Teacher mentioned dd may be dyslexic but has always been at top of the class?

(60 Posts)
llynnnn Wed 05-Mar-14 20:37:16

My dd is in year 3, and she has always done brilliantly at school, been at the top of her class and is currently working at level 3b in all subject areas. But, her teacher says her spelling isn't good at all and she just isn't remembering and using the correct spelling 'rules' in her writing.

We know this has always been her weakness and she hates learning spellings. despite us working on them through the week she still struggles, but we have always been told before that she's doing great and will get it etc, however at tonight's parents evening her teacher mentioned that she may be dyslexic?
Has anyone else been in this position? The school have advised us to have her eyes tested first and then they'll do dyslexia tests within the school.

The teacher seems to think that if this area doesn't improve then her writing level won't continue to increase and that this will hold her back. sad she was always very enthusiastic about school, but we have noticed a change since she went into year 3 and she is worried and gets anxious about it all

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the long post! thanks

mrz Wed 05-Mar-14 20:40:17

Does the teacher actually teach her to spell or does she just send home lists?

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 05-Mar-14 20:41:18

well it is hard to say. I would be surprised if that was the only symptom and she had got to yr3 being top but it is very possible for a very bright child with dyslexia sometimes to find ways to compensate for it and can still do very well. Unfortunately at some point it usually starts to unravel a bit.

llynnnn Wed 05-Mar-14 20:45:29

Thanks for the replies. He said he has taught her all the spelling rules and gone over them all, but she doesn't apply them in her writing. I have noticed in her writing at home that she has trouble and she detests learning spellings every night as she struggles but I never thought it could be dyslexia, just that it was normal at this stage/that she'd get there?

BillyBanter Wed 05-Mar-14 20:47:02

Well surely it's good that they are being proactive.

Even if they decide she is not dyslexic if she is having trouble with spelling then extra support will help. Something like www.wordshark.co.uk/wordshark/wordshark-home-use.aspx#WhatAge maybe?

Studies show early intervention shows best results regardless if dyslexia is diagnosed or not.

mrz Wed 05-Mar-14 20:48:26

There aren't any spelling rules hmm

llynnnn Wed 05-Mar-14 21:05:03

Thanks for the link billybanter, I'll have a look at that. It is definitely good that the school want to help, just a bit of a shock when I hadn't even considered anything wasn't quite right. Bad parent!!

Mrsz that's what her teacher called them, think he meant the general ideas and common spellings? I'm really not sure hmm

Jinsei Wed 05-Mar-14 21:08:53

Not sure, but a friend of mine was diagnosed as dyslexic for the first time when she was doing her degree at Cambridge! She had always struggled with certain things, but obviously managed to do very well in spite of it.

TheRoadLessTravelled Wed 05-Mar-14 21:08:53

Wordshark is dreadful. Stay well clear of it. There's loads of better spelling interventions out there.

Interesting that he suggested an eye test for spelling problems. Does she also have eye tracking difficulties? Ie skips lines or words when reading? Or does she struggle to copy off the board?

Y3 is a very common age for problems to start to be obvious.

llynnnn Wed 05-Mar-14 21:14:33

Thanks jinsei, I realise tonight how naive I am to dyslexia and how it can take different forms and hinder people. Was your friend relieved to have it assessed?

Road - do you have any suggestions of resources which can specifically help? Thank you for your reply

llynnnn Wed 05-Mar-14 21:15:51

Sorry, not sure why insisted on eye test, just said that was the first port of call? She had one almost 2 years ago and all was fine?

Dyslexia is perfectly 'normal' now. No need to panic. Some of the most intelligent suffer and best business brains.

MooseBeTimeForSnow Wed 05-Mar-14 21:27:10

My husband is severely dyslexic and clever. He didn't realise just how badly until he was being assessed for assistance by the OU. At the end of the tests the woman running them said she'd never seen anyone figure out the tests the way he had and spent ages listening to him explain his strategies and coping mechanisms.

llynnnn Wed 05-Mar-14 21:33:34

Thank you for the replies and encouragement. Her teacher mentioned she could get extra help within the school but it may be limited because she has good levels overall. Will try to help her as much as possible at home, does anyone have any good books/support materials that could help? I'm completely clueless blush

stitchedupbelow Wed 05-Mar-14 21:39:10

Another here who was diagnosed when I got to --a top--university (and my mum is a primary school teacher)! I wouldn't feel bad!

