How is Dyslexia Identified

Adapted from a post I made during Dyslexia Awareness Week based on materials provided by the British Dyslexia Association.

Psychologist Assessments are the gold standard of dyslexia identification. They will provide a detailed breakdown of strengths and challenges and also provide information of any co-occurring difficulties. Unlike other disabilities, the NHS does not fund diagnosis for dyslexia. Due to the cost of a full assessment there is great value in having a dyslexia check first. This year for Dyslexia Awareness Week the British Dyslexia Association organised a free dyslexia screener.

The full assessment involves the administration of a wide range of tests that enable a detailed profile of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses to be identified. Recommendations for support will also be included in a comprehensive report.

The resulting diagnosis is recognised by many professional bodies and resulting can unlock adjustments in professional exams such as extra time, scribes, exam booklets printed on coloured paper.

dyslexia screening pyramid

Specialist Assessment – This type of testing is carried out by individuals who have specialist knowledge of dyslexia both within education and the workplace. A selection of tests will be administered and a report compiled that provides an insight into an individual’s pattern of strengths and difficulties. The report will also make specific and detailed recommendations on how best to support an individual, these may include exam access recommendations or workplace reasonable adjustments. Such assessments can provide a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Screening – This process can be carried out by a non-specialist using a commercially available tool. Such tools cannot diagnose dyslexia but they can provide an insight into whether/not the pattern of difficulties may be consistent with dyslexia. Some may provide a score that gives an indication of the probability of dyslexia. Such tools may also provide a profile of strengths and difficulties that can be used to inform a programme of support thereby making the support more effective

Checklists – Using informed observation, i.e. some knowledge of dyslexia, checklists are simple lists of characteristics or traits or questions. These characteristics, etc. relate to some of the common behaviours associated with dyslexia. Often by simply answering yes or no to these questions it is possible for a picture to be built up that may/may not indicate whether/not an individual is exhibiting signs or indicators that could be consistent with dyslexia.

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