Health

Why Is Assessing Dyslexia Challenging?

According to the University of Michigan, 5-10% of people have dyslexia, although that number may be higher. Many people are untested, and there are difficulties in accurately diagnosing dyslexia, which may account for the discrepancy in those numbers.

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurobiological disorder that affects reading and writing ability and comprehension. To those with dyslexia, written letters often appear upside down, incomplete, backward, or even moving around. Letters and numbers are hard to identify, making forming words with these letters challenging.

There are four main types of dyslexia:

  1. Surface dyslexia sufferers find recognizing, learning, and memorizing whole words difficult.
  2. Phonological dyslexia displays an inability to clarify how letters and syllables sound and match sounds with written letters.
  3. Rapid naming deficit refers to a low processing speed when naming numbers, letters, objects, and colors.
  4. Double deficit dyslexia combines phonological dyslexia with a rapid naming deficit.

There is a misconception that those who have dyslexia also have average to above-average intelligence; however, this is not true. Anyone can have dyslexia.

How Is Dyslexia Diagnosed?

Unfortunately, no test can guarantee a dyslexia diagnosis. Although a biological condition, no medical tests will indicate its presence; instead, a combination of learning-related diagnostic evaluations determines the presence of dyslexia. These evaluations include:

  • Recognizing words
  • Spelling and vocabulary
  • Sounding out words using phonetics
  • Reading comprehension and speed
  • Reading performance as compared to other learned skills

There is no cure for dyslexia, but the difficulties faced can be addressed. The best time to teach children reading strategies that address dyslexia is before second grade, but most students with reading problems are not tested until later and fall behind their peers in school.

Why Is Diagnosing Dyslexia Challenging?

Sometimes considered lazy or unintelligent, those with dyslexia often have other disorders that mask its presence. For instance, the International Dyslexia Association states that around 30% of people with dyslexia also have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The two conditions are unrelated, but many of the same symptoms exist for each disorder. Because AD/HD is so prevalent, reading difficulties caused by dyslexia are sometimes attributed to AD/HD and left unaddressed.

Some young students know multiple languages, such as Spanish and English. Those languages are structured differently, and these children are sometimes confused by learning to read and write in both languages. This confusion often leads to overlooking dyslexia.

Many school districts use ability-achievement discrepancies to alert them to potential learning disabilities. Responses to Intervention methods use poor performance standards to recognize disabilities. These strategies can fail dyslexic students because they do not include other aspects necessary to perform a comprehensive evaluation for dyslexia. Even when schools can identify dyslexia, it is often too late for ideal intervention methods.

Another major issue faced by evaluators is the non-standardization of dyslexia testing procedures. The battery of tests used by one school district might indicate that a student does have dyslexia, while the results of another school’s testing may not suggest it.

How Does WPS Help?

Because early diagnosis gives children a better chance of learning reading strategies to cope with dyslexia, it is crucial to identify it when children are young. WPS is a leading publisher offering a variety of materials that assist practitioners in accurately diagnosing and guiding therapy for dyslexia and other disorders. Learn more by requesting information online.

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