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over reaction to dyslexia -any advise welcome

(132 Posts)
bejeezus Fri 24-Jun-11 18:22:23

my dd is in year 1. She is very bright and enthusiastic about school and learning new things. She has struggled with reading and 'sounds' and is not interested in practicing. Today her teacher told me they are quite sure she is dyslexic. She is already getting extra help in class and is taken out of class. They said she will get more help. They said she has problems with symbol recognition. She has apparently developed good coping skills.

Ridiculously, I cried. I feel inexplicably really upset about it. I dont know why really. I dont want her to struggle and loose interest in education but I was never determined that she would be a lawyer or a doctor or anything.

I need to read about dyslexia but wondered if any of you have any experience/ advice;

what DOES it ACTUALLY mean for her life?

are there personality traits associated with dyslexia?

is it a given that she will not do well academically?

is it stigmatised? do your kids get picked on for being dyslexic?

in some ways, I feel a bit relieved-it is explains quite a lot

bejeezus Fri 24-Jun-11 18:23:50

lol- advice not advise

Peachy Fri 24-Jun-11 18:26:14

Why isit ridiculous to cry? I am quite sure when the boys are 34 I shall still cry when they hit bad luck! Secretly, mind.

Dyslexia is hugely variable. It can incolve short term memory issue and that can affect self esteem which can relate to personality issues such as tantrums.... OTOH people can remain very sunny and cope wonderfully. She is enthusiastic, that's a great sign!


PonceyMcPonce Fri 24-Jun-11 18:28:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumatron Fri 24-Jun-11 18:29:15

i cried when ds ds was finally assessed as dyslexic.

for us it just meant that he got extra help. he has come on really well in the last 2 years.

i'm not aware of any character traits specifically linked to dyslexia, there's nothing i can think of with ds.

he has issues with poor memory too and he finds that more frustrating than the dyslexia.

he has not had any issues with bullying. he is only 10 and there are a few with it in the school so it's fairly normalised.

hmc Fri 24-Jun-11 18:34:20

what DOES it ACTUALLY mean for her life?
I think it depends on her personality, the severity of her dyslexia etc. Many successful dyslexic movers and shakers out there (Richard Branson, Eddie Izzard, Orlando Bloom, that Tara Tointon girl (name might be a bit wrong) who did a brilliant documentary on her dyslexia btw ....etc etc)

are there personality traits associated with dyslexia?
I have a dyslexic child but am not a well read 'authority' on it...there are however different types of dyslexia. There are certain traits that are common - some difficulties with personal organisation etc

is it a given that she will not do well academically?
Not a given - some dyslexics are very successful academically - but lets be pragmatic about it, I personally believe it makes some careers somewhat unlikely. Can't see dd ever being a barrister and combing through swathes of written information or being a doctor (likewise), although there are doctors etc with dyslexia

is it stigmatised? do your kids get picked on for being dyslexic?
No - she hasn't been picked on, not once! She is in Y4
Yes it is stigmatised by society in general. Just you notice how many ignorant twunts on mumsnet pull other posters up on spelling and assume that mispelling equates with stupidity. That's a common societal prejudice imo - can't spell = thick sad

Incidentally - dd reads very well now. Spelling is still to shit though, and probably always will be, also can't memorise times tables (problems with working memory)

hmc Fri 24-Jun-11 18:37:46

I have great confidence that dd will do well in life however. She is warm, has integrity, is compassionate and sensitive and people really respond positively to her - she's popular. Being popular helps with progress in life as much as a fabulous academic record

hmc Fri 24-Jun-11 18:38:34

So what I mean is - your dd probably also has many strengths beyond the narrow parameters of literacy?

hmc Fri 24-Jun-11 18:40:19

thingsabeachanging Fri 24-Jun-11 18:46:29

My husband is severely dyslexic and it has affected his confidence.

My opinion of him is that he is far smarter than me, despite my 2 degrees. He has developed coping strategies which enable him to lead a good life, excel at a decently paid job and read his child bed time stories! All things he never thought he would be able to do.

