I have a son who has previously been diagnosed with a few SLDs. He has been getting few IEP services, but mostly is falling further behind. He exhibits most all the traits of dyslexia, from what I've read, but he has never been tested for it. It doesn't appear to be part of the suite of tests that the schools do. My first question is whether there *are* tests, per se, to diagnose dyslexia? I don't know where to start, but my son desperately needs help before he fails out completely. If there aren't specific tests, how does one get a diagnosis? I am hoping that if he truly has it and can get it documented, then he can maybe get some targeted help that finally helps him.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

First, there are indeed tests we use to diagnose dyslexia. I diagnose dyslexia all the time. Here is what an assessment entails. Here also is a list of tests that can be used to make a dyslexia diagnosis. The school personnel could certainly use these, but most school practitioners, in my experience, have not had experience diagnosing dyslexia.

While most school staff do not have experience diagnosing dyslexia per se, they do diagnose reading disorder under the special education eligibility category of specific learning disability (SLD). Dyslexia is a specific learning disorder in reading. Here is a piece that I wrote on that topic. A good comprehensive assessment will lay the groundwork for intervention as it will pinpoint your son's areas of strength and weakness, and then intervention can target those areas of weakness.