TheRoadLessTravelled Wed 05-Mar-14 21:39:23

Best spelling interventions are 'apples & pears' and 'word wasp'

TheRoadLessTravelled Wed 05-Mar-14 21:42:35

But if, as well as spelling problems, she has difficulty copying off the board or misses words or lines when reading, or finds it hard to read out loud then I'd recommend 'engaging eyes'

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 05-Mar-14 21:58:58

it is only now I am trying to help my daughter I realise I am probably dyslexic too, lots of things make sense now. We are having to get her assessed privately because school say she is compensating effectively for whatever her problem is so they aren't able to do anything.

someone else will know but isn't there a spelling book similar to toe by toe which is a reading one for dyslexics? that might be a good starting point to help her?

Mumofjz Wed 05-Mar-14 22:02:05

I thought all the way through primary my DD had some form of dyslexia has her spelling and writing were atrocious, but school never acknowledge it as her reading ability was so high.

She has brilliant coping mechanisms which we now understand - she is very verbal within class over ideas etc but when the time came to put to paper she would do everything and anything else rather than sit and write.

When she went into high school they automatically test for it and she came back as moderate dyslexic....we're at the beginning of a long road I think

Mumofjz Wed 05-Mar-14 22:03:55

High school have given her a sand colour perpex sheet to put over any writing and she has said that this helps loads as the white doesn't shine through the letters like e, o, g ....and she never mentioned this in the whole time as primary as she thought it was normal and found her own way of dealing sad

dyslexicdespot Wed 05-Mar-14 22:15:43

I was diagnosed as severely dyslexic during my second year of a PhD program at a world renowned university. Being diagnosed was a huge relief and changed my life for the better.

If your DD is dyslexic, she can only benefit from being diagnosed at a young age. Good luck!

TheRoadLessTravelled Wed 05-Mar-14 22:17:23

NoNickname - the spelling book like toe by toe is 'word wasp' and 'hornet literacy primer'

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 05-Mar-14 22:22:50

thanks theroadlesstravelled - I had a feeling I had seen someone on here mention there was a spelling one.

Vijac Wed 05-Mar-14 22:29:07

Yes, I too was not diagnosed until I was at uni. After that I got extra time in exams (so useful) as my main problem was slow writing. As I child I was disorganised, not great at spelling or mental arithmetic, reading aloud (always loved reading though)and always last in dictation. Otherwise I did very well. When I had my dyslexia test gave me a score out of 100 for verbal and spatial reasoning. I got something like 98% and 75% respectively. Meant to reflect how you'd score compared to the rest of the population. They said that my dyslexia probably wasn't picked up as I was above average but the large difference between the two scores is indicative of dyslexia. As long as your daughter does not feel a stigma when being tested etc. it will only be an advantage to her to be diagnosed if she does have dyslexia as she will get the support she needs. Do not worry about it!

1944girl Wed 05-Mar-14 22:39:47


My DS2 is dyslexic.He is now 41 and it was not recognised when he was at school.He is very bright in all other areas but still struggles with writing and spelling. He managed to teach himself to read after his primary school had given up on him.His problems with reading and writing were ignored at his secondary school and as a result he was an habitual truant.
I have often been on these threads before about his problems.
He still needs help filling in official forms.
Good luck OP.

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 05-Mar-14 22:41:46

I'm another one who was diagnosed at university (with a huge 50 point difference between the different parts of the iq test. I was 24 at that time.
It was a massive relieve to get a diagnosis after my experience of school failure.

I knew DS2 was dyslexic from about the age of 3, it's about so much more than writing, it's the whole way the brain works and processes information. Like me, he is very very bright and enjoys reading (even though it's harder work for us). He wasn't diagnosed until he started uni last year... School screening tests ARE NOT diagnostic, they give an indication of problem and don't seem to work very well will bright kids who can find coping strategies. But believe me, the problems are very real.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 11:28:04

We were told DS was dyslexic in yr3 and like your DD he's top groups. It's tough for schools as obviously they have limited resources, but what you say about her losing heart rings bells. Most schools have an 'every child matters' mission statement, but you often find that if your child's doing well they don't get extra help.

RawCoconut's right as often the school assessment can a) take an age to be done and b) not be very thorough. It's really worth you asking them how they assess, then contacting Dyslexia Action for a free advice chat to see if they think it's sufficient.

In our case, DS's school said they'd get him tested, but that it 'could happen anytime in year 4'. When we looked into it it wasn't a full raft of tests anyway, so we ended up paying for a proper assessment. It's helped him massively just to be officially recognised as dyslexic. Knowing there's a reason why he can't write very legibly or spell as well as some of his friends meant he's stopped saying 'I'm just not very good' or 'they're really clever and I'm not'. It's also helped us to talk to the school in a targeted way to get him proper help.

In other words, don't just trust the school. Doesn't matter how nice they are, be forensic about what they tell you/ promise and do the research to see if it's sufficient. A full Ed Psych report breaks down how your child's brain works, so highlights strengths and weaknesses. It's a real eye opener and we've found it really does help.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 11:31:35

Meant to add, but on the eye thing, there's a condition called Meares Irlen which normal eye tests don't pick it up, so my son has 20:20 vision but he has it. It's best described as visual stress, so when he looks at black text on white paper the words blur and move. You don't have to be dyslexic to have it. My son now wears tinted glasses and it's sorted it for him. Just ask your DD what happens when she looks at a page of text. So do the words stay in focus or not? Do they move? If she says yes then investigate further!

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 06-Mar-14 11:57:58

yes we have coloured glasses here too like smee for Irlen/scotopic sensitivity/eye stress. Made a huge difference instantly. 25% increase in reading accuracy in the tests just from adding the colour.

she still has problems, still can't segment words etc so obviously whilst the lenses have removed the glare and made the words and letters stay still (and stopped her crying when looking at the white board) they are not solving all her problems so we are having full screening done privately with a psychologist but it isn't cheap.

very definitely worth checking it out.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 14:21:13

nonick, same with us so it hasn't solved all the problems as in our case DS is still dyslexic regardless of the Irlens. I was appalled when I realised he was suffering from it. Had never heard of it. Wish more people knew about it as it does have a massive impact.

Anniegoestotown Thu 06-Mar-14 14:39:50

dd is dyslexic. She could get 20/20 in any spelling test but get her to write the words in a sentence and everything goes out of the window.

Having been through the school promising testing in yr 3 x 2 (ds also dyslexic) I would not hold my breath. Dd was eventually tested privately in yr 9. She is in the bottom 1 percentile academically but in the top 1 percentile in speaking. I.e. She could talk an Eskimo into buying a ton of snow, just don't ask her to write the advertising flyer.

Dyslexia takes on many forms. Dh I suspect is dyslexic, he has never read a book in his life. In fact he never reads anything. I on the other hand could read the book and tell you all about it but don't ask me to write about it. The story disappears from my brain as soon as I pick up a pen.

llynnnn Thu 06-Mar-14 22:07:47

Thank you for all the replies and you sharing your experiences. The school learning mentor has had a little chat with dd today and asked her if she's struggling or worried about anything etc and to let her know to go for a chat whenever she wants to. DD has been bullied quite a lot since sept (although the school have sorted that now) so her confidence is very low, which I'm sure isn't helping her learning and enthusiasm for school especially in areas she finds tricky anyway. So far so good with the school support, and I have an eye test booked for next tues so can move things along again after that.

Thanks again smile

Teatimecakes Thu 06-Mar-14 22:09:04

I'm dyslexic and a teacher smile also not diagnosed til part way through my degree. My IQ is high and i had/have multiple coping strategies that kept it masked for years. Please try not to worry too much - year 3 is very often the year when these things start to show. Early intervention is key - good luck smile

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 16:26:51

My dyslexia wasn't diagnosed until I was twenty and enrolling in university. I was however picked up as dyspraxic at seven, for similar reasons to your DD. Very bright, top of the class, I loved reading and never had any problems with it. What I couldn't do was spell, and I took hours to write even a line.

Dyslexia isn't the end of the world, so long as you don't treat it like that. I have a vocabulary in the top 1% (according to my dyspraxia/dyslexia test), and have always scored that high.

By all means, get her tested and get her help. But don't make a meal out of it. The last thing you want is her to have a scribe and a reader and never learn to do it for herself, I know several dyslexics who were given so much extra help they now can't hold down real world jobs that require reading and writing skills because they never learnt them.

Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 18:14:29

Too many English spellings have no rules (e.g. blue shoe flew through too) and simply have to be memorised word by word. That's why exceptionally bright children often have trouble coping with the brute memorisation involved.

They usually cope in the end.

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 18:20:06

Masha, don't start that again. I can't memorise letter patterns of whole words and I manage just fine, for example: Through - /th/ /r/ /oo/ - <th> <r> <ough>

There are rules behind much of English spelling, they just simply aren't taught in schools (like learning the plural of CHILDREN, it's an Old English spelling that has been kept, the same as OXEN).

Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 19:06:14

There are rules behind much of English spelling.
Yes and no.

