Diagnosing Mild Dyslexia or Something Else

Hi seasoned parents - we have come to realize that my child, age 12, has something complicated going on with language that may be in the dyslexia family, that has been masked for years by very high reading scores. How do you go about drilling down into expressive language (both verbal and written) deficiencies in a way that won't make the child feel inadequate, but helps parents and ultimately teachers understand more about what's going on? Examples of the issues include reversing syllable sounds when reading aloud, and inability to compose age-level paragraphs, creating lots of academic problems despite consistently super high reading comprehension scores. Note the child has had a full psych ed eval done about 17 months ago which didn't reveal anything in this ballpark. We don't want to just wait until in person school district evals start up again post-COVID (although will definitely pursue that in the 21-22 school year, or earlier if conditions allow) - we would love to gather more data in the meantime. Helpful websites or local professionals doing in person evaluations?  thanks!

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You may want to google "Stealth Dyslexia" and do some reading - this describes when people have good compensation skills and average to above average reading comprehension but may still have difficulty with phonological processing, writing, expressive language, etc. I'm an assessment psychologist and we always look for this but not all those who do evaluations do, and it can be easy to miss. The school definitely won't pick it up. Good luck!

As the parent of a dyslexic teen who has been through 2 complete pshc/ed evals (1 thru UC Berkeley, 1 private) I find it extremely hard to believe that if done properly, what you describe would not have ever been identified. Were these through the school district? I highly recommend you contact Jack Davis {davisjackm [at] aol.com) for a complete evaluation, which is not inexpensive, but entirely comprehensive, and I believe you will get the answers you seek. He was amazing with our student and we have since referred him to friends who have found him to be equally thorough and helpful. Jack is known to be the best in the area. Good luck!

Good for you for being proactive. Who did the psych eval? Unfortunately, public schools don't like to use the word dyslexia.., they prefer to dance around the issue. Here is a quick guide from ADDITUDE MAGAZINE. additudemag.com/unlikely-signs-of-dyslexia/ There is also a great app that may prove helpful https://neurolearning.com/ and of course Raskob Day School. 

Good luck!

Hi-do you feel like the person who did the testing did a good job explaining the findings to you? They are hard to understand if you’re not a specialist. My understanding is that if a kid scores really high in some areas that can mask their deficits. When school districts evaluate, they’re really trying to determine eligibility for services. So even if your child has a disability, if they’re performing at grade level, the school won’t offer you services.  My suggestions would be to look into dysgraphia, (My son got that diagnosis from an occupational therapist). Google “stealth dyslexia” if you haven’t already, and see if you can find a psychologist who can interpret the testing results and make recommendations. One of my kids was diagnosed at age 6 and another wasn’t diagnosed until he was 13. Having a diagnosis really helped them understand their own struggles (and strengths) and both did great in high school! Trust your gut. Good luck!

If you don’t agree with the school district psych evaluation (or it didn’t detect what seems like a learning difference) you have the right to request an educational assessment by an outside agency that the district pays for.

I highly recommend Dr. Maya Guendelman in Berkeley.  She's extremely knowledgable about learning disorders, and she is incredibly well credentialed.  I would trust her completely.  Here is her website: www.bayareaneuropsych.com

Did the school do your eval, and what did it say? As others have said in this thread, BUSD doesn't like to say the word "dyslexia."

Lindamood Bell Learning Center offers a very comprehensive learning evaluation: https://lindamoodbell.com/evaluation

Our daughter was evaluated through LMB and I could see in the results that she struggled in some areas (the areas where dyslexics typically struggle), but didn't struggle in other areas. They may be able to identify the particular area where your son struggles. If you give the Berkeley Center a call, they may even be able to tell you whether what you describe is one of the things that is assessed in their evaluation or not. We had a great experience at the Berkeley Center a few years ago and highly recommend them. They helped our daughter a ton.

Dr. Cynthia Petersen, PhD, did testing for our child in person during covid.  She was very comprehensive.  It was quite expensive but worth it for the level of details about our child's particular learning issue.