There are several types of testing your child may be given if dyslexia is suspected. From screenings to full psycho-educational evaluations, each level of testing is provided for specific reasons.
Screenings provide a check to see if dyslexia is indicated. They should indicate if there is a chance that a cognitive or academic area should be further evaluated. Often you will see screening services offered for children who may have dyslexia. Be sure to ask what instruments will be used in screening. Are they valid? Are they normed? How will the results be presented? By whom is the screening given? Are they qualified to perform the screening? While screenings are a brief snapshot in time of the child’s skills, they should be rigorous enough to give a solid indicator if further testing is necessary. At AZ Dyslexia Center we use a variety of tools for screening. Dyslexia Quest is our main method of identifying concerns. This information is from the Dyslexia Quest website:
Dyslexia Quest screens 6 areas of working and learning ability, creating a detailed report that displays indicators of dyslexia and an assessment of the child’s strengths and weaknesses. The National Institute of Health has found dyslexia is identifiable from age 5.5 years with 92% accuracy. Dyslexia occurs in 1 in 5 people and the earlier identification and intervention can begin, the less the long-term effects will be. Dyslexia is not just letter reversal, there are many different types of dyslexia that can affect many different things, such as organization, memory and processing speed.
There are many different routes you can take in the identification of dyslexia and subsequent intervention. While educational psychologists and professional assessments are the only way to achieve a formal diagnosis, a screening tool that can give you a research-based and accurate indication can help the process along.
Informal testing typically includes hearing children read and providing a writing sample. These are examined for indications of dyslexia. While the testing is informal, it should be provided by someone who understands dyslexia and knows what indicators to look for. Only dyslexia specialists perform this testing at AZ Dyslexia Center.
Before starting reading therapy, testing should be completed that will give the student’s current levels of performance. The same testing will often be provided to assist in determining that adequate growth is being made to meet the goals set by the parent and the therapist. Tests should be both informal and normed. AZ Dyslexia Center, an assessment specialist provides this testing.
During reading therapy, this is provided frequently to establish periodic growth. This type of testing gives an indicator of progress.
To diagnose dyslexia, this type of testing is required. Schools will provide this testing if concerns are validated by parents and school. However, typically schools do not diagnose dyslexia. Schools determine if there is a learning disability. The way to determine a learning disability is by determining if reading skills are discrepant from ability. According to IDEA, this may also be diagnosed using a response to intervention model. If appropriate instruction has been given and the student has not responded, this is a strong indicator of a reading disability. At that time, the school may decide to perform a full Psycho-Education Evaluation. Psycho-Education Evaluations are provided by licensed psychologists. Based on cognitive (“intelligence”) results and academic results a diagnosis of dyslexia can be made if appropriate. You will also receive a list of recommendations and accommodations that are based on the results of the testing. This testing will also give you results that show your child's strengths and needs. This information is very useful in determining the right program for intervention services. We can provide the names of several individuals who are certified to give these assessments and who, in our opinion, understand dyslexia and give a comprehensive report as well as accommodations that are needed for your child.