie - posted on 11/06/2011

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Thanks Marilyn, I assumed I needed something in writing to take some where? I will start by emailing the principal today!

Marilyn - posted on 11/06/2011

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You need to make a formal request (in writing) of your school (assumning that you are in a public school system) to have your child tested. They have specific time frames determined by law to get back to you and provide the testing. If they don't have the staff to do it, they can contract it out, but they have to do appropriate testing for educational purposes. Contact the national Learning Disabilities Association and/or the one for your state. If you attend either a private school or parochial school, you need to contact the public school in your town and ask to speak to the head of special education. That person will be able to give you the correct information for your state.

Julie - posted on 11/06/2011

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@ Louise: Thanks for your response. "Lazy school" is kind of an understatement. They would say overwhelmed and under funded. For the record, this is a California public school so that should speak for itself. I have gone to the school board on other issue last year, and was hoping to avoid the politics and headaches this year. The truth is, I don't mind perusing my sons testing on my own in his behalf. I am not impressed with much the school has to offer anyway. I just need some direction on where to go? Special Ed teachers in the US are trained to help the children once diagnosed, but how do I find out if he actually has a learning disability or not? Wish me luck ;)

Julie - posted on 11/06/2011

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Hi JuLeah, Thank you for your response. To be more specific, my son's teacher did not diagnosis my son with "dyslexia", she simply noted his difficulty with spelling of letters and numbers backwards, as well as reading backwards. He's ability (potential) and performance level is good, but he has been doing this perfectly backwards thing since preschool. I am not sure what state you live in, but I don't think California has a state law requiring the school to do anything. (I will look into it to be sure). I am told it is solely up to the parent, and their discretion. Due to learning disabilities possibly being a genetic, the teacher "agreed" he would benefit from further testing. However, she had no direction for me on how to peruse it? I feel it would be in the best interest for my son to confirm or deny any problems. His vision and hearing have been check and are good. The question is where to go from here? I do have insurance, so do not need state services.

Louise - posted on 11/06/2011

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Dyslexia can be anything from miss reading letters and numbers to wrighting backwards on the paper but still able to read it. Go back to the school and ask them exactly what they mean and ask them for examples. In the UK every school has a special education teacher that is fully trained to deal with any need of an individual child. Surely they have one in the states too. This is not for you to persue, if it is an educational problem it is an educational professional required to deal with it. It sounds to me like you have a very lazy school on your hands here. If you do not get any luck then ring your local council and ask there advice.

JuLeah - posted on 11/05/2011

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Dyslexia is a broad term.... not often used any more and I am puzzled that the teacher did

If they feel there is a problem ... and it is not their place to diagnose and or even suggest he be, but they did, so ... the school does that. They have a professional come in for the evaluation .... by law, they are required to do this

At their expense

Basically they are looking for a discrepancy between his ability (potential) and his performance level ...

They will need to rule out all other possible reason for the discrepancy - vision, hearing ....

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