The Grammar and Phonology Screen ‘GAPS’ Assessment

GAPS, the grammar and phonology screen, is a ten minute test enabling professionals in education, health and social care, to establish whether their children have or are at risk of  the challenge of  language disorders –Called GAPS (Grammar and Phonology Screening) the test was the brainchild of leading British language expert Professor Heather van der Lely who invested years of research to develop an early warning system capable of detecting the first signs of language disorder.  The test  used existing knowledge of Developmental Language Disorders (Specific Language Impairment) to devise a test for three and a half to six and half year olds which would evaluate their basic grammatical ability across sentences and word forms – something that is crucial if they are to understand  instructions and learn to speak and write sentences.  Those who show difficulty at this level can go onto further assessment from education and speech language therapists to see where support might be needed.

GAPS Literature

  • Development of the Grammar and Phonology Screening (GAPS) test to assess key markers of specific language and literacy difficulties in young children. Gardner H, Froud K, McClelland A, van der Lely HK.  Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2006 Sep-Oct;41(5):513-40.
  • An investigation to validate the grammar and phonology screening (GAPS) test to identify children with specific language impairment (2011).  van der Lely HK, Payne E, McClelland A. PLoS One. 2011; 6(7):e22432.

Additional instructions on the GAPS test can be downloaded below for your use.

The GAPS test itself is available from the HVDL Foundation Trust on application for both research and practical use. Please contact [email protected] for more information.

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The Heather van der Lely Foundation Trust is a UK registered charity, number: 1168658.

Postal address: PO box 194 Knaresborough HG5 5BS.