I think confidence and reassurance is the key and I am sure you will do brilliantly providing your dd with both.

bejeezus Fri 24-Jun-11 18:47:53

thanks everyone--lovely advice

shes definitely scatty! she is popular and fit and sporty. Also really creative-loves arty stuff and 'sticking and gluing'

hmc-youre right, you're right-she does have lots of strengths and literacy is just a small part of life. I need some perspective. It just feels huge right now

thanks for the link

bejeezus Fri 24-Jun-11 18:50:46

loving that Eddie Izzard can be her role model grin I love him

horsemadmom Fri 24-Jun-11 19:09:56

Please don't worry but don't delay having her tested. They can test at 6. Get an ed psych report and have her tested by a behavioural optometrist. Quite often binocular instability is to blame- the eyes seeing two different images. My DD is in yr 4, has extra help with the SENCO and is at a VERY academic school. The sooner she learns coping techniques, the faster it won't be a factor in her learning. There are many different types of dyslexia and all have their own characteristics. Find out which, if any, your DD has and the Ed Psych and behavioural optometrist can help.
You might want to explain to DD that you think (not that you are worried) that her brain may be wired differently to some other people and it may be harder work for her to learn to read because of it. So you are going to take her to see someone who knows about brain wiring and rewiring. Then rattle off a list of famous dyslexic people. I heard that the architect Richard Rogers only hires dyslexics because they don't think in a linear way.
Good luck!

cory Fri 24-Jun-11 19:19:26

As a university teacher I see one or two dyslexic students every year even in my own limited tutor groups, so definitely not a given that all academic avenues will be closed to her. Tends to be something universities are very clued up on these days, and where support can make a huge difference. Yes, it means harder work, but not impossible.

mummytime Fri 24-Jun-11 19:25:30

Billy Gates said of his forward planning team at Microsoft, the ones who did all the really creative futuristic stuff; of the seven, six are dyslexic, the other is in denial.
One of the brightest boys I knew at school was dyslexic. There are lots of dyslexics at Oxbridge, as CEO's of companies, and anywhere else you want to look. If you want more advice you could try the BDA helplines of somewhere like being dyslexic

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 24-Jun-11 19:31:28

Dyslexia is an array of specific difficulties that vary widely from individual to individual. So for example above someone has said that their child has an excellent memory. Many dyslexics though have particularly poor memory.

Dyslexia can be completely different for different individuals as it is a blanket term.

You will need to make sure your child has extra support and the danger is that she will feel she is stupid, lose confidence and interest and get switched off from education, so you need to be mindful of this.
It can be hard to come to terms with it if as a parent you are not dyslexic yourself. In my view it is a hard road to travel. My dd was around 2 years behind her school mates in Y3 and is now achieving better than average results in Y6. She is very good at art as are many dyslexic children. She would like an arty job. I suspect she will do better academically in secondary school than in primary but who knows.

With the right help and hard work your child may do very well academically. And if she chooses a different path in life that is not a lesser path. DP and I were scholarship winning kids - I doubt that my dd is ever going to win academic scholarships and I have NO regrets about this - her path through life is different to mine and I truly think it will be a better path. My dd has abilities that I never had as a child and has far more social skills too!

Parents of dyslexic kids need to work hard to help their children, you cannot rely on the school for much ime.

bejeezus Fri 24-Jun-11 20:03:47

horse-she was sent to an optometrist last year-and has glasses (which she takes off as soon as I'm not looking hmm) got 2 different stories about her eyes from 2 different people at the hospital..I didnt push it, just took the glasses. I will ask about a behavioural optometrist and follow this up-thanks.

I did ask the teachers today if I should tell her she is dyslexic so that she knows that there is a reason she finds reading and spelling tricky and she knows that she is not stupid--we talked about that balanced against the danger of labelling and stigmatising her-the teacher is going to speak to the Ed Physch for an opinion of that-I am leaning at this stage towards telling her
mummy and cory lots of reassurance there thanks. Really interested that dyslexics are 'out of box thinkers'. It is something I value very highly-just need a way of expalining it to a 6 year old (or maybe not really necessary-but helps me feel more positive)

thanks for the link

EFA- that is what I really fear- that she will feel stupid/ lack confidence/ fall behind and not reach her potential (what ever that may be). It actually makes me feel really panicky. Your right- I was academically very good and find it really hard to comprehend

I shall indeed be doing all I can to help her--I do feel quite reassured by the school though. Theyve picked this up quickly I think and were supporting her before they realised this was the issue. Also the SEN teacher is 1 of her class teachers AND she has a dyslexic child herself--so maybe we are lucky in this respect?

bejeezus Fri 24-Jun-11 20:05:21

do you think its good to focus on art/ sport etc to take the pressure off?

or do you think you need to focus on the literacy/ numeracy which is harder for them so that they can over come it?

balance of both probably??

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 24-Jun-11 23:55:36

Tell her about dyslexia and this will allow her to rationalise why stuff is hard for her not because she is stupid. Show her high achieving dyslexics in every day life eg keira knghtley etc

value her achievements in other stuff, but you have to get the basics of literacy and numeracy in there as soon as you can and this will be very hard work. Your school sound far better than ours is. Private tutoring is a boost if you can stretch to it.

