If your child has had a screening test for dyslexia undertaken either by the school or privately, and this has indicated a likelihood of difficulty, you may wish to pursue further evidence by way of a full diagnostic assessment. A full diagnostic assessment by a specialist teacher/assessor is used to identify dyslexia for a variety of different purposes.
For example, you may:
- be a parent who is concerned about your child’s progress at school and wanting an independent assessment of their current attainment;
- have concerns that your child may be dyslexic and require an assessment to confirm this, together with a teaching programme or recommendations for additional support;
- require evidence of need for exam Access Arrangements [extra time, reader, scribe, separate room, etc.] for SATs, GCSE, and GCE ‘A’ Level.
Parents who are concerned about their child’s literacy difficulties should approach the school in the first instance. Depending on individual circumstances, the school may be able to arrange for a diagnostic assessment to be provided by an educational psychologist or specialist teacher.
If the school does not consider that a child’s difficulties are severe enough to warrant an assessment by the local council’s Learning Support Service, parents have the option of commissioning a private assessment which covers similar ground and can provide the details necessary to help plan for the child’s education.
Having decided that a private diagnostic assessment would be helpful, background information will be collected from parents, and teachers/tutors [with the parents’ consent]. Assessors aim to work in partnership with parents and, where possible, schools, to achieve the best outcome for the child.
Aspects covered in the assessment include:
- Assessment of general cognitive ability [underlying verbal and non-verbal abilities];
- Assessment of auditory perceptual skills [including short term memory and working memory];
- Phonological assessment [including standardised information];
- Standardised assessment of reading [accuracy, rate and comprehension];
- Standardised assessment of spelling;
- General written ability.
Additionally, the following elements may be undertaken if appropriate:
- General numeracy ability;
- Assessment of visual perceptual skills.
Dyslexia Lincs provides a full diagnostic assessment of dyslexia for children and young people [5-18 years] in the Lincolnshire area. The diagnostic assessment will identify strengths and areas for development in relation to the difficulties your child is experiencing. It will also identify ways in which s/he could be helped to overcome those difficulties.
A full diagnostic assessment usually takes around three and a half hours to complete, including a short refreshment break. Alternatively the assessment may be undertaken in two shorter sessions on separate days, if preferred.
Following the assessment session, a comprehensive dyslexia assessment report will be provided, usually within 10 working days. This will include a table of standardised test results, full details of tests taken and responses to the tests, a summary of significant strengths and weaknesses, a conclusion based on performance in the assessment, and general recommendations. In addition, a separate individual teaching programme [for younger students] or recommendations for additional support [for older students] will also be provided.
The assessment report will document the evidence for the conclusions reached and will recommend strategies that can be used to help your child achieve his/her potential. The report can be given to the school’s SENCo or Headteacher when asking for additional or specialised help for your child, and its findings will be the basis of discussions with the school about how all parties can work together in the future to achieve the best outcomes.
The assessment report can be used by the school to help create an Individual support plan for your child. Strengths, weaknesses and recommendations for learning approaches can be transferred directly into targets and provision for teaching and support. A school may also accept the report as evidence for Access Arrangements in examinations, although it is important to note that this is at the school’s discretion.
The entire assessment process is, of course, fully confidential, and no contact will be made with your child’s school without your express written consent.
An advocacy service is also available to parents who may wish to have specialist support when dealing with the education system at any level [e.g. speaking/corresponding with school, local education authority, appeal preparation, etc.].
Please click here for details of current assessment fees.