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Considering a Dyslexia Assessment?

The pros and cons of a dyslexia assessment

Dyslexia tests are designed to detect whether your child fits the normal profile for dyslexia. The problem is that there is no broad agreement on what dyslexia is.

So a dyslexia test will only tell you that your child shows neurological patterns that fit the criteria of that particular dyslexia test. Really, dyslexia is an umbrella term for “any child who is struggling with reading and spelling, but with no underlying intelligence issue”. In fact, many dyslexics are highly intelligent, which makes the profile all the more confusing!

The pros of getting your child assessed

A dyslexia assessment usually only tells you that your child is struggling, rather than how to fix it. However, a dyslexia diagnosis has some advantages:

  • It can help in getting useful extra accommodations at school, like bonus time for test-taking or eligibility for certain programs
  • It may help the child feel better about the difficulty, because they know it’s not “their fault”, but just how their brain is built
  • It can help you frame the difficulty in a wider context for the child. Many highly successful artists, entrepreneurs, actors, directors, architects, etc. are dyslexic and struggled to read in school. Check out our blog series on “Famous Dyslexics“.
  • The assessments usually give you a profile of your child’s cognitive strengths and weakness in things like phonemic awareness, visual-spatial skills, and more. It can be interesting!

The cons of getting your child assessed

The main disadvantage is a really big one: a dyslexia diagnosis is not going to actually help your child learn to read. There are some other drawbacks too.

  • It gives you a snapshot of their cognitive profile at a moment in time. The brain does change and grow, and with the help of remedial programs like DM Easyread, improve on some of those weakness like auditory processing function or phonemic awareness.
  • It can be very expensive, often only obtained privately if the school does not have the budget for it.
  • Depending on your family budget, spending money on an assessment may mean you have less to spend on a solution, at least right away.
  • There are certain emotional risks to any label, especially for children. For some kids, learning they qualify as dyslexic is hard to deal with and starts to become a core part of how they think of themselves. It can be negative.
  • In some areas or schools, a dyslexia diagnosis is seen as “proof” that a child is unlikely to improve and learn to read. Our research through DM Easyread has shown the opposite. Almost every dyslexic child we work with improves significantly at reading and spelling, sometimes gaining years in reading age. Many become bookworms!