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I live in Middlesex County, NJ. My child is 7 and in second grade. He comprehends mathematics well, but cannot read or write neatly. He writes letters backwards. I want his school to test him for dyslexia. He is in a public school. Under the United States law public school must test for dyslexia. Is that true?


Dear Mary:

If a child is having academic problems due to a suspected learning disability, the school has a legal obligation to test them under the “CHILD FIND” requirement. Dyslexia is explicitly listed as one of the sub-categories of specific learning disability in the federal law. If you think your child should be tested, you should make a formal request for evaluation in writing to the superintendent and director of special education. You should send the request certified mail, return receipt requested. The school must either agree to do the testing or inform you that they are refusing to test, the reason for the refusal, and inform you that you have the right to request a hearing to force them to test. You also have the right to obtain an independent evaluation, and the school is required to consider the results of all such independent evaluations.

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