Am I Dyslexic?

Is my child Dyslexic?

Dyslexia and the Broken Foot Analogy: from symptom to cause



If you have a swollen foot  it would seem foolish to immediately assume  a break is present. There could be a lot of reasons causing the foot to be swollen. Additionally,  you may well be able to take some 'compensatory' measures to hide your swelling , maybe by using ice or hiding  your foot under a tight sock (ouch!) However, the underlying medical problem would still be present.  An excellent way to  find out for sure if you had a break would be to use an X-ray, to look beyond the symptoms of swelling for the CAUSE. 


A Dyslexia Assessment looks beyond the symptoms  to find the causes of difficulties.


For example, imagine someone who is having difficulty spelling (the symptom) . As well as testing their spelling abilities,


 the Dyslexia assessor will measure cognitive functions of the brain which are linked to spelling ability. The assessor will look at areas such as phonological awareness and verbal short-term memory. Do they hear sounds in words correctly? Can they recall sequences? 


However, think again about that person hiding their broken foot by compensating......


It may be that an achievement test shows a person is an average speller in a test situation, but in other areas such as writing it is clear that they struggle. They may have 'compensated' , learning individual words by sight or by  using  long and arduous experimental methods! They may still have the underlying cognitive difficulties associated with Dyslexia. This is up to an experienced  assessor to diagnose by careful observation and assessment of the many cognitive functions known to underpin literacy skills. Ability  (IQ) and achievement levels also have to be assessed. The symptoms of dyslexia also change with age and this has to be accounted for.


Diagnostic Assessments measure cognitive functions, abilities and achievements. The test results and observations made build up a profile from which an experienced assessor makes a diagnosis. Of course, there is more to Dyslexia than spelling difficulties, but hopefully this 'tip of the iceberg' illustration is helpful!


This is why Dyslexia cannot be diagnosed with an online test. However, online tests and screeners are helpful as they indicate if someone may be exhibiting signs of dyslexia. The next step is to have a diagnostic assessment.