Who is Qualified to Make a Dyslexia Diagnosis?

Who Is Qualified to Make a Dyslexia Diagnosis?

Guidance on Getting a Dyslexia Diagnosis

You may be concerned that your child is dyslexic. But who is qualified to make a dyslexia diagnosis? The school may be telling you one thing while your pediatrician is telling you another.

 

Unfortunately, there is no federal law that makes it clear, however, The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)  has advice on guidance about the diagnosis of dyslexia and the determination of a disability.  The NCLD has provided the following guidance about who may diagnose dyslexia:  

“Professionals with expertise in several fields are best qualified to make a diagnosis of dyslexia. The testing may be done by a single individual or by a team of specialists. A knowledge and background in psychology, reading, language, and education are necessary. The tester must have a thorough working knowledge of how individuals learn to read and why some people have trouble learning to read. They must also understand how to administer and interpret evaluation data and how to plan appropriate reading interventions.”

 

Evaluating for Dyslexia and Other Language Processing Disorders

The International Dyslexia Association‘s facts sheet on Testing and Evaluation by Diane J. Sawyer, Ph.D., and Karen M. Jones, Ed.S., NCSP makes the following points about what should be included in an evaluation for dyslexia and other language processing disorders:  

  • Background information should be included.
  • Intelligence testing is no longer considered necessary. Instead, oral language abilities (listening and speaking) are more predictive.
  • Oral language skills should be documented.
  • Word recognition (word reading) should be tested.
  • Decoding should be tested.
  • Spelling should be tested.
  • Phonological processing should be tested.
  • Automaticity /fluency skills should be tested.
  • Text Reading /comprehension should be tested.
  • Vocabulary knowledge should be tested.
  • Evaluation outcomes should provide the framework for the detailed evaluation of relative strengths and weaknesses across the various skill areas.
  • Diagnosis should be made by a professional who is thoroughly familiar with the important characteristics of language-literacy disorders/dyslexia.
  • Intervention planning recommendations should be included in the written report.
  • Documentation should acknowledge that the “specific criteria, such as cutoff scores for eligibility [for special education] vary from state to state”.

 

How Lexercise Can Help

Lexercise Online Reading and Writing TherapistsThe Lexercise Evaluation Procedures have been developed based on current best-practice. We use the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Federal Act 1990) definition of “disability” (i.e., ”a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities”).  Reading and writing are certainly considered “major life activities”.  Our evaluation is designed to determine if the individual has an “impairment which substantially limits” reading and/or writing.

Lexercise refers to professionals with this kind of expertise as “clinicians.”  Our clinicians may have gotten their basic training in psychology, speech-language pathology, education, or medicine.   Beyond that basic training, they have had extensive training in language science, including reading and written language science, as well as in testing and measurement, as described by the IDA Standards. If you are concerned, you can screen your child for free in 15 minutes by clicking here. If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we can help your child overcome their learning disabilities, you can see our online therapy options here.

Famous Dyslexics: Science

famous dyslexics in scienceDyslexia does not have to limit your accomplishments. Read the stories of three famous dyslexics who thrived in science despite their struggles…

Ann Bancroft

“My dyslexia and my challenges through school were the absolute perfect training for an expedition. Expedition people are all about one step in front of the other and not going very fast, just doing the hard work. What better way to get the work ethic than by having a learning difference?”

picture of Ann BancroftAnn Bancroft did not let her struggles with reading and mathematics stop her from becoming the first woman to cross both the North Pole and the South Pole.

From a young age, Ann Bancroft was keenly aware that she thrived in nature, but not the classroom. In order to get by in school, Bancroft managed her troubles in reading, spelling, and mathematics with the help of tutors and her parents. After the successful completion of fourth grade, Bancroft’s family relocated to Kenya. Bancroft remembers these years to be the most influential in her life. Her experiences in the natural world allowed her to be more expressive and confident in taking on challenges.

