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Evaluating Oral Language in Dyslexia Assessments

Evaluating Oral Language in Dyslexia Assessments

When people think about dyslexia, they often only think about processing language in written form. However, a complete and thorough dyslexia evaluation will also assess oral language skills. By understanding the full scope of a child’s language skills, clinicians, educators, and parents can find better ways to support a student with dyslexia.

Why Oral Language Evaluations Matter

The ability to speak and understand speech develops much sooner than reading and writing, so a child’s relationship with spoken words is a major indication of their language skills. An evaluation of the speech of a child with dyslexia can reveal a lot about how to approach their learning difference.

Differentiating Dyslexia From Other Issues

Dyslexia is a learning difference that can share characteristics with other learning difficulties but needs unique treatments, interventions and accommodations. ADHD is one of the most common conditions mistaken for dyslexia. It can also co-occur with dyslexia.

Assessing oral language can help differentiate these conditions. For instance, dyslexia usually doesn’t affect overall language comprehension or vocabulary, while ADHD might. Understanding these differences is critical in ensuring a child is being helped correctly.

Identifying Hindrances in Reading Ability

Speaking is also a foundational skill for reading. Teaching children to read and write confidently becomes much more challenging when they have speech delays or other oral language processing difficulties. Pinpointing these issues can be a big help when working on other forms of support for a child with dyslexia.

Evaluating Oral Language

The process of evaluating oral language can be different based on the child’s needs and areas of concern. The Tests of Dyslexia (TOD™) assessment includes different exercises to test some oral skills that could impact a child’s reading skills. Here are a few key areas any good diagnostic should touch on:

  1. Phonological awareness: Can the child recognize and use individual sounds within spoken words?
  2. Expressive vocabulary: Does the child have a solid command of spoken words and use them correctly and effectively in expressing themselves?
  3. Receptive vocabulary: Can the child understand spoken words and what they mean? This is an important stepping stone for reading comprehension.
  4. Grammar: Does the child grasp sentence structure and word order?

All of these factors can help identify issues a child may have with their language skills and challenges they may face as they deal with dyslexia.

Benefits of a Comprehensive Approach

An oral language evaluation isn’t the end of the process. Educators and parents can use the results to add context to the rest of the dyslexia assessment. With a clear understanding of the underlying language hurdles, interventions can be customized to address each child’s specific needs, making the support more effective. Oral evaluations can also happen before a child reaches reading age, offering a way to intervene early when language challenges are identified.

Incorporate Oral Evaluations in Dyslexia Assessments

Many factors can play into how a child succeeds when they have dyslexia, including their speaking ability and understanding of language. As a child is screened for learning differences, oral language evaluations can offer a lot of insight into the best ways to help that child. To learn how assessments help students, check out WPS.

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