Dyslexia and Struggling Readers 101

Are you wondering if your child might have dyslexia?

Is your child a slow or Struggling Reader?

Did any family have difficulty learning to read?

Was there was later language development? 

History of family members that read slowly?

Have you considered having a screening?

If Risk factors are high, consider getting an evaluation!

Questions for Diagnosticians thanks to Decoding Dyslexia Arkansas See page 46 (Appendix F)


Who can diagnose Dyslexia?

Qualified Speech Pathologists ( SLP) with Dyslexia Specific Training

Licensed Psychologists ( PhD) with Dyslexia Specific Training

We are compiling lists of qualified individuals for Wisconsin families.

Frequently Asked Questions:

“How do I have my child tested for dyslexia”

Dyslexia can be diagnosed by a Licensed Psychologist (Ph.D.) or a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP).  Other professionals may diagnose if they have been properly trained in dyslexia and how to administer and interpret the appropriate tests.  Family physicians, counselors, social workers, and teachers do not diagnose dyslexia.  To get started, contact your health insurance company and ask if educational and/or neuropsychological testing is covered.  Please remember that it is very important to choose an evaluator who understands dyslexia and how to test for it.  We recommend asking the evaluator a number of questions before making your decision. Also, Appendix F has a list of questions to ask a diagnostician.   http://www.arkansased.gov/public/userfiles/Learning_Services/Dyslexia/DRG-Final-12-13-17-JS1.pdf

School can evaluate for a specific learning disability (SLD) which is the category that dyslexia falls under, but a child still might not qualify for services under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). A dyslexia diagnosis does not mean that a child will qualify for an IEP. It will, however, help a child acquire a 504 plan. A diagnosis also helps give a specific roadmap for interventions.

“What does the testing involve?”

There is no single test for dyslexia because dyslexia impacts many areas of functioning and can range from mild to moderate to severe to profound.  An evaluator will gather thorough background information about your family and your child.  Parents and teachers are typically given questionnaires about the child’s behavior and performance.  The evaluator will choose specific tests based on your child’s age.  Typically, tests measure phonological awareness, rapid naming, reading comprehension, spelling, writing, math, attention, memory, and IQ.  Testing usually takes at least four hours.  A good evaluator will provide a written report that states the results of the tests, any diagnoses made, and his or her interpretations and recommendations.  Good evaluators will also schedule a face-to-face meeting to discuss the results.

There are unproven ‘treatments’ for dyslexia. Be wary of therapies suggesting that dyslexia will be cured. A qualified diagnostician can provide appropriate guidance based on your child’s results.

“I was told my child is too young to be tested for dyslexia.”

Many parents and educators are erroneously told that dyslexia can’t be diagnosed until 3rd or 4th grade.  Please do not listen to this myth – it can cost your child years of lost learning.  In fact, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), reading disabilities can be diagnosed as early as age 5 1/2, or the last half of kindergarten.

“What if I can’t afford it?”

Without health insurance coverage, diagnostic testing for dyslexia can be expensive – $800 to $2,000 is typical.  Note that many health insurance companies do not cover diagnostic testing. This cost may not be possible for many families.  If you can not afford to have your child officially diagnosed, but strongly suspect dyslexia due to family history and many signs and symptoms, consider putting your available financial resources towards helping your child.  Diagnosis is helpful, but not required to work on your child’s difficulties.  See the Tutoring section for more information.

Parents may want to check with their insurance companies and health saving’s accounts to discuss if anything is covered under their plan as far as diagnosis and remediation options or if it can be claimed as part of a medical Flex Spending Account (FSA).

Educating yourself and those around your child will greatly empower your child’s experience and can help cause changes in the classroom. Changes in your home can start today. Learn the facts.

“What is the difference between a diagnosis of reading disability and a diagnosis of dyslexia?”

The American Psychological Association (APA) recently updated their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), which contains the diagnostic criteria used by Licensed Psychologists.  Dyslexia is now listed and described under the category of “Specific Learning Disability with Impairment in Reading” which is diagnostic code 315.00.  Some psychologists use this terminology, while others prefer to say dyslexia.  Be sure to ask your evaluator about this prior to your evaluation.  This article, written by psychologist Steve Dyksra further addresses dyslexia in the DSM-V, including the erroneous rumor that is was removed.

We would like to give Katie Greving, President, DD-IA credit for the Benefits of Diagnoses and the Q & A portion of this page.



“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”

Steve Jobs   Inventor, Entrepreneur, Industrial designer, Founder CEO of Apple Inc. and dyslexic.



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