Consonant spellings are fairly consistent.

For several vowels, the exceptions, are almsot as common as regularities.
My claim is based on a careful analysis of the 7,000 most used English words.

Several vowel spellings obey no rule whatsoever.
speak, speech, seek, shriek, seize, siege, machine, canteen ...
hair, care, bear, there, their ...
scoop, soup, fool, rule....
her, bird, turned, third, word...
all, crawl, caught, bought, salt ...

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 19:19:06

Okay, well go study the other 493,000+ words of the English language and come back to me.

The spellings can be understood through a use of phonetic reasoning, and while some children do struggle with spellings (myself included) it can be worked on.

For example: ought, bought, thought, sought, nought, fought, etc, obviously do follow a rule, I don't know why you think they don't.

mrz Sun 09-Mar-14 19:25:20


Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 19:28:06

ought, bought, thought, sought, nought, fought, etc, obviously do follow a rule, I don't know why you think they don't.

Because 'caught, taught' and 'taut, nautical, water, prawn, yawn, small, fall' and dozens of others don't.

They all have to be learned word by word.

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 19:35:07

I have been wondering whether year 5 DS is dyslexic. He too is performing at high levels academically but his spelling is very inconsistent - he doesn't naturally "get it" and although he can learn spellings for tests, in his own writing it doesn't follow through at all. His writing is pretty messy and he has problems with things like tying shoelaces, is not able to comfortably use alphabetical order, gets months of the year muddled up etc.

I mentioned the spelling problem at parents evening last week but am wondering if I should speak to his teacher any more about my wondering about dyslexia.

lougle Sun 09-Mar-14 19:38:57

Masha, do you ever get a teeny tiny bit bored of repeating yourself?

I only wonder because my shoulders sag a little whenever I see your posts with endless lists of words and sounds, yet normally I'm a lists person...

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 19:44:37

I think Masha probably has a word document ready for any thread and copies and pastes. So not too much actual typing needed.

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 19:46:02

Masha, "water" and "caught" and "fall" don't have the same sounds... why are you linking them together? Fall, ball, hall, are a group. Water, falter, halter, are a different group. They aren't learnt individually, but as groups or families.
I'm sorry that you were taught badly when you learnt English, which you must have been if someone taught you each word's spelling individually, but that isn't how English is taught in our Primary Schools.

MirandaWest, that actually sounds a little more like Dyspraxia to me, especially with the shoe laces. How is he with football, or tennis? Things that require hand-eye coordination.

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 19:57:04

He's pretty coordinated in other things - learned to ride a bike pretty early and is good at things like tennis. Not interested in football but is accurate when he plays it. And very coordinated on computer games hmmsmile

Not sure if I'm seeing things that aren't there but I suppose seeing DD who's 2 years younger finding some things much more straightforward makes me think a bit.

Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 19:57:17

"water" and "caught" and "fall" don't have the same sounds...


They have different spellings for the /au/aw/augh/ough' sound and their spellings have to be learned word by word. This may have led u to believe that they have different sounds, but if
'wauter, caut, baut, faul' were spelt with just au, u would pronounce them just as u do now.

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 20:01:21

Why do you put 'u' instead of 'you'? This troubles me disproportionately.

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 20:02:29

Actually Masha, it's to do with my accent, which you don't know, because you aren't here to ask me.
In the same way that I say bath, and my partner says bath, oh wait, you can't actually hear what I'm saying can you?
What you are missing, is the rest of the word can provide clues, and while we are at it, I find your attempts to respell the English language almost impossible to read. Please can you use the proper spelling of the second person singular, it detracts from your attempts at looking intelligent not to (especially since I know you are doing it to try and prove a point).

shggg245 Sun 09-Mar-14 20:37:37

In my experience getting a definitive diagnosis is really hard. My ds 9 really struggles with spelling, he consistently gets 20/20 in tests but just seems unable to make that connection into his writing. He will typically spell the same word in several different ways.

He's done toe by toe and his reading has improved slightly. Been on school action for 4 years. He uses a blue overlay - but I'm not convinced it's doing any good. Placebo?

Very frustrating as he doesn't seem to be progressing. The senco is adamant he's not dyslexic but something's not quite clicking into place. I'm at my wits end with it all, this has been going on 4 years.

