Tests for dyslexia

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There are several tests for dyslexia. Two preliminary tests that are conducted in the beginning are the screening tests and assessments done by a psychologist.


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Screening tests for dyslexia

The screening tests for dyslexia are used on large groups of children in order to identify the children who may need more thorough tests for probable dyslexia. These are not actual tests for dyslexia, but they enable the teachers to separate the children who may be dyslexic.

Questions for screening

A list of questions is administered to the parents for the screening. If the answer is Yes to more than four of the questions, then it is suspected that the child is dyslexic, and a full individual assessment is recommended. Some of the key questions are:

- do you have family members who had difficulty in learning to read and spell when they were at school?

- Is the child feeling reluctant to go to school?

- Does the child miss out certain words when he/she is reading?

- Does the child find it difficult to spell?

- Does the child find it difficult to read aloud?

- Does the child occasionally skip lines when he/she is reading?

- Does the child show confusion following instructions, for instance when playing a game?

Children who are selected by such screening tests may have learning problems due to a number of reasons such as emotional problems, difficulties due to change of schools, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, late learning, dyspraxia or possibly, dyslexia. Such screenings are not considered to be proper tests for dyslexia, but they are important in showing whether the child needs further assessment or not.

Computer games for screening

There are certain short computer games that children enjoy playing on their own that allow such abilities as short term memory, spelling, reading, sequencing, non verbal memory etc to be measured. These are the areas that dyslexic children have difficulty in coping. Such games are useful as tests for the whole class. But they are to be looked upon as only indicating whether a child needs to be further assessed by a psychologist or not; they do not constitute proper tests for dyslexia.

Comprehensive psychological tests for dyslexia

If the head teacher or principal of a school recommends it, a student may be given psychological tests for dyslexia (with the parents’ consent). This method of assessment done by the school psychologist seems to work well for most children, but some parents may wish for a private assessment. A private assessment, although more expensive, is also more straightforward. It takes a few hours to complete and a detailed report is given which analyses the child’s weaknesses and strengths. These assessments are comprehensive but recommendations for helping the child improve his learning skills are considered the responsibility of a Specialist Resource teacher.

Whichever method is followed to assess the child for dyslexia, it has been established by research that the sooner it is done, the better it is for the child. The younger the child when the tests for dyslexia are conducted and diagnosis is made, the earlier he/she starts grasping the learning strategies that they need to improve performance in school.

What is Dyslexia