How to Diagnose Dyslexia

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Dyslexia is a common reason intelligent people have a hard time reading, writing and spelling. It takes more than one test to diagnose dyslexia because other learning disabilities have to be ruled out first. There are different forms of dyslexia and different levels of severity that need to be diagnosed. The sooner someone with dyslexia is diagnosed the sooner the difficulties can be fixed, so find the right person ASAP to run the tests necessary to diagnose dyslexia.

1 Ask the local public school administrators

Ask the local public school administrators if they test for dyslexia. Public schools have to test children that live in their district for learning problems if requested. It is required by law. But many districts test for learning disabilities, not dyslexia. Don't let your school officials tell you it's the same thing. Many dyslexic children don't meet the guidelines to be diagnosed as having a learning disability, and methods used to improve learning skills are different than those used for people with a learning disability.

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2 Check family history

Check family history to see if any other family members have dyslexia or signs of it. Dyslexia can be inherited, but family members may not have the same form or severity. One person may see reversed letters or mirror images of words while another may see letters that jump around on the page. Keep in mind that many people may be unaware of a problem and don't realize that others see and understand words in a different way than they do.

3 Look for patterns that point to dyslexia

Look for patterns that point to dyslexia. Memorizing facts and sequences like days of the week, multiplication and the alphabet can be hard for people with dyslexia. It's difficult for them to recognize sounds printed letters make and to retrieve words from their auditory memory. Those with dyslexia learn to disguise their difficulty by using context and pictures to guess what the words say. People with dyslexia look at shapes instead of letters, so when they read a list of words they tend to guess a word according to its shape.

4 Watch for clues

Watch for clues when someone is writing. If a person with dyslexia is copying words or sentences onto a piece of paper, he will look back and forth often from the page he is copying from to the paper he is copying to. When making up his own sentences, hr may use much simpler words when writing than when speaking. He might also use simple words repeatedly when writing or be unable to form sentences. Words running together with no capital letters or punctuation is common in a sentence written by someone with dyslexia.

5 Hire an education counselor

Hire an education counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or tester that specializes in diagnosing dyslexia. An expert with training in testing for dyslexia as well as scoring tests and interpreting results is the only person you should hire to test for dyslexia.

6 Expect to give the tester family

Expect to give the tester family, development and educational information. Show the tester writing samples and examples of strengths so she can decide if the combination of problems and strong points fit the pattern of dyslexia. Be sure tests for memory, auditory processing, phonics, reading lists of words, copying words, reading a simple story, and writing a few simple sentences are included along with standard tests such as the Weschler Individual Achievement Test, the Woodcock-Johnson Psychological Battery and the Bender Gestalt Test, among others.

7 Ask for more extensive medical testing

Ask for more extensive medical testing if you believe dyslexia is caused by brain dysfunction, an inner ear problem or another physical problem. Make sure you can afford it because insurance probably won't pay for it. Testing for a dyslexia diagnosis because of brain dysfunction includes psychological, vision, hearing and neurological tests. Testing for a dyslexia diagnosis because of an inner ear imbalance includes the same tests along with audiology tests and an ENG.

  • Many cities have a Dyslexic Institute for people of all ages to diagnose and treat dyslexia.

Cathryn Whitehead graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987. She has published numerous articles for various websites. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and on Whitehead has done extensive research on health conditions and has a background in education, household management, music and child development.