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Diagnostic Assessments

Why have an assessment?

If someone is experiencing significant difficulties in their study or in day-to-day life and would like to either find out more, or needs further support then a Diagnostic Assessment can really help.

Other common reasons for a Diagnostic Assessment are:

  • To apply for funded support at university known as Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA).
  • To use as evidence for Exam Access Arrangements whilst studying at college, university or for professional qualifications.
  • To apply for Exam Access Arrangements at school: If your child is in Year 9 or above and you wish the assessment that you are booking with an BDA approved assessor to be used as part of an application for Exam Access Arrangements, usually GCSEs or A Levels, e.g. extra time in exams, a reader or a scribe, etc. then it will be necessary for you to contact your child’s school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) prior to the assessment as this is now a JCQ requirement.
  • To provide more information for employers so that they can make Reasonable Adjustments for an employee with specific difficulties.

Assessments FAQs for parents/carers

What is the difference between an Educational Psychologist assessment and a Specialist Teacher assessment?

Both Specialist Teachers and Educational Psychologists are able to assess for dyslexia.

Educational Psychologists have access to a different type of cognitive ability test that Specialist Teachers are not able to use, which has a slightly higher number of “sub-tests”.

Both Specialist Teachers and Educational Psychologists can make recommendations about how the individual can best be supported.

A Specialist teacher has wide experience of teaching and usually has a better understanding of the classroom environment and therefore can make more specific recommendations, but this does depend on the background and experience of each individual assessor.

We would advise using an Educational Psychologist if your child is likely to need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) in the future.

What is an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and who is given one?

An EHCP is given to individuals with significant and/or complex needs. It outlines the individual’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) and the requirements for the individual’s education in terms of placement and curriculum adjustments that are required.

An EHCP is given to individuals who are either needing a placement at a specialist resource provision (special school) or need significant adjustments to the curriculum and/or significant amounts of 1:1 support in a mainstream school. An EHCP can be given at any age from birth and lasts until the individual is 25 years old.

Individuals with EHCPs usually have needs in more than one area and it is extremely rare for an EHCP to be awarded to a child who only has dyslexia. Their academic performance would need to be significantly behind their peers. For example, a child in year 5 or 6 would need to be working at the level of a child in Reception/Year one therefore approx. 5 years behind.

How are children supported in school if they do not have an EHCP but need additional support?

Schools are required under the Equality Act (2010) to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that a child can access the curriculum and learn in line with their peers. Schools have systems in place for identifying the needs of individuals and working together with the parents/carers to ensure every child is supported and can make progress at school.

If I have a full diagnostic assessment for dyslexia and my child is found to have dyslexia, what can I expect from the school in terms of support?

Under the Equality Act (2010) schools must engage in a discussion with the parent/carer to ensure they are meeting the child’s needs. The school does not have to put in place every recommendation made by the assessor, but they do need to consider what is needed and what is reasonable within their budget and staffing resourcing.

If my child has dyslexia, will they automatically get extra time or other adjustments in exams?

No, exam access arrangements are carried out by the school at the time of the exams taking place. Many children get access arrangements without a diagnosis based on their needs. Having a diagnosis and assessment report may however help you as the parent/carer to discuss the need to have your child assessed for access arrangements.

Why do I need to ensure my child has had an eyesight test (within 12 months) before the assessment?

Reading and spelling are, in part, both visual activities. Therefore, we must ensure that your child does not have any visual difficulties before investigating other reasons to explain their lack of progress in reading and/or spelling. If these visual issues are not picked up before the assessment it may result in an inconclusive outcome (i.e. an unconfirmed diagnosis). This may mean you may have to pay for another diagnosis at a later date after the visual difficulties have been investigated. Therefore, we require the child to go for a sight test and if visual discomfort are being reported such as words moving around on the page, blurring, tired, watery or gritty eyes etc then mention these at the appointment. The Optometrist (who carries out the eye test) will refer on to an Ophthalmologist if difficulties are identified.

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Step 1 - Download and complete an enquiry form

Download Individual Assessment enquiry form

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Specialist Teacher - £540.00
Psychologist - £720.00