The earlier a child is diagnosed with dyslexia; the likelier educational interventions are to be effective. However, identifying dyslexia in children can be challenging to do, for both teachers and parents, since the signs and symptoms are not always obvious.
Are You Worried About Your Child?
If you have concerns about your child’s progress in reading and writing, talk to your child’s teacher first. It is a good idea to meet with other staff members, as well.
If there is an ongoing concern, take your child to his or her doctor. Your child may have other issues causing an inability to read or write properly, such as:
- Visual problems (like squinting or short-sightedness)
- Auditory problems as the result of other conditions (like glue ear)
- Other conditions (like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also called ADHD)
If your child does not have any underlying problems like those mentioned above, it could be that they are not responding well to their teacher’s methods. A different methodology (or perhaps, a different teacher) may be needed.
Assessments For Dyslexia
A more in-depth assessment may be needed if you still have concerns for your child after they have received additional support from teachers.
This is typically carried about by educational psychologists, or a qualified specialist dyslexia teacher. These people will be able to help support your child, their teachers, and you by suggesting interventions that may help your child and helping to improve the understanding of your child’s learning difficulties.
How Do I Request An Assessment?
There are many ways to request an assessment for your child. However, be aware that these methods can be frustrating and time-consuming.
The first step is to meet with your child’s teacher and the special education needs co-ordinator (SENCO) at the school. This is where you can discuss any concerns you may have about interventions that have been implemented already. If your child continues to struggle despite the interventions set in place, you can ask for your child to be referred for assessment by a local authority education psychologist, or some other dyslexia specialist.
The Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA) is a charity that is independently-run for parents of children with special needs. IPSEA does not offer assessment themselves; however, their website has a list of steps to have your child’s needs tested by other organizations.
If neither of these options work, you can approach an independent educational psychologist (or some other type of qualified professional) directly. There is a list of chartered professional psychologists on the British Psychological Society’s website.
You could also contact either a national or local dyslexia association to provide you help for arranging an assessment.
Before the assessment takes place, you and your child’s school will likely be sent a list of questions that discuss your child and issues related to them, including questions related to:
- Their general state of health
- What you think needs to change
- How well they perform certain tasks
The actual assessment may involve you observing your child in their school, speaking with important adults in your child’s learning, and asking your child to take part in a series of tests, which may examine your child’s:
- Language development and vocabulary
- Reading and writing skills
- Logical reasoning skills
- Organizational skills
- The speed at processing visual and auditory information
- Approaches to learning
What Happens Afterward?
Once the assessment is completed, you will receive a report that includes your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations of ways to improve the weaknesses.
It may be possible for your child to attend a special education needs (SEN) support, depending on the severity of their learning difficulties. The SEN is an action plan that is created by the school and the parents.
SEN support replaces the need for IEPS, though some schools still choose to implement IEPS.
In a few cases, where the child does not improve, you may choose to request an additional assessment that covers every aspect of your child’s development. That would result in an educational healthcare plan (EHC) being created for your child. The EHC mentions your child’s educational needs, and what is required to meet those needs in a document that is reviewed each year.