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Dyslexia Screening Test

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by karenhoward30, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    My head wants me to start screening children who have been identified as having possible dyslexia. I have found the dyslexia screening test in a cupboard but wasn't too sure whether it was any good (seeing how it is covered in dust and so hasn't been used in years!)
    Is this a test that anyone would recommend? Would you use it with any other tests or by itself? Only started as SENCO after Christmas and have only a couple of teaching years behind me but I am trying to read as much as I can and possibly start a course in September. I'd really be grateful for any advice on this. Thanks

  2. Hi,
    My head wants me to start screening children who have been identified as having possible dyslexia. I have found the dyslexia screening test in a cupboard but wasn't too sure whether it was any good (seeing how it is covered in dust and so hasn't been used in years!)
    Is this a test that anyone would recommend? Would you use it with any other tests or by itself? Only started as SENCO after Christmas and have only a couple of teaching years behind me but I am trying to read as much as I can and possibly start a course in September. I'd really be grateful for any advice on this. Thanks

  3. Hello,
    I've been using a screening test for Dyslexia for a while now and find it very useful as long as you bear in mind that it is a screening test. I have found, not surprisingly, that it will give a similar 'at risk' result for those with general learning difficulties as well as those later shown to have a specific learning difficulty. It is most useful for analysing the difficulties a student has, it shows fine motor skills, working memory as well as other areas. We generally use it as a starting point for an EP assessment but have recently been advised to look at one of the computerised screeners to cover the whole intake in Year 7. Hope this is of use..
  4. Hi,
    Thanks for that. Know I might sound stupid but how then do you tell the difference for general learning difficulties with it. Also understand some of the tests such as bead threading and dyspraxic like tendancies but don't understand rapid memory test or what I could recommend. Is there an additional book that explains what each test is for or what could be the recommeded intervention? Have read through accompanying book and gives some explanation for some tests but not all.
    Sorry to appear thick .. can't wait to start my course but even then don't think I start looking at assessment until term two!
  5. Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN), if that is what you are thinking of, can be very significant in learning to read, as one of the key skills needed is the ability to automatically produce a 'sound' in response to a grapheme, in order to decode a word. Poor scores for a struggling reader on a RAN test could indicate that this is a cause of their difficulty. It might also indicate a cause of word finding difficulties in a child with expressive language problems.
  6. Thanks for your help..really appreciate this.
    The Rapid Naming Test is the one in which the children are timed as they read a series of pictures. The DST states that there is evidence that dyslexic children are slower at naming familar or unfamilar pictures. I just wondered if there was anything else I could use in my feedback to teachers when I do the tests especially if the children have no problems doing it.
    Do you know if there is a book which explains this more easily the booklet just talks about if they score a particular number there is a likelyhood of dyslexic tendancies.
    Hope I'm making sense. Is it normal to feel that the more reading you do the less you know!
    Thanks again
  7. Karen, I'm giving my personal opinion here, because I'm not a Senco, I just work with poor readers at KS3.
    I don't regard dyslexia as a 'condition', but as a symptom (and that is on the strength of a great deal of reading on the subject and experience of teaching children to read in KS3). It can be a symptom of particular difficulties, particularly poor short term memory (which poor RAN can indicate) or just of insufficient rigorous phonics teaching. If children do well on the RAN testing it is more likely to be the latter...
    The other indicator of 'dyslexia' which is commonly quoted is 'poor phonological awareness', but it is as well to remember that phonological awareness is very much a learned skill and is best learned through good systematic instruction in letter/sound correspondences and their use in decoding & blending fro reading and segmenting for spelling. If a child has poor PA despite good systematic phonics teaching, then it is possible that they may have auditory discrimination problems such as impaired hearing or even auditory processing disorder (APD). To me, the dylexia label is not so important as is identifying exactly what is causing the problem.
    I don't know why your HT wants children screened for 'dyslexia' and what follows on from the screening, but if you are screening then it, IMHO, it is most useful if the screening identifies discrete problems which can then be targeted and dealt with appropriately. Children who show no particular area of difficulty are just as likely to be suffering from lack of rigorous phonics teaching than any particular 'condition'. 'Dyslexia', from initially being a label given to difficulties with reading and and spelling, has acquired a great many acretions over the years and now seems to be a catch all label for just about anything you care to name.
    I would recommend that you have a look at this excellent research review into 'developmental dyslexia' in adults (which, in fact, draws strongly on research into childhood dyslexia). It begs as many questions as it answers.
    I'd rather read round a subject than just accept 'received wisdom'! Happy reading...

  8. An interesting thread but I go with the post about why your head would want all pupils tested without a plan to follow up outcomes. It shows a great lack of understanding of the complexity of the difficulty to ask you (untrained I gather from your post) to assess pupils.
    I have a RSA Dip SpLD, 18 years experience and 2 sons who had Statements for SpLD and I still struggle to 'see' SpLD when assessing pupils. A test is only one tool and can only be an indication of possible SpLD as we none EPs are not allowed to pronounce a child 'Dyslexic'. I don't use the term myself but do tell parents and pupils there may be SpLD. Diagnoses leads to an expectation of remediation which is hard to offer for large numbers.
    I would recommend trying to make sure the school is dyslexia friendly as this would benefit all pupils and would involve all staff in improving their understanding of SpLD (and spread you load).
    Sorry not to be more helpful but too tired really at this point at the end of a term. Probably should never have answered! Good luck and enjoy the most rewarding job there is.
  9. That's a very interesting comment.
    What precisely is the difference between a child 'strugging with reading' and spelling and a child with SpLD?
    And, is the 'specific difficulty' the fact that they are 'struggling' or is it the the fact that they have a specific problem, such as auditory problems, working memory problems etc., which is causing a barrier to learning? In which case, why should they be labelled 'dyslexic' rather than the speciific problem clearly identified so that appropriate help can be given?


