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.

Normalize Dyslexia and Build a Growth Mindset


When you find out your child has dyslexia your world stops for a moment. Once your process the news the world speeds up into hyperdrive as you try to navigate what is best for your child. You may feel guilty for pushing your child to “try harder”, not realizing their brain simply isn’t wired to approach reading in a traditional way. As a result, you may decide your child “isn’t ever going to be a reader” and back-off from pushing your child to grow their literacy skills. This is not what you should do according to psychologist Daniel T. Willingham; and we agree.

willinghamWillingham is a renowned professor at the University of Virginia and specializes in early education neuroscience and cognitive psychology. He is author of “Why Don’t Student’s Like School” and has just released his new book “Raising Kids Who Read”. Willingham says “I think backing off is exactly the wrong message. Doing so says, ‘I indicated before that reading is important, but now that I see you’re having trouble, let’s pretend it’s not.’ The child won’t be fooled. The child will conclude that the problem is too terrible to be openly discussed” (2015). Instead of “backing-off” try normalizing the difficulty. Tell your child that you recognize their struggle and explain to them the value of hard work especially towards something that doesn’t come easy to them. In addition, highlight their skills that do come easily to them weather it be another school subject like math, or their musical ability etc. This approach will strengthen your child’s growth mindset.

5436962535_975a6a4502_zLastly, by normalizing your child’s dyslexia it will help them realize that they aren’t any less capable than anyone else. They will start to see their dyslexia as less of a weakness and more of a reason to approach tasks in a different way than others would. Again, by highlighting their strengths they will realize that they have a lot to offer the world and can even utilize their strengths to combat their weakness. So, take a deep breath and continue to foster characteristics like hard work and determination in your child.

One of the many great things about Lexercise therapy is the bond that you will form with your therapist. All of our therapists are wonderful at supporting you and your child in developing a growth mindset. Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation ($50 value) with one of our therapists to learn if Structured Literacy therapy would be right for you and your child.


Willingham, Daniel T. “Conclusion.” Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.

Photo Credit: http://www.deansforimpact.org/about_us.htmlCarissa Rogers “kabongo kids reading”