Assessment & Treatment for Dyslexia
I have a son who is quite dyslexic. I didn’t catch it til third grade and can now kick myself for that. IF you are in public school, I believe you need to let the school do the first assessment. Not sure if they will still do that now or not, given the closures and CoVid. My son was in BUSD and I had to hound them to do the assessment, but they did, and it was a totally terrible assessment. Then, I asked for an IEE at District’s expense, which you are allowed, as I didn’t have $8K lying around. Finally, after I filed a complaint with CED because they dragged their feet for a year (yes, a year), they were forced by CED to okay the IEE. Dr. Terry Doyle in Rockridge did it, and she is the AUTHORITY, if she still practices. Anyhow, cudos for you for seeking out an assessment sooner rather then later! It was HUGELY helpful for us to have the assessment, and for my son, plus we then got way more specialized and useful help, which finally got him to read. He went from K level to grade level within a year with Jane Ashley, our lifesaving Slingerland tutor. All the best! Again, kudos for looking at this sooner rather then later! And, our son totally resisted reading too. It’s just soooo hard when you have visual or auditory processing issues (his was auditory processing).
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Assessment for Dyslexia
- Possible Dyslexia in 7-year-old
- Dyslexia re-testing and paperwork for young adult
- How to get assessment for 10-year-old? (OUSD)
- How to get teenager diagnosed for dyslexia?
- Dyslexia assessment for 5-year-old
- Dyslexic? 1st Grader - How much to do?
My 7-year-old daughter may have dyslexia. We're just starting to research how to go about getting an assessment and all that. I have an appt. at the UCB Binocular Vision Clinic, but I'm wondering what the process has been like for you as a parent and for your child and what the experience has been--not necessarily with the UCB Clinic, but in general (I will post to the Recommendation Digest for specific resources). Also, if you've had to deal with the IEP program at OUSD, I'd like to know what that looked like.
We think our daughter might have dyslexia because:
- Her father has it.
- She's bright and does great in math, often getting 100% in math tests and homework, but struggles to read.She's testing ok for her grade, but I think it's because we've worked on it a lot.
- She started avoiding reading early in 1st grade and we've had lots of frustration (and fights!) over reading/writing at home.
- She transposes letters, reads words backwards, skips words, can't seem to get how to sound out words, even those she's read before, and gets stumped by words like ''of'' which she's seen 100s of times.
- While reading, she can NOT sit still, not even for 2 seconds. She can do math, draw, etc. for long periods w/o fidgeting but she's like a totally different kid when it's time to read.
I realize the above could just mean she's progressing at a slower rate than her peers, but given the family history with dyslexia, my husband sees a lot of his own experiences in her. Any advice or perspectives are much appreciated! Mom of Possible Dyslexic
Make an appointment at the UC Psychology Clinic for an evaluation - they will do testing and let you know definitively if she has dyslexia or not (sounds like yes) -and then give you guidance and resources. Good luck! been there
Your child almost certainly has the same brain differences as your husband, though perhaps to a different degree. Dyslexia (or developmental reading disorder) is a functional diagnosis and your daughter may or may not fit the criteria, even though she has the brain differences.
Schools often require a child to be two grade levels behind before they consider the child to have a disability that requires remediation. You don't want to let your daughter get to that point!
If she gets remediation now she can go forward as a strong reader who feels good about herself instead of a struggling reader who wonders why stuff that is easy for other kids is so hard for her. Schools rarely provide the kind of specific, targeted intervention that is needed to get dyslexic kids reading as well as non-dyslexic kids.
I did phonics work with my daughter till she was 10 and she made progress in reading, but remained a labored reader like your daughter, getting the small words wrong, sounding words out poorly, failing to notice endings like ing or ed and her writing showed backwards letters, random capitalization (or non-random--she always capitalized B because she couldn't tell b from d), no sense of spacing. It always baffled me that she could read ''biodiversity'' but not ''of''. Now I understand it. There is a visual processing component to dyslexia that is rarely addressed. See Stanislas Dehaene's Reading in the Brain. By the way, my daughter did VT at UCB Eye Care. They told me at the evaluation that my daughter had a processing issue that was unrelated to eyesight, as well as mild convergence insufficiency. We did VT for the convergence insufficiency, but it did nothing in terms of helping her to read. Boy can she follow the tip of a pencil to her nose with both eyes now, though!
I bought Lindamood Bell's Seeing Stars program and did it with her myself. It changed everything. While she still prefers to listen to audio books, she can now read anything without protest. She reads aloud at grade level (not super smoothly, but with good intonation, self-correcting if she makes errors and at a grade level pace). Her spelling is still poor, but it is now possible for her to learn to spell whereas spelling words simply did not stick before.
