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Hi Dr. Silver,

How early can a child be tested for disabilities? I have a 6-year-old boy who is now in first grade and struggling with reading. He reads below grade level and is unable to comprehend what he reads.

When he was in kindergarten, I was told that something was not right, but they didn’t know what it was. So, in first grade I have been pushing the school. We are now going to do testing for learning disabilities. They said that they do not think anything will show up because of his age and that they will recommend retention.

This is so frustrating! He currently has B’s in everything except reading, in which he has a D and sometimes an F. Is it too early to tell?

If your child is struggling with reading, testing should clarify why and how best to help him. If he is doing well in all other areas, retention may not be recommended. He might continue on to second grade but receive remedial help for the rest of this year and for next year. And, if you wish, you can supplement this help by getting the right private help over the summer.

Don’t let your fear of retention stop the school from clarifying why he is struggling with reading. Only with this information will the appropriate interventions be clarified.

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