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DS7 can read ok but spelling is awful. Dyslexia?

(28 Posts)
Amphisbaena Wed 27-Nov-13 11:59:27

He is bright, interested in everything, writes with lovely ideas and vocab, but has dreadful handwriting and spelling. I thought that dyslexics struggled with reading too, or is this not always the case? TIA for any comments.

Amphisbaena Wed 27-Nov-13 12:05:59

After thought - he is really struggling to learn his times tables at the mo too. Is this a dyslexia trait?

smee Wed 27-Nov-13 12:57:03

Not an expert, but my DS is dyslexic, v.good reader (L4 by end of yr4), but his hand writing's pretty illegible and spellings are woeful. Also struggles with times tables.

Does your son reverse letters still?l That was a big give away with mine. We were told v.firmly by the school in Yr3 that he was dyslexic and they were right! If your son's just 7 though, that's still v.young so he might just be developing his writing, etc at a different rate to his reading. Can happen.

Amphisbaena Wed 27-Nov-13 13:11:21

Yes he does reversals of letters. Also, will read 180 as 108 so does it with numbers too. I have realised I was talking rubbish about him being 7 I'm afraid blush he was 8 last week! He is year 3 basically. His teachers keep mentioning dyslexia but then say no, his reading is too good. (Tho to my mind its ok rather than good IYKWIM.)

The thing that concerns me is that there is such a big disparity between his verbal intelligence and what he is able to express on paper, so I'm looking at trying to find ways of helping him more at home with things like spelling and tables. Thanks for your answer, sounds like he may well be dyslexic.

NewBlueShoesToo Wed 27-Nov-13 13:21:38

My son is a bright dyslexic. He can read well too. I think some children can almost cover up their dyslexia but there are clues , like having to rote learn every spelling.
Does he struggle to order things or remember lists? Not mathematically. For example "Get your coat , then your shoes, brush your hair, don't forget your swim kit". Or saying words with lots of syllables.
If I were you I would ask your teachers to do a computerised dyslexia test but also a CAT test which measures IQ.
Good luck

Ilisten2thesoundofdrums Wed 27-Nov-13 13:22:28

My DD has an above average reading age but is dyslexic.
Her spelling is woeful (for easy words but weirdly some of the more complex ones are spelt correctly). She has an eye tracking problem and so often reads words from further down the page in the middle of the current sentence if asked to read out loud but her comprehension is good if reading in her head.
She is good at maths but can't do mental maths as she can't hold the numbers in her head long enough, and has still not really managed to properly learn her time tables (yr6)
So yes it is possible it could be dyslexia.
There is a screening test the SENCO can so which will show if your DS is at risk of dyslexia although its not a full assessment and diagnosis

MerryMarigold Wed 27-Nov-13 13:27:37

My ds has some of these traits (he is also Y3 and was 8 last week!) but hasn't had dyslexia diagnosed yet. He has terrible trouble with times tables and forgets one as soon as he moves onto the next one. He cannot tell the time despite having a clock in his room for several years and going over it many times. He cannot do joined up and forms many of his letters incorrectly.

He was a bit late reading and had dreadful trouble with phonics, so I guess it depends how reading was taught to him. Once he started recognising words, it improved, but he is still not on a very high level. His spelling is not bad when it comes to spelling tests (which have just started the past 3 weeks - 6 words a week), but when he is concentrating on what he is writing (ie. the sentences) it tends to go pear shaped. He also struggles with full stops and capital letters. Our school has a lot of special needs, including a majority of English as Second Language so they haven't really picked up anything regarding dyslexia though I've had suspicions for a while. I'd be interested what your school say or if you get a diagnosis.

writingquestion Wed 27-Nov-13 13:31:13

My son is six and reverses letters still, reverses numbers eg reads 108 as 180, misses words when reading will often reverse letters when reading so might read pot as top. Cannot remember a list of instructions. I had assumed this was just his age but might keep an eye on it just in case.

MerryMarigold Wed 27-Nov-13 13:33:59

Oh my goodness! Instructions! Only 1 at a time.

One thing I did was some research on Tinsley House stuff. I haven't had a consultation there, but (from reading both books) realised there was a lot of overlap with my ds - (indications of dyspraxia, dyslexia and adhd). I have started him on supplements and watch his diet carefully. His symptoms do seem to be improving. I think the dyslexia diagnosis can only go so far, but actually dealing with the problem is more effective. Have a look on the website and this book.

Amphisbaena Wed 27-Nov-13 14:13:14

Interesting. Thanks for all the comments. Might ask the school to do a screening, tho I don't think they feel he is weak enough over all (ie he is an under achiever rather than an all out struggler, IYKWIM) Part of me doesn't want to label him, yet I'm also aware that once you start googling dyslexia there are some amazing resources out there, so if he was diagnosed dyslexic clearly there is stuff I can do at home.

