You would think getting a professional dyslexia diagnosis would be a rather simple task, however, through the frustration of many callers and parents; it has become evident that obtaining a professional dyslexia diagnosis can be a rather difficult task. Even through research and talking to several different people about obtaining this type of diagnosis, the best source is different depending on who you ask and where you live. Its amazing how complicated this process can be.
The following venues can offer a diagnosis; however, they might not work for everyone depending on where you live. The best way to find someone to help you get a professional diagnosis is to call around to these different venues and ask if they do offer this service. Unfortunately, often the only way to find these different professionals in your area is through phonebook and directory searches for the area you live. Another problem that you may encounter even if you do find the proper professional to assist you is that most professionals require that your child is school aged before they will conduct a diagnosis.
Licensed psychologists are most commonly suggested for obtaining a dyslexia diagnosis, specifically neuropsychologists. Because neuropsychologists specialize in brain functioning, and dyslexics have a unique wiring in their brain, neuropsychologists can usually offer a proper diagnosis as well as the best additional information for helping your child or loved one with their dyslexia. Another option you may want to pursue is child psychologists.
Contacting your family physician about getting a diagnosis, or where to get a diagnosis could also prove to be effective. Some people offer this as a good approach while others haven’t had success.
Another venue you can receive a professional diagnosis from is the speech pathology or special education department of various universities. This option is not widely known, but there are universities that offer this service.
There is a surprising amount of controversy surrounding the option of obtaining a dyslexia diagnosis through your child’s school. There are parents that have successfully got their child diagnosed through their school, but there are many more that say schools will not specifically diagnose dyslexia. We have received many calls from parents that are frustrated by their child’s school because it refuses to diagnose dyslexia.
Schools are required by law to test to see if a child is eligible for special education services, but in the case of dyslexia they are often only able to show a “language learning deficit.” This is mostly due to a lack of professional ability, because neuropsychologists are not typically staffed in school. It has become a barrier for parents to receive help, but schools can and often do provide direction on where and how you can get a child diagnosed.
If a school does offer a dyslexia diagnosis, it will most likely not be a professional diagnosis. If the school has a licensed neuropsychologist then the diagnosis will likely be official, however, if they simply perform assessments it may simply be an evaluation and will not be a formal diagnosis.
Eye Doctors sometimes offer a dyslexia diagnosis; however, technically an eye doctor can only test for a visual perception disorder. This disorder is called Irlen Syndrome and often occurs with dyslexia, however, does not dictate that a child or adult truly does have dyslexia.
There are many dyslexia centers that assess dyslexia, but unless the assessor is a licensed professional, their diagnosis will not be official.
Because many parents want their child to get a diagnosis before they are school aged, a general assessment may be helpful to help you understand if this may be a problem for your child so you can begin to remediate it as quickly as possible.
Reading Horizons offers a free assessment that although it will not provide you with a professional diagnosis, it is of a professional grade and similar to the assessments used by licensed professionals. It can be found at: http://athome.readinghorizons.com/assessments/dyslexic-assessment-part1.aspx
Also there is a list of dyslexia centers and professionals by state at this website: http://www.iser.com/dyslexia.html
Let us know of any other venues you have either found successful or unsuccessful for obtaining a professional dyslexia diagnosis.
Free Dyslexia Webinar: “Dyslexia: From Symptoms to Solutions,” presented by Reading Horizons Dyslexia Specialist, Shantell Berrett.