Dyslexia is difficult to correctly diagnose

2 Mar

The National Center for Learning Disabilities described dyslexia in What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia at a Glance
Dyslexia is the name for specific learning disabilities in reading. Dyslexia is often characterized by difficulties with accurate word recognition, decoding and spelling. Dyslexia may cause problems with reading comprehension and slow down vocabulary growth. Dyslexia may result in poor reading fluency and reading out loud. Dyslexia is neurological and often genetic. Dyslexia is not the result of poor instruction. With the proper support, almost all people with dyslexia can become good readers and writers.
As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge that people are born with. This language processing disorder can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness. It is also not the result of impaired vision. Children and adults with dyslexia simply have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently.
Dyslexia occurs among people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds. Often more than one member of a family has dyslexia. According to the National Institute of Child and Human Development, as many as 15 percent of Americans have major troubles with reading.
Much of what happens in a classroom is based on reading and writing. So it’s important to identify dyslexia as early as possible. Using alternate learning methods, people with dyslexia can achieve success.

Dyslexia is a neurological and genetic disease.

Medical News Today reported in the article, What Is Dyslexia? What Causes Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific reading disability due to a defect in the brain’s processing of graphic symbols. It is a learning disability that alters the way the brain processes written material. It is typically characterized by difficulties in word recognition, spelling and decoding. People with dyslexia have problems with reading comprehension.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities1 says that dyslexia is a neurological and often genetic condition, and not the result of poor teaching, instruction or upbringing.
Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence.
What is dyslexia?
The problem in dyslexia is a linguistic one, not a visual one. Dyslexia in no way stems from any lack of intelligence. People with severe dyslexia can be brilliant.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) lived with dyslexia.
The effects of dyslexia, in fact, vary from person to person. The only shared trait among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels significantly lower than typical for people of their age. Dyslexia is different from reading retardation which may reflect mental retardation or cultural deprivation.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, dyslexia is the most common learning disability2. Eighty percent of students with learning disabilities have dyslexia.
The International Dyslexia Association3 estimates that 15% to 20% of the American population have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words.
The National Health Service4, UK, estimates that 4-8% of all schoolchildren in England have some degree of dyslexia.
It is estimated that boys are one-and-a-half to three times more likely to develop dyslexia than girls. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186787.php

Since individuals manifest the condition of dyslexia in different ways, a debate is occurring about whether the diagnosis of dyslexia has meaning.

Nick Morrison wrote in the Forbes article, ‘Dyslexia’ Is A Meaningless Label And Should Be Ditched:

For millions of parents, a dyslexia diagnosis that not only unlocks the door to extra help, but also allows them to understand why their child has problems reading. So it is no surprise that a suggestion the term is overused and should be ditched has been greeted with howls of protest.
But once the initial furore has died down, it is worth wondering whether affixing a label makes any real difference. Perhaps we should spend more time making sure children get the help they need than working out whether they fall into a neat category.
The controversy centers on a book co-authored by academics either side of the Atlantic: Julian Elliott, professor of education at Durham University in the U.K., and Elena L. Grigorenko, professor of psychology at Yale in the U.S.
In The Dyslexia Debate, they argue a diagnosis of dyslexia is often highly questionable and the term has become a meaningless catch-all that encompasses a wide variety of problems with reading. In addition, the pair argue that parents are often mistaken if they believe that a diagnosis will mean their children get the help they need…
Amid the sound and fury it is easy to overlook the fact that Elliott is not suggesting that dyslexia itself does not exist.
Studies show that some people do have real and complex problems with decoding text and relating sounds in spoken language to written symbols. These affect about 1-2% of the population and are thought to be caused by one or more of genetic, immunological or nutritional factors. They are also often linked to difficulties in sequencing, putting the numbers, months, days of the week in order, and telling left and right apart, as well as allergies.
Elliott’s argument is that dyslexia is so misused it encompasses virtually any difficulty where there is a discrepancy between reading performance and IQ. Although the numbers involved have not been quantified, an estimated 5-10% of the population are classed as dyslexic.
But far from helping children, a dyslexia diagnosis could get in the way of the targeted support they need. By taking a wide range of difficulties under its umbrella, it makes it harder to find specific solutions for specific problems….. http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/02/27/dyslexia-is-a-meaningless-label-and-should-be-ditched/

The diagnosis of dyslexia is complex.

