Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not listed here, please email us at with yours!

How do I book an assessment?

Please refer to our booking page, and ring the office (03-381-5383) if you have further questions

My child’s Dyslexia is not being catered for at their secondary school. What could I do?

The assessment report has conclusions and recommendations that should be shared with all his/her teachers. Many students benefit when the recommendations listed are carried out. The school should keep the full report in your child’s file and entered in their Special Needs Register. These are some things you could do:

  • Communicate with the school about trialing Special Assessment Conditions with your child (e.g. SAC; reader/ writer or computer) in Year 9-10. This would allow her to be ready to use SAC for NCEA exams if warranted.
  • Continue to have a tutor to address your child’s SLD needs, and ask the school how they can assist.
  • Some links that you could refer your child’s teacher: Adapting Curriculum on our Resource page and The Dyslexia Foundation
  • Check-in with your child. There are many good clips on Youtube about coping with Dyslexia and how it doesn’t mean that the student is any less bright. In fact, they often have other ‘gifts!


I’m a teacher and I’ve tried to implement the findings according to the report however feel that the recommendations were quite generalised. Are there any specific learning strategies I could work on with the student?

There are generally two segments to the recommendations provide in the report.

  • The first part (usually after summarising the student’s strengths and weaknesses) provide guidance for intervention, carried out by a trained specialist teacher, such as specific programmes to teach phonic systematically or touch-typing lessons. At times there may be specific programmes included, however, they are there as examples as we acknowledge that teachers may have different resources available to them.

  • The second part of the recommendation is listed as ‘accommodations’. Some are necessarily of a general nature as there are many variables in each child’s situation. We cannot presume to tell the teacher what will work specifically in their class. Each teacher should keep our advice in mind and use their professional judgement as to what will best achieve the outcomes for the child.

Please visit the Resources page on our website for more information and recommended website. The Dyslexia Foundation also has some great resources to help teachers.

Are phonics really important?

A: The short answer is Yes.

This is a great summary that answers this question.

What is expected from students/parents or school when they are applying for a reader/writer for a secondary school pupil?

A: The NZQA website has detailed information on this.

In summary, the school needs to gather evidence to support their application to NZQA. It can be a formal assessment from a Registered Psychologist or Class-C Assessor. However, the school could, and often should, gather school evidence as well: such as a timed writing sample, spelling test results, results from standardised reading tests, and teacher/SENCO opinion based on trials of reader/writer (or other special assessment condition) in Yr 9-10.

Your child’s school should be able to tell you what they require to convince NZQA that your child needs special assessment conditions. There will be a person at the school who is responsible for making these applications.

Is there a link between SLD and Executive Functions?

A: As described on

“Trouble with executive skills isn’t a diagnosis or a learning disability on its own. But it’s a common problem for kids who learn and think differently. All kids with ADHD have difficulties with executive function. And many kids with SLDs have challenges in some executive skills”.

Certainly, in many cases of SLD we have seen difficulties in varying degrees and combinations of all three of the main areas identified:

  1. Working memory
  2. Cognitive flexibility (also called flexible thinking)
  3. Inhibitory control (which includes self-control)

In particular, we see many children with SLD who have poor working memory skills. We also see difficulties with attention, organisation, planning and prioritising, regulation of emotions, and self-monitoring that can cause issues with adapting to or coping with changes and being able to self-manage. Our clients often need support navigating environments and planning for tasks, not just for reading and writing.

What do I do if I have a complaint?

A: If you have any queries about any of our services or reports, please email so we can try to resolve the issue.

Please be aware an assessment is a snapshot of the student’s performance on the day. The student’s school and the parents/caregivers may well have different perspectives on the student’s ability. All formal and diagnostic data, conclusions, suggestions, recommendations and relevant opinions should be taken into account when deciding on future actions to benefit the student.

I’ve been told the reports are just “cut and pasted” from a bank of comments. Is this true?

A:  We write well over 500 reports annually. Each one is individualised according to the assessment results. Some comments may well be the same as others who have the same condition. However, comments are always selected with considerable thought. It is analogous to a medical doctor prescribing the same remedy to different people who have the same condition. Taken in its entirety, each report is highly individualised.

How long does tuition need to be?

A . The tuition is highly individual and progress depends on many factors (severity of the dyslexia, attitude and aptitude of the student, family support for homework, regularity of attendance for example). Progress is never overnight as tuition is designed to “rewire the brain”. (See videos about the dyslexic brain in the resource section of this website). After 12-18 months of regular weekly tuition, progress may be assessed through a Reassessment (please discuss with your child’s tutor and book with reception.) However, tutors often witness steady small improvements when the student makes a breakthrough on a technique: such as sounding out words in sequence when reading rather than taking a wild guess from the first letter.

Can you guarantee long-term benefits for your Three Week Intensive Course?

A. Every course is tailored to suit the student as described in their current SLD assessment report, diagnostic testing done on the first 1-2 days of attendance, and on-going response to the student's needs. Standardised tests of some academic skills are given on the last day.

Any long-term benefits cannot be guaranteed as there are too many variables but we can guarantee that we use evidence-based methods that should be continued. The Science of Reading YouTube clip explains the reasons for our methods. 

However, to maximise any gains, parents can attend the sessions to learn how to best help their child learn: especially in teaching literacy in a structured, explicit,  way.  Parents should share the summary report with anyone who will work with the student. The summary report describes in detail what was done, resources used, and the next steps for a teacher, teacher aide, or parent to follow and the results of the standardised tests.

Often schools are not resourced to give targeted one-to-one instruction so it is important to engage a qualified SLD tutor to continue instruction for your child if you can.


What is a specific learning disability?

Specific Learning Disabilities (SLDs) are defined as a neurological dysfunction affecting processing of information and interfering with the optimal development of a person, when the difficulties are not caused primarily by visual, hearing or motor impairment, intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, environmental, economic, or cultural circumstances.

A specific learning disability ( SLD) diagnosis is made when there is evidence of enduring weakness in basic processes that can be seen to directly affect the learning of a student. Specifying a particular type of SLD (such as dyslexia) may be difficult to do in some cases especially when a student is under the age of 8 years or when there are other factors affecting a student’s performance (e.g. attention difficulties or severe anxiety). However, guidance about appropriate supports will still be included in the report.