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Child with Dyslexia?

  • Hi, anyone out there have a child who has been diagnosed with Dyslexia? My son has recently been diagnosed with a reading disability, and I'm told it's "severe" from specialists in the area. He's had a few evaluations by the public school and will be put on an IEP (individualized education plan) starting in September when he enters first grade. I've learned that to officially diagnose him as Dyslexic -- which is strongly suspected by his pediatrician, the reading specialist who has tutored him this summer, the SPED teacher at his new school (he's transitioning from Montessori K to public 1st grade) -- he has to have three evaluations: a visual tracking test, a complete neuropsychological profile, and an auditory processing test. He'll have the visual tracking test on 9/4. I am still trying to get doctors lined up to do the other two tests, and I've been told that he can't have the auditory processing test until he turns 7 (he's 6 1/2 now.)

    I'm concerned that he won't get the help he needs if they don't formally diagnose the know, like they're taking a shot in the dark that Dyslexia is what it actually is without knowing for sure. I want to get him the specific help he needs as quickly as possible...early intervention, etc. Plus, he's developed a little inferiority complex already about the fact that he can't read. He wouldn't wear his favorite swim shirt at camp anymore because some smartass kid made fun of him because he couldn't read what it said on the front. I found this favorite shirt in the trash. : ( I want to get him the help he needs with the reading asap before any more emotional damage is done.

    Has anyone been down this path before? Any advice? Is what they're telling me accurate?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Karen Webb on 20th August 2007
  • I think the educators (without knowing them) probably have the experience to be able to recognize the signs way before an official diagnosis can occur, and the IEP will give him access to every kind of special service and additional help he can get at the schools.

    My son didn't have dyslexia, but he did go to Title I reading services for two years, and it made an amazing difference. In the schools, it sounds like they are VERY on the ball where you are if they have already set his IEP. This could have gone undetected for so much longer. And really, he is getting intervention as early as has been possible-- because they are taking the approaches of helping him already, and even if he doesn't have Dyslexia (which I suspect he probably does, based on their evals), they will be giving him such individualized attention and specialized care that it WILL make a difference.

    My almost-11 year old has Asperger's and we ALL knew it before he was officially diagnosed, even though he had to go through an official battery of screenings that took about three hours to do it. So, yes, the diagnosis for your son will require all of those evaluations, but usually teachers and tutors who have seen several kids who have already been diagnosed know what the early signs indicate. So, I don't think they are stabbing in the dark.

    I used to work in special ed-- and we NEVER suggested that a child needs screening unless he or she did, because that can mean (if not handled appropriately) that the district ends up paying for it. So, I don't think you are being steered in the wrong direction.

    I think everybody is doing what they need to be doing, from what you have described. And I think if you talk to your son about what might be happening and explain that this is common (point to Tom Cruise-- his pic is everywhere and he is a very famous success story of someone with dyslexia, who also needs to read to make his living! also Patrick Dempsey, and I know there are other celebrities, but those two come to mind), and also that it makes him special. When I told my son he had Asperger's, I was nervous, but he was so happy to know that there was a name for why he was different, because he knew he was.

    Your son also needs to know that this has nothing to do with intelligence-- which I suspect is his main concern. He is probably too young to know what X-Men is-- but all of the people in X-Men have abilities that can also be seen negatively, and that is sort of like dyslexia: He can see words in different ways. So, it is going to be its own kind of super power to be able to turn this into a strength and work through this to read. But he WILL do it.

    Feel free to continue this thread with any questions, suggestions, further info, etc. you have!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jen Creer on 20th August 2007
  • In his pre-K screening my son was noted to have a slight speech impairment. While according to their tests, he did pass, the teacher suggested that since he was borderline to not passing that he go through the speech therapy provided through the school.

    He did that for one summer and the results are outstanding. Even after he "graduated" from speech class they still sent a teacher to test him for his first two years of school to make sure he didn't slip backwards.

    Like Jen said, you don't need a formal diagnosis to be on the receiving end of district/school provided services. Talk to your school about reading resources that are available to your son now. If further testing reveals something besides dyslexia the game plan can be adjusted accordingly.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KathyHowe on 20th August 2007
  • Thank you so much for your response, information, and advice. I think knowing others walked in my shoes helps a lot. He'll start reading support through the IEP five times a week and a weekly session with the counselor to learn coping strategies. In addition, we're helping him at home and I've signed up a tutor skilled in this area to help tutor him once a week. I'm glad we identified this at Kindergarten, apparently very early. The schools told us they can't diagnose Dyslexia through their evals until the child is about 10, in the 4th grade. That just seems way to long to let this wait. So, like most involved parents, we'll take the medical route for diagnosis and get him what he needs now. I just wish I had all the answers to act.

    Thank you, ladies, again. Your comments are very much appreciated.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Karen Webb on 21st August 2007

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