It strikes again. Dyslexia. This time, though, it’s official. If you’ve been a long time – and I mean, a really long time – blog reader, you may remember way back when, when we had Brianna screened with a really extensive eye exam.
They discovered that she had tracking problems and some auditory processing delays, but they stopped just short of saying that she had dyslexia because “true dyslexia is a neurological problem…” blah, blah, blah.
But, I knew.
Still, being the painfully honest person that I am, I often find myself qualifying Brianna’s dyslexia with the words, “mom-diagnosed.”
When I found out about Lexercise’s online dyslexia testing, I immediately called Josh to the computer to take the free screening. I sat beside him as he took it, clicking a button onscreen to indicate if he’d read a word correctly or incorrectly. He was doing much better than I expected…in fact, I really thought the screening would indicate that he didn’t need further testing.
The Free Screening Process
The screening starts with a Z-Screener that tests phonemic awareness based on how well a child can read one-syllable nonsense words.
Then, it looks at reading level by having the child read sight words up to his grade level.
His results? Further testing needed in each of the two areas. Due to his continuing reading struggles and the fact that I’ve long suspected that he has dyslexia, the results really weren’t a surprise other than the fact that he seemed to be doing better than expected on the screening.
Just in case you’re thinking, “Yeah, right. I bet the screener shows that every kid needs further testing,” I know several people whose kids took it and it indicated that they did not need help.
Because the screening showed that Josh would benefit from a more in-depth screening, plus the fact that he has always shown symptoms of dyslexia, I was eager to try the full evaluation.
Setting Up the Evaluation
The most complicated part of the full evaluation process was signing up for the appointment. Just so you know, should you decide your child needs a full evaluation, the red boxes on the calendar indicate the week that you’re looking at on the appointment calendar. The dark blue boxes on the appointment calendar (on the right) show the available times. You click those to schedule.
Once I got that figured out, the rest was a breeze. Our evaluator emailed me to confirm our appointment and set up a time to talk by phone. When he called, he asked me to tell him, in my own words, what was going on with Josh. Then, he let me know that he’d be emailing me some forms and told me what I’d need to do with them.
The forms included a permission form with some privacy information and a Word doc that I was to fill out, which included some basic information about Josh, including the background history that I had verbally given over the phone. I just had to fill out and return those forms.
We also set up a time to test the equipment – Skype (which I’d never used before), headset/microphone, and a webcam (which I don’t have – it wasn’t necessary for the evaluation, but we’ll need one if we decide to pursue therapy), so that we didn’t waste time with technical problems during the evaluation.
The Full Dyslexia Evaluation
The evaluation itself takes about an hour and a half, plus 15 minutes later on for the child to complete a writing sample. If your child is anything like mine and the thought of doing a “reading test” for an hour and a half doesn’t exactly sound appealing, bribery does have its place. (Josh may or may not have gotten a new video game in exchange for complete cooperation with no complaining.)
I was very impressed with how thorough the evaluation was, along with the fact that it was tailored to Josh’s needs based on the information I had included in the background report.
I also really appreciated how personable and encouraging our evaluator was. He told me that he works with a lot of homeschooling families. He treated me as a colleague and never talked down to me or made me feel like he thought Josh could receive more help in a public school setting. He also went out of his way to make Josh feel comfortable.
The evaluation started with a vocabulary section that included naming a variety of pictures (Josh often has trouble with word recall) and synonyms.
Next was a rapid naming/listening section, which tested for phonemic awareness. It included naming letters as quickly as possible, isolating phonemes, and blending words.
Finally, there were some reading activities (sight words and a couple of short passages), followed by some spelling words and logical/critical thinking.
The Evaluation Results
Following the screening, we set an appointment for our evaluator to go over the results with me.
The results, of course, indicated that Josh does, indeed, have neurological dyslexia. Not a surprise, but sobering, nonetheless. Our evaluator went over each aspect of the assessment with me. He explained what each test measured, what the averages were, where Josh tested, and what that meant.
It was a surreal feeling. Some of the things he mentioned made me feel as if he’d been a fly on the wall for the last several years of our homeschooling life. I found myself nodding along as he explained some of the things that Josh is doing. Yes, I am very familiar with this symptom or that. I’ve seen it in action for the last six years.
I also really appreciated the fact that the evaluator was able to see past the spelling and grammar errors to recognize Josh’s incredible creativity in his writing sample. He was very quick to point out that dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence, but is simply the way the brain is wired.
He did recommend therapy with Lexercise – and we’re very seriously considering it – and he also suggested a book that I might be interested in reading to help me better understand dyslexia. Though we’ve been dealing with it for quite some time with Brianna, hers isn’t as severe as Josh’s, so this is a whole new ballgame for me.
Our evaluator was also wonderful about answering all my questions and even followed up with an email about a couple of them.
I was very pleased with the entire evaluation process – you know, other than the part where we now have to figure out how to help my son overcome dyslexia. It was thorough, personalized, and enlightening.
If you suspect that your child might have dyslexia, I encourage you to try the free dyslexia screening to see if he or she might benefit from the full evaluation. Whether you decide to pursue therapy or not, sometimes it helps just knowing for sure what you’re dealing with.
You might also want to read Maureen’s review at Spell Outloud. I know that she had a child who was evaluated, as well.
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I also received monetary compensation for the time invested in the review process. The opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.