While around 20% of the population has some form of dyslexia, there are very few public schools that specifically diagnose and treat dyslexia as a stand alone learning disability. Why? Generally there is not “one” test to diagnose dyslexia in schools where staff, time, and money is short–it is a costly diagnosis. It usually takes between 10 and 12 different tests or assessments to determine if a child or adult has dyslexia and even in the the private sector this can be costly. Most of these tests are not covered by insurance companies and so in order to get a dyslexia diagnosis parents need to have the financial means to fund it. Once again, this comes down to socioeconomics.
In general when special education staff team up to diagnose a child with a learning disability, they generally place the disability into a general category and don’t diagnose a “specific” type of learning disability. For example, a child may have a speech, math, reading, or writing disability–but the specific kind and nature of the learning disability is never delved into. Once again, this is too costly.
The good news is that developmental dyslexia–one that runs in families–is easily diagnosed with a simple saliva swab test. Chromosome 6 contains the genes DCDC2 and KIAA0319, and Chromosome 3 contains gene ROBO1, all which indicate familial dyslexia. It’s that SIMPLE.
Imagine infants being tested for dyslexia and then having early intervention programs in place to being the process of stimluating the language areas of the brain. That would be progress. And if schools and education became more forward thinking, they could partner with pediatricians to provide early intervention programs for children ages 0 through 5 and continue providing services for these children when they are school age would be innovative and remarkable.
But until then, you still rarely hear the word “dyslexia” uttered in schools unless it’s said by a maverick reading specialist, special educator, or regular education teacher.