Testing for Dyslexia in Santa Clarita, CA
Dyslexia can be difficult to identify without testing, which is known as educational testing or psychoeducational testing.
A free online dyslexia test will not be enough to determine if an adult or child has dyslexia. Only a complete psychoeducational evaluation that has been completed by a professional, such as a licensed educational psychologist, can give you the answers you need.
Adults who previously managed to get by in school may suddenly flounder in college or a new work environment. This does not have to be the case though! Specialists can help adults overcome their learning challenges. Work or school accommodations can allow the individual to meet expectations, rather than struggle or, even worse, fail.
Children who are showing signs of dyslexia may be denied an evaluation in public schools if their learning is being supplemented by a tutor or outside resources that are helping them to maintain average grades. Many public school districts will not even offer a test if dyslexia is the suspected cause. I’ll discuss that more shortly.
Outside of public schools, parents may find it difficult to find a local educational psychologist to conduct an assessment. For this reason, I have shifted my services to focus on testing. For families in and around Santa Clarita who are seeking answers for themselves and/or their kids, I am here to help! Let’s talk more about dyslexia and the tests that are required.
Who can be tested for dyslexia?
I offer diagnostic assessments for dyslexia for people of any age. I test school-age children as young as 5 or 6 years because that is often when reading difficulties along with other signs of dyslexia start to appear. However, some students find ways of compensating and their struggles don’t appear until later in elementary school, middle school, or high school.
I also see young adults who are struggling to earn needed scores on the SAT or ACT or perform in college. They may have squeaked by in high school or had extra help.
Older adults can also struggle with dyslexia challenges. I’ve helped a few clients who had a dyslexia diagnosis as a child and then faced renewed challenges when COVID-19 hit or when their employers asked them to return to the office after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic passed. In these cases, the shift in their work environment forced them out of the habits and practices they had formed for themselves and made them aware of their unique difficulties.
Data has shown, and I’ve seen in my own experience, that early intervention is very helpful in reducing long-term reading challenges. If you have concerns about your child’s reading, language, or writing abilities, be sure to document the warning signs you notice. Once you are confident there is a problem, reach out to your child’s teacher or a licensed educational psychologist.
The fact that you are reading this blog is a good indicator that you are suspicious that a learning disability of some sort may be impacting your child’s learning.
I recommend talking to your child’s teacher to see what they have observed. Please note, your child may not be recommended/approved for testing at this time through your child’s public school. Here’s why:
1. Public schools will not test a student until they are significantly behind their grade level peers, typically two years behind their grade level is the rule of thumb.
2. Public schools test students who may qualify for special education services. Their goal is to determine if the child needs additional instruction in order to improve their ability to learn in the general education classroom, not to diagnose.
3. Schools are implementing interventions before recommending students for testing. This is a requirement to see how the child responds to regular education interventions before being considered for special education. In addition, the pandemic and distance learning may have impacted the skills of elementary students and thus, schools are providing specific intervention programs to address academic delays. These programs will help the majority of students but may delay students with undiagnosed learning disorders from being tested and properly helped.
About dyslexia testing
Through a battery of tests, I build out a profile of strengths and weaknesses for each individual. It’s important to note that testing done through public schools is looking to qualify students for special needs services. Conversely, I aim to show each person where they can grow and where they are already strong.
An educational evaluation done through a private practice, like my own, will determine specific dyslexia troubles. As I explain in my blog post about dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia,
“One person identified with dyslexia may have difficulty grasping sound symbol relationships while another may be very strong in grasping phonics but cannot read the word ‘the’ because their learning disability impacts sight-word reading ability. Therefore, a simple test for dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia or any other learning disability is not sufficient.”
My series of tests reveal any gaps in executive function skills, giftedness, cognitive abilities, ways of processing information, memory, academic skills/ performance and additional helpful information. I build a detailed report with this information that can be used to qualify for accommodations at work or school. Recommendations are provided to meet the learning and performance needs of the individual. This insight can also be used with dyslexia tutoring and building an overall action plan.
Here are the specific areas that are considered in a psychoeducational assessment:
-cognitive ability (intellectual functioning) -sensory motor processing
-academic skills -associative processing
-auditory processing -fluency
-visual processing -language processing
Characteristics of dyslexia
What are the key symptoms of dyslexia? As I said before, one person who is identified with dyslexia may have a different experience than someone else with the same diagnosis. However, there are some general indicators of dyslexia that we can go over.
Reading Problem: This is typically the first symptom that comes to people’s minds. An individual may have trouble with decoding, sight word identification, rapid naming abilities, and visual deficits.
Writing: Dyslexia can affect one’s writing abilities but dysgraphia may also be at play here. An evaluation will be able to identify either one.
Auditory Language Development: Difficulty with word retrieval can lead to challenges with communication that go beyond average forgetfulness or temporary brain fog.
If you are facing challenges in getting yourself or your child diagnosed with dyslexia and you are in or around Santa Clarita, CA, please reach out.
If you are not in my area, feel free to contact me and I may be able to help connect you to other licensed education psychologists in your area.
