Uses of LADS Plus
LADS Plus is designed to be used for:
(a) routine group screening for dyslexia; and
(b) individual screening for dyslexia in adults referred because of literacy difficulties or other learning problems.
LADS Plus can be used in any adult setting whether educational or employment-related, e.g. universities or higher education colleges, further education colleges, 6th form colleges, adult literacy centres, dyslexia centres, basic skills centres, learning support units, prison and youth offender education units, careers centres, employment centres and workplaces.
Where the aim is routine group screening it is strongly recommended that the network version of LADS Plus is used. This enables up to 40 persons to be screened simultaneously using a computer network, and gives greater efficiencies of both time and cost than using the single user version. Another advantage of using the test for group screening on entry to the institution is that it provides early warning of those individuals who are likely to be dyslexic, rather than waiting until problems emerge, which may in some cases be too late for effective action to be taken (e.g. because a student’s course has almost come to an end).
Many institutions and individuals prefer to have confirmation of dyslexia provided by a report from an educational psychologist. This is an expensive service: at the time of going to press, average fees for psychological assessments in the UK are in excess of £300. Whoever bears the cost – the institution, employer, or the test-taker personally – this is a considerable expense. By carrying out a screening assessment beforehand the chances of this money being wasted (because the subsequent psychological assessment turns out to be negative) is reduced. In higher education, a psychologist’s report may be necessary if a student with dyslexia wishes to apply for a Disabled Students Allowance.2 In many cases, however, an adult will not need to go to the lengths of obtaining a psychologist’s report, but the results of LADS Plus will be sufficient for their requirements.
It must be emphasised that LADS Plus is not a full diagnostic test and so does not purport to provide a definitive assessment of dyslexia. Rather, it is designed to provide a quick screen of unselected or selected adults in order to indicate which of them is most likely to have dyslexia.3 Each of the three modules in LADS Plus provides a categorisation of persons taking the test into the following three groups, which are represented by the colour of the bars on the LADS Plus reports screen and print-out:
- Green: No indication of dyslexia.
- Amber: Weak indication of dyslexia.
- Red: Strong indication of dyslexia.
Overall, LADS Plus provides a categorisation of persons taking the test into the following four groups:
- Low probability of dyslexia
- Moderate probability of dyslexia
- High probability of dyslexia
The LADS Plus reports screen and print-out also provides a brief description of the results. It should be stressed that neither these descriptions nor the categories are not definitive and are provided merely to assist interpretation of results. LADS Plus gives full results, so Administrators are at liberty to use their professional judgement when interpreting findings and in making decisions on outcome. Guidelines on interpretation of LADS Plus results are provided in Chapter 4. Advice about possible courses of action and forms of support for adults whose results suggest they have dyslexia are provided in Chapter 5.
2 See the Report of the National Working Party on Dyslexia in Higher Education (C.H. Singleton, Chair, 1999) for further information on these matters.
3 Note that although the term ‘dyslexic’ is used here for convenience, this is not regarded as politically correct in some circles because (it is argued) the person becomes identified by the condition rather than as a person with the condition. However, many adults with dyslexia are perfectly comfortable about referring to themselves as being ‘dyslexic’ and about others referring to them in this way. Being dyslexic is nothing to be ashamed of, they would argued, so why should we not use the term? It can also be very tedious always to use terminology such as ‘an adult with dyslexia’, hence term ‘dyslexic’ is sometimes used in this manual and we apologise if this causes any offence.