Medical professionals are in a unique position to help screen and refer children for learning disabilities. Since dyslexia is a highly prevalent disorder that has genetic and biological components and is largely unidentified in the population, a quick screening tool and parents resources can help positively change the lives of children and their families.
Considering the psychological burden of undiagnosed dyslexia you might encounter a child who is intelligent, struggling in school, and/or has had a change in behavior or mood. It is also important to remember that undiagnosed dyslexia can look like ADD/ADHD and also that there is a high comorbidity with ADHD and dyslexia.
Your patient's family may ask for documentation identifying that the child has a learning disability caused by a mental or physical impairment if their insurance company includes coverage for remediation services.
Sample letter that parents can take from their pediatrician to the school stating that the child has been screened for characteristics of dyslexia. (under construction)
Resources to share with parents:
See the Parent section of our website.
American Academy of Pediatrics journal article - Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision
American Academy of Ophthalmology - Joint Statement: Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision - Reaffirmed 2014
AMA Journal of Ethics article - How Should Medical Schools Respond to Students with Dyslexia?
"To begin with, it is important to understand the critical difference between dyslexia and learning disabilities. In contrast to dyslexia, which is a highly specific condition, learning disabilities represent a more general, nonspecific category. To illustrate, the difference between learning disability and dyslexia parallels the difference between diagnosing a sore throat as an “infectious disease” which is nonspecific, or as “strep throat,” which is highly specific and amenable to a targeted, evidence-based treatment, penicillin."
American Medical Association - article calling for dyslexia education to be mandatory part of curriculum for medical students (not able to link to article, but it is available to those with access)
A team at Boston Children's Hospital is creating an app to help early identify students at risk of reading struggles including dyslexia - There's An App for That