Dyslexia is the most common of learning disabilities, and reading deficits contribute significantly to frustration, failure, and dislike of school for many students. An effective evaluation is the key to getting a student on the path to being a skilled reader and to unlocking the magic of reading.
Assessment of dyslexia and other learning disabilities is done through a comprehensive psychoeducational battery. The process includes an intake interview with parents to gather areas of concern, family history, developmental history, and any prior assessments or intervention.
The psychoeducation evaluation process itself includes two stands of evaluation. The psychological part of the evaluation includes tests of many different cognitive functions (e.g., verbal skills, nonverbal skills, processing speed, phonological processing, visual-motor integration, multiple aspects of memory, attention, executive functioning). These are the cognitive building blocks that underlie academic achievement, and deficits in these underlying cognitive processing often contribute to the presence of dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
The second strand of testing looks at the student’s academic achievement, both in terms of isolated skills, but also how fluency and automatic the skills are, and how well the student is progressing in terms of higher-level academic skills. The evaluation also looks at social and emotional functioning to ensure that there is nothing in these domains that is impeding academic performance. The evaluation also includes input from parents, and when available, from the school.
The final step in the evaluation process is the feedback session when the results of the evaluation are shared with parents. The focus of the feedback is to help the parents understand what the issues are that are impacting on the child’s functioning, and, most importantly, what are the interventions that would be beneficial for helping the student be successful.