Getting a correct diagnosis for dyslexia can sometimes be a difficult process. There is a great deal of misinformation circulating about where to have a child tested for dyslexia. Schools will often refer families to their pediatrician, claiming that it is a medical issue. In return, doctors will tell parents that dyslexia is not a medical diagnosis and that the schools are responsible for the testing. Neither option will give families the information they need.
It is a misconception that schools test to diagnose. They do not. The testing that public schools provide is to determine if a child qualifies for special educational services in a certain area, such a reading. They do not diagnose *why* the child is struggling so much with reading. This can lead to ineffective instruction for the dyslexic child, as research shows that they need a different methodology of instruction to be taught how to read, write and spell than is typically taught in regular and special educational classrooms.
However, only 1 in 10 students with dyslexia will qualify for special educational services. This gives many families the false impression that their child does not have dyslexia or even a problem at all. Families are told that their child is a “late bloomer” or will “catch up”. Often the correct diagnosis is delayed several more years until the student is struggling to a point where they have started to develop self-esteem issues and have fallen even further behind their peers. The window of early intervention has been lost and now their remediation will be much longer and more difficult.
Although dyslexia is a neuro-biological issue and can be seen on fMRIs, the diagnosis for dyslexia is not determined by a family doctor or pediatrician. The information needed to diagnose dyslexia and to determine its effects is educational in nature. That is why medical insurance does not typically cover dyslexia testing or remediation. The solution for dyslexia is a specific type of educational methodology, not a medical solution such as surgery or medication.
The single most important factor to getting the correct testing done for dyslexia is to make sure that the person doing your assessment truly understands dyslexia and knows what to look for. It is surprising how many professionals have never had formal training on dyslexia. Many families have paid educational psychologists, or even neuropsychologists, many thousands of dollars and not received the correct diagnosis because of a lack of education and awareness around dyslexia.
Our goal at the Northwest Dyslexia Center is to make sure that we help your family get an appropriate evaluation. Many factors such as age, severity, co-existing conditions, amount and types of testing that you want done, type of education (private, public or homeschool) financial considerations, and what you hope to gain from testing will help determine the most appropriate type of testing for your family. If we feel that we are not the best service for assessing your child, we will happily refer you to other professionals who also understand dyslexia so that you can feel confident in their findings. We offer free phone consultations to help you decide on the best option for your circumstances.