April week 1

What Are The Challenges of Assessing Dyslexia?

Assessing dyslexia can present many challenges, including the varied interpretations of
what dyslexia actually means.

Dyslexia is defined by the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity as, “an unexpected
difficulty in learning to read. Dyslexia takes away an individual’s ability to read quickly
and automatically, and to retrieve spoken words easily, but it does not dampen their
creativity and ingenuity.”

Scottish Rite for Children defines dyslexia as, “a specific learning disability that is
neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word
recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.”

At Dyslexia School of Houston, we abide by these same principles.

It’s also important to note that diagnostics can not rely solely on a lack of phonological
awareness. Educator’s and assessors must understand the very fine line between
dyslexia and other reading disorders that can be improved through general education.

An early diagnosis can be impossible if steps for prevention are not taken. This can also
be the root of the underdiagnosis rate for exceptional learners and students. These
learners can have above-average reading scores and still struggle with undiagnosed
dyslexia. On the contrary, students without dyslexia may be poor test takers, leaving
results inconclusive.

Often, children who struggle with dyslexia may also struggle with test taking and
completing the assessment at hand. Not only does each child test differently, but they
learn and adapt differently, also.

A proper diagnosis is not a trade-off for prescriptions, but rather a way to program the
appropriate interventions. Programming “the perfect learning plan” will look unique for
each child, while still maintaining a similar environment cohesive for all.

Examiners must consider the student’s overall intelligence, educational history,
opportunities and daily environment, while abiding by the true definition of dyslexia, to
provide the proper assessment and diagnosis.

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