How is a Dyslexia Assessment Made?

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  • Written By: Laura Evans
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2018
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People who have dyslexia have a learning disorder. This disorder is a result of the brain's inability to "understand" images or symbols and is not an indication of intelligence, poor hearing, or poor vision. Dyslexia assessment can include a physical examination, educational testing, and psychological testing.

One of the ways that dyslexia is categorized is by whether the dyslexia is visual or auditory. Visual dyslexia involves sight and how the brain interprets the symbols and images that a dyslexic sees. Auditory dyslexia involves how the brain processes information received through sound. A person can also have a combination of visual and auditory dyslexia.

Another way of looking at how dyslexia can be categorized is through the learning disorder's cause. Primary dyslexia, which is more predominant in boys than girls, is hereditary, which is why getting a complete family history is part of dyslexia assessment. Secondary dyslexia, or developmental dyslexia, is a result of hormonal development during the early stages of a baby's growth in the womb. Secondary dyslexia can improve as the child gets older. Trauma dyslexia is a result of a brain injury.


Dyslexia can affect a person's ability to read, write, and spell. This disorder also can also have an impact on performing mathematics. A person with dyslexia may read a word backward, such as "nod" for "don." In addition, a dyslexic can "confuse" consonants or numbers, including deciphering a "b" as a "d" or a "9" as a "6." People with dyslexia can find it difficult to follow instructions, both written or verbal, or understand the meaning of simple sentences. Children usually are diagnosed as having this learning disorder after starting school, although children who start to talk later than "usual,” add new vocabulary "slowly," and have difficulties in rhyming words may be showing signs of dyslexia.

If a child's dyslexia is left untreated, the child may have difficulties, from mild to severe, in learning. This can result in a lack of self-confidence or lack of self-esteem. In addition, a child may become aggressive, refuse to attend school, or have social problems with other children and adults.

In addition to a complete physical exam, dyslexia assessment can include standardized tests, such as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test, the Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language, and the Motor-Free Visual Perception Test. Dyslexia assessment also includes tests that rule out other types of learning disabilities. Physiological tests will help determine if the child's learning problems are related to anxiety or depression rather than from dyslexia or another learning disability.



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