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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. So, who is eligible to diagnose dyslexia? The therapists at Lexercise are here with insight. 

Dyslexia Diagnosis Criteria from The NCLD 

Unfortunately, no federal law defines who can provide a formal dyslexia diagnosis. 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.”

You can take a free online dyslexia screening test to gauge how likely it is that dyslexia is playing a role in your child’s learning difficulties. However, only a trained, knowledgeable specialist—like a therapist or clinician with dyslexia-specific certification—can provide a formal diagnosis. 

Which Doctor Should I Visit for Dyslexia Diagnosis?

You might be wondering, “Can a pediatrician diagnose dyslexia?” Naturally, many parents instinctively visit their pediatrician at the first signs of dyslexia symptoms. However, your child’s primary care doctor or pediatrician cannot provide a dyslexia diagnosis unless they also have a trained dyslexia specialist on staff. In many cases, your pediatrician will simply offer a recommendation or referral to a specialist. 

If you want to skip this step, you can have your child directly evaluated by a qualified therapist. Online evaluation has become especially popular with the rise of telehealth access. This process is easy and convenient for parents while offering more immediate results. If you prefer in-person care, you can also make an appointment with a qualified professional in your area.  

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 with Dyslexia Diagnosis and Treatment

The Lexercise Evaluation Procedures have been developed based on current dyslexia diagnosis best practices. 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”). 

Lexercise therapist can diagnose dyslexia

Reading and writing are certainly considered “major life activities”.  Our dyslexia 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 or therapists.”  Our clinicians and therapists 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 a parent ready to take the first steps toward a better understanding, you can screen your child for dyslexia for free online in just 15 minutes. You can also put your mind at ease by reading about some common dyslexia myths. Our online therapy options are here to help your child overcome the challenges of dyslexia.

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: Rogers “kabongo kids reading”

We Will Pay For You to Move to Hawaii!

Teletherapy has so many perks for families and therapists alike. Here are the top 3 reasons you should be a teletherapist with Lexercise:

  1. HAWAIIYou are your own boss! You can work from anywhere and make your own schedule. If you are a night owl then you can set your schedule to work evenings. If you are going to graduate school then you can do therapy around your class schedule. The combinations of time and places are infinite.
  2. photo_15830_20091217Online therapy means you can reach more children in need. We have clients working with us from all around the world. Families living in rural neighborhoods with limited resources are finally able to get help by using Lexercise. Take advantage of our high demand and unique clientele.
  3. photo_20681_20110612Have you ever wanted to live in paradise? Yes, I thought so. We have such a high demand for after school hours that we are willing to support your move to Hawaii! Living in HST (Hawaii Standard Time) would allow you to schedule after-school appointments with clients on the mainland during your normal business hours!  We will reimburse your flight up to $1,500.*


If you would like to learn more about becoming a Lexercise teletherapist you can read more here. We look forward to you joining our team!

*Serious inquiries only. Must provide proof of residency and see at least 15 clients per year.