How is dyslexia assessed?
The most important reason for assessing dyslexia is for effective educational treatment not a label.
There is no one single test which can identify dyslexia, the assessor must have a strong knowledge of language and reading development, how dyslexia affects learning in these areas and the required pedagogy. They must be knowledgeable in current diagnostic test selection and how to evaluate the results for educational instruction.
There are numerous misinterpretations and misleading use of the terms screening, assessment and a profile.
Checklists: Checks symptoms, all of which are behavioural and most people who do not have dyslexia can still check a lot of the boxes, not reliable on their own. Checklists are not a dyslexia assessment,pre assessment or self evaluation.
Screening/Pre Screening Assessment: Appropriate research based screening tools can indicate a likelihood of dyslexia,however the screening needs to be done by an ADA Certified Member or equivalent who is qualified in using the screening tools and has an up to date knowledge of dyslexia and effective Multi sensory structured language approaches.A screener alone will not confirm dyslexia but will add to the individual learning profile and let you know whether dyslexia educational assessment is recommended, it is not a website checklist, it is an indvidualised pre assessment profile devised by the ADA Professional Board. Pre assessment profiling is a free service to all ADA members, this service is exclusive to the ADA and has been set up to avoid unnecessary over testing on students who may not require full dyslexia profiling.
Assessment: Dyslexia assessment forms part of full dyslexia profiling and is a more in-depth assessment of spoken and written language.Dyslexia Assessors should be ADA Certified or hold equivalent post graduate training including training in dyslexia/language based assessment.Assessment should be diagnostic,that is,designed to assess an individual's particular strengths and weaknesses and identify the underlying causes and dyslexia subtype/s.The assessment must be educationally based and driven,that is directed towards an educational support plan. The assessment needs to be individualised so that equitable classroom provisions and exam accommodations can be reported for the school,High school,TAFE or University. A full adult dyslexia profiling assessment can also be offered for workplace solutions as well as for personal reasons and goals.
Associated Difficulties:Profiling allows underlying differences to be identified,these differences are taken into account when planning for reading and spelling instruction,which are not limited to, but may include,individual cognitive processes,traits and other skills. Associated difficulties which may and often do co-exist with dyslexia and reading difficulties are also identified through effective profiling; these include but are not limited to;spelling and writing skills, attentional difficulties and other related differences.
Dyslexia Subtypes & Profiling:Since dyslexia occurs on a continuum and no two are proflies are exactly alike,dyslexia profiling is preferred to any discrepency or IQ models.Dyslexia profiling which includes an instructional educational plan and equitable provisions is preferred by the Australian Dyslexia Association in the identification and educational treatment of dyslexia and related language based difficulties. Dyslexia profiling involves careful assessment tools and clinical judgement, it is not a dyslexia test that can be commercially bought.
When all other factors are ruled out, then dyslexia can be presumed.
To ensure appropriate instruction, it is essential that identification practices focus on assessments that are directly related to effective instruction.Reports need to include individualised equitable provisions and exam accommodations based on each individuals learning profile~
Caution on the word dyslexia testing-Pitfalls! Too may commercial businesses are now popping up all over Australia offering dyslexia tests and/or testing packages, it has become a case of parents be ware~ the ADA are advocating for regulation on Australian Dyslexia Identification practices.
"Educators need to be the ones trained to identify and teach those with dyslexia; teachers are in the field where observation becomes critical and knowledge becomes valuable". (Jodi Clements)
Research:Dyslexia cannot be identifed through behavioural optometrist visual skills tests or an audiologist report nor can it be treated through ear or visual exercises.Up to 70% of individuals with dyslexia will have some degree of visual and auditory processing differences.
Further help go to Dyslexia Screening & Assessment Service.
This change in the US regulations came about because many studies have shown that intelligence is not the best predictor of how easily a student will develop written language (reading and spelling) skills. Instead, oral language abilities (listening and speaking) are considered the best predictors of reading and spelling.(IDA,2010) 2.
In order to improve the identification and educational treatment of dyslexia, the ADA offer accredited post grad training and certification in the educational treatment of dyslexia or a related difference. The ADA work within a network of ADA accredited and registered Educators, Linguists,Speech Pathologists, ADA informed GP's,Paediatricians and ADA informed endorsed Educational and Developmental Psychologists.
All children, including children with specific reading difficulties (dyslexia)and non specific reading difficulties benefit from early effective science/evidence based reading instruction. Early effective instruction in every school is paramount to any "Wait and fail model". The ADA believes that all children experiencing reading difficulties need to be identified as early as possible in the school system and given access to direct,explicit structured language instruction. If you feel that your child is slipping through the net, do not wait for the school, act now and learn about early identification of 'at risk' children and effective research based reading instruction.