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Frequently Asked Questions

Please contact us if your question is not answered below.

What are SLD's? 

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.

Specific Learning Disabilities typically include dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. 

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.  

How do I book an assessment?

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

How long will the assessment take?

This depends on a number of factors, but you need to allow between 3-4 hours for the assessment. There will be at least one break, again this depends on the individual.

You will be offered feedback which will take approx. 15 – 45 mins. It would be helpful if you could provide your child

with something to do during this time.

Will I be in the assessment with my child?

We encourage students to complete the assessment without parents/guardians support to ensure that the results are as accurate as possible.

Do I need to stay in the building during the assessment?

The Assessor will speak to you prior to the assessment, you are then free to go or you may wait in our Family/Whanau room. Guest wifi is available.

Please ensure you sign in and out on our attendance tablet when arriving and leaving the building.

How old does my child need to be to be diagnosed with an SLD?

Specifying a particular type of SLD (such as dyslexia) may be difficult in some cases, especially if the child is under the age of 8 or if there are other factors affecting the child.

Guidance about appropriate support will still be included in your report.

What is the best way to explain to my child what will happen during the assessment and is this a test?

It is important to let them know that this is not a test like they would have at school. There are no right or wrong answers – the goal is for the assessor to learn how they learn.

Everyone has things they find easier (strengths) and things that they find harder (difficulties).

The assessor looks at what some of your strengths and difficulties are, to help make school as easy and enjoyable as possible.

When you arrive at the assessment you will meet the assessor with your parent/caregiver and hear some of the things you will be doing. If you or your parents have any questions you can ask the assessor at any time.

To find out what things you find easy or more difficult, we work one to one with you to do small activities, like memory games, drawing symbols, and picture or word puzzles.

We also do a few tasks which are like those you do at school like reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics.

You might find some of the tasks seem way too easy for you, but others may seem very hard. The good news is that you just need to try your best on each activity, and you can let the assessor know if there is something that is too hard or that you are unsure of.

What should we bring to the assessment?

If glasses are normally worn, please ensure you bring those.

A drink and snack for the break.

Do I give medication prior to the assessment?

If your child is normally on medication, please ensure this is administered prior to attending the assessment.

When do we pay?

You will receive an invoice with your appointment confirmation. 

Please pay prior to the assessment or on the day. Speak to us if there is an issue regarding payment.

You will not receive an invoice if we have approval that the assessment is being funded.

When will we receive the finalised report and who receives the finalised report?

The finalised reports take between 21 – 28 days after the assessment to be written proofed and released.

You will receive the report via email, which you can freely pass on to others. Please advise if you would like to receive a printed copy in the post.

If the reports are to be sent to anyone else, we will need a written consent form signed by the parent/legal guardian.

Is assessing for ADHD, ADD and autism part of the Assessment?

While we are able to screen for ADHD, ADD and Autism, we DO NOT offer diagnosis.

If you are concerned with your child’s attention or social communication difficulties, please speak to your GP.









How long does tuition need to be?

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?

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.

My child’s Dyslexia is not being catered for at their secondary school. What can 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.


You could:

  • 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.

  • If your teacher needs more information and help, you can refer them to 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’!

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

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?

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.

How can I make a complaint?

If you have any queries about any of our services or reports, please email us 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.

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