Testing for Dyslexia
If you suspect that a child has dyslexia, an evaluation can lead to a better understanding of the problem and to recommendations for treatment. Test results are also used to determine state and local eligibility for special education services, as well as eligibility for support programs and services in colleges and universities. Ideally, evaluation results provide a basis for making instructional decisions and help determine which educational services and supports will be most effective.
At What Age Should People Be Tested for Dyslexia?
People may be tested for dyslexia at any age. The tests and procedures used will vary according to the age of the person and the presenting problems. For example, testing with young children often looks at phonological processing, receptive and expressive language abilities and the ability to make sound/symbol associations. When problems are found in these areas, targeted intervention can begin immediately. Of course, a diagnosis of dyslexia does not have to be made in order to offer early intervention in reading instruction.
Who Is Qualified to Make the Diagnosis of Dyslexia?
Professionals with expertise in several fields are best qualified to make a diagnosis of dyslexia. The testing may be done by a single individual or by a team of specialists. A knowledge and background in psychology, reading, language and education is necessary. The tester must have a thorough working knowledge of how individuals learn to read and why some people have trouble learning to read. They must also understand how to administer and interpret evaluation data and how to plan appropriate reading interventions.
What Test Is Used to Identify Dyslexia?
There is no one single assessment measure that can be used to test for dyslexia. A series of tests (or sub-sections of tests) is usually chosen on the basis of their measurement properties and their potential to address referral issues. While a variety of tests may be used, the components of a good assessment remain the same. Special attention should be paid to gathering data in areas such as: expressive oral language, expressive written language, receptive oral language, receptive written language, intellectual functioning, cognitive processing and educational achievement.
What Should an Evaluation Include?
The expert evaluator (or team of professionals) will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine whether the person’s learning problems may be specific to reading or whether they are related to other disorders such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), affective disorders (anxiety, depression), central auditory processing dysfunction, pervasive developmental disorders and physical or sensory impairments.