Why use a specialist SpLD assessor and Why to use an Educational Psychologist?

This is question which gets asked a lot.

It is not necessary to get the Educational Psychologist in unless there are issues which are not to do with learning.

A specialist assessor will spend hours investigating the maths and literacy attainment and underlying causes. You would need one who can do dyscalculia as well as dyslexia if you were concerned about maths, but they spend 2 years learning about literacy and 2 years learning about maths, whereas and EP spends 2 years learning about everything. I think that may be a better way at looking at the capabilities of the two. Then both will spend hours a year doing extra training and learning about other SpLDs and analysing assessments.

As a specialist assessor and tutor I get to see many assessments by EPS and SpLD level 7s.

the level 7s produce longer, more in depth reports that analyse the types of errors the student makes and give specific instruction on how to do interventions and what teaching points to start on.

The EP reports mix up a number of different types of scores and make it more difficult to get an idea of areas of strength and weakness. They mix up standardised scores, percentiles, T scores, Z scores and scaled scores and don't have to give you an idea of how they compare. It is a requirement for an SpLD level 7 assessor to put them all into standardised scores and then to explain how these work and what they mean. We have to submit our explanation to scrutiny of an inspection every 3 years, which the EP's don't have to do either.

EP reports are not required to investigate phonics using a standardised assessment of phonics in order to make a diagnosis of dyslexia, which has the diagnostic criteria or being weak on phonics and their requirement for evidence of dyscalculia is even lower.

My problem with this is that I am seeing them diagnose these in children, who, when I come to teach them, do not have the presenting characteristics of the dys, which I would expect and, sometimes really don not have it. This means their difficulties are being caused by something else and this something else remains hidden by a wrong diagnosis.

I write this as I have this about 5 times out of about 9 EP reports I have seen.

I think this is more of an issue for the SENCos, who are having to spend precious resources on putting in interventions which will not work and are ill-founded.

one of the contributors to my Facebook group noted;

We had a full cognitive assessment which also included assessments for dyslexia, dyscalculia and a couple of others for £550 in January 2020. I was told a full cognitive assessment gives a better picture of needs and can help tailor support.

join the Facebook group where we discuss things like this;

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2178825919051540

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