Dyslexia vs. Developmental Disabilities

There’s an alphabet soup of terms referring to children who don’t learn at the same rate as their peers: developmental disability*, learning disability, special needs, and learning disorders, to name a few. Unfortunately, these broad terms don’t help us identify the specific problems faced by one child or the solutions that are best suited to that child’s needs.

We know that there are many reasons why children have difficulty learning to read. In public schools, children with reading problems may be grouped together, without evaluation or diagnosis, in remedial reading programs that can’t help them.

The International Dyslexia Association refers to dyslexia as a language-based learning disability “that does not arise from a physical limitation or a developmental disability.” To repeat: Dyslexia is NOT a developmental disability. Children don’t “grow out” of it or improve by repeating a grade or with “a little more time.”

The only certain way to know if a child is dyslexic is for the child to have a professional evaluation by a qualified psychologist, speech-language pathologist, or clinical educator.

Fortunately, there is now a free online dyslexia test that can indicate whether a child is reading at grade level or should be evaluated for dyslexia. That test is the Lexercise Screener. In just 5 to 10 minutes, in the privacy of a home computer, the research-based results can offer parents the first confirmation that their child needs help (or does not) and direct the parents toward qualified clinicians.

Lexercise offers five free learning disabilities tests. If you have questions about language learning or would like more information about Lexercise, give us a call at 1-919-747-4557 or e-mail info@lexercise.com.

*According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. People with developmental disabilities have problems with major life activities such as language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living. Developmental disabilities begin anytime during development up to 22 years of age and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.”

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.