Many callers frequently ask for information about evaluations, disability categories, how to obtain services and what works to improve language skills. Therefore, we have created an FAQ page that highlights these areas of concern:
Q: My child’s school said that I should have my child evaluated. Where should I go?
A: Regardless of the actual school your child attends (public or private), the school to which your child is zoned to attend, based on home address, is responsible for providing an evaluation (known as a Psycho-Educational Evaluation). There is no cost to you.
Q: My child is having problems in reading. What can I do?
A: Speak with your child’s teacher about getting “Response To Intervention” (RTI) services. This support is provided before an evaluation, to see if your child improves with some extra help. RTI services become more intensive if your child shows little progress. If, after intensive out-of-classroom support, your child continues to be significantly behind grade level, then a referral for an evaluation is made.
In New York City Public Schools, RTI is provided through services known as “Academic Intervention Services” (AIC).
Q: My child was evaluated, but the psychologist didn’t test for dyslexia. What can I do to have my child tested for dyslexia? (This question applies to people of all ages.)
A: When a psychologist evaluates someone because of problems in reading or other language skills, they test for dyslexia.
The term “dyslexia” is not usually used in an evaluation report written by a public school psychologist because it’s not the name of the federally approved “category of disability.” The category is “specific learning disability” under which “dyslexia” is a sub-category. Dyslexia refers to a type of learning disability focused on written and spoken language, which includes reading.
Q: My child has an IEP because of reading problems. However, s/he is not improving. What can I do?
A: Students with “specific learning disability,” specifically “dyslexia,” benefit from instruction that is direct, organized into small sequential steps, actively delivered by a teacher with an emphasis on multi-sensory hands-on experience (visual, auditory, kinesthetic-tactile), that has a strong focus on phonics, and much time for practice. This way of teaching is called the “Orton-Gillingham” method or philosophy.
Many “programs,” which are commercial products, embed this way of teaching into the methods and the materials they create. It has been shown by research to be very effective in teaching those with language-related difficulties.
Many teachers in New York City public schools have been trained in this methodology. A small set of teachers have studied it for a length of time with coaching and supervision. Often, reading specialists who provide “IEP related services” have such a background.
*Disclaimer: Everyone Reading Inc. provides this information for informal purposes. It should not be considered medical, legal, or any other type of formal advice.