EssentialFattyAcid Fri 24-Jun-11 23:58:30

I suggest you find out if she has an auditory processing problem. The more you find out exactly what her problems are the better you can help her.

zippy539 Sat 25-Jun-11 00:43:09

bejeezus sorry you are going through this. I too cried the day ds was diagnosed. But for him it was the BEST day in his life. He'd been losing confidence steadily and was starting to think he was stupid but part of the psychologist's test was an IQ test that put him in the top 2% of the population for intelligence and that meant the world to him. I don't care if the test was bollocks (I do have issues with intelligence testing) but for a nine-year old lad who thought he was the thickest in his class because he couldn't spell simple words it was a huge confidence boost and it might be the same for your daughter (though she's still young so probably hasn't developed the issues that the DS did).

what DOES it ACTUALLY mean for her life? It means that she will struggle with some things that come naturally to other kids. DS has got a grip on reading but his spelling will always be crap. However there has never been a better time to be a crap speller (technology) and tbh I'm more worried about ds's problems with organising himself /his work/his life. But none of these things are unfixable - I have strong dyslexic traits (crap at time keeping, numbers, remembering appointments/dates) but I have learnt coping strategies - I put everything on a calender in my phone, set alert reminders etc. As a result I'm a lot more organised than many of my NT friends - it's a matter of working out strategies which is only what everyone has to do in life! Obviously your dd's particular issues might be different but in most cases there are compensating strategies.

are there personality traits associated with dyslexia? It varies from person to person. For example DS, bless him, is a complete space cadet when it comes to personal organisation but he is hugely creative and incredibly non-judgemental (which I put down to my excellent parenting grin and him now understanding that not all folk are created equal in the ability stakes). I reckon the key thing is to work on your dd's self confidence - to me that's the key difference between happy and sad dyslexics - confidence. It's a bit of a side issue but number problems (IMO) can be more of an issue that the reading/spelling side when it comes to getting by in the real world. I know a lot of dyslexic's who are crap with money/financial planning so that might be something to work on from an early age cause it does have major ramifications in adulthood.

is it a given that she will not do well academically? No. See above. The fact that the school has picked up on this so early is a good thing so hopefully they will be able to provide good support. However, as another poster said, don't assume that the school will be able to provide everything that your daughter needs. DS goes to a good state primary but budget cuts etc have meant inadequate support and he continues to struggle to the extent that we have taken the decision to pull him out of mainstream for a couple of years and send him to a specialist school.

is it stigmatised? do your kids get picked on for being dyslexic. Initially DS had the piss taken out of him by his bright pals because of his spelling/reading. But since he got a proper diagnosis they've calmed down and now see his dyslexia as rather cool - as does he. hmm Since DS got diagnosed I've mentioned it to a lot of people I work with and am STUNNED by how many of them are dyslexic themselves. I work in a creative field and there is def no stigma attached to being dyslexic - quite the reverse. HOWEVER I wouldn't want to paint a false picture - in some fields it will obviously be an issue depending on your dd's particular profile.

Take things a day at a time - get a good assessment for you dd so you know what her particular issues are and then take it from there. Once you've got the facts as they pertain to your daughter things will become a lot clearer. smile

electra44 Sat 25-Jun-11 11:01:05

I think EssentialFattyAcid's advice is excellent. Dyslexia is such a catch-all term for a child who is having difficulties, and the range of causes of these problems is wide. My children's school no longer allows the term dyslexia as is it too non-specific. Instead it is important to find out what is going on to cause problems for your little one as it is very possible that it might be sorted without too much difficulty and help can and should be speciffically targeted. She is still very young. good luck.

jugglingwiththreeshoes Sat 25-Jun-11 11:19:11

My DD has mild dyslexia.
Her reading and writing path has followed a different "trajectory" (if you follow me) than the bog-standard school expectations.
That is, she struggled compared to her peers in the early years of Primary. Concerns from school were at their greatest in years 1 - 3. But in Years 4, 5 &6 she began to catch up and overtake some of her peers, finishing at Level 5 or somesuch.
Now at secondary school she's doing very well, though still has idiosynchratic spelling, and takes a little longer in tests than some.
Does find organising a little challenging (as do I - I think I may have ADD, which I've heard can be related)
Is very creative - loves her art !
Has written some lovely poems too !
Good luck. Keep your own sense of perspective with your dd !

bejeezus Sat 25-Jun-11 11:25:05

thanks for replying

electra the school told me it is no longer called Dyslexia, but Specific Learning Difficulties (I think? now I think about it-she might hve said Specific Special Educational Needs?). I prefer 'Dyslexia' as a discriptor for my dd I think

I am still struggling with my reaction to this--i feel ridiculous. I feel so sorry for her and really protective-its only dyslexia fgs-its not painful is it? hmm

bejeezus Sat 25-Jun-11 11:27:26

do dyslexic people become teachers? is she likely to come across a dyslexic teacher?

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