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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is dyslexia diagnosed?

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    Sandi Hepenstall is a registered psychologist with many years experience working with gifted children and children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia. She has worked … View Profile

    Dyslexia can be diagnosed by a psychologist with expertise in the area. Assessment generally consists of an IQ test, educational achievement testing focussing on reading and spelling, and assessment of ability in the areas of phonological awareness, working memory, rapid naming and visual processing. Depending on the outcome, referrals are then sometimes made to other professionals such as behavioural optometrists, speech pathologists, or audiologists. 

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    Daniel Wendt

    Psychologist

    Mr Daniel Wendt is the Principal Psychologist and Director of Oracle Psychology. Daniel is a Child and Adolescent Psychologist registered with the Psychology Board of … View Profile

    Imagine going to work everyday and having to complete tasks much more complex than you could cope with. This is what it can be like for many Dyslexics in a world full of writing. 

    Dyslexia is an often misunderstood condition which affects ...5-15% of individuals. More accurately Dyslexia is a Specific Reading Disorder, meaning that people with this disability have unique weakness in literacy. They are often of average to above average intelligence but struggle with understanding the written world. Like everyone, individuals with Dyslexia can have many other strengths and it's important to identify and encourage these. 

    Children with Dyslexia are often identified at a Primary School age due to difficulties learning sounds, identifying letters and remembering sight words. Such children find reading very tiresome, slow and as a result may struggle to understand what they have read once they finish reading. 

    Many people incorrectly believe that Dyslexia is due to a visual deficit, which requires coloured lenses to be corrected. However in most instances this is not the case. In fact Dyslexia is usually due to Phonological (speech sound) Processing weaknesses in most cases. This means that Dyslexics are not able to process the sounds in words as efficiently as everyone else. These sound processing weaknesses make it difficult to group sounds in words and link sounds and letters together (phonics). 

    While Dyslexia is generally a life long condition, fortunately early identification opens many doors for assistance. Diagnosis by a Child Psychologist experienced in the assessment of learning disorders can be an important first step. This allows children to get the best start possible by accessing appropriate interventions, increasing the awareness of teachers and gaining assistance. Assessment usually involves a cognitive (IQ) assessment, achievement (academic) testing and neuropsychological assessment to identify any underlying processing weaknesses.

    www.oraclepsychology.com.au

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