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To ask for your experience/help with dyslexia DD Year 4

(30 Posts)
Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 14:44:31

I have concerns about my DD who is a Summer born Year 4.

She maintains 75% rates in exams/tests with every subject except English which is consistently around 50%. The only subject she is above 'expected' with is Sport.

She was later developing her speech and hardly spoke at 2.5.

She took a long while to 'get' blending in Reception and currently reads comfortably with things like David Walliams, Horrible Histories, Diary of a Wimpy Kid etc. She can read things like Harry Potter but there will be plenty of words she doesn't understand. She resists reading more difficult books like this.

Other traits which concern me are that she has very little self confidence (cripplingly nervous in school plays - not smiling, hunched shoulders and looking at the ground).

Spelling is not great - for example birthday = bithday and with = whith to give a couple of examples.

She doesn't seem to read for pleasure but loves being read to.

Can recap a chapter of a book to me in great detail verbally, but finds it difficult to write down. Story writing is particularly tricky - she finds it hard to grasp the beginning, middle and end and concept.

Does terribly in exams and often cannot finish on time.

Thinks she is 'not very good at English'.

Can be clumsy, forgetful, disorganised - but has improved significantly on these over the last couple of years.

Last year her form teacher said she needed extra help and added her to the support class. This year her form teacher says she simply doesn't make enough effort or read enough and is to chatty in class.

I can see that English does not come easily and she has to put in a great deal more effort compared to other subjects like maths and science.

I'm not sure what my next steps are. I suspect mild dyslexia but have no direct experience. An ed psych assessment would cost £800 and I'm not sure whether that money would be better spent on some one-to-one tutoring with an English tutor.

I will also push for the extra help again at school.

If she is diagnosed with dx, how would that help? Could I then insist on school giving extra time in exams? Would I then know how to best help her? Is it just a case of doing extra work on tricky areas (comprehension, spelling) with or without the diagnosis?

My younger child (year 2) has also just had the same things flagged at parents evening - comprehension and spelling need work.

Thanks for any help and advice on this.

2017watchoutherewecome Sat 07-Jan-17 14:47:21

If she's year 4 in State school then she's not going to be doing much in the way of formal exams, I'd have thought she's quite young to be worrying about that for now. I'd ask more about what is happening in class to support her.

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 14:52:32

She is in the private system in a prep school. Her English teacher isn't offering any extra support because she seems to think her problems are down to a lack of reading at home, lack of focus and effort in class.

She has read 6-7 normal sized paperbacks (i.e.: David Walliams sized book) since September. Does that sound reasonable?

FanDabbyFloozy Sat 07-Jan-17 14:56:45

She sounds fine, really. The books you mention are all of a good level for her to be reading and kids in y4 frequently make silly spelling mistakes. Harry Potter is a challenge at this age for many children. The spelling seems normal enough too.

Frankly she sounds like a middle performer, same as the majority in every walk of life. Would that be difficult for you to accept?

I'd be more worried about her confidence than anything you list. You have high expectations of her academic performance and it's possible that she has picked up on that.

She has a good 7 years until she's expected to do any major exams so talk of extra time seems premature.

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 15:02:42

This is a recent report from her English teacher.

When answering questions does not refer back to the text enough. Relies on her memory and is reluctant to spend the effort rereading the text to find answers. When asked to copy out a sentence to prove a statement, she used incorrect quotes even though this was an easy task.

Could read a lot more and read different genres. Should use ideas and vocabulary that she comes across to enrich her creative writing.

Forgets to use the spelling and punctuation skills we have been practising since the beginning of the year and makes careless errors. She also needs to go back and check her work so that she corrects obvious mistakes.

Chatty in class and sometimes misses instructions.

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 15:10:47

I have trouble correlating her ability in other subjects with her English, and also she really resists and dislikes her English homework so I have to sit with her to get it done. I don't do it for her but it's never much fun because there's a lot of complaints and daydreaming.

I know she is still so young but I'm conscious that she will be streamed this year and the group she is put into will not be changed again. So her results in the Summer Y4 exams may impact on secondary school exams.

I'm also worried that I could/should be helping her more if she does have issues with English. I feel guilt here because I can see her confidence is affected. The lack of self confidence has always been there (since age 2-3) but it does seem to be getting worse.