When she returned to the States two years later, she enrolled in the seventh grade at an academically prestigious school. In an effort to move forward in school, Bancroft and her family ignored her learning troubles and pressed on. Despite working tirelessly to improve her academics, she never saw the results she hoped for. By the recommendation of teachers, Bancroft was tested and diagnosed with dyslexia that same year. This diagnosis was a relief to her worried parents, but Bancroft did not want to be an outcast from her peers. Even with the knowledge of her learning disability, she continued to fall behind in school. Administration began to pull her out of extracurricular like art, music, and sports. Bancroft was left with no outlets to be expressive.

Bancroft transferred to another school to finish her last two years of high school and went on to receive an education degree from the University of Oregon. After spending four years working in special education, Bancroft decided to take a chance and do something extraordinary: go to the North Pole.

Being able to accomplish such a goal inspired Bancroft to create multiple foundations to fund and support children who desire to explore their passions outside of the classroom. In addition, she travels as a public speaker, sharing stories of her adventures with nature and dyslexia.

 

Carol Greider

“I learned that I had to work hard. But maybe because I was putting myself in a different category because there wasn’t anyone around to say, ‘It’s not because you’re stupid, it’s because you have this other issue,’ which I can now say to my son.”

Carol Greider alwayspicture of Carol Greider saw herself as “stupid” as a child and never intended to pursue a career in science. Ironically, the American molecular biologist won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering telomerase, an enzyme that has the potential to fight cancer and age-related diseases.

Greider says her early school days were not easy, as she struggled with spelling and sounding out words. She remembers being taken to separate rooms to learn, which deflated her confidence. Thanks to her determination, school got better for Greider. Instead of letting failures defeat her, she pushed through to accomplish her goals. One of her tricks was using memorization to remember difficult words such as dinosaur names. Greider did not identify herself as dyslexic until she later watched her own son face the same problems she did with reading.

After working in a laboratory in undergraduate school, the daughter of two biologists decided to pursue a graduate program. This was not an easy tasks, as most school rejected her because of her low standardized test scores. Thankfully, U.C. Berkley accepted Greider based on an interview and her high grades, experience, and drive. This is where she would go on to complete the groundbreaking research that garnered her a Nobel Prize.

Greider says a lot of her success and strength is attributed to her dyslexia. Because of her learning disability, she learned the importance of hard work and perseverance. 

Albert Einstein

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. Imagination encircles the world.”

picture of Albert EinsteinAlthough dyslexia diagnoses were not common during his lifetime, some academic societies believe famous genius Albert Einstein exhibited many symptoms consistent with those we now know to be related to dyslexia.

It was recorded Einstein did not speak until the age of three. His verbal development remained stagnant in school, where he struggled with arithmetic and foreign language studies. Teachers perceived the young boy as lazy and worthless. On the other hand, Einstein excelled in areas that utilized his nonverbal abilities. His interest in geometry flourished with the help of his uncle. He began to understand complex puzzles and prove theorems. His success in complex geometry and other visual subjects made him a creative thinker. 

His verbal struggles continued into his adult life. Einstein’s working memory was also poor. He did not exhibit strong memorization skills, often forgetting sequences as simple as the months of the year. Despite his struggles, he made scientific contributions that still continue to influence today’s understanding of the world around us.

Ensure your child’s success by getting them the help they need. You can screen your child for dyslexia with our free dyslexia screener. 


AnnBancroft 2006-02-06″ by Jonathunder – Own work. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Commons
Carol Greider © Prolineserver 2010 / Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons
Einstein Photo Credit: Flickr: o5com

Local Dyslexia Evaluations – Reviewing In-Person Dyslexia Testing

Boy and Mom doing homework For parents of struggling readers and writers, the following story sounds familiar. A mother watches her child struggle to read, write, or spell. She knows her son is smart—he can take things apart and put them together again and his listening comprehension is excellent—yet he has difficulties in school. She senses there is a more fundamental problem and wants to have him tested for dyslexia. Her first thought is to contact her child’s school for help. But she’s soon discouraged. She learns that getting her child tested may take months (if it ever happens), and the person who would administer the testing lacks advanced language-processing and dyslexia expertise, training, and education. She then turns to local options outside of the school. Is there some facility nearby staffed with experts who can evaluate her son for dyslexia? She quickly encounters a number of challenges with that approach:

  • There may be no professional in her city or town who can administer a complete, diagnostic language-processing evaluation (unless she happens to live next door to a major research university). Does she have to settle for a lower-quality, limited evaluation for her child just because of where she lives?
  • If she can find a seemingly good option, it often means multiple hours of travel in the car that already feels like a second home.
  • Most brick-and-mortar locations are only open 9am – 5pm, so scheduling time for an evaluation may mean a day out of work and/or pulling her child out of school.
  • When she asks about how she will be involved in the evaluation process she is told that she will need to fill out some paperwork and then wait in the reception room. She would like to observe her daughter’s evaluation to better understand what her daughter is struggling with but is told that is not allowed.
  • She learns that many of the clinics insist on performing a lot of testing that doesn’t seem relevant (psychological, emotional, etc.), which means her daughter would have to endure 4+ hours of tedious testing. Her daughter is already feeling defeated, and she is worried that this extensive testing will only make that worse.
  • She learns that all the private evaluation options cost thousands of dollars. She wants what is best for her child, but thousands of dollars seem like a lot and she wonders how much of the information will actually be helpful.  She worries that she’ll spend thousands of dollars just to be told what she already knows, with a broad disorder classification like “reading and writing disorder” or, even worse, a catchall categorization like “learning disability”.

The Online Alternative

If the school can’t help and the private evaluation options are problematic, what else can she do to help her daughter? We at Lexercise (unsurprisingly) think an online evaluation is the easiest, most effective, and most affordable way to have a child tested for dyslexia. Why?

  1. Access to the most highly skilled and experienced clinicians. Our teletherapy model allows parents to access a highly skilled and experienced clinician, regardless of where they live. Directed by a leader in the field with decades of experience both in private practice and in academia, Lexercise has recruited dedicated and highly skilled clinicians, all of whom must pass the Lexercise Qualification Examination to document their expertise. The application of research-backed practices is a Lexercise core value.
  2. Easier and more convenient. Traveling to our evaluation is as easy as a walk to your kitchen table or desk. And because our practice spans multiple time zones and because our clinicians can work from anywhere, we offer much more flexibility with scheduling to find a time convenient for parents (i.e., we’re not limited to the 9am – 5pm of brick-and-mortar locations).
  3. More affordable. Our offices are virtual, which helps us control overhead costs. That means we can invest in world-class people and pass the rest of the savings on to you.

Addressing Common Concerns with Online Evaluations

Q: Will an online evaluation be as accurate?
A: Yes. Accumulating research—such as that reported through the American Telemedicine Association—attests to the effectiveness and accuracy of online evaluations. In fact, online evaluations present unique advantages over traditional in-person evaluations. For example, we find children are often more engaged and attentive in online interactions than in an office.  There is something captivating to children about interacting with a person on the other side of the country through the computer.

Q: Will an online evaluation be recognized by schools or the government?
A: If the Lexercise evaluation indicates a disability diagnosis, yes, it will qualify your child under the federal law, The Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that our evaluation can be used at any school to get a 504 Plan for academic accommodations.

Q: Are Lexercise clinicians fully qualified with the appropriate certifications to evaluate or diagnose dyslexia?
A: Yes. Our clinical educators have master’s degrees in special education from accredited universities and are Teach for America alums. In addition, our clinical educators have continuing education above and beyond their master’s degrees in the Orton-Gillingham Approach. They have the specialized knowledge needed to evaluate language-processing difficulties like dyslexia and dysgraphia.

Q: Is Lexercise a reputable company?
A:
Absolutely. However, don’t just take our word for it, see what past customers have said about us.

 

Click here if you would like to take one of our free online tests. If you’d like to connect with one of our therapists, you can request a free initial consultation here