There is much to be said for a professionally supported dyslexia diagnosis. In the UK, it’s actually a requirement that a Dyslexia Assessment is performed by a specialist teacher (with an APC or HCPC) or Educational Psychologist. Once diagnosed as having dyslexia schools, universities and employers need to respond with appropriate support that meets the Equality Act (2010). No wonder so much store is placed on an official dyslexia assessment.
However, this comes at a price – the British Dyslexia Association offers diagnostic assessments for £450 (+VAT) with a specialist teacher and £600 (+ VAT) with an Educational Psychologist. This automatically prevents much of the population from accessing an assessment and reinforces the ‘middle class‘ label associated with dyslexia assessment. Is there an alternative?
If you are not looking for an official dyslexia assessment, you could consider screening at a fraction of the cost. Nessy provide a range of screening tools including a free online dyslexia questionnaire for 5 to 7 year olds and a more detailed assessment from £10 per pupil. The latter covers: i) Visual Word Memory, ii) Auditory Sequential Memory, iii) Visual Sequential Memory, iv) Processing Speed, v) Phonological Awareness and vi) Working Memory and takes 20 minutes to administer. Do-IT Solutions provides Dyslexia+ Student Profiler for HE/HE students and adults, which takes about an hour in a one-to-one assessment and costs £25 per person. CognAssist provides a digital assessment tool for older learners, which covers: i) Verbal Memory, ii) Non Verbal Memory, iii) Literacy, iv) Numeracy, v) Visual Information Processing Speed, vi) Executive Function, vii) Verbal Reasoning and viii) Non Verbal Reasoning and takes 30 minutes to complete. These are essentially rules based assessments.
But, let’s start from a different perspective …
If dyslexia is a superpower (learning advantage), then it could be useful to test for characteristics that positively indicate for this superpower – such as: big picture thinking, visual thinking and spacial thinking in order to further develop these abilities. But, why is this important?
By screening for the positive attributes associated with dyslexia and developing these further, an individual immediately gets recognition for there abilities and chance to excel at these. Remember our society needs these skills – Dyslexia Awareness Week: Survival of the Species. This week saw the Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Professor Jacques Dubochet who describes himself as dyslexic and was in the team that invented cryo-electron microscopy, which images the molecules of life.
Just, imagine if our society was able to identify everyone with this superpower and focused resources to help develop it to the full.