How Do I Find Someone to Test My Son for Dyslexia?

Updated on June 02, 2011
T.R. asks from Watkinsville, GA
10 answers

My son just finished 1st grade. He has always struggled with reading, writing, spelling. He can't easily blend sounds, writes letters backwards. Basically, he fits 90% of the symptoms that I've read about online. But I can't figure out how to find someone qualified to test him. Any help is appreciated.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

It sounds like you have already done some research, but keep in mind that for his age a lot of it is still in the range of developmental... I was still reversing letters in 2nd grade, and I know of many other kids who do as well.

But I know you are looking for more peace of mind. I agree to talk to both the pediatrician and the school special ed department. They can direct you to the right people.

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answers from Washington DC on

first check with the school district and have him tested there....if they won't do anything - go to your pediatrician.

If you were here in VA, I would recommend you taking him to the Children's Center here that tests for learning disabilities, dyslexia and a whole array of things!!!

Your pediatrician should be able to recommend a child neurologist (as this is a cognitive brain issue NOT a normal thing)....if they refuse to help...i would change peds and search out one that listens and cares.

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answers from New York on

My daughter has dyslexia. I suggest that you read "Overcoming Dyslexia" by Sally Shawitz. The book will help you understand the process of getting diagnosed.

Sally Shawitz and her husband both MDs have dedicated their lives to studying dyslexia. They are out of YALE, in New Haven, CT. You can google YALE DYSLEXIA CLINIC for more information. The information will help you know what to ask for in your area.

Check out the National Dyslexia Association on line.

Should your child be diagnosed look into Orton Gillingham Method for learning to read. My daughter is in an Orton Gillingham program and is reading at grade level now.

Check out the Masonic Learning Center - Google one in your area, they offer free Orton Gillingham tutoring. My daughter is in the program and they are wonderful.

Check out the Learning Disability Association in your area, they will help provide you with information regarding special education and diagnosis. Get yourself an Advocate through the Learning Disability Association.

Check out Wrights Law online for information related to No Child left behind laws. You will need to have a basic understanding of these laws when you are fighting for your child to get the services he needs at school.

Most of all Trust your instinct! Meaning you may need to get outside testing if you disagree with the schools results - I did.

Always remember that dyslexia is not the end of the world - Your son probably very gifted in many ways as most with dyslexia are!

I just want to add that your son is absolutely not too young to be diagnosed with dyslexia, people and possibly the school will try to tell you that, but the experts say the younger the child is identified and intervention started the better the outcome. My daughter was diagnosed in first grade and she is now in 4th grade and will soon be out of special education because of her early intervention she learned the correct way and never developed poor self esteem and we always told her how special she was for having dyslexia, she is very proud and smart, her iIQ score is higher than the average kid her age

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answers from San Francisco on

Start with the school, if they don't have the resources to test him they can refer you to someone. Also ask his pediatrician.


answers from Spokane on

Your son is still too young to accurately test for dyslexia just because so many children that age have those problems and they naturally grow out of them. I am not discounting your worries. My sibs & have varying degrees of dyslexia in different forms so I'm aware of it. I have wondered if my oldest son could have it. He's almost 9 and has a host of other problems such as speech delay, developmental delays, fine motor delay, etc. He's old enough now that within the next year or so he doc can give me a referral to the local people I need to see. I am waiting longer just because of his delays because I want to make sure it's as accurate as possible.

HOWEVER, your son could have still have a problem even if it's not necessarily dyslexia. Haven't your sons school brought it up? Did they enroll him in a special education plan? Does he have or qualify for an IEP?

Have you had your son evaluated by a speech therapist, had his hearing and eyes checked, etc? I would start there if you haven't.

Also, be very careful of having a label applied to your child. Once that label is applied, it can not always be removed even it no longer really applies and the authorities really do treat your child differently. Some institutions will look at his record, see dyslexic (for instance) and then automatically only do things with him that they know work for dyslexics. They won't work with him in the way that is best for him and in the end will help build the rut that he could very easily get stuck in. I'm not saying everyone is like that but you have to be very prepared that it could easily be the case.

My sons first school was like that. They saw he had a speech delay and that he was ODD and that was that. THIS is how we deal with it and THIS is what we will do with him and THIS is what his schedule will be like regardless of how well it would work if we did it THAT way. However, his second school (he's been there 2 years now) is totally AWESOME! They have bent over backwards to provide him the services he needs in the ways that he responds to. They had his desk placed in a certain spot, he works with number lines on his story problems instead of drawing pictures or using manipulatives, and he's given multiple choice instead of fill in the blank, etc. His special ed teacher even ordered a completely new curriculum because he wasn't responding to the one she was using. And no, we don't attend a private or even especially affluent school.

Oh, and do keep in mind that a lot of research is starting to show that we push a little ones into school, especially the boys, too early and a lot of them aren't really ready to learn until they're around 7 even though they're considered at risk by then. For instance my youngest son was behind in his reading, they insisted he do Title I (because of state mandates) and then this year he had special ed. I wasn't really worried and he's actually made leaps and bounds this year. I see no problems with him catching up to his peers within the next school year. He'll turn 8 early this fall.

Like I said, talk to your sons doc, have him write some referrals to have eyes and hearing checked (not just by the doc, I mean professionally) and then go from there. The eyes could be easily impacting the reading if he needs glasses. As for the hearing, if that checks out just fine, then go with a speech therapist. They'll know what red flags to look for is he has an auditory processing disorder, etc. Also find a psychologist. They'll help a lot with helping your figure out what's going on with your son.

Good luck!



answers from Columbia on

Hi T.,
Here's a friend of mine who can answer your questions--she's excellent at working with children:
Lesa Hall
E-Mail: [email protected]
Web Site:



answers from Redding on

My daughter also had a tough time, especially with writing, however, she was not dyslexic at all. She writes with her left hand but does most everything else with her right hand. She wrote letters and numerals backwards and sometimes mixed letters up.
She completely grew out of it by just working on it with her at home.
Her teachers weren't concerned and said that many kids do it.
In the fall, I would talk to his new teacher about your concerns and find out what type of evaluations are available to your child.

Work with your son over the summer having him practice reading writing and spelling.

Best wishes.



answers from New York on

Call and make an appointment with your school psychologist. Go into that meeting with an open mind. At his young age, there is a lot of overlap b/w reading disorders, language disorders and general "developmental" ranges. Unfortunately, your post suggests that the school year is over, which means that your child may need to be tested in the fall. Call the district's Office of Special Education and talk with someone who can help you contact the right person regarding a summer evaluation. When I worked as a school psych, I did a lot of testing over the summer, but every state has different regulations!

**There is no evaluation for "dyslexia" and if someone tells you that there is... run the other way! You want to have your child participate in a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment that includes a complete evaluation of his reading and writing skills and a complete language evaluation.



answers from Minneapolis on

The posts below about talking with the school first are right--and if you don't feel like you're getting a respectful response, keeping going up the chain of command. Otherwise you're looking for a psychologist to do the testing, but be aware that most insurance companies do not cover testing for learning disabilities and it can be quite expensive. I'd also recommend asking the psychologist if they have experience with learning disability assessment in kids as not all do. Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

Ask the school. They should be able to do it. If not, ask for guidance from the pediatrician.

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