She does lots of extra curricular which she's great at and lots of praise at home. I don't know how else to help her confidence - ideas welcome!

kilmuir Sat 07-Jan-17 15:19:10

My son is Year 4 , summer born. He was diagnosed as dyslexic last year.
Don't have to be terrible at reading to be dyslexic.
He is very disorganised. Has to have a check list on his desk to look at , at home time.
Struggles writing things down. He has been given a writing slope which helps. They were asked to think of next 2 lines for a poem. He put his hand up and gave 2 very descriptive sentences. Teacher told him to write them in his book. She said when books were being checked he had managed one sentence and words mostly misspelt.
We paid for an assessment. We think it was worth it. Starting to get to an age where he was getting frustrated. Teachers don't seem to have much training in dyslexia and report highlighted classroom aids/technique that would help him.
They are assessed all the time , so to say exams a long way off is rubbish.

kilmuir Sat 07-Jan-17 15:20:43

His assessment showed he was actually above average in some assessments, but as teacher said the way kids are judged academically in Uk is quite narrow.

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 15:25:04

Thanks kilmuir.

It's so difficult to know whether DD is simply below average ability in English or whether there's an issue that we can provide help with.

What has been suggested for helping to get those amazing oral answers into written work.

Misselthwaite Sat 07-Jan-17 15:30:53

Its hardly surprising that she doesn't want to do her English homework because its harder for her. That's fine. What you need is to find out why. Personally I would suggest her seeing an Ed psych just because you will get a full profile and have a much better idea as how best to help her.

In the meantime it might be worth investigating tutoring but it needs to be someone properly qualified. So many people think they can tutor just because they're good at English while you need someone who is up to date with the curriculum your child is following.

My son is dyslexic and we used some workbooks with him which made a massive difference. They were called Dancing bears and they are very easy for anyone to do. There are ones for reading and ones for spelling just check you get the right level as they start from the very basics which she won't need.

I think its important to tackle it. While its great that she does so well in other subjects now it won't be long before her English skills may affect her marks in science or maths. As pupils get older the questions get longer or they're expected to write much longer answers.

As to the confidence I find that really hard too. My husband is confident, I am confident and I have a child who is very insecure and very worried about getting it wrong. He thrives on praise but I worry that just reinforces his need for external confirmation that he's doing OK. I want him to know that from inside himself because he's a lovely boy and really kind and caring.

kilmuir Sat 07-Jan-17 15:31:46

He is allowed extra time and for some work they are allowing an I pad.
He has begun a Beat Dyslexia scheme. Not sure I agree with title as can't be cured .
As a parent I have read up loads following the educational report. We have different strategies at home to deal with lack of organisation. We have produced our own laminated sheets for stuff. Before I used to get very frustrated

Lazybeans50 Sat 07-Jan-17 15:38:12

have you thought about trying a tutor that specialises in SEN/dyslexia? Having a one to one session with a specialist tutor once a week has made a big difference to my dyspraxic and mildly dyslexic DS. She's really helped with his spelling and study skills and also given him a big boost with his confidence. Wish I had started it when he was younger. As long as they can achieve an 'average' level despite their SpLD, it can be very difficult to get the additional support they need from school.

Namechangenurseryconcerns Sat 07-Jan-17 15:44:48

She sounds pretty normal for year 4 to me. Sounds like both you and school have high expectations which is great but she may just not like English and writing as much as other subjects

CoraPirbright Sat 07-Jan-17 15:54:59

Where are you OP? We had an ed psych report done recently and it wasn't 800, more like 400/500. The school should be offering you more help on this - do they have a senco or a small department for this? Most schools do nowadays unless you are stuck at a school like ours who still considers dyslexia as similar to fairies and the Loch Ness monster! Some other private preps local to us have departments with 6/7 permanent staff!

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 15:59:43

Lazybean where did you find a specialist tutor - where did you begin looking?

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 16:00:40

We are in West London. The school doesn't really support children with dyslexia - they tend to leave unless it's mild then they help with an addt class. There is one specialist teacher.

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 16:17:40

A small bump ... anyone else out there that can give me some advice on how to help with English struggles

Lazybeans50 Sat 07-Jan-17 16:17:41

We went to an educational psychologist first as school were saying no to additional support as he was just average/not good at English etc. despite dyspraxia diagnosis in yr 2. She diagnosed the additional dyslexic type problems and suggested a few tutors to us who she had worked with before.

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 16:22:33

Thank you. It seems we need to have the assessment done or forever wonder.

