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Help! I am trying to get my daughter tested for dyslexia and because she gets good grades, the school won’t help me. Both my husband and I have it and I am really convinced she does, too. She is a bright girl; however, she does struggle with fine motor skills.


Dear Holly,

Your question asks whether your child is entitled to be tested for dyslexia, even though she is getting good grades. You indicate that she struggles with fine motor skills and that the parents have dyslexia. You always have the right to request an evaluation to determine if your child is eligible for special education. The school may either agree to conduct the evaluation or provide you written notice explaining why they are refusing the evaluation and that you have the right to request a hearing to challenge that refusal.

You also have the right to obtain a private evaluation at your own expense to determine if your child has a learning disability. If the private evaluation does result in your child being diagnosed, it should be shared with the school. They are required to consider the outside evaluation, although it does NOT automatically require them to either evaluate your daughter or to agree that she has a learning disability.

In addition, under the IDEA 2004 amendments, schools can use a process in regular education, called Response to Intervention, to provide more intensive support to students suspected of having a learning disability, to determine if they are able to make progress when given the special instruction. If they do progress, the schools will generally conclude that the student does not require special education. If, given the extra help, they do not make progress, the school is more likely to agree to conduct an evaluation.

The IDEA 2004 amendments also placed more emphasis on the child’s functional performance, so passing grades should not be the only determinant of whether your child warrants an evaluation or has a learning disability that qualifies for special education. In addition, you may also want to have your child evaluated by an occupational therapist to determine if she has fine motor problems that require intervention. This may be related to a learning disability, such as a visual processing or visual/motor disorder, but may be due to some other problem.

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