Video: Inside a dyslexia evaluation

How are kids tested for dyslexia? Watch this video to get an inside look at a dyslexia evaluation.

If you’re planning to have your child evaluated, it can help to watch this video together. Below, you’ll find questions to guide your conversation.

Questions to ask your child about the video

1. What surprised you most? Were you surprised that lots of the questions didn’t involve reading words on paper?

2. Near the beginning of the video, Dr. Cruger tells Zeke (starting at 1:09):

“I want you to try your best, and I think some of the things you’ll do you’ll find interesting. Some of them you might find to be just sort of boring tasks. But all of them are pretty short. So if you’re working on something and you don’t like it, you don’t have to feel bad, because it’s going to be over pretty soon. They’re just basically pretty quick tasks that we can work together to get done.”

  • How do you think Zeke felt before the evaluation? Do you feel the same way?

  • Do you think it helped Zeke to hear that some parts of the test might be kind of boring? Why?

  • Do you think it helped to hear that there might be parts he didn’t like, but that those parts wouldn’t take very long? Why?

  • What do you think about Dr. Cruger telling Zeke “we can work together” to get the test done? Do you think it helped Zeke feel like Dr. Cruger was on his side?

  • What would help you feel comfortable speaking up and making sure you understand what you’re being asked to do?

3. At one point Zeke gets pretty frustrated when he can’t read a certain word. And there are several times in the video when he slumps in his chair. Dr. Cruger comments on this behavior (starting at 14:26):

“When I see a student like Zeke who’s really struggling to stay involved at certain parts of the evaluation, I know it’s either time to take a break or time to end early. And I can recognize when I need to sort of bolster him and help him feel good about what he’s doing to get through a difficult task.”

  • Were you surprised to hear kids can take breaks during an evaluation?

  • Each part of the evaluation is pretty quick, but the overall process takes a few hours. How could taking breaks or splitting up the testing over a couple days help you during the evaluation?

  • What are some of the ways Dr. Cruger helped Zeke get through the tests? (Examples include making sure Zeke understood the directions, telling him when he did a good job, and deciding when to end each set of questions.)

4. Near the end of the video, Dr. Cruger describes how Zeke’s reading skills have improved since he was first diagnosed with dyslexia (starting at 18:59):

“I met Zeke last year at the beginning of the school year…. At the end of the evaluation I thought that Zeke needed a very intensive approach to treating and remediating his reading struggles. The support that he’s been getting has been helpful for him…. He certainly has acquired a stronger base of words that he can recognize and print. He has strategies now for decoding words when he is looking at them in print that he didn’t have before, to go back and keep on attacking words that are not making sense to him.”

  • How did hearing about Zeke’s progress make you feel about getting evaluated?

  • What reading skills do you want to get better at?

5. Did watching this video make you feel more confident about getting evaluated? If not, what would help?

Understood and the Child Mind Institute created “Inside a Dyslexia Evaluation.”

Zeke, a second grader with dyslexia, is a smart kid who does well with questions involving words he hears. But he struggles with reading, writing, and spelling.

Matthew M. Cruger, PhD, is an expert in the field of clinical neuropsychology and senior director of the Learning and Development Center at the Child Mind Institute.


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