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The Hong Kong Dyslexia Early Screening Scale (HKDESS)

Photo of the HKDESS research team
The Hong Kong Dyslexia Early Screening Scale

The Hong Kong Dyslexia Early Screening Scale (HKDESS) was published in June 2016 by Child Assessment Service (CAS), Department of Health. It is a locally developed, validated and standardized instrument for identifying preschool children with early signs of reading difficulties and at risk for dyslexia.

There are five subtests in the HKDESS, namely the Chinese Word Reading, Chinese Word Dictation, English Letter Naming, Digit Rapid Naming and Morphological Awareness. The choice and combination of these subtests were based on a theoretical framework of cognitive-linguistic processes underpinning the Chinese literacy development, and on local longitudinal studies conducted since 2006 by CAS team in collaboration with the Department of Psychology of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Department of Psychology of the Education University of Hong Kong (formerly Department of Psychological Studies of Hong Kong Institute of Education). The combined result of the subtests yields a risk probability of future developmental dyslexia, for the attention of parents and preschool teachers. Moreover, the subtest results provide cognitive profiles of the at-risk children through which early intervention may be guided.

The HKDESS is designed for use by clinicians including developmental-behavioural paediatricians, and clinical or educational psychologists working in clinics and preschool settings with preschool children. Eligible HKDESS users must first complete the training run by CAS. CAS will organise training workshops for professionals on a regular basis in response to demand.

HKDESS is sold to eligible users at $3,290 per set. Interested professionals may contact CAS at 2246 6659 for enquiries.