- Do a self-assessment
A self-assessment is never a substitute for a professional assessment from a trained psychologist, physician, or therapist. But you may want to ask yourself the following questions as you consider whether to undergo a dyslexia assessment for yourself or for your child.
- Do you read slowly?
- Do you have trouble reading?
- Do you have to read something two or three times to understand what it means?
- Do words or letters feel jumbled up for you?
- Do you have a lot of spelling mistakes even for basic words?
- Do you find it difficult to read longer pieces of content?
- Do you avoid projects that require a lot of reading?
- Do you find it difficult to pronounce words with lots of syllables?
If you answer yes to most of these questions, you may find a professional assessment helpful. Keep in mind that many famous people like Sir Richard Branson have dyslexia and, indeed, they believe that dyslexia was a core reason for their success. One in five people have dyslexia, so you should not be worried about the stigma of finding out that you’re dyslexic.
- Find a care provider in Massachusetts
Every state in the United States has psychologists, physicians, and therapists who are qualified to provide a dyslexia assessment. Speechify can help you find one in your state through https://speechify.com/dyslexia-assessment/quiz/.
Before you call a care provider, you should first find out whether your child’s private school, public school, high school, or school district has a free program to provide comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations.
You should also ask yourself what you want to get out of the private evaluation. You might ask about whether an assessment from this specific provider will help you advance your goals, such as an IEP or 504 plan or accommodations with your school or on standardized tests. You should read online reviews of the service provider, ask about pricing, whether the care is provided via telemedicine or in-person, and ask whether your insurance can cover any costs.
You should also ask about the specific kind of assessment and make sure that you are comfortable with it.
If you want or need to have a DSM-5 or an ICD-11 diagnosis, you should let your potential care provider know. The DSM-5 test is based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The ICD-11 test is based on the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision, published by the World Health Organization.
Certain care providers like psychologists must be licensed in your state to provide you with assessments and any other services. You will want to confirm that your care provider is licensed in your state. Finally, keep in mind that dyscalculia, the learning disability in math, is a different condition than dyslexia, and you should ask about it separately if you want to be tested.
- Take the assessment
There’s no single dyslexia test but rather a series of assessments that care providers administer. These assessments have different names and test different factors, although there is some overlap between them. A combination of all of the assessments may take several hours or even multiple sessions over different days. Assessments usually include some combination of an interview, puzzles, writing, reading, and problem solving. A few of the official names of tests include:
- Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-5)
- Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL)
- Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing -2 (CTOPP-2)
- Test of Auditory Processing Skills (TAPS)
- Woodcock Reading Mastery Test (WRMT)
Next steps after your dyslexia assessment
After you or your child has undergone the assessments, you will receive a written report diagnosing your neuropsychological condition. Given the overlap between dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), your care provider may diagnose more than one condition or learning disability.
Any comprehensive evaluation will include action items for you or your child and may include a referral to another provider who specializes in providing strategies that can help you or your child with executive functioning, speech therapy, special education services, overcoming reading disorders, etc.
While there’s no cure for dyslexia and no pill you can take, there are several strategies anyone can practice to overcome the academic, professional, and emotional obstacles that learning disabilities can put in your way. It can also help to join a community of parents or fellow learners who are on a similar journey at your school, work, etc.