View Full Version : Dyslexia diagnosis from school?

04-10-08, 12:44 PM
I have a 9 year old ADD (inattentive) daughter who has always struggled with reading. Her tutor (a literacy specialist) says she has mild to moderate visual dyslexia - I agree with her diagnosis and my daughter has all the symptoms, including the red flags when she was younger. The school recently tested her to determine her eligibility for services. Their evaluation showed that while she is below average in word recognition and fluency, all other areas are within a normal (low average) range. They seem to really skirt around saying the word "dyslexia". Is there a reason the school would want to avoid labeling a child as dyslexic? She already qualifies for 504 accommodations based on her ADD diagnosis, so what's the difference if we add a dyslexia diagnosis?

04-11-08, 12:54 AM
They seem to really skirt around saying the word "dyslexia". Is there a reason the school would want to avoid labeling a child as dyslexic? She already qualifies for 504 accommodations based on her ADD diagnosis, so what's the difference if we add a dyslexia diagnosis?

It could be any thing from political correctness to an attempt to avoid providing specialized reading instructions - ADD diagnosis doesn't require as much in the way of special instruction and a diagnosed learning disorder?

04-11-08, 01:10 AM
m1229, I would call your school district office and ask to speak to someone who can tell you if your daughter's school is allowed to diagnose dyslexia.

04-11-08, 01:28 AM
I'm a little dubious of the qualifications of the people diagnosing your child. I would seek out a qualified medical expert to diagnose your child's dyslexia.

04-11-08, 09:03 AM
It's not uncommon for kids with ADHD to have other learning disabilities- we found my son's ADHD because I was worried that he had dyslexia!

The issue with the school is that she may require additional services and a formal IEP- I would recommend checking out Peter Wright's Wrightslaw web page to get a handle on what to do to meet all the legal requirements for getting services from school (ie. you have to make a request for testing in writing and give your consent and the same time, to trigger the clock rolling for how long they have to do the tests....)

Do consider a full neuropsychological/educational testing done by an independent practitioner. You can often find them through your pediatrician or local children's hospital. These evaluations can sometimes be pricey, but it will give you a formal batch of testing to compare to that of the schools- the school might accept your expert's as well; it's an opinion unbiased of the delivery of the service, so no one has their thumb on the proverbial scale in making any decisions. I never regret spending the money we spent on testing- knowing more about how my son learns, his real strengths as well as weaknesses has been key in helping him succeed in school, and for me to understand what parts of school might cause him trouble- and to be able to head off those issues in advance.

In the meantime, there are many great things you can do to help kids with dyslexia- audio books are great; has a new kids section. There are fantastic reading programs like Wilson reading, LETRS and Linda Mood Bell that can really help kids with dyslexia break the code and learn to read well.

Best of luck and let us know what happens-


04-14-08, 01:27 PM
IRC, dyslexia is more of a medical diagnosis/term. I'm not even sure it is the term used in the DSM-IV (psychiatrists diagnostic bible) as a type of learning disability (instead, they use the term learning disorder in reading or something similar). In other words, it may just be a vocabulary issue, rather than an attempt to skirt the issues.

05-13-08, 01:39 PM
Thanks to all of you for your input.

It's been quite interesting as I've done a bit more research on the school's role in diagnosing dyslexia. I've discovered that most schools don't test for a particular learning disability. The school assessments are focused on determining whether or not a child is eligible for special ed (i.e. discrepancy between IQ and performance) - and that's it.

This discovery really upset me because the school never told me this - even when I came right out and asked if they thought my daughter had dyslexia! So, last week I asked the special ed teacher why they wouldn't address dyslexia directly and she said it was because if they use that term many people (teacher's included) think the child is then unable to learn to read. Personally, I don't buy this explanation or they would have told me that when we met to talk about my daughter's evaluation results.

This makes me so angry because all the research shows that these kids can be identified with fairly high accuracy at a young age (1st grade) and interventions put in place to prevent them from getting behind in reading. There are many accommodations and strategies that are quite effective and we could have saved my child the last 3 years of extreme frustration. Not to mention the next couple years of private tutoring outside of school and being pulled out of class for special help to catch her up with her reading.

We are going to have her tested privately to determine exactly where her strengths and weaknesses are. It is quite expensive ($1500), but I think it will be worth every penny.

05-13-08, 01:52 PM
.... here I also want to ask... Has your daughter had a full eye exam? Sometimes, problems reading come from not being able to see properly.

But also... if she is truly dyslexic, there are ways to overcome. Try using colored plastic overlays. Place it over what you want her to read... and see if it makes a difference.

Glasses with a darker gray tinted lense has also been known to help *see* the words.. instead of a mass of black on paper.

