"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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All comments (6)
  • Michelle Giuliano
    May 18, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    I believe that a Multi-disciplinary evaluation is best practice and legally compliant. That means a single evaluator should NOT be doing all of the necessary […] Read MoreI believe that a Multi-disciplinary evaluation is best practice and legally compliant. That means a single evaluator should NOT be doing all of the necessary testing and interpreting. That being said; since Dyslexia is neurological in origin (and frequently comorbid with ADHD) having a neurologist included provides a medical viewpoint to be considered along with the Psychologist, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Learning Consultants interpretation of all assessment data. Being thorough is always is in the best interest of the student! Read Less

    Reply
    • Hi Michelle: Thanks for the comment. Obviously, there is room for debate. Many states don't use multi-disciplinary style evaluations, to my knowledge. The […] Read MoreHi Michelle: Thanks for the comment. Obviously, there is room for debate. Many states don't use multi-disciplinary style evaluations, to my knowledge. The concept of a Child Study Team has been in place for some time in the state of NJ - a very different model is in place in PA. Read Less

      Reply
  • Anne Marie Fussner
    May 18, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    You are so right...as usual! The best thing we did for our granddaughter was to bring her to you for the evaluation. And yes, […] Read MoreYou are so right...as usual! The best thing we did for our granddaughter was to bring her to you for the evaluation. And yes, you & your staff assessed her in all of those crucial areas. The school had very little knowledge on dyslexia and their screening was inaccurate. I enjoy reading your posts because they're so informative! Read Less

    Reply
  • Bonnie Hoke-Scedrov
    May 19, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Great post, Dr. Selznick. Important to get that message out there.

    Reply

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