Skip to main content

How is dyslexia diagnosed?

Dyslexia screening

Screening tests are used to give an indication of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and can help identify the likelihood of them having a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) such as dyslexia. Screening does not provide a diagnosis (for which a full diagnostic assessment would be required) but can be an accessible way of determining that a child or adult may need additional support.

Screening tests for children

Children in the UK are not routinely screened in school for dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties, but many schools use screening tests to guide the development of school support for children who are experiencing literacy difficulties.

Screening tests can help to identify those who may need intervention or support or may benefit from a full diagnostic assessment.

Many of the screening tests available for children must be used by qualified specialists who can accurately interpret the results. Others can be used by suitably trained teachers, teaching assistants and learning support assistants.

Screening tests for adults

There are many computer-based screening tests for adults available online. These are easy to access and a lower cost way of identifying the likelihood that someone is dyslexic, may need reasonable adjustments, or may benefit from a full diagnostic assessment.

Some employers will accept a screening test as evidence of dyslexia to implement simple reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

Online screening tests are accepted by DVLA for access to reasonable adjustments in the driving theory test.

Screening tests cannot be used to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). A full diagnostic assessment from a suitably qualified assessor will be needed.

Screening tests cannot usually be used for exam access arrangements in professional exams. Professional bodies have their own rules and criteria for exam access arrangements, these are often published on their websites.

Find out more about Diagnostic Assessments on the BDA Assessment webpage.