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Test and Assessments for Dyslexia

Dyslexia is usually done with:

  1. Screening tests
  1. Assessment by a psychologist

Screening Tests:

Screening tests are very general and usually done on a very large number of students. This is to assess who among the students might need a more thorough tests for dyslexia. Screening tests are not tests for dyslexia, but are designed to help educators identify children who might be dyslexic.

Screening tests can be done using well researched questionnaires, or through computerized tests, such as Lucid and Smart Cat. The computerized tests are designed to test their abilities which are associated with dyslexia, such as short term memory, reading, spelling, sequencing and non-verbal memory.

Assessment by a Psychologist:

Educational psychologists are equipped with the skill and knowledge to assess for learning disorders such as Dyslexia. An elaborate test is usually done to analyze the child’s strengths and weakness. This will provide a clear understanding of a child’s competencies in the following areas:

  1. Oral language
  1. Phonological skills
  2. Decoding
  3. Reading fluency
  4. Reading comprehension
  5. Spelling and Writing

The child may also be assessed for:

  1. Articulation skills
  2. Social skills
  3. Oral motor difficulties

From the above, one can see that dyslexia can be quite complex. It can be a combination of the above symptoms. Again, these performance tests reveals the child’s abilities or disabilities through symptoms that we observe through the tests. It does not reveal the causes.

Assessments Unique to Spectrum Learning:

- What are the causes of Dyslexia?

Like with developmental disorders, learning disorders are usually diagnosed based on symptoms. As such, most clinicians do not look for causes.

Essentially, our brain is the center that controls for our thinking, reasoning, learning, language, behavior and emotions. For problems associate with the brain, we should look into the brain for answers.

At Spectrum Learning, we have been doing brain mapping (QEEG) to look into what’s causing the problem in the brain for dyslexia. We have also been doing biochemistry tests on children with Dyslexia. From these biochemistry tests, we see that dyslexic children tend to have certain characteristic nutritional imbalances or significant exposure to neuro-toxins  such as mercury.

In some cases, the nutritional and toxic factors are not present. In such cases, usually the QEEG or brain mapping will show where the neural problem lies.

Brain factors:

On the neural front, we have been using QEEG to investigate what goes on in the brain since 2005. Over the years, we see that there are a variety of neurological causes for Dyslexia. As such there are different subtypes of Dyslexia. From our brain mapping (QEEG), we find the most common type of Dyslexia are those whose language areas in the brain shut down while on reading or language tasks. In some of these cases, strangely, the language sites can be active during non-language tasks. For most of them, the language areas are not active while on both language and non-language tasks. The other subtype is where the language areas seems to be active but the visual areas shut down instead.


A) The diagram on the left shows the QEEG analysis of a 10 year old boy (diagnosed with Dyslexia) during a reading task. The dark areas are at the receptive language areas of the brain for both auditory and visual. These dark areas indicate a reduction in cortical cell activities during reading, i.e. a shut down. This will result in poor  reading and comprehension. This boy also has symptoms of auditory processing disorder.

B) The diagram on the right is the QEEG analysis of a 7 year old girl with Dyslexia. The dark areas are at the left visual site (O1). These dark areas indicate a reduction in cortical cell activities during reading. This will reduce visual processing. The dark areas spread forward towards the information processing areas at the central back of the head. This type of dyslexia is different from example (A ).

C) The diagram on the left shows the QEEG analysis of a 8 year old girl with reading difficulties. Dark areas indicate a reduction in neuronal activities. Notice the dark areas covers more of the left side of the brain while the right frontal seems to be the darkess. In this case, she has difficulty in reading out the words as the dark areas covers her expressive language centers (Broca’s area) as well as the processing sites.

D) The diagram on the left shows another example of a classic dyslexia where the language areas (dark areas) shut down while on language tasks.

There are others with QEEG profiles that indicate the visual and language areas are active while reading but other sites are not functioning. For these cases, as the problem does not lie in the language and visual sites, we think that they are misdiagnosed as Dyslexic. We find that some of these have ADHD profiles of the inattentive subtype.

In some cases, we see excessive cortical activities at the language sites as the cause rather than a shut down.

Studies at other research centers using brain-imaging techniques also show that children with dyslexia have a problem with phonological awareness—which is the awareness of the sound structure of spoken words. Phonological awareness involve several important brain regions including the left temporal, parietal, and occipital regions, and these same regions are centrally involved in dyslexia.

For example, a study using fMRI found that, compared with children without dyslexia, children with dyslexia were unable to activate the tempoparietal brain area during a phonological processing task (Temple et al., 2001). In a larger study using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), it was found that children with dyslexia showed less activation in the left temporoparietal and occipitotemporal areas in reading tasks compared to children without dyslexia (Shaywitz et al., 2002).

Our brain mapping (QEEG) and fMRI studies from other research centers show that there are neurological causes for Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties. This also indicates that there are different subtypes. As such different intervention will be needed for each subtype.

Biological factors:

We find that both nutritional imbalances and neuro-toxins can lead to symptoms of Dyslexia. Research show that copper/zinc imbalance can lead to symptoms of dyslexia. We see similar trends as well with our hair tissue mineral analysis.


A) The diagram on the left shows a hair analysis of a 6 year old girl with reading difficulties. Notice the high level of copper versus the level of zinc.

Exposure to toxic elements such as Mercury and Cadmium can also lead to similar symptoms.

B) The diagram on the left shows the hair analysis of a 7 year old boy with reading difficulties.

It is important to note that the effect of toxic exposure can be varied. The effect depends on where these circulating toxins are deposited in the brain. If the toxins are deposited at the language centers, the toxic exposure will cause dyslexic symptoms.

Contact us for more information on how to do a comprehensive assessment for your child’s condition.

Test and Assessments Interventions

Learning Difficulties

Dyslexia - Reading Disorder

Test and Assessments

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Different brain causes:

… we have discovered a variety of QEEG profiles that can lead to dyslexic symptom …

Find out what brain condition your child has!

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