What is LADS Plus?

LADS Plus (Lucid Adult Dyslexia Screening – Plus Version) is a computerised test designed to screen for dyslexia in persons of 15 years and older. LADS Plus comprises five assessment modules, which measure:

  1. Nonverbal Reasoning
  2. Verbal Reasoning
  3. Word Recognition (Lexical decoding involving speeded recognition of real words from non-words).1
  4. Word Construction (Speeded lexical encoding of non-words from syllables)
  5. Working Memory (Backwards digit span)

The last three of these are dyslexia sensitive measures: it is well established in the research literature that all these tasks are difficult for most people with dyslexia. The two reasoning tests have been included in order to increase the accuracy of detection of dyslexia. These also enable the Administrator to reach a rough estimate of the person’s intellectual ability, which may be important when making decisions about further action after screening.

The tests in LADS Plus are adaptive; that is, the program varies the items given according to the performance of the individual taking the test. This means that the assessment is swift and efficient. Each of the five modules in LADS Plus takes about five minutes, so the whole screening can usually be completed in about 25 minutes. Results can be viewed on screen or printed out immediately. For further information on administering LADS Plus, see Chapter 3.

Administration of LADS Plus does not require professional training in education or psychology. The tests are self-administered and results very easy to interpret. The program assists interpretation by stating the probability that the person has dyslexia: ‘high probability, ‘moderate probability’, ‘borderline’, and ‘low probability’. However, because all the results of any LADS Plus screening are available to Administrators they are not forced to accept the recommendations of the program; instead, they are free to use their own professional judgment when interpreting results and in making decisions about what to do next. For further information on interpreting results of LADS Plus, see Chapter 4. Caution should be exercised when presenting results of LADS Plus to adults, as counselling may be required in cases where an indication of dyslexia may come as a shock to a person. This important issue is discussed in more detail in Chapters 3 and 4. Persons taking LADS Plus who are found to be ‘possibly dyslexic’ or ‘probably dyslexic’ will welcome information about how their difficulties can be supported and where they can turn to for advice. This responsibility of the Administrator should not be taken lightly. For further information on support for adults with dyslexia, see Chapter 5.

1 A nonword is a sequence of letters that is not a real word but which nevertheless conforms to the orthographic rules of the language (e.g. ‘sploff’, ‘blust’, ‘goster’). Hence nonword can be decoded and pronounced as though they were real words. Since any given nonword will not have been encountered by the reader previously, the person cannot rely on visual, semantic, or contextual strategies but can only use phonological rules in order to decode it. Nonwords thus provide a pure test of a person’s competence in phonological decoding or what is often referred to in education as ‘phonics’.