What is Dyslexia?
Alabama has defined dyslexia as
"... a learning challenge that is neurological in origin and characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the delivery of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. "
- Alabama Administrative Code, Chapter 290-3-1.02(20)
Isn't an official, outside, medical diagnosis required to get our public school to help?
No. Students will be provided with dyslexia-specific screenings upon teacher or parent request.
(Dyslexia Resource Guide, Section 4, page 17)
How does in-school help work?
This is how it should work:
Do I have to wait for my kid to start failing before we can get help?
Absolutely not. You have every right to request that your student be provided with dyslexia-specific screening at any time.
If the process is so clear-cut, why am I being told differently at the school?
There's a lot of possible reasons. Legislation is only a couple of years old, will likely take several more before it has filtered to every school, and isn't well-known by all involved. School funding is tight and qualified assistance to provide effective instruction on an individual basis is not cheap. Schools with already tight budgets may not be eager to add yet another line item to the budget. One common method schools may use to delay classroom assistance is to "require" medical diagnosis through a doctor or psychiatrist or to require testing through The Scottish Rite, which is free but has 6 to 12 month waiting list, or Greengate School, which can be cost prohibitive to the average family. This is contrary to Alabama state law.
What can I do?
Always do your best to work with your public school system. Be respectful when advocating for your child's rights. Read up on and know the legislation that applies to you. If, however, you continue to feel that the school just isn't doing enough fast enough, come see us for an affordably priced dyslexia and placement evaluation and consultation. We are always happy to help provide effective after-school tutoring in the Orton-Gillingham method.
Please note that Fancher Education Center does NOT formally, medically diagnose dyslexia. As an organization, we feel that in the majority of cases, such a diagnosis is more harmful to a child and their education than helpful, especially considering that the label is NOT required for your public school to screen and provide assistance to your qualifying child. Our focus is on building skills and providing exceptional instruction that assists your child in eventually ascending labels, not fulfilling them. Our assessment is a tool to help you bolster your request for assistance in your school, plan your course of action, and identify areas of weakness, along with recommending ways to strengthen them.
What to expect
A quality assessment should cover, at minimum,
Dyslexia is best treated with explicit, discreet, systematic, multi-sensory instruction that takes all of the guesswork out of learning to read. FancherEducation provides that with our one-on-one private tutoring. We recommend a minimum of one hour once per week, however one hour twice per week or more is generally needed to see adequate academic progress.
Alabama branch of International Dyslexia Association
Alabama Game Changers
Alabama Scottish Rite Learning Center
Greengate School (Huntsville)
Formal, medical diagnostic evaluation
Please be aware that there is no certifying body governing those who claim to provide dyslexia diagnosis. For this reason, we do not recommend specific individuals for formal, medical diagnostic purposes. We do recommend proven organizations that have consistently shown to be professional, well-trained, and knowledgeable in the areas of Dyslexia and reading disabilities.
The Scottish Rite provides free, comprehensive Dyslexia evaluations after you have already attempted to work with your school, if your school is refusing to provide services, or if your student is homeschooled.
Greengate School - Huntsville
"Greengate School provides onsite testing for dyslexia. We have two diagnosticians, Paula Williams, M.A./CCC/SLP, and Donna Caldwell, M.A. SLD/CSP, who conduct the evaluations on our school campus, as well as a partnership with Dr. Halina Hale. Please contact us to schedule an appointment. "