Have you ever wondered when a student should be formally assessed or reassessed for dyslexia?
Welcome to Episode 26 of Dyslexia Devoted and today we’re going to be talking all about dyslexia assessments. First we’ll talk about how dyslexia is assessed, then the ideal time to get the first formal dyslexia assessment, and finally when students should get reevaluated.
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Show notes: parnelloeducation.com/episode26
This Episode's Topics:
- The Kinds of Dyslexia Assessments
- When to get the First Formal Dyslexia Evaluation
- When to Get Reevaluated
Connect with Lisa Parnello:
- Follow on Instagram @ParnelloEducation
- Dyslexia Devoted Facebook Group
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Hello and welcome to dyslexia devoted the podcast dedicated to building awareness, understanding and strategies to help those with dyslexia. I'm your host Lisa Parnello, dyslexia therapist and founder of Parnello education services. Join me as we dive into today's episode of dyslexia devoted. Hello friends and welcome back. Have you ever wondered when a student should be formally assessed or reassessed for dyslexia? Welcome to Episode 26 of dyslexia devoted and today we're talking all about dyslexia assessments. First, we'll talk about how dyslexia is assessed, then the ideal time to get that first dyslexia diagnosis. And finally when students should get reevaluated again in the future. The show notes for today's episode will be at Parnello education.com forward slash episode 26. Today's podcast is another one that includes lots of references and types of links that you can get information. And if you'd like to start getting those podcast links and other helpful info straight into your email inbox, sign up for the dyslexia devoted newsletter by going to Parnello education.com forward slash email. And it's also going to be linked in this show description where you're listening to the podcast right now. My understanding dyslexia online course has officially closed so sorry if you missed out, but I have something new in the works for you. And if you're on the email list, you will be one of the first people to know about the brand new online course that's coming out later this winter. All right time to jump into this week's main topic, which is dyslexia assessments. So far first section, let's talk about what's included in a dyslexia assessment. And the important thing to understand is there are actually two different types of assessments done. One type is a psycho educational assessment, and that's typically done at the school. The second assessment is a neuro psychological assessment. So let's take a minute to talk about the differences between these two assessment types before we go any further. A psycho educational assessment also shortened to a psych Ed sometimes when people are talking quickly, is often used to determine if a student qualifies for services at school. It is often less comprehensive than a neuro psych, short for the neuro psychological assessment, and therefore less expensive. The psycho Ed assessment is often given for free through the public school system, and the school pays the cost of giving the assessment. This is also one that you can look up the specific rules in your area. But sometimes you can also get that assessment done through your local school district. Even if you're attending private school, you have to reach out to the school district that you live in and tell them that you are a resident within their school district boundaries, and that you believe your child needs to be assessed for a learning disability. There are different processes depending on where your child currently goes to school. If the private school is within the same physical boundaries as where the public school is, then you often will just go through your regular public school. Sometimes if your child is attending a special school outside of where your school district is, then you will use a combination of where the school district is where your student goes to school, and the school district where you actually live. So it's really important that you look up the information based on where you live and the school system and the specific rules for your area. So now let's look at a neuro psych, which is often much more comprehensive and has to be administered by a neuropsychologist, and sometimes a team of others such as a speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist, also known as OT. Because it is more detailed is often much more expensive. It's important to know in advance that this type of assessment can cost 1000s of dollars. Depending on where you go. Sometimes they may have options for how many assessments are administered, or financial assistance if you're going through a nonprofit organization. Sometimes if they make small tweaks or give a smaller battery of tests, then sometimes it can cost a little bit less. But it depends on who you're going through and what their policies are for how they administer the testing. One really big difference to understand by getting the psycho edit school versus getting the neuro psych outside of school is that the one at school is geared towards finding out if your student qualifies for services through that school. Sometimes the school may say that the student does not qualify for an SLD or a specific learning disability diagnosis. But what that really means is they do not qualify for services. Sometimes the student still has a learning difference, but it's not severe enough to qualify for school based services. This often causes confusion for parents because they hear that a student has a learning difference from one expert. And then the school says that they don't, it's not that they don't have a learning difference. It's that it's not severe enough that the school has to provide support for that learning
difference. Now let's learn a little bit more about what's included in these assessments. There is no one test for dyslexia. A dyslexia diagnosis comes from several factors all combined together to determine if the child has a learning difference. Typically, many of these assessments will include phonemic awareness, which is hearing the sounds within words decoding, reading, encoding, spelling, and comprehension. Another important part is rapid automatic naming also NOTICE ran. This is often administered since students with dyslexia often have a difficulty with rapid automatic naming. That's kind of like when a student can't quite find the word when they say I'm the watch McCall it when they can't come up with the answer quickly and easily is also the reason why a lot of times students with dyslexia also struggle with math facts. It's that rapid automatic recall of information that can be really challenging for kids with dyslexia. So that's usually part of the testing. understood.org has a great description of an assessment, as well as a video of what an assessment might look like. If you'd like to do a pre screening, there's one available through the IDA link that I've