Suffolk Office Phone: 631-676-1962
Nassau Office Phone: 516-686-9554

Dyslexia

Dyslexia, also called reading disorder/disability, is a neurological condition that specifically involves a weakness in the ability to efficiently read.  For many individuals, difficulty reading is neurodevelopmental (having existed from birth), and represents a lifelong challenge to learning.  Although dyslexia is commonly discussed in the context of letter reversal (e.g. confusing the letter ‘b” for ‘d”), the term refers to a broad range of cognitive weaknesses/impairments that decrease an individual’s ability to read.  Individuals with dyslexia often have difficulty with spelling and word recognition and decoding.  For many individuals, a primary weakness in phonological awareness (the ability to process language sounds) underlies the disorder.  Importantly, dyslexia commonly occurs with other areas of cognitive difficulty and learning disorders (e.g. ADHD).  For this reason, accurate diagnosis requires a comprehensive evaluation of all of the different ways that an individual functionally uses his/her brain.  Attention and executive functions, motor skills, learning and memory, as well as other aspects of cognition are all important factors that influence how successfully someone is able to function in daily life.  While traditional school-based psychoeducational testing can be useful, many critical aspects of thinking skills fall outside the scope of practice of school psychology (a discipline that typically focuses on intellectual capacity, academic achievement, and other aspects of learning that are particularly relevant to the educational environment).  Thus, a student who works very hard, is highly intelligent, or who receives a great deal of support in the home, may perform adequately in school despite the presence of significant areas of weakness.  At times, problem areas become more pronounced as a student ages and the demands of the educational setting increase.  It is important to note that a student can have reading weaknesses that are not obvious with traditional academic testing.  This can be a source of frustration for parents and students as they attempt to better understand the nature of academic weaknesses.  The neuropsychological evaluation provides a comprehensive assessment of how an individual thinks.  The evaluation provides diagnostic clarification, a clear understanding of a child/student’s areas of strength and weakness, and provides a framework for the development of an individualized intervention plan.