Q&A with Dr. Pierson

  • I live in Michigan. I am a parent of a 15-year-old freshman with a significant history of dyslexia/written language/executive skill disabilities and math learning disability. He attended an independent school in New England prior to our move to Michigan, where he learned to decode at a level that approximates grade level average. He's a bright, creative kid who was so dyslexic in elementary school that we are concerned about his educational plan for high school and college. Based on standardized testing, our public school district would like to eliminate our son from his IEP for written language. Needless to say, we think this is not in his best interest. We are seeking an outside opinion in accordance with FAPE, 504 and IEP law.

    Does the University of Michigan DyslexiaHelp office offer neuropsychological/education testing? If not, can you recommend any outside evaluators with specific expertise in advocating for students with dyslexia, language, executive functioning and math learning disabilities?


  • I’m the mother of 21 year old. We live in Illinois, my son has never been tested for dyslexia but for all the signs he shows I think he has dyslexia. He recently dropped off college because it was just too hard for him, he had trouble reading and understanding concepts, meeting deadlines to turn in homework, it was just impossible for him. As his mother I’m feeling guilty for my lack of knowledge I didn’t help my kid in his early years and may be avoid all the frustration he has right now. I would greatly appreciate if you can provide me with any information where my son could be tested and get help at low cost; unfortunately we don’t have the money to pay for any private services. Please help.


  • I am a secondary math and science teacher. I have a nine-year-old son who I believe may have dyslexia. I have checked into getting him tested but it would cost me over $1300, unfortunately, that is more than I can afford at this time. If I have to I will save the money I need to get him tested but that will take time time that I do not want to waste when it comes to his education. He is a very bright kid but he is extremely low in reading even though we work on it nightly. I have noticed things in his reading and learning that would lead me to believe he has dyslexia but I obviously cannot diagnose him. His twin sister is a low reader but not to the extent he is, they were born premature, and he has ADHD. My friend said that you might be able to help me out on either getting him tested or some recommendation of other places to have him tested. She also said that if there are some tests that you can give me or the names of some tests that he can take that will assist in me finding out if indeed he is dyslexic I would so appreciate it. It's hard to watch him struggle so much with reading and he is beginning to really hate school and as a teacher I know how much learning can be fun and it breaks my heart to see this. Reading is such a huge factor in education and I just want to do everything I can to help him get the most out of his education. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.


  • I am the proud parent of an amazing 7-year-old boy. I first became suspicious of dyslexia in kindergarten. He has struggled through first grade and with outside (privately funded through my husband and I) supplementary tutoring he struggles to be ‘grade level’. The school has made it obvious they have no intention of helping him. What recommendations do you have in sequence from most important and necessary to just advise for well being? I see signs of him struggling with emotions, self concept and confidence. I do not know who to ask for help. I live in California if that changes any answers to what you may advise.


  • Hi. I am a licensed reading specialist with a master's degree in Reading and Literacy. I am preparing to do a presentation on dyslexia, and I am wondering if you know which states in the USA have passed and embraced legislation to recognize and treat dyslexia within the public school setting. I know Michigan only recognizes it as "specific learning disability". Thanks for any help you could give me. I appreciate your website and the work you do at U of M.


  • We have a 7th grader with dyslexia and ADHD. We live in Oklahoma where resources for remediation and assistance are so scarce. He goes to a private school which has helped but I feel that he is getting more stressed and more behind as he gets older with the more reading that he will have. We are already members of Bookshare (which he doesn't use as often as he should since it requires sitting and listening). Is he just going to have to find ways of compensating? I am looking at your app list right now. Thank you.


  • I saw your list of Tests for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities. Are those permitted to be used by teachers or are they for psychologists or psychiatrists?


  • My almost 7 year old son has had delayed speech (after 2.5) and now in first grade has had a very hard time learning his sight words and learning to read. He is many reading levels behind the other kids and we have a history or dyslexia and ADHD in my family (my father and myself) so we were pretty sure he has dyslexia.

    His teacher also saw red flags and the school started the process of evaluating him for an IEP. They did the special education eligibility testing and saw many weak areas (auditory processing, working memory, picture vocabulary, sentence recall), but the scores alone didn’t qualify him because he had many strong areas as well; but based on the tier 1 and 2 interventions not working, he qualified for an IEP where he will receive Wilson method 5 days a week (60 min) and an auditory memory therapy (proven computer based program) 3 times a week.

    We are very happy with the school’s plan as it seems they are being proactive and understand the importance of early intervention.

    My question is, even though my son seems to be getting all the interventions he needs, should we have him officially tested for Dyslexia? My gut says ‘yes’, the more information we have about his struggling areas and the cause, the better off we will be helping him. But many people at the school and other parents have said, no, it’s not worth the money or stress since he’s getting what he needs.

    I just don’t want to make the wrong decision and wish later that we had him officially diagnosed. Are there accommodations or other things that he will need eventually that would require a specific dyslexia diagnosis, because the school’s diagnosis is ‘reading disability’? Thanks so much for any information or advice.


  • If one is Left-handed, but made to be Right, does that complicate this condition? My only child is Left handed, my brother is, and I was the 1st born in a large family- in the early 50's. thank goodness for spell check right click...


  • Hello! My oldest daughter is 12 and in sixth grade. She has dyslexia but until this fall her reading level was close to grade level. She has an IEP and gets Barton tutoring weekly. Recently, she seems to be struggling more with reading, particularly reading out loud. She reads words from all over the page and makes more sight word mistakes. We don't know why this is happening. Can you suggest any articles or legitimate websites that may help us with this? Is there any research that shows a link between puberty and a decrease in reading fluency? It took me awhile to find your site but I have bookmarked it now and will use the resources on there. Thank you.