put in the show notes for you. I've linked to several resources from Ida, the Yale dyslexia center, and understood in the show notes, or sign up for emails for all that information to come to your inbox by going to Parnello education.com forward slash email. Now into our second part, when should a child get their first dyslexia diagnosis assessment. Ideally, assessment should happen in grades K three. The sooner the better. Often people don't realize their child even needs an assessment until second grade after falling behind for the first two years of school. Sometimes if a family already knows there's a history of dyslexia, they will get their child assessed sooner. Ideally, getting diagnosed by around six years old gives the best chance preventing the student from falling behind at school and feeling frustration and failure. Also, students have more neuroplasticity as in their brain cells aren't quite finished being developed. So it's a lot easier to make corrections and changes while their brain is still growing and developing. Then if you wait a little bit longer, just remember, it's never too late to get a dyslexia diagnosis. Some people don't get diagnosed until well into adulthood. It's never too late to learn. People can always learn to read and learn new strategies no matter how old they are, it just happens a little quicker if you can catch up when they're younger. One thing to keep in mind is that if you're getting an assessment through the school, you may not qualify for services at such a young age if they aren't far enough behind. Sadly, many schools have a wait to fail model and don't provide support until the student is very far behind. Schools should be using Response to Intervention model in the early grades. But it also depends on what curriculum they're using to provide support. For more on that, go listen to the sold a story podcast. There are only six episodes, but it's very enlightening if you don't understand what I mean by the kind of intervention, support and curriculum being used, and how much it can make a really big difference for students with dyslexia. If you're still not sure if your child might have dyslexia or not. In the show notes, I put a link to an IDA self assessment. That's a great little screener to decide if your child's risk factors are severe enough to need to go through the formal evaluation process. Now let's go into our last topic, which is when should a child get reassessed for dyslexia? Typically, students get triennial assessments, meaning that they get the more comprehensive assessment every three years and more minor IEP meetings and those years in between. If a family is doing private pay of one of the more expensive neuro psych evaluations, sometimes they will stretch out that time period if they're already getting the support that they need outside of school. And then testing can be quite costly. So if you're already getting what you need, sometimes families will wait just a little bit longer to get that formal reassessment done for a dyslexia diagnosis when it's more about keeping the testing up to date than it is about providing a change in services. With that said, there are some critical times where it is really important to have up to date testing. One of them is if you're applying to schools, when students are applying to private middle schools and high schools, sometimes they require specialized testing to get into the school. Most of the time that specialized testing does not allow for accommodations unless there is a proven diagnosis of a learning difference. And it has to be very recent. Typically they require an assessment within the last two years. Sometimes it's within the last year. Sometimes it's within the last three years. So make sure you look at the specific testing your child needs to take to get into a specific school to know when to get your evaluation done. Another thing to remember is a lot of times there's a waitlist to get a neuro psych assessment. So be sure you sign up ahead of time long before you really need the assessment done to make sure that you get it done within the testing window. Often it takes about a month for the full report to get written and released after the assessment is done. So factor in the weightless time to get the testing done, as well as the additional time it takes for the evaluator to go through all the testing paperwork and write up the formal evaluation that is needed to submit and get the accommodations approved for your standardized testing needs. And when I say standardized testing, this also applies to high school assessments, such as the sa t or the AC t. So make sure that your testing is up to date info ahead of time so that the student can use their accommodations on those critical assessments that help them get into college. Additionally, some of those assessments in high school can ensure that the student gets the support and services that they need in college. Many colleges have support centers for learning differences, but they need an assessment to qualify for them. Oftentimes if a student gets reevaluated in high school within a certain timeframe. That same testing can be used in the future to qualify for services in college as well. So sometimes if you can time it just right, you don't need to get quite as many assessments done during those high school years. All right, time to recap our topics for today. First, we talked all about the kinds of assessments that there are in the differences between a psycho Ed report and a neuro psych report. I also linked a bunch of information about the assessments if you want to look at more details about the assessments, as well as a video from understood.org of what it looks like for dyslexia evaluation, and what it might look like. Then we talked about the ideal time to get assessed, which is in grades kindergarten through third grade, but it's never too late. Many kids fly under the radar until about fourth or fifth grade, when they're old strategies of guessing the words and looking at pictures no longer work anymore. So don't worry, it's never too late. But ideally, Let's aim for that first or second grade time period to get that assessment done. And then last, we talked about the importance of getting reevaluated before some key school transitions and assessments, such as applying to private schools that require testing to get in, as well as the testing that students take in order to get into college. All right, friends, that's it for today. Thanks for listening. Join the dyslexia decoded email list. If you'd like to stay in the loop and get all the important information that I mentioned in the podcast straight to your email once a week. The link is in the show description or go to Parnello education.com forward slash email. That's it for today. See you next time. Thanks for listening to today's episode of dyslexia devoted. Join us for our next episode by subscribing to this podcast as we devote each episode to different aspects of dyslexia. See you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai