How to screen for dyslexia among university students?

How to screen for dyslexia among university students?

First Author: Eddy Cavalli -- Laboratoire d'Etude des Mécanismes Cognitifs, Université Lumière Lyon 2
Additional authors/chairs: 
Pascale Colé; Gilles Leloup; Liliane Sprenger-Charolles; Abdessadek El Ahmadi
Keywords: Dyslexia, Diagnostic measure, Methodology
Abstract / Summary: 

Developmental dyslexia is a lifelong impairment affecting 6 to 8% of the population. A large number of studies demonstrated that dyslexia is not readily compensated even for adults who successfully manage to study at university level. Although there are a number of standardized tests in children, there is a scarcity of tools suitable to screen for dyslexia in adults. Given the growing number of students entering higher education in France, there is a need to develop reliable screening procedures to assess dyslexia. In this presentation, we will report a methodology that we applied to one of the most frequently used reading test in France: the Alouette test. Yet, although this test is designed to screen for dyslexia in children and adolescents, the psychometrical screening properties for these populations are not available, and the test is not standardized for adults, as for most of the existing reading tests in France. We therefore administrated this reading test to a large normative sample of 164 university students without dyslexia and a validation sample of 83 students with dyslexia, to further examine the discriminatory power of this test to distinguish dyslexics from non-dyslexics. First, our results showed an interesting variability on the speed-accuracy trade off in reading. Second, in order to determine the cut-off scores, under which dyslexia can be hypothesized, we took advantage of the excellent discriminatory outcomes provided by the ROC analysis, which yielded for instance 83% sensitivity and 100% specificity for the reading efficiency score. Taken together, these results allow to consider the Alouette reading test as a sensible and specific screening tool for adults with dyslexia. We will discuss the relevance of this approach, including a systematic validation procedure and ROC analysis, for assessing dyslexia in adults and emphasize the ongoing needs to use this methodology when constructing tests for fine-grained dyslexia screening.