If you suspect your child of being dyslexic, or your child’s teacher voices such suspicion, it may be wise to find and schedule a formal test for dyslexia. The test is probably more correctly called a screening, since it is not just a single written examination that can be completed in a short time. When the screening is performed, you, your child, and perhaps even your child’s teacher may be involved in answering questions, looking at historical performance in school, etc.
The actual screening for dyslexia can be stressful for the child in question. As stated above, the test for dyslexia could consist of several steps including classroom observation, interviews with the school psychologist, nurse, and/or reading specialist and of course, with you, the parent. If your child’s school does not offer a test for dyslexia, you may need to petition another school to perform the test for you. You could also look for an educational psychologist, or ask the school reading specialist for recommendations.
It is very important to remember your child’s lack of success in school is not their fault. Dyslexia is a disorder of the brain where the brain does not process numbers or letters it sees properly. Very often, a child is born with the disorder. It is very frustrating for the most patient of dyslexic students to realize that no matter how hard they try, they cannot grasp the concepts a teacher is trying to teach them. Once your child is diagnosed, the difference you will see, if they are instructed by a staff member trained in handling dyslexia, will be fairly rapid and remarkable.
As the parent, you have a large roll in the test for dyslexia and then with the continuing course of action. You need to be insistent until the screening is complete, and then follow up to ensure that your child receives the proper instruction if they do have a positive diagnosis. It may be necessary to find a different school if your school does not have the properly trained teachers and other resources your child will need to overcome their disorder.
Listen to this anecdote related to me by the parent of a recently diagnosed dyslexic child:
I asked my son what he thought about his test for dyslexia and subsequent change of schools. I was pleasantly surprised by his answer. He is only 8 years old and was diagnosed just under a year ago. I expected him to say he missed his old school but he did not. He instead told me, “Thanks mom. I know I gave you a fight but, I am learning easier now. School is not as bad as I thought.”
If an 8 year old can see the difference between mainstream instruction and specialized instruction, then, you will be able to as well. A test for dyslexia is well worth any aggravation or inconvenience. It can free your child from the torment he/she experiences in school. Be patient and persistent and work with the school and your child to determine what they need.