How is dyslexia assessed?
All children struggling to acquire and use written language require assistance in Australian schools regardless of the underlying cause.
Checks symptoms, all of which are behavioural and most people who do not have dyslexia can still check a lot of the boxes and are not reliable on their own. Checklists with 30 or more indicators available on the internet need to be viewed with caution.
If your child struggles to convert symbols to sounds and or has difficulties reading and retaining sight words consistently then you should consider the ADA pre assessment.
Appropriate research based screening tools can indicate a profile of dyslexia by excluding sensory issues that may affect reading and using an inclusionary approach based on characteristics of dyslexia. This service is exclusive to the ADA and has been set up to avoid unnecessary over testing on students who may not require any further profiling in order to be identified and educationally assisted. A medical health professional is required at the ADA pre assessment stage to ensure that sensory issues (sight and hearing) are ruled out. The ADA prefers to work directly with schools so that we can educate them on the early signs and characteristics and focus on evidence based teaching and inclusive classroom practices.
Associated difficulties often co-exist with dyslexia and related reading difficulties. Often these can be idenitifed at the ADA pre assessment screening stage. These associated difficulties may include but are not limited to spelling and writing skills, mathematics, working memory, attentional difficulties and other related differences.
Since dyslexia occurs on a continuum and no two are proflies are exactly alike the ADA prefer the term dyslexia profiling over the term "diagnosis". Diagnosis is a term reserved for the medical field leading to medical treatment whereas dyslexia requires educational response and assistance. The diagnosis method involved a discrepency IQ model (compared reading scores to IQ) this method is no longer required for dyslexia and language based identification since reading and IQ are not correlated. Click here for research by Linda Siegel and Professor Keith Stanovich: Siegel and Stanovich
The ADA agrees that all struggling readers who have difficulty acquiring and using written language in the areas of reading and spelling need identifying and educational assistance regardless of the undelying cause. All children who struggle with reading and spelling can benefit from a direct, explicit, sytematic, structured, multisensory approach. This type of instruction can assist all students with or without difficulties to gain a deeper understanding of the structure of the English language.
It is highly recommended that at the first point of concern when a teacher or parent notices a child experiencing persistent and unexpected difficulties learning to read is for the child to undertake an ADA pre assessment screening.
The ADA supports the Australian Dyslexia Working Party document. One of the recommendations agreed by government is that schools can be trained to identify and assess dyslexia and significant reading difficulties. This will enable schools to be self sufficient in assessing children, providing evidence based instruction (where trained) and where required to make reasonable adjustments under the DDA 1992 and Disabilty Standards for Education (2005).
Many schools are opting to do the ADA pre assessment screening, this service identifies the children in need and provides clear instructions on the teaching they require as well as school adjustments.