Ele13 Sat 07-Jan-17 17:00:48

I would also say that the teacher telling her to reading different genres etc wouldn't concern me majorly. My teachers used to tell my parents this when I was little, and that I didn't challenge myself enough, when this really hasn't caused any long term problems at all - I got As or A*s in every exam I sat.

The other side of that was that although I didn't read a vast breadth of books, I was probably reading 10-20 per week at the age of 8. (I was quite an odd child.)

I guess it really depends how long they spend reading - do they have a period before bed when reading is the only available entertainment option? Might make it a bit more appealing, and practice at everything helps you improve.

Good luck, and hope you can get something sorted for DD as it makes such a difference if/when you have a diagnosis (I'm not dyslexic, but have a long term illness) - forces people to make some adjustments!

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 17:29:24

Thanks. I do feel slightly the teacher thinks we do no reading at home. I have read to DD almost every single night since she was newborn. Usually 2 books and at least 20 mins. She also reads most nights to herself and it's either reading in bed or lights out.

MrsMattBomer Sat 07-Jan-17 18:14:39

Yes, I would get in contact with school and see what help is available to him. I'd also look at getting a specialist SEN tutor. I would think your DD would be entitled to a dedicated TA to help her.

Seryph Sat 07-Jan-17 18:20:08

I would suggest getting her out of the private school system, or at least that school, it is clearly having a real effect on her self confidence and self belief.
She is obviously receiving no help and the school sound as though they aren't interested in supporting her properly.

I am dyslexic, and dyspraxic. Some of what you are saying does sound familiar, but as a teacher I know that there are children who do not have SEN who will be in the same situation as your daughter academically.

You say she has attempted more complex books (Harry Potter), but there's lots of words she doesn't understand. What do you do when she stumbles across these kind of words? What systems does she use for learning new words, or concepts?

I recommend getting her a good children's encyclopedia, dictionary and thesaurus (and a copy of an adult one for the house) and encourage her to use them rather than give up if she doesn't know a word.

For written work at home, could she dictate to you, and you scribe then she can copy it up? Or get her a Dictaphone to use. Get her to practice any kind of writing, like your shopping lists.

I certainly wouldn't be worried about missing out the 'r' in birthday at 8, I still do that as an adult if I'm not paying attention. Don't make a big deal out of spellings and that, and reassure her that she isn't bad at English (or whatever it is that school is telling her), that everyone learns these things at different speeds.

Find new ways to practice spellings (though research has shown that spelling lists/tests do nothing to teach children to spell). My mum used to chase me around the living room, if we got one right we changed direction, wrong and I got tickled. At least it was fun, and we just didn't put any pressure on my spellings. It was a thing that had to be done. As it happens, my spelling was dire even into my teens, but in my twenties I made it through an English Language degree with honours.

I would seriously rethink the school, and yes look into getting her to see an OT or educational psychologist as well.

junebirthdaygirl Sat 07-Jan-17 19:04:47

I'm a teacher and a lot of my work is with children who are dyslexic. Your dd has a lot of signs of dyslexia. Usually children present to be very bright, articulate ( good oral answers) and interested but their work doesn't measure up. Also they find it difficult to copy directly as keep missing their place so leave out bits ( misquoting text). As reading is difficult for them they memorise a lot and don't look back to find the proper answers. They can also suffer from poor concentration ( chat in class).
I think that teacher needs to think outside the box where your dd is concerned. For that reason l would get an assessment done if at all possible. What l find is that children with dyslexia work best and achieve most in an environment where someone understands their difficulties and acknowledges that they are trying very hard. Anxiety plays a a huge part in limited success so removing that anxiety frees them to learn.
One final thing l have found is that they often perform very well on stage but poor memory is an issue so that could make her nervous.
I wouldn't leave this, most especially because of the nature of the teachers assessment of her.

Greensandblue Sat 07-Jan-17 20:03:05

Thank you Seryth and Junegirl, really helpful points.

I have jotted down her verbal answers before and let her copy (we did some of this in Y2) but I felt I may not be helping her out by doing this all the time. She still has to do it alone at school.

I do feel saddened by the teacher's assessment of her as she is not a child who doesn't bother trying. She really does try her best.

When she comes across a word she doesn't understand she asks me and I explain the meaning, and use the word in a sentence then ask her to make up a sentence so that I can be sure she has understood. She has a children's dictionary/encyclopedia in one but is reluctant to use it - she doesn't want to stop reading all the time to look up words which I can understand.

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