How do I get a diagnostic assessment?

If you suspect that you are dyslexic, you may decide that it would be beneficial to have a formal assessment.

Dyslexia can only be formally identified through a diagnostic assessment carried out by a certified assessor. Assessments are not available through the NHS.

The advantage of a formal diagnosis is that dyslexia is covered by the Equality Act 2010, this means that education institutions and the workplace have a duty to take this into account and therefore make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your difficulties.

Many people also find it reassuring to have a formal diagnosis as it helps them to understand the reason behind their difficulties. A further benefit of a diagnostic assessment is that the final report details the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the individual and helps them to understand how to make the most of their abilities.

The British Dyslexia Association's Youth Ambassador Jo Crawford talks about the benefits of a diagnostic assessment.

How to arrange a diagnostic assessment:

  • Further education

    If you are already in, or due to start, further education then there may be the possibility of an assessment organised by the Learning Support Department of the college. You should contact your college for more information.

  • Higher education

    If you are aiming to attend university, and will need support, then you will require an assessment report post 16 years from either a Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) registered Psychologist, or a Specialist Dyslexia Teacher with a current Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) for assessing students at Higher Education.

    Diagnostic assessments are also needed for those wishing to claim the Disabled Students Allowance(DSA) for University, but the report must be carried out over the age of 16.

    Organisations that offer this service will be able to advise you further.

    A few universities may fund or part-fund assessments, but this is not normally offered. We advise you to contact the Disability Advisor at the University for further advice.

  • Workplace

    Employers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to ensure that employees with dyslexia are not treated unfavourably and are offered reasonable adjustments or support.

    For many office-based jobs, a full understanding of the individual profile is necessary in order to offer the most effective support. Most large employers and the public sector would be expected to fund an assessment for an employee. A smaller employer may be able to help with the cost.

  • Private funding

    If you are unable to get any financial assistance for funding an assessment, you can arrange and pay for your own assessment. These can take up to 3 hours to complete and can be carried out by either Specialist Teachers (who are AMBDA qualified) or Chartered (or Occupational) Psychologists. If you are having a diagnostic assessment in order to claim for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) then the assessor needs to have a current Assessment Practising Certificate (APC).

    An assessment usually costs approximately £500 - £750.

  • Organisations that offer diagnostic assessments

    British Dyslexia AssociationThe BDA offer diagnostic assessments conducted by Specialist Teacher/Assessors with current Assessing Practising Certificate (APC) or Psychologists registered with the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC).
    The BDA also have a Helpline to assist with any enquiries that you may have about assessments or other aspects of dyslexia, call: 0333 405 4567

    Dyslexia Research TrustBased in Reading, and co-founded by Professor John Stein, the DRT offers assessments to help with support, examination or workplace needs. They also carry out specialised visual assessments for children and adults and can give practical advice and reassurance about the way forward.

    The DRT also carry out research projects for adults and children to find out more about dyslexia. They have a helpline for any enquiries.

    Helen ArkellHelen Arkell have their own team of highly trained Specialist Assessors (HASA) who are professionally qualified to assess, report, and diagnose dyslexia. They are also able to advise on all aspects of dyslexia and literacy/numeracy.

    National Dyslexia NetworkLocal NDN offices are able to arrange diagnostic assessments.