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Read on to know more about how to get a dyslexia diagnosis for your child.

How to Get a Dyslexia Diagnosis for Your Child

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Download our Free How to Get a Dyslexia Diagnosis for Your Child pamphlet here.

Read on to know more about how to get a dyslexia diagnosis for your child.Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities in children and adults. It affects 20 percent of the population and accounts for 80 to 90 percent of those with learning disabilities. As with all learning disabilities, early detection and intervention are crucial. Particularly in stemming further learning difficulties in later life. If you’re worried that your child may have dyslexia, below is a guide on what signs to look out for and how to get a dyslexia diagnosis.

Discover how you can explain ADHD in a way that’s easy for the child to understand, and accurately represents their amazing brain. Check out this Handout: Kid-Friendly Assessment Summary to help kids understand their amazing brains.


What is Dyslexia?


The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as a specific and unexpected learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. Individuals with dyslexia primarily have difficulty in phonological processing. Phonology is an underlying skill that facilitates both learning how to decode and spell. Students with dyslexia struggle with isolating the sounds in words, matching sounds with letters, and blending sounds into words. The visual magnocellular system is responsible for timing visual events when reading. In dyslexics, the development of the visual magnocellular system is impaired: development of the magnocellular layers of the dyslexic lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) is abnormal; their motion sensitivity is reduced; many dyslexics show unsteady binocular fixation; hence poor visual localization, particularly on the left side (left neglect). However, this visual phenomenon does not explain dyslexia.

In other words, these students have problems “cracking the code.” This means arbitrary written symbols (called orthography) are not automatically processed as well as their peers who have cracked the code with more automaticity do. As a result, an individual with dyslexia will find it difficult to sound out words and show poor spelling and decoding abilities. 

When left unaddressed, dyslexia can also lead to problems in reading fluency. If you aren’t reading fluently, you will be at risk for having reading comprehension difficulties and will most likely avoid reading since it’s an unpleasant experience. Lack of practice reading means less exposure to vocabulary and reduced learning background knowledge. In short, without proper intervention, dyslexia leads to a foundational literacy issue, which then causes downstream issues. 

For the most part, however, what exactly causes dyslexia is still unknown. We do know there is a genetic link; studies show that children with a family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities are more susceptible. There are also other risk factors to consider, such as low birth weight, premature birth, and exposure to harmful substances (drugs, nicotine, alcohol) during pregnancy. 

Get insights into supporting students with disabilities resulting from dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia through comprehensive Q&A by NY State Education Dept. 

Read about these exciting advances in the endless debate over traditional reading instructional methods- Our Choice: Rapidly Translate, Evaluate and Adopt Innovative Literacy Methods or Prolong the Reading Wars by Bruce Howlett with Caitlin S. Howlett, Ph.D.


Common Signs of Dyslexia


Dyslexia can occur at all levels of intelligence. Children who struggle with dyslexia can often excel in other areas of learning and creative thinking. This is arguably one of the reasons why early signs of dyslexia are easy to overlook, especially in bright students. These students can easily compensate for this sometimes “invisible” learning disability, which makes knowing when and how to get a dyslexia diagnosis all the more necessary. 

Typically, dyslexia is detected once a child enters school and starts learning to read. But younger children may also show symptoms that hint at a learning problem. Here are some early signs of dyslexia in children and teens to watch out for from The Mayo Clinic:

Early/Pre-School Years

  • Late talking
  • Slow to learn new words
  • Often reverses and confuses word sounds, especially those that sound alike
  • Difficulty naming letters, numbers, colors, and even recognizing letters in their own name
  • Struggles to learn nursery rhymes, understand rhyming patterns, or play rhyming games

Elementary Years

  • Reads below the expected level for their age (slow or inaccurate reading)
  • Struggles with understanding and processing what they hear
  • Struggles to find the right words or form answers and often opts to substitute words 
  • Difficulty in remembering the sequence of events or things
  • Difficulty in distinguishing similarities and differences in letters and words
  • Unable to sound out the pronunciation of new words and struggles with spelling
  • Takes a long time to complete reading or writing exercises and shies away from reading tasks

Teens and Adults

  • Problems with reading, often leaving out short words or parts of longer words
  • Struggles with spelling and writing
  • Difficulty pronouncing expected or familiar words or names
  • Takes a long time to complete tasks that involve reading and writing or avoids reading activities
  • Struggles with “getting” jokes, puns, or expressions with meanings that are not readily obvious
  • Difficulty grasping a second language and telling or summarizing a story
  • Struggles with memorizing or doing math problems

If you think your child might have dyslexia, read this article to learn more.

