Q: Our son was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 6 but has been doing all right with the help of tutors. Now in seventh grade, he seems to be struggling with math, and his grades are slipping. He needs to apply to high schools next fall, a competitive process. Any suggestions? N.W., Baltimore

A: Many students with learning differences hit a roadblock at some point in their middle-school years, usually between fifth and ninth grades, says Lisa Jacobson, founder and chief executive of Inspirica, a New York-based tutoring company. Although many elementary-school students quietly build the skills they need to compensate for their learning disabilities, by middle school “the volume and difficulty of the work increase to the point where they just can’t compensate any more,” Ms. Jacobson says. If nothing is done to provide added support, “it gets worse.”

Ms. Jacobson recommends having your son evaluated by a psychologist who can test for a wide range of skills and learning abilities. Ask your son’s school to recommend a psychologist trained in this process, called a “psychoeducational assessment.” Look for someone who has evaluated other children with the same issues and who can complete the evaluation in three or four weeks, Ms. Jacobson says. Based on the test results, look for a trained tutor who has experience working with students who have similar issues and with whom your son enjoys working. For resources, see ldonline.org and smartkidswithld.org. As you begin your search for a high school, look for “a good fit, not just a brand name,” Ms. Jacobson says. Many families facing similar issues tap an educational consultant to help match a student with a school; a directory can be found at the website of the Independent Educational Consultants Association