What is the Diagnosis of Dyslexia?

By  , Expert Content
Sep 20, 2011

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The exact cause of dyslexia is not known and no one single test can help to diagnose dyslexia. As the signs and symptoms can be subtle, identifying dyslexia in younger children can be a challenge. Your child’s doctor will take a detailed history and rule out other causes which can lead to learning difficulties.


History and Physical Examination



The doctor may ask you questions regarding your child's development, speech, learning abilities and other medical history. The doctor may ask about problems that run in your family, and if any other family member has a learning disability. You may be advised to meet your child’s teacher for progress with regards to reading and writing. The doctor may do tests to rule out other health problems not related to dyslexia but which can affect his ability to read or write.


  • Vision problems such as short-sightedness (myopia) or a squint (strabismus).
  • Hearing problems such as glue ear or wax in ear.
  • Other problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


If there is no other medical condition that is probably causing learning problems, you may be sent for further evaluation.  




The doctor may ask you and his teachers to answer some written questions. The child is assessed and there are number of different assessment methods. But in all types of evaluation, your child undergoes a series of tests and is observed in a learning environment. Your child may also be tested to evaluate his or her reading and writing abilities. Besides the reading and writing abilities your child’s other skills which may be examined include:


  • Language development.
  • Vocabulary.
  • Ability to reason (logical reasoning).
  • Memory.
  • Speed of processing of visual and auditory (sound) information.
  • Work and organisational skills.
  • Approaches and attitude to learning.


Psychological Testing


You may be sent to a psychologist or another suitably qualified professional to evaluate and understand your child's psychological state. It can help to rule out if some social problem, anxiety or depression may be limiting your child's learning abilities.


If you are concerned about your child’s learning skills (reading and writing ability) and performance in school; first talk to the teacher. If your child continues to have difficulty despite additional teaching and support, consult a doctor to diagnose the possible cause and interventions needed.


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