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Dyslexia Evaluations in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Dyslexia Evaluations / Assessments are available at:

Crossroads Counseling Center

7171 Highway 98 West

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

601-939-6634

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What is Dyslexia? Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability related to how the brain handles written material. A person with Dyslexia has difficulty with the phonological part of language (problems understanding and remembering the sounds that letters make when alone and when in combination with other letters). We use phonological skills when we have to sound out a word or when we have to write a word from memory. Dyslexia most often affects reading, spelling, and writing abilities, but it can also cause difficulties in other areas. Signs and symptoms of Dyslexia may include:

  • Started talking later than average

  • Difficulty learning names of letters, shapes, and colors

  • Trouble recognizing rhymes or making rhyming words

  • Trouble learning left from right, up/down, before/behind, etc.

  • Difficulty following multi-step directions or instructions

  • Skips over or misreads little words such as it, an, the, of, and as

  • Reads slowly or with many mistakes

  • Has poor spelling, especially when writing sentences or paragraphs

  • Misspelling a word several different ways in the same paragraph or passage

  • Dislikes reading or even dislikes school

  • Had delays in fine motor skills such as tying shoes, writing, and coloring

  • Has trouble learning/memorizing math facts

  • Confusion with math terms (such as getting mixed up about whether to add or subtract)

  • Flipping letters and numbers and/or writing them backwards (past the age of 7 or 8)

Every person with Dyslexia will have different strengths and weaknesses, so every item in the list above will not always be true for each person with Dyslexia.

Do people with Dyslexia see words backwards? NO, Dyslexia is not a vision problem. All children have a tendency to reverse letters when they’re first learning to write. If a child continues to reverse letters after the age of 7 or 8, it may be a symptom of Dyslexia. However, letter reversal by a child with Dyslexia is not due to “seeing” the letters backwards, but because the brain with Dyslexia has trouble processing the sounds and symbols of language.

My child failed the Dyslexia screener at school. Does that mean he definitely has Dyslexia? Mississippi public schools give students a Dyslexia Screener in the spring of Kindergarten and in the fall of First Grade. Some of the skills tested by the Dyslexia Screener are developmental, which means the skills usually develop as the child matures. A child may fail the Dyslexia Screener, but then improve those skills in the following months. Some children fail the first screener, but pass the second one because of maturing/developing skills. However, a failing score on a Dyslexia Screener combined with problems in reading, spelling, or writing is definitely a cause for concern.

It is also important to know that a child can have Dyslexia, but still pass the Kindergarten and First Grade Dyslexia Screeners. Just as the names say, they are only screeners and may show some red flags for Dyslexia in some children. If your child passed one or both of the screeners, but is having problems in reading, writing, and spelling, there may still be a possibility of Dyslexia.

So, how do we know if it is Dyslexia? Only a full Dyslexia Evaluation by a qualified professional can determine a diagnosis of Dyslexia. According to state law in Mississippi (HB 1031), public schools only accept or recognize Dyslexia Evaluations that have been conducted by licensed professionals including Psychometrists, Psychologists, or Speech Language Pathologists.

What is involved in a Dyslexia Evaluation? A Dyslexia Evaluation begins with gathering information about birth history, family history, child development, speech/language development and early educational history. A typical evaluation takes 6-7 hours and includes individual (one-on-one) assessments in the areas of intellectual assessment (IQ score), phonological awareness, phonological memory, rapid automatic naming, word recognition, word attack/decoding, reading rate/speed, reading accuracy, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, spelling, written expression, working memory, processing speed, math calculation, math problem solving, and oral language.

If the evaluation determines my child has Dyslexia, then what? The greatest benefit to having an evaluation that diagnoses Dyslexia is that you will finally have answers to why some things with your child have just not made sense. Children with Dyslexia usually have strengths in other areas which make their reading, spelling, and writing problems seem so surprising. I often hear, “She’s so smart, I just don’t know why reading is so hard for her.” Or, “He can tell you (orally) all about something, but he can’t read and answer questions about it.”


After the evaluation results have been completed, scored, and analyzed, you will be provided a report explaining the results. If the report says that your child does have Dyslexia, you may give your child’s school a copy of it and ask if he or she can be considered for a Section 504 Plan. (Some children with severe Dyslexia may qualify for special education services, but most receive general education services with the assistance of some Section 504 Plan accommodations.) A Section 504 Plan can allow a student to receive accommodations for classwork and tests. For example, a child with an official diagnosis of Dyslexia may qualify to receive extra time for completing timed state tests. When the child gets older and needs to take college entrance exams (ACT and SAT), the Section 504 Plan documentation can be helpful in also getting extended time on college entrance exams. Other possible Section 504 Plan classroom accommodations could include opportunities to take classroom tests orally or to use speech-to-text software for written assignments.

Does my child need an official diagnosis of Dyslexia in order to get help? You can enroll your child in therapy from a private-practice Dyslexia Therapist even without a diagnosis. Your child may also qualify for certain intervention and tutoring services at public school without a diagnosis. And, you can purchase programs online that could be helpful instruction and practice at home (such as Lexercise).

However, in order to be considered for classroom accommodations through a Section 504 Plan, a diagnosis of Dyslexia will probably be required. Different states have different policies regarding accommodations for Dyslexia, but Mississippi public schools usually require an evaluation report showing an official diagnosis from a Psychometrist, Psychologist, or Speech Language Pathologist. (Contact your child’s school for information regarding its policies.)

Who conducts Dyslexia Evaluations at Crossroads Counseling Center? The Dyslexia Evaluations are conducted by Rhonda Brewer, MS. Rhonda is a licensed Psychometrist with the Mississippi Department of Education (License 126107). Rhonda retired from the Mississippi public school system with 28 years of experience as a teacher and school counselor. In addition to currently conducting Dyslexia Evaluations at Crossroads, she also provides mental health counseling as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

If you have any other questions, email Rhonda at rbrewer@crossroadscounselingms.com or call Crossroads Counseling Center at 601-939-6634.

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