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Assessment and screening : 2. Diagnostic assessment

2. Diagnostic assessment

What is a diagnostic assessment?

This is the most comprehensive kind of assessment, focusing on dyslexia and the other specific learning difficulties which often co-occur with dyslexia.

It is called a diagnostic assessment because it aims to identify – or diagnose - what is at the root of the difficulties that are causing concern.  

This type of assessment usually takes between two and three hours. Reports provide the results of the main findings and recommendations for actions that will help find the most appropriate way forward. 

Diagnostic assessments are needed in certain circumstances, for example for those wishing to claim the Disabled Students Allowance for University (as long as the report was carried out at 16+).

At what age can someone have a diagnostic assessment?

Diagnostic assessments can be delivered for individuals as young as 6 or 7 through to adults.  For younger children, the findings may be less conclusive so it can be better to have another kind of assessment, followed by some targeted support.

What kinds of diagnostic assessment are there?

Dyslexia Action offers diagnostic assessments carried out by consulting psychologists and by specialist teachers.

1.    Consulting Psychologist Assessment 

This diagnostic assessment is carried out by a Chartered Consulting Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society.

The assessments will focus on diagnosing dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dyspraxia. The assessment may also identify signs of other specific learning difficulties such as autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

Why might a Consulting Psychologist Assessment be appropriate?

  • Some Employers or Colleges prefer a  Psychological Assessment
  • A psychologist has a wider range of tests to use that can help identify co-occurring difficulties
  • A psychologists assessment could be useful to resolve differences of opinion

2.    Teacher Diagnostic Assessment 

This assessment is carried out by a fully qualified teacher holding a current Assessment Practising Certificate.  Depending on the age and the concerns raised, the assessment will focus on dyslexia. Guidance and advice can also be given where background information suggests signs of other specific learning difficulties such as dyscalculia, dyspraxia, autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 


To find out more about assessments and screenings, contact your local Learning Centre.

Abagail’s Story

Abagail was assessed by Dyslexia Action when she was 7 years old. She is now 12 and has been having lessons at Dyslexia Action Nottingham, since she was diagnosed.

“When I was assessed, and they told me I was dyslexic, I felt like it was something new; a new thing that been made up, because no one had told me about dyslexia before."

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