I waited way too long to get her help. If I could go back in time I would do Seeing Stars with her at age 6 or 7 and save her years of feeling bad about herself.
Oh, and she is a super bouncy kid, too, though also capable of focusing on things she likes. I have a lot of tricks in my bag on how to work on reading with bouncy kids. I'd be happy to share with you. Susan
Go get ''the gift of dyslexia'' book and devour it. great resource... I think. I'm still wrapping my head around it, myself, and my kid. taerg si sdrawkcab
It sounds like you're on the right track asking for an assessment at school. This can take time so I encourage you to start the process early in the school year and to be persistent. Be sure to put all your requests in writing with dates since everything related to the IEP process is governed by federal law and carries timelines. OUSD has an amazing resource for kids with dyslexia (although they don't use the term ''dyslexia''). There's a reading clinic available to kids who qualify that's fantastic. But, it will take a while for your daughter to qualify. Based on my experience, I would guess that she would get evaluated this year, possibly get some services at school this year, then get referred to the reading clinic next year if she qualifies.
My advice is not to hesitate to advocate for your child. Sometimes teachers may want to take time to get to know your child, try in class interventions before doing testing and give her time to develop. But, if you feel like that's not what's best and you have additional info (ie, the family history of dyslexia and extra help you've already given her with reading), please make your concerns known! Mom of Dyslexics
We went through the IEP program in OUSD (not for dyslexia, but dysgraphia). It took awhile to get it all done, and a certain amount of pushing to get started, but in the end it was well worth it. They do, as per Federal law, a full battery of testing (academic -- i.e. verbal and math -- but also things like auditory and visual motor), which is interpreted by a school psychologist. The parents and the child's teacher meet with the school psychologist and resource specialist to interpret the test results and to plan an IEP for the child, and the parents must sign their approval.
After that, at least at our elementary school, it's very smooth. Kids were pulled out of class for work in the garden, for music -- and, in our child's case, to go to the resource room for needed therapy (in this case, occupational therapy), so none of the kids teased my kid, they didn't even really seem to notice. If needed, children are given anything from preferential seating in the room and extra time for test-taking, to (in one child's case in our school) a full time aide. Parents are also given ideas for ways to help the child at home. My child was helped enormously by all of this, and tested out of the IEP at the end of 4th grade. He liked the resource teacher especially, very much. Pleased with our IEP
Hello, I tutor dyslexia students and urge you to have the evaluation done. Also I think that the book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, MD (director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention and an expert on dyslexia) would be enormously helpful to you. You can get it at any bookstore or on Amazon; reasonably priced and in paperback. I can't help you with places to have the evaluation done but if you have had recommendations, follow those.
Hi - My 8 y/o daughter has been evaluated by her school and has an IEP (not in Oakland) and also recently completed a private evaluation. She is definitely dyslexic and sounds much like your child, except she also has some trouble with math. Some dyslexics have trouble with math in addition to language arts. I would recommend you ask in writing to have her assessed by her school for learning issues that might qualify her for an IEP or 504 plan. She may not qualify for services if she is at grade level, but may qualify for accommodations, such as extra time on tests as she gets older. Dyslexic kids read more slowly and process written information more slowly and may need these kind of accommodations. My daughter has been seen at the UCB binocular vision clinic as well. I can't say enough good things about them. They are fantastic, knowledgeable, caring and provided visual therapy that has helped her significantly.
I would recommend that after the school eval, you also consider getting a private neuropsychological evaluation. It can give you a lot more information than the school is likely to give you about what to do to help your daughter. My daughter has tried both Lindamood-Bell instruction and Slingerland and both have helped her significantly. Most teachers and even resource and reading teachers in the public schools don't really know how to teach dyslexic kids. There are people out there who do, but you need provide it yourself or advocate for your kid at school if they qualify for school-based services. There are also some great private schools such as Charles Armstrong or Star Academy if your family has the financial resources to provide that. Hope that gets you started. albanymom
I'm looking for a recommendation for a psychologist or other medical professional who can do disability paperwork for a State test. My daughter was on a 504 plan all though school and even college but all her testing was done though the school district. Now that she is out of school we need to find someone who can fill out the paperwork for accommodation. Anyone have any recommendations or advise? thanks Maria
Two sliding pay scale alternatives: contact Elizabeth Milnes, PsyD, Executive Director at Alliant in Oakland or the Psychology Clinic at Tolman Hall, UC Berkeley http://psychology.berkeley.edu/graduate/cl_clinic.html Both have a supervising accredited person overseeing a person not yet fully accredited. Used them both successfully
I've recently begun to suspect that our brilliant 10 year old son may have at least a mild form of dyslexia. It's been easy to miss because he's been otherwise at such a high level in most areas but there are some consistent difficulties with spelling and new word attack that he's been having since 1st grade (and difficulty solving problems involving pattern-matching in preschool) and now I'm suspecting more is going on. He's currently in a private school without dyslexia assessment, so I'm wondering where I can go to have him assessed? We live in Oakland - will the OUSD assess him? Does insurance usually cover this type of assessment? Parents with mildly dyslexic children, does his difficulty profile sound familiar to you?