Dyslexia becomes easier to recognize as a child enters school and starts learning how to read.


When and How to Get a Dyslexia Diagnosis


Dyslexia becomes easier to spot once a child enters kindergarten or first grade. This is because children with dyslexia often struggle with understanding basic reading skills, so they will noticeably fall behind their peers. 

Your child’s primary teacher will hopefully notify you if he or she is falling behind reading benchmarks. They may suggest an assessment and offer assistance on how to get a dyslexia diagnosis for your child. Discover what dyslexia assessment is and how it can help students with dyslexia and other processing disorder to catch up to grade-level literacy skills.

However, school districts and schools use their own metrics to determine what’s expected in terms of learning literacy. What parents don’t know is that many of these popular metrics are not researched-backed (This is another topic to be discussed at a later point). It is currently thought that developmental dyslexia can be viewed as the result of the effects of single deficits or multiple deficits. 

A licensed clinical psychologist (ideally, a neuropsychologist) performs the testing for dyslexia on a child. Likewise, a licensed clinical psychologist can also work with a licensed speech language therapist, who can also collect necessary and relevant data (see below).  Meanwhile, an occupational therapist can evaluate fine motor and visual spatial skills.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia evaluation should consider the following factors:

Moreover, a child or adult should undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to get a closer look at brain functions. This type of test can measure attention span, memory, and language skills. It can help determine the reasons a child is struggling in school and help you plan an intervention. And like any type of learning issue, clinical psychologists can also rule in or out co-morbity since many learning issues are not “pure” in nature. 


Why Diagnosing Dyslexia is Important 


When left unchecked, dyslexia and other learning disabilities can persist well into adulthood. Without any support, children with dyslexia can experience frustration and learning blocks that may ultimately hamper their learning growth and development. Changing how dyslexia is diagnosed could help many more children learn to read. Learn why so many dyslexia diagnoses are often missed by too many schools.

In many cases, not knowing how to get a dyslexia diagnosis and ignoring the signs of learning disabilities can lead to moodiness and chronic stress, expose children as targets for bullying, and take a toll on the child’s self-esteem. These outcomes may worsen as a child gets older and cause further mental, academic, and career-related problems.

Having a formal evaluation and diagnosis also allows your child to qualify for their school’s special services and Individualized Education Program or IEP. In the United States, all students are eligible for IEPs.  Entering your child into a specialized program gives you access to accommodations and modifications in your child’s academic path and goals.

Modifications make changes to what your child is taught in school and adjust expectations in what he is supposed to achieve. An example of this would be giving a different set of homework or grading using a different standard. Modifications are made on the child’s IEP. 

Meanwhile, accommodations are steps taken by the school to allow children with dyslexia to keep pace with their peers. This may include:

  • Access to taped lectures and audio versions of learning materials
  • Use of text-to-speech software to help with writing
  • Extra time on tests and writing and reading exercises
  • No foreign language requirement
  • Access to vocabulary lists and new concepts ahead of time
  • Alternative books with similar content in the student’s reading level
  • Read-aloud exemptions
  • Grading students on mastery of content instead of spelling or reading fluency


  • Brooklyn Letters will connect you to a neuropsychologist in your area who can test for dyslexia.

How to Best Teach a Child with Dyslexia


Finding out how to get a dyslexia diagnosis is only the first step in providing support for your child. Hence, your next goal should focus on finding out the best and most effective way for your child to learn.

But before anything else, it is important to understand that dyslexia is neither a disease nor a physical condition. It is a lifelong learning disability, which a timely diagnosis and the right intervention and teaching approach can successfully manage and correct. 

Because dyslexia affects not only a child’s ability to read but also write and spell, it requires a multisensory structured language education (MSLE) approach. 

One of the pioneers of this type of teaching method is the Orton-Gillingham approach. Its goal is to create a multisensory learning environment for individuals struggling with reading, writing, spelling, or a combination of all three. The Orton-Gillingham Approach uses sight, hearing, touch, and awareness of motion to assist the child in improving reading and other literacy skills.

