Dyslexia and Reading Assessments

Approximately 20% of Americans live with dyslexia, making it a pervasive learning disorder. Despite being so widespread, dyslexia often gets overlooked when symptoms aren’t severe. However, even mild dyslexia can make school and work difficult; individuals may struggle with self-esteem due to the accompanying challenges. Assessments are integral in identifying this neurodevelopmental disorder and obtaining proper support.

What is a dyslexia assessment?

Diagnosing neurodevelopmental disorders is complex. Experts can’t simply run blood tests and detect its presence. Instead, professionals must observe behavior and administer tests and tasks to evaluate an individual’s symptoms. Since dyslexic symptoms can overlap with other neurodevelopmental disorders, administrators must utilize several approaches to diagnose dyslexia. For example, the (TOD™) Tests of Dyslexia Kit includes three assessments for a comprehensive evaluation.

How do assessments work?

People of any age can undergo a dyslexia assessment, but early detection is ideal. Educators and parents who notice signs in students often seek professional testing to offer better support.

There are several ways to administer assessments. Administrators often choose their method depending on the student’s age. For example, the assessor may frame tests as play when working with young children but take a more formal tone for adolescents and adults.

As a language-based disorder, dyslexia impacts a person’s ability to connect speech sounds to letters. Individuals may struggle to read aloud, break down words into components, and frequently use filler words (such as “uh” or “um”) when speaking. Dyslexia manifests in a myriad of ways. Therefore, assessments cover these four skills:

  • Rapid Naming: This is the ability to quickly and accurately name items presented on cards, such as numbers, colors, and letters.
  • Reading Comprehension and Fluency: Reading comprehension describes how well a reader can understand a written paragraph. Reading fluency is how smoothly someone can read a paragraph aloud.
  • Decoding: Decoding is the ability to recognize and accurately decode words.
  • Phonological Awareness: This describes the ability to isolate sounds and work with them.

Assessors may also evaluate fine motor skills, handwriting, spelling, writing, and reading abilities.

Assessments typically take several hours, after which the assessor will calculate the test scores. Depending on the evaluations used, professionals may deliver a diagnosis of a specific type of dyslexia:

  • Visual dyslexia
  • Phonological dyslexia
  • Surface dyslexia
  • Double deficit dyslexia
  • Rapidly naming dyslexia

Why get an assessment?

Dyslexia is a disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, students and employees have the right to reasonable accommodations. For students, this may mean help from a special education teacher. For adults, it may mean accessing text-to-speech software to listen to emails rather than read them.

Children’s diagnoses can also alleviate stress within the family. For parents, it allows them to put a name to the disorder and change their approach to supporting their little ones. For children, it reframes their struggles as a quirk of neurological development rather than low intelligence.

Also, visit Dyslexia Symptoms to Look For When Testing at Different Stages

Where Can You Learn More?

Having an answer is the first step toward getting assistance with your or your child’s reading difficulties. A comprehensive evaluation can provide a path forward.

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