Jessica Lipkind is an excellent person from whom to get this assessment. She is careful, pays attention to detail, and is also conscious of avoiding needless expense. We had our son assessed by an older woman for a huge sum of money a few years ago. I wish I had known Jessica then, as we would have gotten a much better assessment for a fraction of the price. Jessica is young and gets on really well with kids, and has the empathy to relate well to parents. email: drjlipkind [at] gmail.com anon
The quick answer is to make a written request to your school district. However, if your child is in private school, you might want to go with a private assessment through UC or a developmental psychologist -- your pediatrician can make a recommendation. I do think it is important to have the information -- if you are suspecting dyslexia it is pretty likely. One quick check you can do yourself is compare how your child reads individual words (on cards or signs) compared to how they read a book -- an intelligent child with a lot of knowledge of text will be able to read much better in context -- this was one of the clues I had to my child's learning differences. Also, does your child reverse letters or have particularly bad spelling when he writes? -- that is another clue. If you are worried about this, there probably is something worth getting checked -- if there is a learning difference, there are specific things your son can learn to do to compensate for the difference, and the sooner you begin the better. anon
How does one get their teenager diagnosed for dyslexia? My 16 year old son is a good student, well rounded and smart. However, he also has a problem that when he reads something, he doesn't always see the entire question. Consequentially, he sometimes misreads the question, thereby ensuring an incorrect answer.
This recently came up when going over questions that he got wrong on the PSAT test. When he tried to redo a question that he missed, it became clear that he would repeatedly misread the question. He would do this even when I told him to take his time and be careful. Only upon reading the question aloud would he correctly read it. This only happens periodically, not all of the time, but I am concerned that he might have a learning disability that needs to be addressed.
I, too, posess this problem, although I have hidden it all my life. I transpose numbers in a telephone address even though I am telling myself to be careful when writing it down. It is like a ''skip'' that I just can't help and it is not all of the time. I am worried for my son and wondering if there is anything I can do to help him. Any suggestions out there? Distressed Mom
My daughter's dyslexia was diagnosed at UC Berkeley's Psychology Clinic at Tolman Hall. They have a sliding scale. Her diagnosis of dyslexia allowed her to receive time and a half on tests, and other accommodations. Half a year before high school, I requested that the district have her tested. (Needless to say, this process can take some time). They like to look over outside testing but require their own assessments or won't provide accommodations. They tested and approved. This worked for a few years, and I would inform each teacher about it because the administration was slow in doing so. When she was a junior, I started the paperwork for her to get accommodations in taking the PSAT and SAT. Again, starting early is important as it can take several months for these agencies to approve extra time. Her counselor did not want to sign, and wanted to take away her accommodations-- we assumed it was because she was receiving good grades. It required sustained effort to keep the accommodations in place until she graduated.
I thought college would be easier, but I was wrong. Dyslexia evaluations are only good for about 3-4 years and then require retesting. By law they cannot be accepted when considered outdated. Unfortunately we were not informed about this, so that when she started college they did not want to give her accommodations at first, even though I had sent them her past tests several months before she started. I had her retested at Alliant (510 628-9065) because they were affordable and did not have as long a waiting period to get tested as UCB. (Although it took them time to actually get the report done. Note that with both testing places that she was tested by a graduate student with professional oversight by a licensed professional.)
The UC she attends has given her time and a half on tests, and a host of other accommodations if she needs them. You do have to be a strong advocate for your child or teen if you feel they need intervention. I do want you to know that my child was a slow reader, didn't pick up a book that was more than a dozen pages until she was 14, was (and is) a terrible speller, yet was accepted into several UCs and private schools. Dyslexia means she has to work twice as hard, but it doesn't mean she cannot do the work. Accommodations gave her the ability to succeed. Parents can model for their student requesting, at times insisting, on what is needed for them to succeed. Thriving with Dyslexia
There's so much you can do to help your child. You might start by getting a full assessment for learning disabilities. I recommend Cynthia Peterson, Jack Fahy or Carina Grandison. These three folks are all excellent at doing assessment of youth regarding learning disabilities. You can also check out the website at www.ldaca.org (Learning Disabilities Association of California) for some really great resources. Best of luck to you and your family. Michael
We took my son to Julie Jervey M.S, C.E.T for assessment 4 years ago. At that time she was on Domingo across from the Claremont Hotel. She was wonderful. Very warm, very thorough and very helpful with strategies, getting accommodations at school, etc. I can't recommend her highly enough! Laura
There may be a fatigue factor that kicks off the 'word-blindness' that comes up once in a while. If it doesn't happen often, and if his usual reading comprehension is OK, then it may not be a big problem, even though it's upsetting when it happens.
