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Family History of Dyslexia
Q: Seventh grade is my son's worst year in school. He was diagnosed with ADD in first grade and took Ritalin until fifth grade. I had asked the school to test him for dyslexia, but they said he was too young and his grades too high. However, I worry he may be dyslexic since it runs in my family. Where I can get him tested privately?
A: Children with dyslexia often do well in school and their difficulties lie undetected until reading demands increase in middle or high school. If you have a family history of dyslexia and you are concerned about your son, you have a legal right to request an evaluation. I would suggest that you contact the International Dyslexia Association at 1-800-ABCD123 or http://www.interdys.org and see if they can help you walk through the system. Make sure you put your requests for an evaluation in writing and send them certified, return receipt requested. Documentation of your attempts to get an evaluation will support your case.
That said, I must say that school or district-based evaluators don't often test for dyslexia. They often do a straight comparison between potential (as measured by I.Q.) and achievement. If your son is truly doing well academically, you may have to get an outside evaluation that specifically tests for dyslexia and then bring those results to your local evaluation team. The International Dyslexia Association should be able to help you with a referral if you decide to go for a private evaluation. Good luck!
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.