The Mayo Clinic staff wrote in Tests and diagnosis:

There’s no one test that can diagnose dyslexia. Your child’s doctor will consider a number of things, such as:
•Answers to a number of questions. These will likely include questions about your child’s development, education and medical history. The doctor may also want to know about any conditions that run in your child’s family, and may ask if any family members have a learning disability.
•Questionnaires. Your child’s doctor may have your child, family members or teachers answer written questions. Your child may be asked to take tests to identify his or her reading and language abilities.
•Vision, hearing and brain (neurological) tests. These can help determine whether another disorder may be causing or adding to your child’s poor reading ability.
•Psychological testing. The doctor may ask you or your child questions to better understand your child’s psychological state. This can help determine whether social problems, anxiety or depression may be limiting your child’s abilities.
•Testing reading and other academic skills. Your child may take a set of educational tests and have the process and quality of his or her reading skills analyzed by a reading expert. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dyslexia/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20021904

There are certain cues that will lead parents to find a competent physician to examine their child for signs of a learning disability.

Sally Shaywitz, M.D. wrote in the Great Schools article, Should My Child Be Evaluated for Dyslexia?

Clues to Dyslexia in Early Childhood
The earliest clues involve mostly spoken language. The very first clue to a language (and reading) problem may be delayed language. Once the child begins to speak, look for the following problems:
The Preschool Years
• Trouble learning common nursery rhymes such as “Jack and Jill” and “Humpty Dumpty”
• A lack of appreciation of rhymes
• Mispronounced words; persistent baby talk
• Difficulty in learning (and remembering) names of letters
• Failure to know the letters in his own name
Kindergarten and First Grade
• Failure to understand that words come apart; for example, that batboy can be pulled apart into bat and boy, and, later on, that the word bat can be broken down still further and sounded out as: “b” “aaaa” “t”
• Inability to learn to associate letters with sounds, such as being unable to connect the letter b with the “b” sound
• Reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters; for example, the word big is read as goat
• The inability to read common one-syllable words or to sound out even the simplest of words, such as mat, cat, hop, nap
• Complaints about how hard reading is, or running and hiding when it is time to read
• A history of reading problems in parents or siblings.
In addition to the problems of speaking and reading, you should be looking for these indications of strengths in higher-level thinking processes:
• Curiosity
• A great imagination
• The ability to figure things out
• Eager embrace of new ideas
• Getting the gist of things
• A good understanding of new concepts
• Surprising maturity
• A large vocabulary for the age group
• Enjoyment in solving puzzles
• Talent at building models
• Excellent comprehension of stories read or told to him http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/LD-ADHD/845-should-my-child-be-evaluated-for-dyslexia.gs?page=all

Shaywitz’s article is quite extensive and is a good resource for parents. It includes information about possible symptoms from second grade on and symptoms for young adults and adults. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the treatment and more options which are available.

Angela Stevens of the Reading Corner wrote How to Get a Professional Dyslexia Diagnosis:

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:
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.
Medical Doctor:
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:
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.
Dyslexia Centers:
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 http://athome.readinghorizons.com/community/blog/how-to-get-a-professional-dyslexia-diagnosis/

Lifescript Doctor has reviews for doctors all over the country http://www.lifescript.com/doctor-directory/condition/d-dyslexia.aspx?gclid=CPbzja799LwCFZRqfgodGhAAUw&ef_id=UxO40gAABQoDQqAf:20140302231438:s
Getting a correct early diagnosis of dyslexia, which is a learning disability is crucial to a child’s academic success.

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