Dyslexia Testing: Home Tests

1) Writing Skills

Choose a topic known to the person, e.g. their life story from birth. Ask them to write continuously without pausing for 10 to 15 min. Examine the writing skills for expressive quality, sentence construction, grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes.

2) Testing Memory and Understanding From Visual and Audio Media

Choose a suitable television program and watch it together – it can be a movie, TV series, cartoon, news bulletin or a documentary. Check for understanding and verbal fluency by getting the individual to explain what the program was about and for any specific details. In the case of a movie or series, ask the individual to describe the appearance, behaviour and personality of a particular character.

3) Speed of Processing Information and Spontaneity

This exercise can be done in a room. Ask the following: ‘By looking around the room, you have 30 seconds to name as many objects as you can’. This should be done at a fast pace, so note any pauses, hesitations, inappropriate words and general slowness.

4) Testing Natural Awareness

This should be done at the end of the day. Ask the following: ‘Say the name of the person you spent the most time with today.’ ‘Describe what the person was wearing.’ Assess how detailed the description is.

5) Remembering and Understanding Written Material

Choose an extract from a book, magazine, newspaper etc. Make sure the readability level is appropriate i.e. for a child, adult etc. Get the individual to read the extract at their usual reading pace. Then check for overall understanding by asking what the extract was about. More specific questions can be asked to test for more detailed understanding.

6) Remembering and Understanding Spoken Language

Set up a mock meeting or a similar situation. Get the individual to take the minutes or write down a summary of what was said. Under no circumstances should the pace be slowed down or any compensation given. Examine the accuracy and presentation of the notes immediately after the exercise and do not give any time for rewriting and correcting.

7) Explaining rules/instructions

  1. Choose any game known to the individual, for example, a card or board game. Get them to explain how to play the game. Listen for the clarity of explanation and accuracy of the information.
  2. Read out a set of instructions i.e. a food recipe. Get the individual to repeat the instructions.

8) Giving directions

  1. Mark two points on a road map – one near the top and the other near the bottom – and ask the individual to describe how to get from the top point to the bottom. Check for clarity of description. Note also if the individual turned the map around to the direction of travel.
  2. Choose a landmark, e.g. supermarket, park, school, post office or pub about two or three kilometres from home. Ask the individual to describe how to get there by car, include naming the streets. Assess accuracy and clarity of description.