Dyslexia assessments often include multiple components. The more detailed an evaluation is, the more likely it is to identify learning differences and other potential problems. The dyslexia assessments you choose may include any or all of the following components to provide a complete picture of a student’s learning abilities.
Detailed Student History
- Educational history: A screener should ascertain what educational experience a child has before performing an evaluation. Expecting skills that a child has not been taught or assuming a child doesn’t have particular skills could lead to misdiagnosis.
- Family history: Children whose parents have dyslexia are more likely to have the condition. Knowing if there is a family history of any learning disorder can help inform the interpretation of evaluation results.
- Medical history: It is essential to gather a complete medical history for each student to help rule out other complicating factors, such as hearing loss, that could skew results.
Executive function is a reading skill that encompasses the thought processes that allow individuals to work toward a goal. Not all children with dyslexia have executive function impairment; however, individuals exhibiting this trait may have trouble following directions, stopping and restarting a task, or shifting focus from one task to another.
Fluency When Reading
Reading fluency is an indicator of dyslexia and related reading difficulties. Assessments may include an oral reading component that allows screeners to evaluate reading speed, sight word recognition, and prosody to establish a proper diagnosis.
Oral Language Acquisition
Reading skills are calculated based on oral language acquisition. That is why many evaluations include testing of language skills, such as grammar and expressive and receptive vocabulary skills.
Orthographic mapping involves assigning a sound to each letter or letter combination. It is a skill that can be very difficult for individuals with dyslexia to master, particularly with complex letter groupings. As a result, many may confuse letters, have trouble spelling certain words, or find it difficult to read words that do not conform to standard patterns.
Phonological awareness includes the ability to decipher sounds and sound patterns in words. Children who struggle with this skill may have trouble with rhyming, creating words from phonemes, and breaking words into syllables. As a component of dyslexia, a comprehensive assessment should include an evaluation of this oral language skill.
Reading and Listening Comprehension
Many individuals with dyslexia have difficulty with reading comprehension, while others do not. Additionally, some students develop coping strategies to gather information from written passages. However, since deficits are often more pronounced than those in listening comprehension, comparing the two can be an effective way to gauge reading comprehension skills.
Other Assessed Skills
Depending on the student and her history, other assessments or screening tools may also be used, including tests for the following skills:
- Processing Speed
- Rapid Automatized Naming
Effective Dyslexia Assessments
The new Tests of Dyslexia (TOD™) provides a comprehensive assessment of dyslexia and related learning differences.