Ben’s Journey – Part 2


Discover how DAS supports learners like Ben, who may not have a dyslexia diagnosis but face unique learning challenges. With programmes and a commitment to helping every learner thrive, DAS is transforming the way we understand and support students who learn differently.


Why did Ben not Receive a Dyslexia Diagnosis?

In our previous blog post, we introduced you to Ben, a bright and resilient young learner who was struggling with aspects of reading, writing, and memory. While Ben’s challenges were evident, his assessment didn’t result in a formal dyslexia diagnosis. This might leave you wondering, “Why did Ben not receive a dyslexia diagnosis?” In this article, we’ll delve into the complexities of dyslexia assessment and explain why Ben’s case didn’t fit the typical diagnostic criteria.

The Complexity of Diagnosing Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a complex learning difference that can manifest in a variety of ways. It’s often associated with difficulties in phonological awareness, which is the ability to recognise and manipulate the sounds of language. While this is a hallmark characteristic of dyslexia, it’s not the only factor at play.

Ben’s Unique Profile

Ben’s assessment revealed that he struggled with working memory, processing speed, rapid naming, oral reading fluency, and alphabet writing fluency.  However, he also displayed strong phonological awareness, along with appropriately developed single-word reading and spelling, sight word reading fluency, as well as sentence writing.  Taken together, Ben’s profile did not constitute a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Nonetheless, his weaknesses overlapped with some of the challenges that children with dyslexia typically display.

The ‘Spiky Profile’

Ben’s case highlights what experts call a ‘spiky profile.’ This means that a learner may excel in some areas while struggling significantly in others. Dyslexia assessments often focus on a more comprehensive evaluation of various cognitive and linguistic skills. In Ben’s case, his phonological awareness was ‘sound’.  Hence, although he has literacy weaknesses he did not ‘tick all the boxes’ for a dyslexia diagnosis.

Beyond Dyslexia

It’s essential to recognise that not all struggling learners fit neatly into a dyslexia diagnosis. Ben’s assessment identified specific areas where he needed support, particularly in working memory and processing speed. While his diagnosis didn’t fit the traditional dyslexia criteria, he remained a struggling learner who could benefit from targeted intervention.

DAS Commitment to all Struggling Learners

At DAS, we understand that each learner is unique, and their learning challenges can manifest differently. We’ve evolved our approach to support all struggling learners, whether or not they receive a formal dyslexia diagnosis. Ben’s story underscores our commitment to providing personalised, evidence-based programmes that help every learner reach their full potential.

In Ben’s case, the journey of understanding his learning needs has been an enlightening one. While he may not fit the traditional mold of a dyslexia diagnosis, his struggles are real, and his unique learning profile demands a tailored approach. DAS recognises that students like Ben, who learn differently, deserve the same chance at success as anyone else. Our evidence-based programmes, rooted in the Orton-Gillingham approach, aren’t limited by labels or diagnoses. They’re designed to empower all struggling learners, providing them with the tools and strategies they need to thrive academically. Ben’s story reminds us that every child’s learning journey is unique, and at DAS, we’re committed to supporting each one, no matter where they are on that journey.




18 October 2023