I have a daughter who has been struggling with reading for awhile now. Sight words are still a struggle for her and she is continuing to reverse numbers and words both while reading and writing. My husband is dyslexic. I didn't know if it was hereditary or not. I keep bringing it up at her school but I keep getting a simple answer of “we are keeping an eye on it.” I feel like we are beyond that point and she needs more intervention. What are the steps in Michigan to get your child evaluated? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

I am sorry that your daughter is struggling. To answer one of your questions -- the research has found that, indeed, there is a genetic component to dyslexia, so your daughter has one of the 'red flags.' Letter reversals that persist beyond 2nd grade are also a flag. The schools in MI (and in all states) do assess students for specific learning disabilities (SLD), which dyslexia falls under. Here is a piece I wrote about your question as to services in the schools for dyslexia.

Here is a piece that I wrote about the importance of getting your child evaluated.

As you note, it is important to get to the bottom of her skills/challenges now. When students become older, changes from intervention take longer to manifest than when they are younger. It is during 3rd grade (and then definitely by 4th grade) when the curriculum transitions and students must be able to “use their reading to learn" in order to be successful. A student who is struggling to read will have trouble accessing the curriculum across subject areas, which is why early assessment and intervention are key. A capable child should not struggle with our public school curricula. She has two flags for dyslexia (i.e., family history and persistent letter reversals). If she is struggling, then she should be assessed. Here is information on the special education process.

I have found that when parents are equipped with an outside evaluation, that many times, this will propel the school to getting on the bandwagon. Once assessed and qualified for services, the next question is whether anyone in the school is trained in