Do I need to have her tested?

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  • kristywr

    My daughter is 9-years-old. She’s a struggling reader. In the last year, however, she’s shot up from barely reading at a kindergarten grade level to reading at a beginning 4th grade level.

    But, her writing/spelling is mind boggling. She can read a sentence “I use an abacus to count” but when she writes it, it looks like this “I ust a abacus to cato.”

    Other interesting things:

    • mispronounces words
    • uses closed captioning when watching TV so she can “understand what they’re saying” — she reads it
    • reads very easily when she doesn’t think I’m watching or when it suits her
    • writes stories but they need translating because of her spelling/writing issues
    • says words on a page bounce around but when she reads on a screen, no problems
    • struggles to memorize
    • plays reading/phonics games very well
    • has amazing spatial reasoning skills

    I’m at a loss. I don’t know if I should have her tested, and if so, by whom and for what? Or is it just a matter of doing things differently with her? Re-doing some things?

    Currently we’re using Spelling Wisdom 1, Using Language Well 1, Right Brain Phonics by D. Craft, copyw0rk, transcription, and quite a bit of read-alouds (both reading to her, and her reading to me).



    A lot of that sounds like dyslexia though idk why she would finding reading on a screen easier.  Does she read more easily when she reads silently vs reading aloud (ie is the “when she doesn’t think you’re watching” actually silent reading, and when you’re watching is generally when she’s reading aloud)?  You can go to and email and ask for a list of dyslexia screeners in your area.

    “Words bouncing around” also sounds like it could be some sort of vision problem.  I believe a developmental optometrist is what you need to screen for that (they do different testing than a regular eye dr).


    Thanks. I will check that out.

    I’m wondering if she might have some auditory processing issues as well. Yes, her reading in her head is better than her reading aloud. And her comprehension is better too when she reads quietly to herself.

    She says she writes words the way she hears them.


    My 14 yo daughter has language-based learning disabilities, including dyslexia. I had her tested at a pediatric developmental neuro-psychologist. He does not test for dyslexia, but was able to pick up on expressive and receptive language problems. My daughter is not a great reader and she spells by sound as well. I think spelling problems are typical with dyslexia. Dyslexia reading programs, particularly Barton, stress spelling rules, which did not work for my daughter. Learning rules frustrated her. She is learning more by memory. Reading and copywork are best for learning spelling.

    Your daughter’s problem does sound like dyslexia, but may also include other language-based problems. I would recommend a complete language test, which can be done by a neuro-psychologist. My daughter first had just a general test done, but later had a complete language assessment done after a recommendation by a therapist at the CP clinic she goes to. The psychologist can give strategies for teaching.

    I’m just sharing this because of the journey we have had. My daughter was not tested until she was 12. It would have been helpful if I would have known some of these things at an earlier age. It would have saved us some tears and frustrations. I have heard that it is around third grade when these learning problems are really evident. That held true in our case. I did start getting a little help toward the end of third grade, as far as the dyslexia and dyscalculia, but there was more to my daughter’s learning problems that I didn’t understand until she had the language test. She still struggles and I’m still learning how to implement strategies, but it has been less stressful knowing what is going on. Whether you go for testing or not, I hope something here helps.


    Writing words the way she hears them and incorrectly is typical of dyslexia–they don’t hear (register) the sounds properly.  There’s a better way to explain this but I can’t think of it at the moment.

    Barton is basically the gold standard program for dyslexia.  There are others out there but it seems to be the one that works for almost everyone.  Most dyslexics have a poor visual memory for words, which is why things like writing the words over and over or dictation don’t typically work for them.  My 3 school-age kids all have some degree of dyslexia.  One is mild and does have a decent visual memory for words.  She read well other than multi-syllabic words but Barton has helped her noticeably with those (and we’d tried other programs for improving in that area but Barton helped a lot more than the others).  One child is probably moderate and has improved so much since we started Barton.  One is, I think, more severely dyslexic and has trouble remembering the rules, but he has trouble remembering things in general, including sight words.

    A neuropsychologist can test for everything, including auditory processing, but unfortunately they’re super pricey ($2-$3K from what I’ve heard for full testing) and not usually covered by insurance.


    Whether to test or not could go either way.  It’s great that she is progressing.

    If money is an issue, you could look up ideas for the issues you are suspecting and implement some of the suggestions.

    Upside down Brilliance is a good book for that.  The Right Side of Normal by, Cindy Gaddis is another.



    Don’t be too worried about spelling at this age. I have noticed many children have no idea how to spell when they first take off in reading. I am always amazed at how much better their spelling is after they’ve been reading a while. Maybe it’s just my kids but I’m teaching my seventh to read right now, so I have a little experience.

    If you’re using Diane Craft’s right brained phonics, have you seen her “Brain Integration Therapy Manual”? It’s great help at pin pointing whether you’re dealing with visual, auditory, attention or a combination and gives both Brain Training Exercises and teaching strategies to help. The book’s a little pricey but is like having Diane’s brain in a book! There are also other helpful things on her website.

    I was able to figure out my kids needs but still had them tested by an audiologist, only to find out what I already learned from Diane’s book! One child had auditory processing issues and one had visual issues. All can be helped by Diane’s methods if you’re diligent. If it’s too much for you, you may prefer going to someone else for help.

    I know it can seem overwhelming but if you ask the Lord for guidance he’ll show you which route is right for your situation. God Bless!

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