Worried for dyslexic DS ... Tell me how yours have succeeded(22 Posts)
DS1 (14) is very badly dyslexic and reading, writing , spelling are a huge struggle. He gets reader & 25% extra time in exams
He gets a lot of help at school, I can't fault them , but is in year 10 and I have to spend a huge amount of time helping him with school work and revision. He's very motivated and wants to do well in exams and works so very very hard but achieves mainly c's which he then gets very down about.
I feel so sorry and worry for him. It doesn't help he's a summer born & one of the youngest in his year.
We are looking at colleges for him & thinking BTEcs might be better than straight A levels, but that will mean a different college to his friends.
I worry about his reading & writing ability and think how will he ever manage a job, college, is university a possibility.
What are your DS' talents/preferences/strengths? Not all life paths require lots of reading and writing.
Is he quite good at the visual/ kinaesthetic?
You might take a look at architectural engineering. (Or architecture but the first is more practical and probably easier to get work in
I have a cousin who bumped through school in remedial class and has no qualifications. He has a successful landscape architecture/gardening business, first in London, now moved home to the countryside to bring up his children (so a bit more gardening and less architectural design in that demographic)
A Telegraph journalist made a slightly derogatory remark about a 'waste management' degree. I think it is (or was) one of the degrees with highest employment prospects. Think of the creative/scientific /environmental innovation in deciding what to do with the World's waste.
These jobs may be done at a lower, more practical level or a higher one, depending on interests and attitudes.
Transport and logistics management? Maths type skills good but not a lot of essays.
(I know a few very wealthy Dhl type senior execs)
Also supply chain management.
'Remedial ' class is what it was called at that time, I should say. His disability was unrecognised. And he does have a landscape gardening qualification.
But there are a lot of creative engineering type jobs for a maths based students.
My bright (top 5%) DS1 has "moderate" dyslexia he can read otherwise he'd be categorised as severe and be statemented. I'm not going to tell you it's easy it's been really difficult for him, schools in both sectors have failed him consistently in fact this is the only consistent thing he's experienced in education. He's been misunderstood and under performed, he and I are disillusioned with education. His mental health has been effected.
He literally struggled through his GCSEs (12 subjects on the insistence of his useless school) passed math first time much to everyone amazement, and looked at various courses at our local well regarded 6 th form college, BTECs A level etc. He choose A levels because he liked the subjects on offer, I didn't think he'd made the right choice but it's life, and since starting last September he's never been happier. He's doing better than we ever felt possible and what his GCSE grades indicated, we're told if he applied himself he could easily get A's. He finds juggling four subjects (all sort of related) easier than 12 he's highly articulate and the teachers love this, and has a virtually photographic memory, he also gets more help with his dyslexia than he did at the comp. He's only missed one day of college, and he always smiling and cheerful.
OP let him choose, he has to be on board 100% as dyslexics have to overcome so much to do anything that they will only make that effort if they're love what they're doing.
I am from a dyslexic family, my brother left school with 1 CSE in woodwork, and virtually illiterate, but since then has studied Engineering via OND and HND and is now Head of Engineering for a Europe wide company. Dyslexics are overrepresented amongst the highest levels of management in business and amongst entrepreneurs. I worked as a facilitator for Boards developing their business strategy and a surprising number of the very senior people I worked with clearly struggle with literacy, Richard Branson is a well known example. The problem is that schools and the teaching styles and examination methods make it very hard for dyslexics, or more correctly those with specific learning difficulties. However they often have skills and qualities that do enable them to succeed in real life.
Amen to having to having to devote a huge amount to supporting them, I currently have one doing A2 and one doing Finals at uni and feel emotionally exhausted from trying to provide them with the strength and support to deal with their anxiety about whether they will do justice to themselves in the exams. However both, with a lot of hard work, have actually done well. Totally agree with Happy Gardening that it is important that they choose what they love doing, even if in my younger DDs case that has been 4 essay based A2s and, hopefully a place to read English and Related Literature at one of the top universities for the subject. What she lacks in literacy skills she more than makes up for in EQ, empathy and creativity.......
My DS (Yr9) has moderate dyslexia and it is indeed a great worry. I really appreciate threads like this. DS has an enormous range of strengths and weaknesses so I feel it could go one way or the other at the moment. He's very bright (Oxbridge potential according to verbal IQ) but is borderline Grade C potential in maths. Great at acting, public speaking and debate but terrible spelling, punctuation and illegible writing. Has an aptitude for computer programming but you are supposed to be good at maths for this. Could sell Nelson's Column to tourists so also has potential to be master con man.
Although DS makes silly mistakes, struggles with new words and never reads a book, he can read well (memorises words rather than decodes). I know other boys with severe dyslexia and I really appreciate that reading problems make an enormous difference.
Have you come across the reading pen? As far as I am aware, you are able to use it for the Reading section of GCSE English whereas you won't be able to use a reader for this section.
It's also worth investigating voice recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking.
How about a career in Art for your DS? There are lots of dyslexics at art college.
Your highly unlikely to be allowed to use Dragon in exams, a far as I understand to use Dragon you have to loads of problems, the regulations have really tightened up. I'm up to my eyeballs in ed psych reports both private and LEA all saying he'd really do well in exams if he had Dragon but my DS doesn't meet the criteria for it laid down by the exam boards.
garden my DS passed maths first go (a C) I never thought he pass it in a million years as I think he has dyscalculia (ed psych says no) because numbers quantities etc have no meaning at all for him. He passed by just remembering that 7x7 =49 he has no idea why it does
DS2 has mild dyslexia as do I we both memorise words neither of us are able to decode I'm an avid and very fast reader so it's not the end of the world.
It's so frustrating frankly we're all exhausted battling everyone.
I am not sure how you would qualify for using the Dragon software in exams but it could be useful for essay writing at home. The OP's DS has severe dyslexia so might qualify. Mine will use a laptop and should get extra time. His writing is illegible and so written answers may need to be transcribed but he won't qualify for a scribe.
Great that your DS got his GCSE Maths - I think mine might have dyscalcula too as he's never ever got maths and he is hopeless at reading graphs. I'm glad he'll be in the last year of the old GCSEs and won't have to suffer the extra maths that will be part of the new exams. I'll be more than happy with a C - not sure if Foundation or Higher is going be to the best route.
Art and Maths
If you'd asked me what I was best at at school I would have said Art, Maths and Computer Science.
I'm actually pretty good at social science, but at school I went for subjects that had the least writing.
BTEC involves quite a lot of writing but you do get to resubmit work (usually just once) and it should be spread out through out the year.
If he is good at both maths and art then he will probably be good with computer programming, it's one of those things that comes naturally to many dyslexics and aspies.
Another vote for architecture, again dyslexics over represented.
This will out me.
My brother is dyslexic - I don't know the official level but we were always led to believe it was quite bad. He really really struggled with reading.
He's now a fast jet pilot. Can't get much better than a real life top gun!
I remember my mum spending evening after evening after evening doing special practice with him. Keep doing what you're doing - it's your support and dedication that'll make as much difference as schooling.
I understand that a dyslexic's brain compensates for shall we say deficiencies in one area by improving others, so my DS, who has a very poor working memory so struggles with instructions, terrible processing (bottom 2%) has virtually a photographic memory, everything he reads he remembers he's like an encyclopaedia, he never forgets a face, or even an event, his observational skills are incredible as is his ability to read people picking up the slightest nuance in the body language, and he's highly articulate. But is this exam obsessed world that we live in these skills are not measurable, quantifiable or on the current GCSE curriculum.
My DS's mental health has been effected on the past, teachers who in my experience are an unimaginative group aren't able or don't wish to accept that because you have problems writing copying of the board following spoken instruction that you have an IQ in triple figures (in fact top 5%), and therefore treat you the village idiot, or if you do really well one day and badly the next it's not because your exhausted from your pervious effort it's because your lazy and couldn't care less.
As my DS has got older he's been able to articulate his problems better. So for example we discovered a few years ago that he can't filter out certain sounds, e.g. Pens clicking/being dropped, people walking in high healed shoes along corridors, every time he hears this he has to look up, this is not because he can't be bothered with what a teachers saying or because he's not concentrating for him it's a loud if not louder than a teachers voice. To block out unwanted sound he stares into the distance concentrating on a fixed object still listening to the teacher but for some unknown reason teachers refuse to grasp this concept so from an early age he's been told of for not concentrating and looking out of the window even though many have discovered that on close questioning he's listened and understood everything they said. Whispering in class on the other hand goes straight over his head. He has extra good hearing (according to an audigram) so shouting is magnified and frightening, especially when combined with his extra ordinary ability to read people emotions, however subtle.
So all of this has raised his level of anxiety at times and also made him angry with the world. Life for dyslexics is not easy although it is getting better as he's getting older.
I went to Uni with a girl who was dyslexic.
She's a senior producer at Sky now.
My Dad and I are both dyslexic.
Dad went to school in a time when no one really recognised dyslexia and he was written off as lazy and stupid, he left school unable to read and write more than his own name, he got a job in a butchers and did very well in the training for that, and had worked his way up to manager by the time he was 19, he then decided he wanted to change careers, he is a fully qualified electrician, he is semi retired now but he had been running his own business with electricians and apprentices working below him and Mum doing the admin.
My parents really pushed for me to get support with my dyslexia so I had it much easier than Dad, I struggle with spelling and writing but my reading is actually quite good. I'm also summer born, I did ok in GCSEs. I did really struggle at college, but as DS was born a week after GCSEs, so was tiny when I started college, I'm not sure I can blame my dyslexia for that and I did scrape a BTEC and 2 A-levels. I'm 25 now and just over half way through my degree (which I waited a few years to do after DD was born as I didn't fancy studying with a teething baby again.)
So yes, college, a career and university are all possible but he will have to really want them and work hard.
The good news is that higher/further education are much more supportive than schools in either sector are.
Thank you all so much for the responses, interesting variety of careers, some we had considered others not.
I had suggested engineering, architecture or accounting to him.
Interesting about not being able to see the detail , he's just got a 3/10 in his english descriptive eassy , he really just couldn't do it. His other English assessments have been higher so his teacher thinks he's still ok for a c.
The v expensive private school near us has plenty of SN kids, far more than you would expect in a normal distribution. When you investigate further you find that all the parents have dx of/traits of dyslexia, discalculia, aspie too. That's an awful lot of very wealthy, very sucessful, SN parents.
My MIL is dyslexic. She maintains that it just takes dyslexic people a little bit longer to learn how to learn and how to work round their issues. So theres plenty of time for qualifications. Shes is now a professor...
My DS has dyspraxia and he will be doing Btech & 1 A level at sixth form. Definitely letting him follow his strengths.
I'm dyslexic, dyspraxic and aphasic, with three degrees and have been a full time teacher for twenty years. Yes it causes problems, but very little is insurmountable. You need to be resilient, and accept that many exams and qualifications will take more than one attempt to get through.
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