It is estimated that up to 20% of the population is effected by dyslexia or some degree of reading difficulty. Of these, only a small percent ever receive a diagnosis of dyslexia. Often these individuals endure the frustration of struggling to learn without understanding why it is harder for them than it is for others. Some accept the default explanation that they are “not trying hard enough” or, worse, have limited intelligence.
An accurate assessment, completed by a credentialed professional, provides to these individuals an explanation for their difficulty. There is a name for it (dyslexia) and an effective method of remediation. Learning that having this difficulty does not mean they are inferior or incapable, but that they learn differently than most of their peers, is usually a great relief to them. They are encouraged to understand that, with correct instruction, they will learn to read and therefore gain access to other subject matter as their peers do. They dare to hope that they can, in fact, succeed.
Assessment is valuable in another way. Along with identifying underlying causes of problems, assessment can also identify particular strengths in a student’s learning profile. A deficit in auditory processing may be offset by a strength in visual processing; a weakness in one area of language may be matched by a strength in another. Knowing which areas present as strengths allows the teacher to customize instruction, using areas of strength to bolster areas of weakness.
A medical diagnosis of dyslexia is conferred by a neuropsychologist following a complete cognitive/psychological/behavioral evaluation. While this type of evaluation is ultimately most beneficial, it is not always the best or first step in untangling a learning problem. Significant expense and lengthy delays in scheduling a neuropsychological examination may defer instructional decisions which could begin benefiting the student immediately. An alternative method of assessing for dyslexia is offered at Dyslexia Achievement Center, conducted using standardized instruments (some of the same instruments administered by the neuropsychologists) at much less expense.
For the family or student seeking an explanation for learning difficulties, or wanting to rule out dyslexia as a cause of difficulties, our assessment procedure is a valuable, inexpensive and helpful step. While the resulting report does not produce a “diagnosis”, it will indicate whether characteristics of dyslexia are present. It will also rank the student against national norms, and point to areas of learning and language processing that require remediation.