Navigating Dyslexia Assessments


Tina Hunter gave brilliant advice at Bell House on how the school ‘system’ works for those with dyslexia, and the role dyslexia assessments plays in this system. Tina is a dyslexia assessor, and course leader of Bell House’s Supporting the Dyslexic Learner Course. She pointed out the variation in how schools cope with special needs around neuro-diversity. Tina highlighted that exploring a learner’s strengths and weakness and tailoring the teaching in response to that is equally, if not more valuable, than the diagnosis of dyslexia itself.

Tina recommends speaking to PATOSS and the BDA (British Dyslexia Association) to get help with assessments and ideas on useful interventions. A programme like ‘Lucid’ which only takes about 40 minutes is a very good first screener for dyslexia. It is also important to remember that Access Arrangements for exams (getting extra time, rest breaks or a laptop) no longer require a full diagnostic assessment, only good evidence that such arrangements are necessary.

In order to put in place the correct strategies for a dyslexic learner it is important to be able to interpret the results of an assessment. Dyslexia reports are often packed with terms whose meanings aren’t immediately obvious - like ‘verbal analogies’ (the relations between different words) or ‘decoding’ (reading). The report will hold the key to the ‘spikey profile’ of specific strengths and weaknesses that is characteristic of someone with dyslexia.

Tina Hunter knows this field intimately but admits she’s always learning new tricks - the key, she says, is toget the right interventions in place early and be quick to ask for help. And as she said, ‘Bell House is here to help.’ See all our dyslexia events here.