a dyslexia diagnosis: now what?
Once your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia there are many helpful and important things a parent should do. The first is take a deep breath, and know there are many avenues to get your child the help he or she needs. The Dyslexia Resource is your trusted ally throughout the journey.
A psychoeducational evaluation is the first step in getting your child the help he or she needs. It’s a significant turning point on the road to getting help and provides understanding and comfort to both you and your child.
Children with dyslexia need the proper educational approach. The Orton-Gillingham Approach and similarly based programs teach language elements in a direct and systematic way.
Most importantly, parents of a dyslexic student should become educated about dyslexia and the options available for their child’s needs. Refer to our social media and dyslexia resource page early and often.
For a more in-depth description of dyslexia see our Facts About Dyslexia page.
Did you know?
The major defining characteristic of dyslexia is breaking the code of the sound symbol relationship, or understanding the alphabetic principle of the English language.
Critical Next Steps After Dyslexia Diagnosis
It’s important to involve your child in discussions about his or her dyslexia. Let them know their diagnosis is a positive step forward for them. Help them understand that dyslexia is a learning difference and NOT a problem with intelligence or lack of motivation. Assure them that the prognosis for dyslexia is positive; dyslexics are multi-dimensional, creative, out-of-the-box thinkers who are successful in everything from the arts, music and design to finance, mathematics and engineering. You can also share the list of famous people with dyslexia listed on our site.
Schedule a meeting at school
One of the first critical steps you can take after the diagnosis is to schedule a meeting at your child’s school to discuss any and all appropriate accommodations they can provide. Explore our section about navigating support in public school settings.
Look into tutoring
Explore tutoring options in your area. As a starting point for finding a tutor in your area, see this list of tutors trained in Orton-Gillingham approaches.
Research school alternatives
Research independent schools that provide specialized instruction or summer camps designed to address learning needs. In the Atlanta metro area alone, there are numerous settings for students with learning differences. Many provide financial aid, so do not be shy about asking schools if they offer financial aid or SB10 scholarships. You can explore more about this at AAAIS.org.
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Next Steps For Public School Students With Dyslexia
Know the Law
It’s imperative to know the law which is in place to make sure your child gets the assistance he or she needs. Read more about Wright's Law.
Get information from the state
Visit The Georgia Department of Education and find the Offices and Divisions tab; click on special education services and supports. Under Eligibility Categories, click on Special Learning Disability to find information on dyslexia, or click Other Health Impairment for information on ADHD.
Expedite the process
With a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) or Other Health Impairment (OHI), like ADHD, you can skip the Response to Intervention (RTI) process (12 weeks of interventions in the classroom).
You can immediately request a Student Support Team (SST) to meet and determine eligibility for your child. They have 30 days to respond. Send an email to document the date. This may be directed to your school’s counselor or special ed coordinator. The person to contact varies from school to school. State “This is your day 1 of 30.” It is recommended to begin this process as soon as you get the diagnosis, or at the beginning of the school year.
After 30 days, you will be given a meeting with the SST where they will discuss eligibility and moving forward with an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or 504 Accommodations Plan as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Students with an SLD diagnosis can receive a 504 plan or an IEP.Parents have the right to refuse the accommodations and come back for another meeting if they do not agree with the school’s recommendations.
Confirm special services
If parents are satisfied with the school’s recommendations, the school system will write up the IEP or 504 plan. The minute you sign the document, your child should be receiving services.
The document will be shared with your child’s teacher(s). In elementary school, your child’s classroom teacher most likely will be in the SST meeting. In middle school and high school, the school will distribute the document and ensure your child’s teacher will receive the accommodation plan.
Every year there will be an annual review to assess how the plan is working and if services are still required.
As a parent, begin each new school year by giving teachers a copy of last school year’s IEP or 504 plan. Keep lines of communication open between you, teachers, administrators, and your child. Keep psychological reports up to date. In general, that means updated testing every three to five years.
Every three years, eligibility will be reviewed. Per Wright's Law, keep files that document communications about your child’s services, progress, and other school needs.
IMPORTANT - If at ANY time you feel your child’s services need to be tweaked or accommodations need to be added, you have the right to call a meeting. You are your child’s best advocate. Know the law and what schools can do to assist your child.
Did you know?
Many educators will refer to “remediation” as the “treatment” for dyslexia. You are never “cured” of dyslexia, but the right educational approach can help your child learn the elements of spoken and written language in the way their brain can acquire language skills.
If you choose an independent school
Discuss potential good fits for your child with your psychologist, but it is not their duty to refer you to schools. You will have to take time to tour, visit, and ask questions of each school you might consider. Remember to not be put off by the tuitions and ask the admissions staff about the financial aid process and SB 10 funding.