"Must See a Neurologist" Really?

May 17, 2018

One of the things that I hear quite often from parents is the following statement:

“When we inquired with the school about dyslexia, they told me, ‘dyslexia is a medical condition and that we need to go to a neurologist (or some other such physician) for the diagnosis.’”

Is that right?

Let’s  see.

The next time you go to your child’s neurologist (or other medical specialist such as a psychiatrist)  did they do the following:

  • Determine whether there were phonological components of the language that were problematic?
  • Have the child read a graded word list to determine adequacy of word identification skills?
  • Listen to the child read a list of nonsense words to see if decoding was adequate?
  • Assess oral reading fluency skills?
  • Evaluate comprehension skills?
  • Assess working memory and processing speed?
  • Oh, and what about rapid object, letter and number naming? Were they assessed?
  • Were different cognitive abilities evaluated?
  • Was there a detailed review of school, developmental and family history?

Frankly, I don’t know too many neurologists doing this type of assessment.  Do you?  If they did, it would probably take a minimum of three to four face hours with the kid, not to mention the time scoring, interpreting and writing up a summary.

Takeaway Point

If the school is telling you that you need a neurologist to determine whether your child has a learning disability such as dyslexia, you may want to respectfully disagree and remind them that there are probably not too many such neurologists that you know of doing an assessment that touches on all of these necessary components.

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