Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in: phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
There are several tests for dyslexia. A psychologist or specialist teacher will run a selection of these to create a picture of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. A specialist in dyslexia interpretation can then consider this picture and decide whether or not the individual is dyslexic.
Tests for dyslexia
i) Tests of underlying ability; these can be split into verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning. This provides a picture of an individual’s skills where literacy (in the sense of reading and writing) is not required. This provides a background to the rest of the assessment.
ii) Various tests of reading: Single word reading will be considered, as well as reading texts and comprehension of texts. Reading speed will also be considered. In addition, reading non-words will be considered as well as reading sight words at speed. An overall picture of reading skills will then be obtained. Dyslexic people will often have a slow reading speed or a low score in single word reading and/or non-word reading.
iii) Writing and spelling skills will also be considered. A single word spelling test will be administered as well as a free writing task. Depending on the age and ability of the individual, further tests may be used such as those that look at copying speed. Dyslexic people will often have limited spelling skills; they may also have difficulties with punctuation and sentence structure.
iv) Tests of phonological awareness and processing will also be used. A dyslexic individual will usually have difficulties in this area so this is considered carefully.
v) Tests of auditory memory will usually be administered. Dyslexic people often have poor short-term and/or working memory.
It is important to stress that no single test from the list can provide proof of dyslexia. For example, poor spelling by itself may not be an indicator of dyslexia but, combined with other features, it may well be one of the indicators.
When these tests have been administered, the specialist teacher will then pull the information together in a report. A judgment will then be made on the presence of dyslexia. Recommendations for future support will be given.
Simply Learning Tuition Dyslexia Assessments
We work with several dyslexia experts. Lois Hood, is one of our leading Dyslexia tutors. For the past ten years she has worked as a dyslexia specialist both in schools and privately. In 2005 she gained her Diploma in Dyslexia and Literacy from the University of York.
The study of Dyslexia is still a relatively new field and it is very important to keep up to date with current thinking and new developments. Thus, Lois regularly attends training with the British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action and PATOSS. Lois is currently studying for her Certificate of Competence in Education Testing.
DYSLEXIA CASE STUDY
We began working with Leo a year and a half ago, when he was aged 6. He was bright boy, but his parents were concerned about his progress in reading and writing. We provided an academic assessment with a trained dyslexia specialist, which confirmed that Leo was dyslexic.
We introduced Ella, a qualified teacher with over 15 years experience in specific learning difficulties.
She has focused mainly on Leo’s handwriting, grammar and comprehension, using rhyme as a spelling and vocabulary aid. As he struggles to concentrate for long periods, Ella uses short and exciting activities to break up work, and has developed a weekly independent research task, where Leo is set a project based around a topic of his choosing.
DYSLEXIA IS NO BAR TO SUCCESS
One of the expert tutors we work with, Adam, has written a fascinating post on his own experiences with dyslexia and how it has informed his professional life. You can read about his journey here.