Assessing children for Dyslexia
With an increasing awareness of the symptoms of Dyslexia by parents and teachers alike, more and more children are being considered for an Educational Assessment to ascertain if they are Dyslexic, or have a Specific Learning Difficulty.
Dyslexia impacts upon a child’s ability in the areas of reading and spelling alongside many other early indicators that might suggest the possibility of Dyslexic tendencies.
In her excellent book, “How to detect and Manage Dyslexia”, Philomena Ott lists the following signs and symptoms of Dyslexia. While these lists are not exhaustive and any possible combination of indicators may be present, it does provide a very good checklist for parents and teachers alike.
Speech and language
- Jumbling Words.
- Poor use of Syntax.
- Word-naming problems.
- Word Mispronunciation.
- Difficulties with Rhyme and Alliteration.
- Hesitant Speech.
- Difficulty getting dressed.
- Lack of manual dexterity, difficulty putting a button through its hole.
- Difficulty doing jigsaws.
- May be poor at drawing.
- Difficulty tracking through a maze.
- Difficulty sorting beads by shape.
Auditory Sequential Memory Difficulties
- Difficulty learning Nursery Rhymes.
- Difficulty repeating messages, such as phone messages.
- Difficulty following a series of instructions.
- Difficulty remembering common sequences, days of the week and months of the year. This may also affect his/her ability to remember their address or the date of their birthday.
- Difficulty counting, particularly backwards.
- Difficulty recounting a story in sequence.
- Difficulty tapping out a rhythm.
- Difficulty in fine motor skills such as using cutlery or a scissors or tying shoelaces.
- Difficulty tracing.
- Clumsy or uncoordinated, bumping into things or dropping things.
- Difficulty learning how to ride a bike, swimming and/or dancing.
- Awkward pencil grip when writing.
- Difficulty catching, throwing or kicking a ball. Difficulty passing an object from left to right.
- Difficulty skipping or hopping.
- Lack of consistency in handedness.
Other evidence suggests that a child is more likely to be Dyslexic if
- There is a positive Family history of Dyslexia
- They are left-handed
- They are male
Should I have my child assessed?
Ideally, a parent’s first port of call should be a full and frank discussion with their child’s class teacher and/or remedial teacher. The majority of teachers have a very good idea of the signs and symptoms of Dyslexia and may have concerns of their own. Often, the Learning Support Teacher will conduct a preliminary Assessment of the child’s ability in the related areas. If after meeting with school personnel and seeing many similarities between your child’s difficulties and the above list, an Assessment could be a worthwhile venture.
What does an Assessment entail?
When a parent contacts An Cuan requesting an Educational Assessment, the procedure is as follows:
- Initial contact with An Cuan to set up assessment. This includes consultation regarding the appropriateness of pursuing an assessment.
- Follow-up letter re confirmation of appointment. This includes teacher observation from, parent background information form and consent form (where applicable).
- In order to provide a quality service to clients, the practice is run on an individual appointment basis. When an appointment is made, the Psychologist’s time is allocated specifically to you for that given period. Therefore a deposit needs to be received, by return, in order to hold the appointment.
- Meeting with parents.
- Formal assessment with child/adolescent, lasting approximately 1.5 – 2 hours. It is useful to give the child an age-appropriate expectation of what the assessment is about and what it will entail. This can be discussed with An Cuan in advance, if required.
Educational Assessment involves:
- Cognitive (I.Q.) Assessment
- Attainment testing, e.g. reading, spelling, reading comprehension, mathematics.
- Perceptual testing and further diagnostic testing where indicates.
- Clinical observations
- The above elements of educational assessment
- Appropriate emotional/behavioural measurements
Emotional/Behavioural Assessment (where indicate) involves:
- Liason with school and other agencies (where indicated and required).
- The balance of the fee is payable on the day of the assessment.
- Detailed written report is sent to parents with recommendations.
- Follow-up meeting (where applicable) to discuss recommendations.