  10. In mainstream secondary schools where league table scores are sacrosanct, you're better off making mainstream lessons dyslexic friendly than waste too much time trying to knit together a complex package of interventions, as delivering them is seldom easy in a school with a rotating timetable, elusive SLCTs and a 'specialised team' which has yet to acquire the level of skill required to recognise still less respond effectively on an individual student basis.
    Useful things I have seen include:
    a. sticking to the tripartite lesson structure whereby students are told what the main activity will be, they are led through it and they are then reminded about what it is that they have done
    b. the use of pop quizes at the beginning of each lesson in a series devoted to one topic manage to revive interest, check understanding and put everyone in the right frame of mind for the next instalment- especially if prizes are dished out to younger students
    c. each subject room should have keyword lists displayed for each topic covered that term, and homework for younger children should involved recognition of those terms and the manipulation of the concepts with which they are associated
    d. mindmapping should be used, individually and in pairs, to recap on a topic before moving on to the next level or to close the topic
    e. lots of VAK activities for younger students as they are more meaningful than endless lectures on this, that or the other
    f. using a subtle blend of directed and open questioning to ascertain how well students are responding to the challenges with which they are being presented
    g. using writing frames instead of verbose worksheets, with lots of use made out of visual cues
    h. liaising with EAL and SEN to have some terms and concepts pretaught to some students
    i. teamteaching with EAL and SEN to ensure that all children benefit from the input of those teachers, on occasion
    j. offering homework sessions to students on the SEN register
    h. discussing in self assessment sessions what is working well and not so well for students on the SEN register in given lessons, and discretely feeding the information back to the colleagues in question

  11. Hi,
    Has anyone here used LASS secondary to screen a whole-year intake? We're thinking of introducing it for all Year 7s.
    My main question is - how practical is it to do it for a whole class at a time (we <u>will</u> have enough headphones, at least)? Or - what would people recommend as the largest number of children to screen at one time? (It implies in the manual that it's something "most" children can get on and do independently, but I'm just wondering if anyone here has administered it to a whole class at a time, and if so, what sort of problems arose - eg do many of them end up with their hands up asking for help, or looking around the room when they're supposed to be concentrating on the screen, or does it indeed hold their attention?)
    Also - could all 8 (or at least 7, as it suggests) tests be done comfortably in a one-hour lesson, or is it better to split it into 2 sessions?
    Thanks very much for any help with this
  12. We used LASS secondary for a couple of years to screen whole classes. Even though you think you have enough headphones, you are sure to find several sets are not working.
    Then, you have the decision of whether to let the children work at their own pace, or to try to keep them together so that you can give them specific attention at the start of each of the eight subtests. If you let them go at their own pace, some will finish the whole lot in an hour, and others will need twice as long, so you would have to arrange for something to occupy the early finishers while the slower ones are still working on the tests. Looking back over our records, some children did some of the tests at a later date than the initial tests: a sign that they could not all be done in 1hour 20 minutes (a double lesson in our school).
    We used to find that the auditory and visual memory tests in particular needed to have a close eye kept. Many children were capable of misinterpreting the instructions to the visual memory test.
    Also, be aware that the single word reading test is not fully standardised (or it wasn't five years ago). I personally had some doubt about the LASS spelling test: even our dreadful spellers seemed to come out above average when they were using a keyboard to put the word in, although any other spelling test they came out as seriously below average. The matrices test was quite interesting, but you may well have similar information from something else (CAT3 or MidYIS for example).
  13. Thanks very much, Bettyboots - a really helpful reply. We haven't committed to buying the LASS yet. Another option is perhaps to use Lucid Rapid, plus some other measures of reading/spelling, but I was intriged by LASS because of the auditory and visual memory tests especially, plus the reasoning test.
    So - if we do use it, it looks like we need to book 2 sessions in the computer room for each class, AND maybe split the classes into smaller groups, AND double check the headphones!
    May I ask why you stopped using it, Bettyboots? And what if anything you're using in its place?

  14. Hi, it sounds like this is the place for advice! :)
    My Headteacher has carried out the dyslexia screening tests on 3 children in my year 5 class. The results suggest that they are all at risk of dyslexia and I now need to put in place some SEN interventions. Can you suggest where I might find details of suitable interventions which cover all of the areas on the dyslexia test? When I have this info I will then choose the relevant interventions and incorporate these into IEP SMART targets.
    Thank you!
  15. It depends to some extent on their particular areas of difficulty, but most 'dyslexic' children benefit most from some good, systematic, structured synthetic phonics work. It will address issues such as phonemic awareness, sequencing, and poor eye tracking skills (which is often the cause of 'reversals' in word reading). For short term memory problems (which could be indicated by poor 'rapid naming' or poor scores on a digit span test) you may need to use a technique like Precision Teaching to achieve the automatic recall of letter/sound correspondences which is necessary for fluent word reading.
    For the synthetic phonic work any of the good initial teaching programmes could be used, Jolly Phonics (perhaps adapted a bit to make it more age appropriate), Sound-Discovery, Phonics International, Letters & Sounds etc. Ruth Miskin's Freshstart is good for Y5 and above and has lots of integral decodable text for practising reading skills.
    A small plea! Please don't focus on learning 'high frequency words' (as I have seen on many an IEP). 'Learning' a few HFWs to the exclusion of much else has no benefit for children's reading. Most HFWs are easily decodable and the phonics work will take care of them.

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