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Dyslexia Diagnostic Assessments

What is a Dyslexia Diagnostic Assessment?

A formal diagnostic dyslexia assessment provides confirmation about whether an individual has dyslexia or not. It provides a detailed picture of a person’s areas of strengths and weaknesses and an understanding of their cognitive profile.

Once the assessment has been made, a written report is provided. This provides details of a person’s dyslexic profile (if they are identified with dyslexia) with recommendations of how to support them in their learning and everyday life.  

It may also suggest other organisations to contact and/or make recommendations for further assessments for other specific learning difficulties, if this is something that has been highlighted by the assessment. 

What is the Process for a Diagnostic Dyslexia Assessment?

There are 3 stages in the process for a diagnostic dyslexia assessment.

  1. Background information is collected in a questionnaire

Although dyslexia affects literacy skills, there are other characteristics that need to be investigated in order to provide a bigger picture of a child’s strengths and weaknesses

Information is collected in a questionnaire about birth history, family history of dyslexia, child development, educational history, general health, vision, hearing, speech and language development, coordination, attention and self-esteem, communication and relationships.

This can be completed by the parent themselves or with the assessor, either in a one to one situation or via Zoom or Skype. This also provides an opportunity for a parent to ask any questions that they may have.

  1. Diagnostic Assessment 

The diagnostic assessment takes 3 to 4 hours. For younger children, it is often carried out over 2 sessions. There are a wide range of tests involving listening, looking, reading, writing and spelling.

Most children enjoy the experience and all tests have a cut-off point so that a child is not expected to continue beyond a level of difficulty that is comfortable for them.

  1. Feedback Meeting to Parent

Once the report is written, a one-hour feedback meeting is arranged with the parent. The report is given to the parent at the meeting and the results of the assessment discussed in detail. This provides an opportunity for the parent to ask any questions that they may have.

Writing

  • Writing does not reflect oral ability.
  • Has good ideas but cannot get them down on paper.
  • Is reluctant to write. 
  • Confuses similar looking letters and words, e.g. b/d, m/w ‘was’ for ‘saw’.
  • Letter reversals and incorrectly formed letters.
  • Untidy handwriting often with several attempts at words and many crossings out.
  • Poor pencil grip and/or writes slowly.
  • Poorly set out work on the page, e.g does not stay by the margin.
  • Inappropriate spelling for age and general ability, e.g. often spelling the same word differently in one piece of writing, letter omissions/additions/transpositions, bizarre spellings.
  • Writing often does not make sense.

Reading

  • Has difficulty in reading text aloud or silently.
  • Reading achievement is below expectation for age group.
  • Confuses letter sequences in words, e.g. says ‘tired’ for ‘tried’.
  • Finds it difficult to blend letters together.
  • Finds it hard to identify syllables in words.
  • Unable to consistently identify familiar words.
  • Little expression or intonation when reading.
  • Poor comprehension of what they have read.
  • Listening comprehension is better than reading comprehension.
  • Finds it hard to identify the most important points from a passage.
  • Reading lacks fluency and sounds stilted.
  • Misses out words when reading, or adds in extra words.

Numeracy

    • Confusion with place value e.g. units, tens, hundreds.
    • Confuses maths symbols, e.g + and x signs.
    • Finds maths word problems hard.
    • Unable to remember sequences by rote such as times tables and number sequences. 

Time

  • Difficulty in learning to tell the time – analogue and digital.
  • Poor time management. 
  • Poor planning and organisational skills.
  • Difficulty with the concepts – yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • Difficulty in remembering what day or month it is.
  • Unable to remember the months of the year or names of the seasons.
  • Difficulty in remembering own telephone number or birthday.

Skills and Communication

  • Poor fine motor skills, affecting pencil control and writing speed. 
  • Lacks understanding of other people’s body language and facial expressions.
  • Confuses left and right.
  • No strong hand preference – ambidextrous.
  • Has ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days for no apparent reason.

Behaviour

  • Avoids work, e.g looking for books, tidying up, going to the toilet.
  • Often forgets homework.
  • Lacks self confidence or has low self-esteem
  • Appears to daydream.
  • Finds it hard to focus.
  • Is the class joker or is disruptive or withdrawn. 
  • Is often exhausted after school.

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