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When is the right time to assess for Dyslexia or Dysgraphia?

A question I am asked regularly by parents is when is the best time to investigate if their child has a learning disability?


Many parents are told not to consider a formal diagnosis till Grade 3. But most would see their child struggling long before this. Especially with their child learning at home via remote schooling in 2020-21.


So, to wait until Grade 3 appears counterintuitive. By that time, parents become increasingly concerned that any diagnosis given might be too late. Especially since by Grade 5, their child is expected to read regularly and competently to complete school work.


Wait to Fail?

Not to mention, after a number of years of struggling with reading and writing tasks, their child would have lost confidence, start to consider themselves as stupid or dumb, and often disengage from school. So, do parents need to wait till Grade 3? Or, as some say ‘Wait for their child to Fail?


What is Dyslexia or Dysgraphia?


We first need to understand how a learning disability is diagnosed. Dyslexia (or now called ‘a Specific Learning Disorder with an impairment in Reading’) is a learning disability characterised by difficulties with reading accuracy and/or fluency, and reading comprehension. Dysgraphia (or now called ‘a Specific Learning Disorder with an impairment in Written Expression’) is a learning disability characterised by difficulties with spelling, handwriting and/or writing. The difficulties are unexpected given the child's cognitive abilities, and persist despite sufficient targeted intervention provided.


AUSPELD SLD Flowchart
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So should you wait?


And therein lies the reason why some practitioners suggest waiting till Grade 3. Not because the child’s struggles were not observed earlier, but because sufficient intervention has to be provided, before Dyslexia or Dysgraphia can be diagnosed.


So as parents, what can you do and how long should you wait? You shouldn’t. Wait that is.


Consider an Educational Assessment


A diagnostic Educational Assessment at any stage (even end of Prep / Grade 1) would provide information on what your child’s difficulties are – phonological deficits, word recognition, decoding skills, spelling handwriting etc. From there, recommendations can be provided on appropriate intervention and evidence-based programs to be used by teachers, parents or tutors. This is to be followed by a review after 12 months to assess progress.


How does that help?


Best case, your child makes progress because they received the support they needed. Yay!


If sufficient progress is not made, your child is now ready to complete the rest of the assessment to consider if they have Dyslexia / Dysgraphia.


Contact us


So if you are interested in finding out what your child's difficulties are, and how to support them, or if you are ready to consider an educational assessment or a diagnostic assessment for a learning disability, Book Online or Contact Us for more information.


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Stars Psychology
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