Reading together often and consistently is crucial in bolstering a child with dyslexia's confidence and reading skills.


How to Support a Child with Dyslexia at Home


While schools play a big role in a child’s success over dyslexia, at-home learning and support are just as important. Some of the most important steps you can take as a parent are:

Staying on top of your child’s IEP. Knowing how to get a dyslexia diagnosis and making sure your child receives a school’s IEP is crucial. But your job doesn’t stop there. It is just as important to keep communication lines open with your child’s educators. This is key to ensure the student is making progress and to figure out how you may be able to provide more help.

Reading with your child as often and as consistently as possible. It may be a challenge to get children to hunker down and finish a book, so pick fun reading materials like comic books, graphic novels, or choose-your-own-adventure books that make reading less of a chore. Emphasize on teaching phonics, and allow your child to practice reading without the pressure of being criticized or graded.

Taking advantage of technology. These days, there is an app or software for everything. Including dyslexia learning needs. Think text-to-speech, reading assistant apps, and spell-checkers.

Seeking the help of professionals. Finding a professional with Orton-Gillingham training (at least 40 hours worth), or even a speech-language pathologist with training in literacy, is the best way to provide further support for your child. For your child to succeed, it’s crucial to work with a professional that has a keen understanding of his or her needs and delivers a custom teaching approach. 

Brooklyn Letters is a New York-based private speech-language therapy and tutoring company fully committed to providing fun, individualized, and dynamic tutoring, coaching, and therapy sessions for children and teens. We treat all kinds of speech and language delays and learning difficulties, specializing in evaluating and treating babies through adolescents.

Our services include:

Do you want to learn more about dyslexia? 

Here is a roundtable NYC discussion on dyslexia presented by a neuropsychologist, an educational attorney, a special needs advocate, and a head of a school specializing in teaching dyslexia. 

Brooklyn Letters offers in-home and online literacy (Orton-Gillingham Approach), math tutoring services, and speech, language, and feeding therapies in the New York City metro area seven days a week.
Get in touch with Brooklyn Letters at:

Phone: (347) -394-3485

Text: (917) 426-8880

Email: [email protected]

Our Tutors are Ready to help you!

Governments, education authorities, international organizations, and the private sector have come up with various solutions to help students cope with the effects of coronavirus on education.

Online speech language therapy & reading and math tutoring: A Brooklyn Letters Learning Specialist Shares her Tips for Virtual Teaching

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Online Speech Language Therapy, Coaching and Online Tutoring Services

Brooklyn Letters and its branches in Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island will be offering all speech language and feeding therapy, coaching and literacy and math tutoring services online seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

It is now necessary for all speech language therapy and tutoring to be done remotely due to the pandemic. The transition from physical classroom to a virtual classroom has been a tenuous one. Children are trying to get used to online learning while parents are attempting to balance their own stresses working from home. Educators have also been scrambling to set up the best possible classrooms online for their students.

Brooklyn Letters team of highly professional and talented speech language pathologists and learning specialists have been working around the clock to make the transition from one-to-one services to remote services a seamless experience. There have been new technologies to implement, many lessons and activities to download, and creative plans to assimilate for families. There have been glitches, which is to be expected. However, one of our learning specialists, Lauren T., was kind enough to share her personal experience with us of preparing and administering her first couple of remote tutoring sessions with a 6 year old. She has been tutoring this child in one-to-one sessions for weak phonological awareness, assistance in understanding the concepts of syllables, rhyme, and onset/rime, and boosting her reading level.

Lauren shares remote tutoring tips:

In terms of organization, I followed a tip from someone on Facebook and created a folder just for that student and copied the documents I would need into it. Then I left it open in the background for easy access. Thus, if I closed something by mistake, I could easily reopen it.

Online Tutoring

Shared the Adobe pdf window through Zoom. Annotate in Zoom lets me spotlight the line of text I want her to focus on.

