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Assessment and screening : 5. Common questions about dyslexia assessment

5. Common questions about dyslexia assessment

When can dyslexia be identified?

Children with dyslexia can often be taught effectively without having to wait for a ‘dyslexia test’. Structured phonics teaching is used in almost all schools, and this is also a good start for those who are dyslexic.

Between the ages of 4 and 7, it can be very helpful to have a ‘screening’ test to identify strengths and weaknesses, and pick up on ‘risk factors’ for dyslexia. Teachers can then use this knowledge to adapt the way they teach. This could be a good idea if there is a family history of dyslexia or concerns about progress. From the age of 6-7, a full assessment for dyslexia can usually be made.

What if the assessment confirms dyslexia?

If the assessment indicates that you or your child would benefit from specialist support, the assessor will advise on what will best address their needs. 

What if the assessment does not confirm dyslexia?

It is important to be aware that while you may suspect dyslexia there are a large number of reasons why someone might have difficulties with literacy and/or present some of the other difficulties associated with dyslexia. The assessor will provide a detailed profile of strengths and areas that could require support and provide advice on ways to cope with your own or your child's difficulties no matter what the cause.

Is re-assessment necessary?

Young children’s development can change relatively rapidly and therefore their current strengths and areas that require support need to be appraised to ensure that support being provided is relevant. Review assessments are useful to make judgements on the rate of improvement and response to support programmes.

Some regulatory bodies require updated assessment information, for example a post 16 diagnostic assessment report is required to be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowance.

Do I need to tell my child’s school?

If you do decide to have your child assessed, it can be beneficial to maintain a good dialogue with the school and, if appropriate, involve them in the process as much as possible. However, it is your choice whether or not to involve the school or other third parties.

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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