I am inquiring as to when and how to schedule an evaluation for my daughter. Her teacher said the public schools would not evaluate her because she is passing (she is at a private school). She is in 1st grade (going into 2nd) and has been receiving extra tutoring for reading this year along with us working with her. As of the end of the year, she was testing (per the teacher) at a beginning/mid-year 1st grade level . It was recommended that we do a summer reading program because of her difficulty with decoding, phonological awareness, spelling, and sight word memorization. She will participate in a summer reading program.

She has asked for reading glasses to help her read (she says words move). We had her tested and she is fine with a very slight need for reading glasses. If she needs additional resources, I would not want to wait until she hates reading (which is what she was saying for the last month of school).

At what point (age or specific criteria) do you schedule evaluations? It was recommended that I wait until later by her doctor. They thought children should be older.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 
Once a child is in school and is struggling with reading once they are in school, there is no need to wait. We can identify children who are at risk for reading disorder in preschool, and once they get to school we can then make a diagnosis of reading disorder or dyslexia (they can be two different things under the same umbrella).

DyslexiaHelp is strictly an informational website; we do not provide any assessments or intervention. I typically refer people to this list of providers in their State from the International Dyslexia Association. Not everyone on this list diagnoses, some people strictly tutor, so you'll want to be sure to inquire as to the professional's skill set.

Your daughter needs a good comprehensive assessment of her spoken and written language skills. I've got information on what that looks like here. I have found that many times an assessment only includes written language, and kids' spoken language delays or disorders are missed. This is problematic given that oral language undergirds learning to read, spell, and write, so spoken language should be included in the assessment.

If she is not having attention problems (other than maybe when she is given a book she can't read) then you do not necessarily need a neuropsychological evaluation, which can cost over $3000.

Following the assessment, depending on your daughter's profile, you can decide whether she needs therapeutic intervention or she just needs tutoring. There is a difference. Some of the clients I see receive a combination of both. The difference is explained here. A good comprehensive assessment will help make that decision easier.

Regardless, you are right to be getting on this now. Reading is critical to school success; and when one cannot read at the level of her peers -- it can cause self-esteem issues and a poor self-concept of oneself as a learner. Good for you to inquire before she gets too far along in school and has met with repeated failure. Also, summer is a good time to help her build her skill set.