I’m now 40 and am fairly certain that I have dyslexia. My concern isn’t with me, I have adapted to it after all this time. But my daughter is 8 and is struggling in school and I’m starting to think she may suffer from the same thing I do. I’m wondering how to get it diagnosed correctly? We live in mid MI. Her school is struggling with her in class and are trying to say maybe she has ADHD… but she can stay focused on tasks and I really don’t believe that’s the issue.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

If a parent has dyslexia, there is an increased likelihood that your children will be dyslexic as we know there can be a genetic component. Good for you to recognize that your daughter's attention is probably not the result of ADHD, but rather a manifestation from the challenges she is having with reading and writing. School personnel can sometimes be quick to jump to attentional problems as the culprit when a student is having challenges with the curriculum.

I find that parents have a good sense of their child’s strengths, and an inkling when something is amiss. You might not be able to pinpoint what is going on, but you know something is out of line with your child’s potential and capabilities. Go with Your Gut | Dyslexia Help at the University of Michigan (umich.edu) Your daughter needs a good comprehensive assessment. It may be challenging to find someone to assess her given where you live, particularly during this pandemic. While things are opening back up, there are now waiting lists to get in to see people for assessments.

I will note that the public school can assess her, but they will, most likely, not diagnose dyslexia. Dyslexia IS a specific learning disorder (SLD), which the schools do evaluate. It sounds like, though, the school has not figured out that they should assess her for an SLD? Here is a piece I wrote about that. After getting an assessment and diagnosis, if she is dyslexic, she will need structured literacy intervention.

I hope this points you in the right direction. Let me know if I can be of further help.