How dyslexia is identified and assessed.

The earlier in life a child is identified as being dyslexic, the sooner appropriate and effective support can be provided for them to help them to keep up with their peers at school, develop self-awareness and maintain their sense of self esteem.

When a child is outwardly bright and yet to shows signs of dyslexia such as (but not limited to):

  • Having difficulty following instructions
  • Has difficulties with grasping phonic sounds and reads slowly
  • Forgetting or confusing words or unable to recognise words that are familiar to them
  • Can describe a story well verbally but has a great deal of difficulty writing it out.  written work
  • Poor comprehension skills often due to reading being so challenging
  • Confuses right and left
  • Clear difficulties processing information
  • Appears to be disorganised

…then the school will likely suggest a dyslexia screening tool.  This is like a very short assessment which examines the main indicators of dyslexia in a brief way, but it cannot diagnose.  What it can do is highlight where certain cognitive weaknesses and establish a likelihood of dyslexia.

If your child’s school does not do this, you can pay to have your child screened privately or for far less cost, use a screening tool which I particularly recommend – The Nessy Dyslexia Screening tool – https://www.nessy.com/uk/product/dyslexia-screening/

Do be aware that even if your child comes out as being unlikely to be dyslexic.  It is still possible that a formal assessment could have different results.

You may decide you want to skip the screening stage and go straight for a formal assessment.  In which case questionnaires will be sent to you and your child’s teachers to gather as much background information as possible on your child’s development, any learning difficulties in the family and how your child is currently managing with their learning.

At the assessment your child will be guided through tasks to examine their overall ability, verbal and visual abilities, memory, as well as reading, comprehension, spelling, writing, and mathematics.  On the whole children and young people (and adults for that matter) find the assessment enjoyable and interesting. There are a number of fun word games and activities involved, although as it typically lasts for around three hours it can be a tiring experience.

Once the assessment has finished the assessor will critically analyse the results of each test, look carefully for any patterns of strengths or weaknesses and together with all the other information they gathered, make a diagnostic decision. They will usually get the full, in-depth report to you within the few weeks of the assessment.

In a previous blog post I discuss why a full assessment is beneficial to your child here and if you have any questions at all you can reach via email at zoeb@mancroftlearning.co.uk or join my Facebook group – Raising Confident Dyslexic Children.

Author: Zoë Brown

I am a dyslexia specialist, qualified in assessing dyslexia and literacy related difficulties as well as tutoring dyslexic children and those who need additional literacy support. Having been diagnosed as dyslexic at an early age, I have a personal understanding of both the challenges and advantages that dyslexia brings. I feel strongly that when given the right support and positive encouragement, dyslexic people of all ages can excel in confidence and academic attainment.

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