Worried but feel powerless. Just keep communicating with school is the only advice I can offer.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 10-Mar-14 10:04:19

I was lucky I was diagnosed dyslexic at 8. However, one of the key features of going for diagnosis was that I was top of the class in everything, but spelling. I was found to have a high IQ, high verbal reasoning and poor non-verbal reasoning.
I learnt to work with my dyslexia, one of the key things being I do have to work harder to get things into long term memory. Once I learnt to work with it I flew two degrees, exeptional close range hand eye co-ordiation.
Still have truly awful spelling (wanted to use different word couldn't spell it today), if I am tired I get left and right round the wrong way and have the most awful long range hand eye co-ordination (don't ask me to play ball sports).

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 10-Mar-14 10:08:44

In my experience a bright child is incredibly able to compensate for difficulties. During the routine sight test my school have to all 8 year olds they discovered that I was severely short sighted.

On asking they discovered I hadn't been able to see the board at school for months but it was ok because I just copied my friend's.

Apparently "sometimes she copies the maths wrong but I can tell so I put it right" and "she said she had superpower eyes and that's why she could see and I couldn't."

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 10-Mar-14 10:20:46

Interesting reading this. Several of DS's cousins have dyslexia and I raised concerns in Year 3 as he hates reading aloud, struggles with writing and spelling. The Head whisked him off for a 'Dyslexia test' and said he was fine.

Now in Year 5 at Middle school and writing/spelling an issue again at new school. They did CAT tests when they got there and he scored very highly on the Verbal one (highest in year) but recent spelling age test puts him a year behind his age.

School have suggested laptop and writing intervention classes but he is very sensitive, hates standing out and doesn't want to. Compromise is he will be doing English homework on the computer and learning touch typing.

Anniegoestotown Mon 10-Mar-14 10:36:22

* The Head whisked him off for a 'Dyslexia test' and said he was fine*

Can I ask how he was tested. The test for dyslexia is a serious test which you as a parent sit in on and costs around £400 if you go privately. The HT does not whisk someone off for a dyslexia test and pronounce they are not dyslexic unless they are a qualified educational psychologist. Because there are so many aspects to dyslexia it is not a quick test. Did you get a report to say he scored well on all the tests therefore he is not dyslexic?

jaffacakesallround Mon 10-Mar-14 10:44:05

I agree.

I carry out specialist teachers' assessments for dyslexia and would need up to 2 hours with a pupil ( privately). Children who see an ed psych privately are with them for around 3-4 hours and the going rate is £400-£450.

It's possible to do a quick phonic screening with some screening tests - computer based- but these are only the tip of the iceberg.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 10-Mar-14 11:03:58

I was just thinking recently I don't have a lot of faith in what he did. We were struggling with my Mum who has Dementia at the time and we were rapidly heading for crisis so everything got a bit much. I got nothing in writing and have no idea what he did.

We paid for a private Dyspraxia assessment (his sister has it) which I was there for and we got a proper written report. I need to sort a proper assessment don't I? I think it was a quick computer thing reading what you're saying. Right, time for action - please could I have suggestions on where to get a proper private assessment?

smee Mon 10-Mar-14 11:05:01

Agree with last two posts. Ask to see whatever test results the Head got from their assessment. A full Ed Psych report is very detailed and it sounds like what they did was nowhere near that.

jaffacakesallround Mon 10-Mar-14 11:16:40

A full assessment- either through an ed psych- contact Dyslexia Action who can do this, or google British Psychological Society for contact details of chartered child ed psychs. OR look at PATOSS online and they have a list ( online) of specialist teachers who can assess ( though this may not be as detailed as an assessment by an ed psych.)

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 10-Mar-14 16:18:02

Thank you all very much, that's a big help. He's changed schools since then and the Head of the old school left. I'll hit Google, and sort an Ed Psych assessment. Feel a bit bad as am clued up on Dyspraxia but not Dyslexia, time to change that.

Many schools use some software to "diagnose" students with dyslexia. It is a lot cheaper than paying for an educational psychologist. The only problem is (according to dyslexia action) that about 15% of dyslexics slip through the net when using the software so it can't be used to show that a student is not dyslexic. Lots of schools don't understand this and say categorically that a student is not dyslexic when they have done the online test and got a negative result.

ifIsaynodontjustaskdad Mon 10-Mar-14 16:36:32

Being dyslexic and top of the class aren't mutually exclusive. I am dyslexic with numbers. I got diagnosed at 21 during my masters, and yes I did maths and physics at uni. My sister got diagnosed during her language degree. She always wrote the e in her name backwards. No one noticed. Apparently you just evolve coping mechanisms but I do think both of pur lives would have been easier if we'd known earlier. I spent any years struggling as I didn't realize numbers aren't supposed to move when you look at them

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