For this session I used only SMART Notebook. I had to create a few new SMART files to duplicate PPT files. SMART Notebook (the free version) has fewer design flourishes than PPT (i.e. could not give tokens a shadow and dimension unless I inserted a picture that already had shadow and dimension), but students can easily click and move things with a minimum of distracting activity. For instance, if a student clicks on a token in PPT, a bright box appears around it, and there is a lag when the image is moved. In SMART, it is a more subtle black box, and there was only the slightest lag. I put all the files I would need with movable pieces into one file: token boards, letter board, picture sort, and words to arrange into a sentence. Then I just scrolled to the correct page when needed.

At our next session I played a phonics board game with her. The game pieces were movable. For the die, I downloaded a cute app onto my phone; I would “roll” the die for her. I did not want her using a physical dice, which would end up on the floor in a corner.

online tutors

On Zoom, I am sharing the SMART Notebook screen, giving her control of the mouse so she can move the game pieces. (I also have control of the mouse.) She is off-screen, maybe fetching her marker. I asked her to spell the words for the pictures either of us landed on. I created this game using free clip art from the internet. The game board is something I found for free on the net — it comes blank, with just the colored circles. She had a good time — had a breakthrough with phonemic awareness during an earlier activity.

The HUE document camera worked well for displaying word cards and decodable text. I liked that the student could see my hands and fingers as she is used to, rather than relying on the mouse pointer to draw her attention to certain words. As far as I know, the image was clear on the student’s end.

There were some problems with getting the student oriented correctly to the camera on her parents’ large computer screen. When I asked her to show me what she wrote on her wipe-off board, she put it in front of my image on the screen rather than the camera. And lighting made it hard for me to see when the board was in range. I had her tell me the letters she had written. When I meet again, I will ask her parents to show her where the camera is. Also, being 6, she was too short for the chair, even at its highest setting. Next time I will have her sit on pillows to get higher. Also, being 6, she tended to drop the marker and had to scramble down from the chair to fetch it. She was out of my view, but for the most part climbed back up right away.

With an explicit lesson plan and everything open and ready to go, I was able to get to every part of the lesson and keep her engaged. It does take a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get remote sessions up and running. However, the only tools the families need to have are a computer with internet access that contains a camera, microphone, and a mouse (or touchscreen) to access the Zoom meeting. Zoom does not require an account or an app. Accommodations can also be made for tablets. Additionally, a dry erase board or paper with pencils or markers is necessary.

Other tips: I arranged lamps on my desk so that bright light was reflected off the wall onto my face. I also wore bright clothing and some lipstick. (Men should try this with tinted lip balm!) I work on a laptop, so I set the laptop on top of a stack of books so that the camera would be level with my face. This way I was not looking down all the time. The background was a curtain I arranged behind me rather than the top of the back wall. I did not have my headset, so I used the microphone on my webcam. This meant I was always talking loudly, which felt unnatural. For the next lesson I will use my headset, which I hope will mean my vocal communication will feel more intimate.

The student really enjoyed the sessions, and we will continue to meet in this manner. In general, the parents are overwhelmed by the heavy workload the school expects of the student (which I imagine is a common emotion among parents at this time), and also with managing the schedule to set up their other child with his twice-daily Zoom meetings and still have the time and space to conduct their own work they are doing at home. They are working on a schedule that fits their family.

Some parents are reluctant to give remote therapy or tutoring a try because their child is not yet adjusting well to the online learning environment with their schools. Science shows, and we have experienced this as well at Brooklyn Letters with our sessions with children, that there is such a different dynamic in instructing in a group setting versus a one-to-one setting. We encourage parents to contact us for assistance and are even offering a free 30 minute remote session so that parents can see how it will all work.

Not only do we offer tutoring for children with learning difficulties, disabilities, and literacy and math struggles, but we also offer a menu of personalized assistance. We can do student check-ins once or twice a day or a couple of times a week, organize work to be completed and prepare plans, help with homework, and even coach parents as to how to guide their children through these transitions. Parents can speak to a therapist or learning specialist for free to share their needs, and the professional will prepare a plan to offer. We understand that not every family situation is the same and, likewise, children's needs vary. Therefore, we will create just the right, individualized plan for each family's needs.

Our Director, Nicole, and Founder and CEO, Craig, are also available to speak with parents and answer any questions.

Written by Brooklyn Letters

Need an online speech language therapy, reading, writing, and math tutoring services

We are offering remote speech language therapy, tutoring services, and additional remote services seven days a week!

(917) 426-8880 & [email protected]

(we respond to email right away!).