I just reviewed your website regarding dyslexia testing. My homeschooled grandson is eight years old and is in the 3rd grade. He also has ADHD. My daughter suspected he may have dyslexia at the end of 2nd grade, and had him tested by a Susan Barton tutor, who confirmed her concerns. That testing doesn't qualify as a clinical evaluation though.

This summer they moved and my grandson started school at a charter school, but my daughter is having trouble getting the charter school to officially evaluate her son for dyslexia. The school said he needs to complete the RTI program (4-6 weeks) before they could possibly test him for dyslexia. My daughter said the RTI program is two days a week after his regular school day and none of the work they are doing seems to be addressing dyslexia.

Where do we go to have a clinical evaluation like your website describes? Do colleges test for dyslexia? My daughter is frustrated with the school, and her son is already not liking school. Cost is an issue, because insurance doesn't cover testing for dyslexia. What do other families do to get the clinical testing done when the school is not cooperating? If we wait for the school, it will be a year before he receives specialized help for dyslexia.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!

Dr. Pierson's Response: 
Unfortunately, you've got it right about RTI. In theory, RTI is sound; but in practice, not so much. Part of the failure of RTI is this very issue you raise. It is my experience that, many times, students with dyslexia in our public school system have to fail before they get the help they need and we waste precious years before they receive the type of intervention they need.

Your grandson has a right to a Free and Appropriate Education (FAPE) according to the law. Your daughter can head to the public schools system and sign a request for testing for a suspected learning disability. I'm not sure how they handle services in charter schools in your area.

Your daughter should connect with Decoding Dyslexia (DD) in your area -- you can search for them on Facebook -- to get some advice as to how to handle this in her state. DD is a grassroots, parent-led organization that is really 'taking the nation' relative to advocacy and education on dyslexia issues. They might be able to point her to an advocate.

Relative to insurance, while it is unfortunately true that most services for dyslexics are not covered, some companies do cover assessment (and in the very rare cases, intervention), so I'd inquire about that. As for colleges testing, I don't know of a program in learning disabilities in your area. You could do a search for that.

I'm sorry you all are struggling so. Persevere! Let me know if I can be of further assistance.