Dyslexia Evaluation

Screening vs. Diagnostic Assessment

Dyslexia is commonly referred to as a “hidden disability.” It is not a disease and it cannot be diagnosed in the same way that a medical condition is determined. There is no blood test or scan test that determines dyslexia and a diagnosis is the opinion of a qualified professional.  The first step toward helping with reading difficulty is to identify areas of struggle. The purpose of screening for dyslexia risk is very different from the purpose of diagnosing dyslexia.

  • A Screening is generally a short, informal test which is used to determine whether further intervention may be needed.  Screening for risk of dyslexia may be undertaken at an early age before school entry.  Screening represents an opportunity for immediate early intervention. As of 2018-2019 school, Oregon Department of Education dyslexia legislation (OAR 581-022-2445) requires schools to screen for the risk factors of dyslexia in kindergarten.
  • Diagnostic assessment, diagnosis or identification of dyslexia requires a more comprehensive, time consuming, and (often) expensive evaluation and should only be done and interpreted through the judgement of an experienced and appropriately qualified professional.  Also note that parents will often do both a school evaluation and a private evaluation.


Free Resources for Parents and Self-Assessment

There are a number of free screening tools available to help you determine whether a child has risk factors of dyslexia. If you suspect a child has dyslexia and may need further evaluation, speak with the teacher, special education administrator and school counselor at the child’s school, consult with a psychologist, or reach out to your state’s International Dyslexia Association branch for assistance.

  • The International Dyslexia Association has free online screeners for all ages.
  • Lexercise also offers a free dyslexia screener for general audiences.  This program is accredited by IDA.

The following are additional resources that are available, but not accredited by IDA.

  • The company Dynaread offers a free online dyslexia test recommended for students ages 7-12. The results can be downloaded as a PDF.
  • Nessy offers a free online Dyslexia Questionnaire that can help identify a student at risk of dyslexia.  A more formal screening test such as Dyslexia Quest application can be used as a follow up.
  • Online Reading Tutor’s free apps for Apple devices and Android devices assess a child’s ability to decode (sound out) nonsense words, a key marker of dyslexia.
  • An easy-to-use questionnaire from LearningAlly.org can help you determine whether language and reading difficulties you’ve observed may be characteristics of dyslexia.

More information on Screening:




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