My daughter just finished second grade and will start third grade in the fall. She was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 3 and a half. We started her in pre-school at age 4 with an IEP, and she has had an IEP every year since. She has always struggled in school. Her handwriting is horrible, even now, and she can not spell even the simplest words like "and", "let", "that". We have always just attributed it to the ADHD. We hired a private tutor to work with her over the summer to try to get her caught up. After a few sessions with the tutor, she suspected that my daughter may have dyslexia. I took an online survey and gave her an online assessment, and both indicated she should be tested.

So I started reading on how dyslexia is diagnosed and treated. It seems that the diagnosis process is complex and requires several tests and various specialists, etc. And the treatment is basically an IEP with the same accommodations she already gets for her ADHD. So my question is; should I bother with getting an official diagnosis? Would having a dyslexia diagnosis be treated any differently than what we are already doing for her ADHD? I ask because I have been through several of these diagnosis processes ,and they are expensive (high deductible insurance) and usually take several appointments spread out over several months. If the end result is just another label for why she does poorly in school ,and no real treatment options, I'd rather not waste the time and money.

1 Answer 1


While a formal diagnosis may not be important, I think it is important to explore the possibility of your child being dyslexic in addition to (or possibly instead of) being ADHD. We suspected that our son was dyslexic due to the significant differences in his abilities in most subjects versus his reading abilities. He was able to compensate so well that teachers initially thought he was reading OK. But when we started focusing on the possibility of dyslexia, the school administered some tests at the end of first grade that confirmed it enough for them (things like showing him nonsense words and asking him to pronounce them phonetically). We never got an official medical diagnosis so there was no cost.

Subsequent to this, his IEP was created and he was given special instruction for reading/writing/spelling that was tailored to dyslexics. The difference it made was amazing! In two years he went from reading barely at grade level and with significant stress, to reading well above grade level and even reading books for enjoyment.

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    I think this is an important point. Many of the accommodations overlap, but dyslexia has unique features that need some unique treatment. Working with the school to seek an evaluation is a good suggestion.
    – Acire
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 20:55

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