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Dyslexia and Reading Concerns

Dyslexia and Reading Concerns


Children’s Mercy provides academic reading/dyslexia evaluations for children who have difficulty with reading, writing, and memorization. After the evaluation, the speech-language pathologist will provide a comprehensive report and discuss resources and recommendations to help your child with any reading-related concerns.

Risk factors for dyslexia

Your child might benefit from a dyslexia evaluation if you or a teacher/caregiver notices some of the following concerns:

Preschool and Kindergarten-aged children 

  • Delayed speech and language 
  • Ear infections 
  • Family history of reading or spelling difficulties 
  • Confusion with left/right 
  • Trouble recognizing words that rhyme
  • Trouble saying sounds or syllables in long words 
  • Trouble memorizing the alphabet/phone number/learning letter sounds 

Elementary and middle school-aged children 

  • Letter or number reversals after first grade
  • Difficulty learning cursive 
  • Poor handwriting
  • Slow, incorrect reading
  • Skips or misreads small words 
  • Poor spelling 
  • Trouble finding the right word when speaking 
  • Trouble memorizing sight words/math facts 

For more information on risk factors and other aspects of dyslexia, visit the International Dyslexia Association website. 


Rhyming to Reading 

Rhyming to Reading is a program designed to teach young children, ages 4-6, early literacy skills.

Rhyming to Reading classes are taught virtually and/or at Children's Mercy to help parents learn how to do pre-reading activities at home. 

Learn more about the Rhyming to Reading program.


Who is eligible for a dyslexia evaluation at Children’s Mercy? 

Children’s Mercy evaluates children and teens ages 6-18 who have unexpected difficulties in reading and spelling, but otherwise typical development. Children with broader concerns, such as attention, anxiety or overall academic or learning concerns, may benefit from a more comprehensive evaluation through our Developmental and Behavioral Health Clinic

What to expect at your dyslexia evaluation 


At your appointment, you and your child will meet with a speech-language pathologist (SLP). They will ask you about your child’s medical and academic history and use different tests and questions to better understand your concerns. 

Assessments typically include: 

  • Evaluating how well your child comprehends and responds to spoken language 
  • Phonological processing skills  
  • Reading 
  • Spelling 
  • Reading fluency 
  • Reading comprehension 
  • Non-verbal intelligence test (if needed)

What to bring to your appointment

It is helpful to bring your child’s IEP/504 plan, if they have one, and any other previous testing or evaluation reports.

Please be prepared for this appointment to take up to four hours. We recommend you bring a snack for your child. If your child typically takes ADHD medication, please give it to them as usual the day of the testing. 

All children must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or other adult who has consent to care for your child’s medical needs. We strongly recommend that you do not bring siblings or other children with you to the appointment.

What will I do during my child’s assessment?

Depending on which Children’s Mercy location you visit, you may be able to watch the testing through a one-way observation window. If an observation room is not available, you can be in the room with your child or the waiting room, based on your family’s preferences and the SLP’s recommendations.

After the speech-language pathologist completes the assessments, they will meet with you to review the results and recommendations. You can access a comprehensive evaluation report through the Patient Portal. 

Do I really need a diagnosis? 

A diagnosis can help your child receive the appropriate treatment, accommodations and modifications for school. It also allows your child to receive additional support for high-stakes tests, such as the ACT or SAT. 

Talking with your child about dyslexia can help them understand their learning style and begin advocating for their needs. The more they understand, the better they can ask for the help they need.

Next steps after diagnosis 

While Children’s Mercy doesn’t provide treatment for dyslexia and reading concerns, we will help you get connected with trained reading tutors in your area who can work with your child.

Some families have asked whether vision therapy would be helpful for their child with dyslexia. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disorder, not a vision-based disorder. Because of this, vision therapy is not recommended as a treatment for dyslexia by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, or the International Dyslexia Association.  

If you have concerns about your child’s vision or difficulty seeing words on a page, the Children’s Mercy Ophthalmology department can evaluate their vision, independent of their reading concerns.

Contact us 

To schedule a reading evaluation, or for additional questions, contact the dyslexia scheduling coordinator at (913) 696-5768.