A question we often get asked is where and how you can get a dyslexia assessment. We'll cover a few different avenues you can take to get help in the UK:
1) Free dyslexia screening tests. There are a number of websites that provide an online quiz to help determine if you may have a diagnosable difficulty like dyslexia. Of course, these tests do not constitute a diagnosis but can help give an indication. They rarely offer follow-up help or recommendations for how to overcome the difficulty. If you're taking the test as an adult, you'll want a friend with you during this process to make sure you give the most accurate response possible. Having an indication of whether or not you have dyslexic patterns can spur you on to find a program or intervention to help improve your areas of difficulty.
2) Formal dyslexia assessments. These assessments can be very expensive, so if money is tight you'll want to think long and hard about whether or not it would be better to spend funds on intervention for the literacy difficulty rather than a diagnosis. However, having a diagnosis in hand can be helpful in the school system or workplace, where teachers or employers will be mandated by law to make accommodations for if applicable. Assessments take between 3 and 5 hours and may or may not include follow up recommendations to improve the literacy difficulty. Age 7 is the standard minimum threshold for an assessment – younger children will usually be turned away.
a. Independent Chartered Psychologists
Some psychologists specialise in dyslexia and can provide a full assessment. These tend to cost between £250 and £400 and usually have short waiting lists, if any at all. You can find a list of independent psychologists who do this kind of work in the UK here:
LEAs directly provide dyslexia assessments within the educational system. If your school is able to recommend an assessment, your child will be put on a waiting list with the LEA. However, funding is very tight in the educational sector so increasingly these assessments are being withheld. Nevertheless, it will usually be a free service so it is worth asking the school about an assessment, in full knowledge that you may be denied one.
d. Dyslexia charities or consultancies
A number of charitable or profit-based organisations exist that can provide a number of assessments apart from a general one, for example an assessment in order to obtain a report of recommendations to be applied in the work environment. A few examples of those can be found here: http://www.workingwithdyslexia.com/assessment/
In terms of help for covering the cost of the assessment, your local dyslexia association may be the best first port of call to enquire about that through their helpline service. If you are employed, you may be able to put a case forward for your employer to part or full-pay for the assessment. If you are a student, an assessment may be able to be arranged by the learning support team.