My family is based in Denver, Colorado but are currently living as expats in Europe. I am a licensed elementary teacher with a masters degree in reading instruction and have some concerns for my son. He is 7 years old and demonstrating signs of dyslexia.

We have very limited resources here, unfortunately, for getting him tested and screened as well as getting the support at school that he so desperately needs, so I have had to do it myself at home. It is not an ideal situation, given the long school day and limited time in the evenings to work with him. We are making our home leave this summer to the States, in the Denver region, and I am wanting to have him screened and tested. Any referrals for ASHA-accredited psychologists for the Denver/Boulder area would be greatly appreciated!

 

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

I am an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist, and quite honestly, have never met an ASHA-accredited psychologist, but there certainly might be someone out there who started out as an SLP and then pursued a Psych degree or vice versa. Your best bet on that front might be to contact ASHA [1]. I typically refer people to the International Dyslexia Association list for their state to find a professional; here's Colorado’s list [2].

I'd recommend more than screening. To really get at the underpinnings of what is affecting your son's ability to read, spell, and write—you'll want a comprehensive assessment of spoken language understanding and use; phonological processing; reading decoding, fluency, and comprehension; spelling; and writing. Although this page [3] was written for professionals, it might be helpful to familiarize yourself with what a good assessment entails.

I understand the constraints of teaching him yourself, particularly after a long school day. Even with your masters, it can be challenging to figure out exactly how to teach reading to a dyslexic. A good diagnostic assessment will help you know where to start. We've got some programs [4] on the website that might be helpful. The Barton program, although a bit costly, is highly scripted so that parents can use it.

As you know, you are getting to this at the right time with your son. The earlier, the better! Hopefully, you'll find these suggestions helpful.

Dr. Pierson's Follow Up: 

PARENT: Thank you for the quick response and the link. It looks like a good resource for us. Because we are in Europe, I am always looking for online resources to use with my son. I was able to get him on Lexia here and have been trying to get in touch with the folks at Fast ForWord to hopefully get him on that—but no success yet. Basically, I am having to set up my own reading lab in my home since he does not get it at his international school. Thanks again for your time and information.

DR. PIERSON'S FOLLOW-UP: You should know that according to an article in the Winter 2011 IDA journal Perspectives, there is no evidence in the research that Fast ForWord has lasting effects to improve reading. I have information on it here [5]. Click on the link to the Winter 2011 Perspectives for the article before you invest your time or money. The research is clear that the best approaches for dyslexic kids are programs that target phonology, word study, and orthography (spelling patterns and rules), as well as vocabulary development & promoting literacy skills through shared reading.