I am a secondary math and science teacher. I have a nine-year-old son who I believe may have dyslexia. I have checked into getting him tested but it would cost me over $1300, unfortunately, that is more than I can afford at this time. If I have to I will save the money I need to get him tested but that will take time time that I do not want to waste when it comes to his education. He is a very bright kid but he is extremely low in reading even though we work on it nightly. I have noticed things in his reading and learning that would lead me to believe he has dyslexia but I obviously cannot diagnose him. His twin sister is a low reader but not to the extent he is, they were born premature, and he has ADHD. My friend said that you might be able to help me out on either getting him tested or some recommendation of other places to have him tested. She also said that if there are some tests that you can give me or the names of some tests that he can take that will assist in me finding out if indeed he is dyslexic I would so appreciate it. It's hard to watch him struggle so much with reading and he is beginning to really hate school and as a teacher I know how much learning can be fun and it breaks my heart to see this. Reading is such a huge factor in education and I just want to do everything I can to help him get the most out of his education. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

 

Dr. Pierson's Response: 

You are right that reading is such a big part of education. I’m sorry that your son is struggling. Relative to getting him tested, most private practices are fee-for-service. The $1300 quote you received is not out of line. You should know that the public schools typically do not 'honor' an outside diagnosis of dyslexia, even though it is mentioned in the special education code.

One option, as I'm sure you know given that you work in the schools, is to have your son referred for a free evaluation through the public schools for a suspected learning disability. He might qualify under reading decoding, fluency, or comprehension, or under written expression.

Another option, should you decide to go the private route, is that sometimes a child may not need the full assessment battery (although a child who has never been evaluated typically does). For example, at my private clinical practice we offer “diagnostic therapy” in which we schedule the client for a number of sessions and do both testing and intervention to gather baseline data to determine patterns of strengths and weaknesses, as well as determine a diagnosis. You might want to try the SLD Center in Grand Rapids. [1] They do not diagnose, but they do some assessment. I see the fee for one of them is $290. You could also try a local college or university, such as Calvin College or Grand Valley State University. I don't know if they are doing anything with reading disabilities, but you could contact the speech-language or special education departments and ask to talk with the clinic supervisor. Ultimately, to get your son the services and accommodations he needs, he will need a good, thorough assessment that results in a diagnosis.