Diagnosing Dyslexia



What is a diagnostic assessment?

This is the most comprehensive kind of assessment, focusing on dyslexia and the other specific learning difficulties which often co-occur with dyslexia.

It is called a diagnostic assessment because it aims to identify – or diagnose – what is at the root of the difficulties that are causing concern.  

This type of assessment usually takes between two and three hours. Reports provide the results of the main findings and recommendations for actions that will help find the most appropriate way forward. 

Diagnostic assessments are needed in certain circumstances, for example for those wishing to claim the Disabled Students Allowance for University (as long as the report was carried out at 16+).

At what age can someone have a diagnostic assessment?

Diagnostic assessments can be delivered for individuals as young as 6 or 7 through to adults.  For younger children, the findings may be less conclusive so it can be better to have another kind of assessment, followed by some targeted support.

What kinds of diagnostic assessment are there? 

1.    Consulting Psychologist Assessment

This diagnostic assessment is carried out by a Chartered Consulting Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Psychological Society.

The assessments will focus on diagnosing dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dyspraxia. The assessment may also identify signs of other specific learning difficulties such as autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

2.    Teacher Diagnostic Assessment

This assessment is carried out by a fully qualified teacher holding an Assessment Practising Certificate.  Depending on the age and the concerns raised, the assessment will focus on dyslexia. Guidance and advice can also be given where background information suggests signs of other specific learning difficulties such as dyscalculia, dyspraxia, autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

3. Exam Access Arrangements

In most public and professional examinations, special arrangements are permitted to give a more equal opportunity to those with dyslexia, reading difficulties or other recognised difficulties.  Most examining bodies do not want a person to fail or underperform simply because they have made mistakes reading the question or been unable to write sufficiently quickly or legibly.

Different examination bodies have different requirements for evidence that such special arrangements are justified.  

The Exam Access Arrangement report will provide specific details and recommendations for examinations which could include:

·         Extra time usually 25%

·         Reader or a scribe

·         A separate room

·         Use of a computer (spell check is disabled) or a prompt.

The assessment for exam access arrangement usually takes between 1 and 1.5 hours.