Workplace accommodations for dyslexia
Accommodations in the workplace can take many forms to meet the needs of the employee. The application process is one area that can be altered
for qualifying individuals. Other examples of accommodations could include placement in a quieter part of the office, extended deadlines, certain voice recording devices, and more. The goal of workplace accommodations is three-fold:
-To remove unique barriers
-To help employees do their best work
-To allow all people with disabilities to enjoy the privileges of
College accommodations for dyslexia
Accommodations in college can include extra time on exams, permission to make audio recordings of classes, and the use of text-to-speech programs. Other more extensive accommodations are offered case by case, such as alternative exam formats, access to learning specialists, mentor programs, and more.
Public school tests versus private tests
When it comes to educational evaluations and your child, either the school will conduct an evaluation upon your consent, or you can have a private evaluation done. If you suspect your child is struggling with dyslexia, gather information from your school psychologist and a private educational psychologist so that you can make the best decision for your child and your family.
According to education regulations for special needs services, dyslexia is under the category of “specific learning disorder” with a wide range of other conditions. Also, public schools do not test to diagnose. This can make it challenging for your student to be identified with dyslexia in the public schools.
Public School Evaluation
- Begins with a referral or parent request
- Testing process is free
- Student must be significantly behind their peers academically
- Testing conducted during school hours
- Test results will go on record
- Identifying candidates for special education services
- Initiated by parents
- Testing is done at a fee
- Testing conducted outside school hours if desired
- Parents decide if results are added to student’s record
- Seeking insight into student’s strengths and weaknesses in order to improve learning and provide strategies and a diagnosis if applicable
Overall benefits of doing a dyslexia test
There are so many benefits to completing a dyslexia evaluation or educational evaluation, not the least of these is insight into how you or your child learns. Following an assessment, I provide formal recommendations to help the individual learn or perform better. In an educational setting, this could include suggestions for studying and learning. For kids, this could be ways that parents can help their kids practice and learn at home.
I also make specific recommendations for professional assistance or public or private services such as an education specialist or a teacher.
Another key benefit of testing is a boost in self-esteem. When people realize an underlying issue was causing their learning issues, they feel more optimistic and hopeful about their future. Once you know where you are stumbling it is a lot easier to bolster your weaknesses and maneuver around your personal pitfalls.
When it comes to any learning disability, it’s not uncommon for parents and children to share the same or similar struggles. Sometimes this is due to genetics. Issues with motor skills and difficulty understanding are two symptoms of disabilities that you especially want to watch for in your kids.
In the case of dyslexia, it is common for multiple members of a family to have dyslexia. Two or more children will frequently have dyslexia. Dyslexia is harder to identify in previous generations as the condition was not recognized until more recently. It is probable that grandparents or great-grandparents who dropped out of school, didn’t like school or left school to enlist struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia.
It is possible to be gifted AND dyslexic. When an individual has a disability and an exceptional ability they are described as twice exceptional. Twice-exceptional individuals are very hard to identify without formal testing because their giftedness in one area might be overshadowing their weaknesses. Alternatively, their weaknesses might overshadow their giftedness. For example, a student can struggle with dyslexia but possess exceptional musical abilities or mathematical skills (e.i. Albert Einstein).
Your neurodivergent future
This term is relatively new, but it describes something that has been around for a long time. Neurodivergent describes someone whose brain learns, retains, or processes differently from what is considered “typical.”
Once you have been diagnosed with a learning disability you join the known community of people who are neurodivergent. Never in the history of mankind have there been so many effective and worthwhile services and programs to help neurodivergent people thrive.
Your ceiling at school and in work is up to you. The same goes for your child. A diagnosis will not prevent you from achieving your academic or professional goals. It will help you use your strengths more efficiently and bolster your weaknesses.
Investment in self or child
Dyslexia testing should not be feared or frowned upon. Let’s say, worst case scenario, you do not receive the diagnosis you were hoping for. In this case, you will still walk away with insight into your strengths and weaknesses and personalized recommendations for growth! That is something everyone could benefit from.
A private educational assessment is an investment. It’s an investment in your future or your child’s future that can bring about so many positive outcomes. If you are seeking testing for your child, their qualification for accommodations they receive now could follow them through college and work and remove barriers for them that most people don’t have to deal with.
Among the things you pay for your child, I would place an educational evaluation high on the prioritization list because of the implications it can have on their future. With an evaluation, they will have the tools they need to succeed. An undiagnosed child often becomes a mislabeled child. Teachers, peers, and even themselves believe their boredom, lack of concentration, anxiety, anger, lack of learning confidence, etc. are caused by behavioral problems, poor attitude, or low intellect. When in actuality, they just need help navigating a learning difference.
Areas I service
I have held my private practice in Santa Clarita, CA for over 25 years. In that amount of time, I have seen a lot of fluctuation in the number of private offices that offer testing. Today, it seems like there is a large need for testing but many are finding it difficult to locate these services. This is also reflected in the school districts where they have a backlog of students needing to get tested.
For this reason, as I have said, I am focusing my services on educational testing. Whether you are looking for dyslexia assessment for you or your child, I am available to help. I have helped many families from areas including Bakersfield and Lancaster in the last couple of years. I have also served communities throughout Los Angeles County.
If you are looking for formal dyslexia evaluations near my area, please reach out. If you are outside my service zone, I can try to connect you with a licensed educational psychologist in your area.