Tuesday - How is dyslexia identified?

Tuesday 4th October 2016 - How is dyslexia identified?

There are many ways that dyslexia can be identified:


 Using informed observation, i.e. some knowledge of dyslexia, checklists are simple lists of characteristics or traits or questions. These characteristics, etc. relate to some of the common behaviours associated with dyslexia. Often by simply answering yes or no to these questions it is possible for a picture to be built up that may/may not indicate whether/not an individual is exhibiting signs or indicators that could be consistent with dyslexia.


This process can be carried out by a non-specialist using a commercially available tool. Such tools cannot diagnose dyslexia but they can provide an insight into whether/not the pattern of difficulties may be consistent with dyslexia. Some may provide a score that gives an indication of the probability of dyslexia. Such tools may also provide a profile of strengths and difficulties that can be used to inform a programme of support thereby making the support more effective

Specialist Assessment

This type of testing is carried out by individuals who have specialist knowledge of dyslexia both within education and the workplace. A selection of tests will be administered and a report compiled that provides an insight into an individual’s pattern of strengths and difficulties. The report will also make specific and detailed recommendations on how best to support an individual, these may include teaching strategies, exam access recommendations or workplace reasonable adjustments. Such assessments can provide a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Psychologist Assessments

This type of testing may be with an educational psychologist for children and adults within an educational setting or an occupational psychologist for work related issues. This assessment involves the administration of a wide range of tests that enable a detailed profile of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses to be identified. Recommendations for support will also be included in a comprehensive report. This type of assessment can provide a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Find out more about BDA training courses to help education staff better support students with dyslexia. 

You can also visit our Diagnostic Assessment page to find out how to get an assessment for dyslexia.

We are also inviting primary schools to take part in a Sponsored Spell during Dyslexia Awareness Week. This fun event aims to support literacy development whilst also raising awareness and funds for the British Dyslexia Association. 

Free Screeners are also available during Dyslexia Awareness Week from;

Dyslexia + Profiler (aged + 16 years)

Quick Screen (aged + 17 years)

Nessy - Dyslexia Test (5- 7 year olds)