My daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was in third grade. She was originally diagnosed by the school psychologist and then 6 months later by a private physician. She attends a private school and is in 8th grade. I'm just finding out she needs to be reevaluated every 3 years and I'm trying to get this done before she tests for high school to get her extended time testing on high school placement. Is every three-year evaluation for dyslexia common? Will there be a chance she no longer tests positive for dyslexia? She does have the skills now from her program to overcome her obstacles. I'm looking for clarity on why retesting is important. Since I'm in a private school- I'm having difficulty getting the school psychologist to evaluate. Going to a private doctor is very costly, and she is doing well now in school.

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

It is indeed the case that students are re-evaluated every 3 years in the public schools to determine continued eligibility for special education services. This is standard operating procedure as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Separate from that, the College Board, the organization that oversees the ACT/SAT college entrance exams, requires updated evaluation/certification in order for students to receive testing accommodations. For that reason, it is wise to time re-assessment before your child wants to make an application for accommodations to the college board. Here is a bit of information about the SAT and accommodations.

I do not know the history as to why the 3-year interval was put in place. Quite honestly, once dyslexic, always dyslexic...but intervention does work. Students do improve with structured literacy intervention, and it is true that, as a result, some students may indeed be at-risk for losing their eligibility for services. A good diagnostician, though, will account for the improvements and understand that the demands of the curriculum change as students advance in the grades. Students may require different services within the school setting. Re-assessment can identify those new needs.

I recommend checking the College Board requirements. Even if your daughter is evaluated as she enters high school, she may need a re-assessment closer to the time she takes the ACT/SAT.