It brings the words to the forefront.

I'll be waiting to read the results from the doctor.

We have a search engine on site... search for: dyslexia, Irlen's Syndrome
If you can't find it.. pm me. I'll do the searching.
Or you can google.

05-20-08, 11:25 PM
Is there a difference between "DYSLEXIA" and, say, what the DSM-IV might call "Reading Disability - NOS"?

Anybody know?

05-22-08, 02:45 PM
Is there a difference between "DYSLEXIA" and, say, what the DSM-IV might call "Reading Disability - NOS"?

Anybody know?

I don't think so. . . I don't know why the DSM-IV doesn't use the term "dyslexia." It's used primarily in the medical and research literature, but less so in the educational and psychological literature.

A good article about the definitions of reading based LD's:

05-30-08, 07:48 AM
I just thought I would share with you the fight we have had to get help for our son. Reading your posts, I can relate to all of them.
My son will be 9 this October. He is sweet little boy, who does mix with others reasonably well, but falls out easily. He is happy to play on his own for hours. He has the most apalling memory and has only just yesterday remembered how to count to 59! I am yet to see if he can repeat that achievement. He took a whole term to remember what class number he was in and the name of his teacher.
He is just over two years behind in his reading, he can only read 3-4 letter words providing they can be sounded out phonentically. He is incredibly stressed in any academic situation, to the point that he is ill. It was pointed out to me that lack of action for Scott was partly because he would happily sit there unnoticed, whereas if he was disruptive and a complete pain in the wotsit, the teacher would be wanting something sorted. This drove me nuts as Nursery even sent a letter to express their concerns that Scott could not cope with school.
In desperation I took him to the opticians,who couldnt test him because he had focussing issues. This meant using eye drops to dilate the pupils. This was no mean feat for him, bless him. It stung like mad, and left him wide eyed like the cat from Shrek for almost 2days! Sunglasses and a peaked hat definitely needed!! It was discovered that he was likely to be Dyslexic and had a Colourymetry Test to determine the results. It was found that blue tints worked well and the writing didnt bounce around the page quite so much.
For three years I have begged the school to step in. I was always fobbed off with 'he's too young' and 'he's just a late developer'. My husband and I were so frustrated at the lack of support that we looked into trying to deal with things ourselves. Firstly we put him on the Dore programme, which for something that seems so simple and easy, he could barely do! We also had a lovely, kind Educational Psychologist recommended to us. He diagnosed Meares Irlen Syndrome, (sometimes known as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome), and learning disabilities. On one of the tests he did for memory, Scott came out on the 1st percentile. I didnt even know what that meant. But I cried when it was explained to me.His other results came out at 25th percentile and lower. He even commented that Scott must have a miserable existence in school.

We waited 3yrs to find out from a professional and frankly I am disgusted that we had to go private for the Ed Psych when there is one linked to the school. But having said that, it was 250 well spent, I can tell you!

As soon as I kicked up a fuss and handed in that report, things have started to happen. He now has an IEP. He is now on Wave 3.(apparently there are 3 bands of help, 1 being light support,2 moderate support & 3 is 1-1 help).
We are making very slow progress. But having the private Ed psych report is what really clinched it...and I suppose the threat of me going to the Education department and reporting them for negligence might have swung it I suppose. I would recommend the private report as the Ed Psych had to do a proper evaluation of Scott and document it. He was with Scott for about two-two and a half hours. I guess with the school, they would have been unlikely to have had that amount of time spent on him as they are so busy.

I guess the bottom line is that as a parent if you know something isnt right, then its down to you to fight for your children on their behalf. I know this sounds feisty, and I guess it is. But after 3yrs, I wish I had kicked up harder and sooner.

Maybe this can help anyone in the UK:
Advisory Centre for Education
Tel: 020 7704 3370 or Freephone 0808 800 5793

They will give you advice, and tell you exactly what help you should be receiving, where to go, and how to do it. A couple of friends called them and said they were a great help. Pointed out lots of things that they didnt even know about!

Other reading schemes that I have heard about are:
Fuzz Buzz (Scott is using these now in school and thinks they are great),
WASP is another one that I have just been told about and will look into.
Toe by Toe - we are doing this now, but have got stuck on it now.

I hope this helps

05-30-08, 09:06 AM
I also forgot to say that a year ago I did manage to get an appointment with the school ed Psych. He never met my son at all, but decided from what I was saying that I ought to be giving him Eye-Q capsules(omega 3). He did not discuss anything through with the school, nothing was documented by him about my concerns, he made no effort to see my son at all. His best input to the whole situation was Eye-Q!
Needless to say that he is no longer linked to our school. This is why I am pleased we went private. Otherwise we would still be where we were three years where.