You may first bring up your concerns with your child's pediatrician or family doctor. The doctor may refer your child to a specialist, such as an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) or a doctor who specializes in brain and nervous system disorders (neurologist) to ensure that another problem isn't at the root of your child's reading difficulties.
Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms that your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of any medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements that your child is taking.
- Ask a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions ahead of time can help you make the most of your appointment. For dyslexia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Why is my child having difficulty reading and understanding?
- What kinds of tests does he or she need?
- Can dyslexia be treated?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- How quickly will we see progress?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? Can you recommend any websites?
- Will my other children have dyslexia, too?
- What kind of help can I expect from my child's school for dyslexia?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely have a number of questions for you as well, such as:
Aug. 23, 2011
- When did you first notice that your child was having trouble reading? Did a teacher bring it to your attention?
- At what age did your child start talking?
- Have you noticed if your child writes any letters or words in reverse?
- Have you tried any reading interventions? If so, which ones?
- Have you noticed any behavior problems or social difficulties you suspect may be linked to your child's trouble reading?
- Has your child had any vision problems?
- Lyon GR. Specific language and learning disabilities. In: Kliegman RM. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/142934465-3/0/1608/82.html?printing=true. Accessed June 3, 2011.
- Shaywitz SE, et al. Management of dyslexia, its rationale, and underlying neurobiology. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2007;54:609.
- NINDS dyslexia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dyslexia/dyslexia.htm. Accessed June 3, 2011.
- Learning disabilities. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec19/ch299/ch299d.html. Accessed June 3, 2011.
- What is dyslexia? National Center for Learning Disabilities. http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/ld-aamp-language/reading/dyslexia. Accessed June 3, 2011.
- What are the signs of dyslexia? International Dyslexia Association. http://www.interdys.org/SignsofDyslexiaCombined.htm. Accessed June 3, 2011.
- Hamilton SS. Interventions for children with reading difficulty. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 3, 2011.
- Leonard CM, et al. Anatomical risk factors for phonological dyslexia. Cerebral Cortex. 2011;11:148.