Diagnostic Assessments – When is the right time?
Diagnostic assessments provide the only way to formally identify dyslexia. By providing a clear picture of someone’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses they can pave the way for more effective support, whilst also providing evidence for access arrangements, funding applications or even employment adjustments. But, how do you know when it is the right time to refer your child or pupil for a diagnostic assessment?
In the following blog post, Karen Mace the Head of Assessment and Professional Level Training at the British Dyslexia Association, briefly explores the Diagnostic Assessment process.
Reading and writing are undeniably important skills in the modern classroom. With the lion’s share of resources for most subjects becoming increasingly content heavy, the current curriculum at both primary and secondary level requires children to have strong foundational reading skills. If children are experiencing significant literacy difficulties engaging with material and learning can be extremely challenging.
Diagnostic assessments can help to provide an answer to why you, your child or employee are experiencing difficulties. The in depth information they provide can also help in the application for a Disabled Students’ Allowance, Exam Access Arrangements or Reasonable Adjustments in the workplace and, most importantly they can be used to tailor effective support.
Diagnostic Assessment can take up to three hours. They usually take place in a private room (such as the individual’s normal place of work, at the assessors’ office, etc.). Before the assessment there is usually an informal chat to gather a little background information, then the assessor will carry out a series of different tasks to test:
- Reading, writing and spelling
- Handwriting and fine motor skills
- Underlying learning skills: phonological awareness, speed of processing and memory, speech and language and auditory processing.
I’m very proud to be able to share some of the testimonials that the BDA have received about their Diagnostic Assessment Service:
“Thank you so much for all your help. The whole process has been so easy. Please pass my thanks onto the assessor! I think it’s possibly the best money I will ever spend on my daughter!”
“Thank you so much BDA, I can see where the reputation for professionalism comes from. From the start of the process right through to the assessment itself, staff were friendly, attentive and reassuring. Nothing was too much and my queries were answered quickly.
The actual assessment was carried out in such a way that my son and myself were comfortable in the assessor’s presence. I felt confident in him and the whole process and was relieved that I was finally being listened to in the mini consultation before the real work started with my son. I was made to feel at home and able to grab a hot drink and do a few hours of work on my business while I waited.
Thank you for a superb service and I personally will recommend the BDA to other parents to use as a fast, reliable and value for money service.”
For more information about the assessment process or to arrange a full assessment you can visit the BDA website or book your place on Karen Mace’s upcoming webinar, which will explore different indicators of dyslexia and discuss how to recognise the signs at pre-school, primary and secondary age. This will be followed by explanation on why we carry out assessments, how test results and other information are used to diagnose dyslexia and discuss what else can be learnt from an assessment.