Growing up with dyslexia is difficult, but can be managed easily as long as it is caught early. Often schools or parents screen their children for this learning disorder a little late in the game, which increases the challenge parents face getting their children back on track. A new 10-minute at-home test could be the solution to this problem. Here’s a piece from an article at The Times Online:
The grammar and phonology screening test (Gaps) has been developed over 16 years by Professor Heather van der Lely, the director of the Centre for Developmental Language Disorders and Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. “What motivated me was seeing first-hand how failing to diagnose these problems was blighting young lives. In most cases, once diagnosed, these language disorders can be helped or overcome with the right treatments and professional help.”
Professor van der Lely, who is dyslexic, added: “My team and I used existing knowledge of specific language impairment to devise a test for 3 1/2 to 6 1/2-year-olds which would evaluate their basic grammatical ability — something that is crucial if they are to understand teachers’ instructions and learn to write sentences.” Designed to be easy to use and accurate for parents and professionals, Ms van der Lely employs Bik, a small blue alien, to examine whether children can create sentences and add sounds to make words.
For £50, parents receive an illustrated booklet and five tests, from which they read sentences out to their child. In the first part of the test, the child repeats back the sentence to Bik, the alien cut-out who, they are told, only understands children. In the second part, parents say specially made-up words to their children and ask them to say them back.
Sentences such as “the cat is washing herself” are designed to test the syntax — or rules of a sentence — as well as the morphology of words — how words are made bigger. A child with language difficulties will not be able to repeat the entire sentence and might say, “The cat is washing her”.
The made-up words test the phonology or sound system of a sentence. If a children score less than 10-15 per cent, Professor van der Lely recommends that parents seek professional help. If scores are borderline, she suggests that children are retested later on.
This test will be great for those concerned and/or paranoid parents out there. Since the creators of this test are getting around 100 dollars for each test, which consists of a few pamphlets, don’t you think the illustrations could have been a little bit more aesthetic? (please observe bik the alien on the right)
Read the rest of the article here…