First Things First

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In order to have a  diagnosis for dyslexia it will need to be done by a licensed psychologist. We have two psychologists listed on our website under the service tab and then the referral tab.
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DCU can do an assessment at the center that will let us know where to place the student in the multi-sensory reading, writing and spelling program that we use. This is NOT a diagnosis but will let us know the strengths and weaknesses of you child.

DCU has put together a FIRST THINGS FIRST document that helps you navigate testing through the school system.

Navigating testing through the school system

    navigating maze

  1. Before you seek outside testing we suggest that you have your child tested by their school.  When requesting testing to be done use the language of a “Learning Disability” .
  2. Once the school has done their testing, they will schedule a meeting with the parents, teacher, school psychologist and principal to sit down and go over the results.
  3. Even if the evaluation results show that your child does not need special education and related services, the information may still be used to help your child in a regular education program

The following information is from the Learning Disabilities Association of America (

What is an evaluation?

Evaluation is the process for determining whether a child has a disability and needs special education and related services. It’s the first step in developing an educational program that will help the child learn. A full and individual initial evaluation must be done before the initial provision of any special education or related services to a child with a disability, and students must be reevaluated at least once every three years.

Evaluation involves gathering information from a variety of sources about a child’s functioning and development in all areas of suspected disability, including information provided by the parent. The evaluation may look at cognitive, behavioral, physical, and developmental factors, as well as other areas. All this information is used to determine the child’s educational needs.

Why Have an Evaluation?

child testing

  • A full and individual educational evaluation serves many important purposes:
  • It can identify children who have delays or learning problems and may need special education and related services as a result.
  • It can determine whether your child is a child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and qualifies for special education and related services.

Benefits of Having an Evaluation

  • Testing provides information that can help you and the school develop an appropriate IEP for your child.
  • Testing can help determine what strategies may be most effective in helping your child learn.
  • Testing establishes a baseline for measuring your child’s educational progress.
  • The evaluation process establishes a foundation for developing an appropriate educational program.
  • The public agency must provide a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of determination of eligibility to the parent.
  • Even if the evaluation results show that your child does not need special education and related services, the information may still be used to help your child in a regular education program.

What Measures Are Used to Evaluate a Child?

No single test may be used as the sole measure for determining whether a child has a disability or for determining an appropriate educational program for your child. Both formal and informal tests and other evaluation measures are important in determining the special education and related services your child needs. Testing measures a child’s ability or performance by scoring the child’s responses to a set of questions or tasks. It provides a snapshot of a child and the child’s performance on a particular day. Formal test data is useful in predicting how well a child might be expected to perform in school. It also provides information about unique learning needs.

Other measures of a child’s growth and development, such as observation or interviews with parents and others who know the child, provide vital information on how the child functions in different settings and circumstances.

The school must conduct a full and individual evaluation consistent with the IDEA that uses information from diverse sources, including formal and informal data. Tests are important, but evaluation also includes other types of information such as:


  • medical information
  • comparisons of the child’s progress to typical expectations of child development
  • observations of how the child functions in school, at home, or in the community
  • interviews with parents and school staff

As a parent, you have a wealth of information about the development and needs of your child. When combined with the results of tests and other evaluation materials, this information can be used to make decisions about your child’s appropriate educational program.

Evaluation of Your Child

As a parent, you may request an evaluation of your child to determine his or her needs for special education and/or related services. The evaluation may include psychological and educational testing, a speech and language evaluation, occupational therapy assessment and a behavioral analysis.

These are the steps you need to take:

  1. Meet with your child’s teacher to share your concerns and request an evaluation by the school’s child study team.  Parents can also request independent professional evaluations.
  2. Submit your requests in writing for evaluations and services. Always date your requests and keep a copy for your records. 
  3. Keep careful records, including observations reported by your child’s teachers and any communications (notes, reports, letters, etc.) between home and school.
  4. IEP meeting

  5. Gather and organize information about your child’s academic development to help you monitor his or her progress over time. (Because having LD can also affect a child’s social skills, make notes about his relationships and friendships as well.) To track the patterns of your child’s development, mark the dates of the notes you keep. In addition to keeping your own notes, be sure to maintain a file of all school-generated reports, including standardized test results, report cards, progress reports, and written comments from teachers.
  6. Keep a record of what you observe at different stages as well as discussions you’ve had with school personnel and other professionals. Through this process you’ll start to develop a keen awareness of your child’s ability to learn, study, do homework, and finish the tasks that are assigned.
  7. The results of evaluations determine your child’s eligibility to receive a range of services under the applicable law. Following the evaluation, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 is developed. Examples of categories of services in IEPs include: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, and/or the provision of a classroom aide.

Parents do not determine whether their child is eligible under the law, however, parents are entitled to participate in the development of the IEP. Additionally, the findings of school’s evaluation team are not final. You have the right to appeal their conclusions and determination. The school is required to provide you with information about how to make an appeal.