My son, a junior in high school, was just diagnosed with dyslexia. We had him tested outside of the school system, since they did not seem to want to help. He was depressed and has never thought of himself as smart. He had eight educational tests conducted by a Ph.D.

He was diagnosed with dysgraphia at first grade and we thought that was the reason for his inability to spell, poor handwriting, and slow reading.

What do we do now? Is intervention too late? Any suggestions would be helpful, especially for college.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

Well, although the research reports that outcomes are better the younger a student is—it is never too late to begin intervention. Many students your son's age particularly can benefit from learning reading strategies while they are working on any decoding issues. Morphological knowledge is also important.

The schools typically do not teach spelling rules anymore, which is unfortunate; therefore, I find that this is an area that I always need to target.

Another area is writing—learning to write for different purposes.

Depending what his profile of strengths and weaknesses looks like, he may benefit from some work on strategies for memory, study skills, and/or organization, to name a few areas we also target.

And, teaching him to advocate for himself will be very important, particularly at his age. He needs to be provided with a clear description of his diagnosis and pattern of strengths and weaknesses and taught how to navigate requesting his accommodations from teachers/professors. Regardless of any written plan, he will need to be the one to stay on top of it because it has been my experience that teachers/professors do want to help, and if accommodations are requested by the student in light of the IEP/504 Plan, they will be more than happy to work with the student.

So, I think you can see that there is a benefit to getting good intervention. It really needs to come from someone who has expertise and experience in working with the older learner. Many tutors do not, so you will want to be sure to ask.

Let me know if you have other questions.