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Understanding the Dyslexia Assessment: Best Practices for a Successful Student Evaluation

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Understanding the Dyslexia Assessment

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Media often dramatizes dyslexia as a rare condition when, in reality, nearly 20% of the United States population has a learning disability affecting how their brain processes language.

Catching dyslexia as early as possible benefits students both academically and socially. However, understanding best practices for diagnosis, contacting the right professionals, and helping parents understand why their child should undergo assessment may prove difficult. Learn more about this process and plan steps for students you suspect would benefit from professional evaluation.

Who Is Involved in Diagnosing Dyslexia?

Diagnosing a learning disability is a multi-step process that includes a student’s parents, teachers, and either the school psychologist or a professional in private practice outside the school system.

  • The school psychologist: This professional will interview your child about their difficulties with reading or comprehending written language. The psychologist will also use multiple age-appropriate, research-based assessment measures like the Test of Dyslexia (TOD™) to determine your child’s reading level and pinpoint potential problems.
  • The educators: Educators are often the first ones to spot signs of dyslexia in a student. They can help begin the assessment process and put parents in touch with the school psychologist.
  • The parents: Parents who suspect dyslexia have a legal right to request an evaluation for their children through the public school system. Educators must communicate the benefit of dyslexia assessment to parents – even if the child is doing well in school.

What Should Parents Know About Dyslexia Assessments?

Parents may wonder whether assessment measures for dyslexia are accurate. Explain to them that while there is no visible sign of dyslexia or measurable test that can pinpoint it with certainty, diagnosis is a compilation of the following information:

1. The Child’s Developmental, Social, and Educational History

The diagnosing clinician needs a whole-person view of the child and their struggles with reading. Parent and teacher interviews and questionnaires can be of great benefit in determining when the student’s problems started and how they typically present. Dyslexia has a genetic component, so it’s critical to disclose whether other family members have been diagnosed or have past struggles with reading or language.

2. The Child’s Medical or Neurological Exam

It’s important to rule out medical conditions such as difficulties in hearing, vision problems, or neurological issues that may be causing dyslexia-like symptoms. Sometimes, a child can have more than one diagnosis. For example, the student may have a dual diagnosis of autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia.

3. The Child’s Dyslexia Assessment Scores

Formal assessments of dyslexia can confirm what the psychologist suspects after conducting parent interviews and reading teacher questionnaires. It’s important to use dyslexia measures validated by professionals and backed by the latest research to compare students to their peers.

Learn More About the TOD™ and Other Assessment Tools for Dyslexia

You can make a difference in a student’s life by assessing for dyslexia as early as possible. Contact WPS today to learn more about the TOD™ assessment and other tools that can aid you in gaining accurate information as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Also Read: 7 Strategies to Motivate Your Child to Learn

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