Reading for pleasure is a good measure of comprehension -- if he does read for pleasure, other than comix or car magazines, he's probably OK on comprehension.
If he doesn't read for pleasure, then you have a red flag: what could have been minor weakness triggered once in a while by fatigue might be something more. Since it sometimes shows up in a test situation, you're probably concerned that he may not be able to show what he can really do if the weakness sets in while he's doing it.
Getting a diagnosis could be useful: a) simply to know more about how his brain's working; and, b) to get accomodations, such as extra time, for tests.
You've noted, however, that more time doesn't help. He may just need a break, say 20 minutes, and then to come back to the task -- which could conceivably be an accomodation -- although an unusal one.
Psychoeducational testing is not inexpensive, so if the problem is irritating, but not hugely in the way of performance, it may be worth just accepting it and living with it.
If you choose testing, the Ann Martin Center in Oakland probably has the best rates. Corinne Gustafson of Reach for Learning in Albany may do this kind of assessment -- though she may not do the FULL psychoeducational assessment (which includes the services of a psychologist for the testing of IQ). The full assessment is required for official accomodations.
Jane McClure of McClure, Mallory, and Barron at 415 421 4177 may be a good contact both for testing and planning for college.
At the minimum, your son should aim to note and understand this problem, and be able to explain it clearly to himself and others as needed. The more he can do that, the more he can figure out his own ways around it or through it. Carolyn
I would like to have my five year old son assessed for dyslexia, mainly because we have a family history of dyslexia and he may be showing possible signs. I would prefer to have this done by a private reading specialist (?) or other expert before we get the school district involved. Ideally, I am looking for a person who could diagnose him and if he is dyslexic, work with us on how best to approach our school district with the information (my husband is dyslexic and has very negative memories about how his elementary schools dealt with his reading problems). Does can anybody refer a specialist who may make this type of diagnosis? Are there any individuals/agencies who will act as an advocate for parents? We are hoping to have this done before he enters kindergarten in the fall). Thank you! Concerned mama
Dear Concerned Mama, My third-grader has dyslexic tendencies. We began with the Binocular Vision Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Optometry. It's important to rule out all physical/organic issues before going on to learning techniques. We tried on our own to work with our daughter (having her read to us and spelling tasks). This helped, but we are now beginning to work with an Educational Therapist (ET). There are many psychologists, ETs, etc. who will test for you. My bias is to minimize testing (the public schools are big on tests) and focus on interventions. The Linda Mood Bell program is the most comprehensive and local program in Berkeley (that I found). They are big on testing too. It's good to begin early, but kids all learn to read differently and it's really important to keep up your reader's SELF-CONFIDENCE. Good luck. jr
I am a Diagnostic Teacher and have had experience with in-depth assessment and the diagnosis of dyslexia. Your questions are excellent, and the fact that there is a family history indicates that perhaps someone should take a closer look at your child. My first instinct would be to tell you that it is too early to test a five year old for dyslexia due to the fact that it would be developmentally appropriate for a child that age to not be reading yet, or to even have the pre-requisite skills in place. (I am fully aware that some 5 year olds are reading AND that schools are pushing this expectation earlier and earlier. However, it is also perfectly developmentally appropriate that some children don't have all those skills in place until they are closer to 7 yesars old.) On the other hand, with your family history, I would recommend that you share your specific concerns with an expert; what indicators have you seen in your child? It IS key to get an early diagnosis, but do proceed with caution. I would be happy to talk with you further about what you are seeing with your child and perhaps offer some suggestions. Nancy
A parent of two children with learning disabilities now ages 25 and 29. Here is what we did. Started with UC School of Optometry and followed with hiring a private Ed Psy to do assessments. This assessment was used in future battles with the schools and to guide the ED Therapist, David Berg, Berkeley.
School battles included accommodations and extended time for testing. Without the Ed testing establishing the learning disability (difference) you don't have a claim to accom-modations. Oh, and these tests came in handy when getting accommodations they tested SAT and in College. Daughter #1, Marshall Scholar in Physics and now in PhD program in Physics. Daughter #2 completed Master degree at Columbia.
Their success is attributable to the early diagnosis and treatment, their hard work and advocacy/assistance by parents. Dad jimmy