Merry - out of interest what are you watching with regard to diet? DS has always been incredibly fussy so I doubt his diet is brilliant.

smee Wed 27-Nov-13 14:22:07

Sounds like the main thing to do is to push for a proper assessment. By which I mean a full Ed Psych consult. Some schools are better at that than others. Ours was great about saying our DS needed assessing, but couldn't tell us when it might happen as it was reliant on the LA Ed Psych coming round and that could have taken 2 terms. We ended up paying for a private assessment through Dyslexia Action.

Bit of warning though, as getting a diagnosis means very little to some schools. What it does give you is evidence that he has a specific learning disability and through that you can push for targeted help. Also psychologically just knowing he's dyslexic has really helped my DS. He was starting to think he was stupid, but now he knows that his brain's just wired a bit differently.

You have to tell that teacher that lots of dyslexics can read well. That shows a shameful lack of awareness!

MerryMarigold Wed 27-Nov-13 15:07:10

Oh my goodness, ds1 is very fussy and controlling with food, and gradually getting worse, I think. Eg. He has always liked chilli con carne and rice, so the other day I had some left over and I served it a few days later with jacket pot and cheese. It was NOT acceptable. He likes Jacket pots but has to be with tuna or cheese. hmm There are foods he was eating recently (home made fish cakes, spaghetti bol, chilli) which he doesn't like anymore, so it is becoming harder and this is a big issue at the moment. Mealtimes are prolonged. He is ok with veg - a limited range, if they are plain boiled/ steamed and not mixed in a sauce. I have to puree all sauces as he would not eat a piece of onion or carrot in a sauce. Since he went to Y3 Junior School he is tending to just take a sandwich at school dinners as these are on offer (they weren't in Infants) and has become more fussy at home. He is moaning now about fish cakes, spag bol and chilli which were 3 of his staples (there used to be about 7 meals he would eat). The difficulty is he has a poor appetite and could quite easily go several days without a main meal if I do the 'take it or leave it' technique (which I do once a week on a 'not one of his favourites' meal). He will quite happily not eat but it is accompanied by terrible behaviour. My other 2 kids eat quite well so I know it is not what I've done!

With food, I am checking more on the additives (as per the books I mentioned) on things like fish fingers colourings and generally avoiding colours and pre-made food (eg. make my own pizza/ potato wedges). We have fish fingers once a week max (this is one of his favourites). I have tried to cut his intake of sweet stuff as they have a dessert at school, so no dessert in the evening and nothing sweet after school just fruit or a rice cake. We are trying to have new vegetable every month and he discovered he liked mange tout which was brilliant! (Pumpkin and red pepper not so much). Breakfast is a big one. No cereals basically. Trying to get him onto a savoury brekkie but not working yet - though he will have a bacon sarnie at the weekend. He has porridge, or berries/ yoghurt/ granola or a sri lankan breakfast I make with rice flour and coconut. I am giving him a multi vit, a fish oil supplement and zinc supplement.

DS1 was recently assessed and diagnosed with Dyslexia

Reading - 2.5 years ahead of age
Maths - 2.5 yrs ahead of age
Spelling - 1 year behind age
Phonological skills - 1.5 years behind age (e.g. if you have the word Strain and you take the r sound out what word is left)

It was the 3-4 year gap between his skill sets that was one of the key factors. He also has fine motor skills issues with writing so a laptop has been recommended for the longer term.

If your DS seems brighter than the work he is putting down on paper then get it checked.

smee Wed 27-Nov-13 17:48:44

We were told similar to Chaz - I've heard lots of people call it a spiky profile, so anything where there's a big drop between one ability and another denotes a problem.

Aggadoo Wed 27-Nov-13 19:09:11

Amphisbaena your DS sounds like mine... He is 8 in yr 3. My DS has not been diagnosed, his reading is ok, he's in the lower group in his class but is apparently not the worst reader in the class, his spelling is very bad although what he attempts to write is very descriptive. He is VERY imaginative and is in his own little world most of the time. His maths is also quite bad, can go over a sum a number of times then ask him the next day and he doesn't remember, his teacher and I suspect dyscalculia , however there is no test for this. For a long time I thought his concentration was just bad and it was just his age but am now thinking otherwise - he also struggles to remember instructions. We have come across a way of remembering the times tables - make a grid 5 boxes across and 3 down. Write the answers of say the 3 times tables from left to right , so first box top left is 3 , next across is 6, next is 9 etc. You will see number patterns ie : all numbers in 2nd column are/ end in 6 or 1. From what I've gathered and as others have said you need to push school for diagnosis but also do lots of support work yourself.

bruffin Wed 27-Nov-13 19:37:21

Ds 18 is the same. He never had an official diagnosis but it has never stopped him getting one to one help or extra time for gcses or a levels Primary school recognised he was very bright and needed extra help to reach his full potential They said if he was all round average he wouldnt have had the help. He had tests for gcse and then again in 6th form and he was given extra time for his exams.

I wouldnt bother paying money to places like Tinsley House . They trade on natural developmental improvements and claim them as their own. Do your research.
Ds memory has improved over the years with no expensive interventions. Ds still has problems but it hasnt stopped him getting an engineering 6th form scholarship or being in top sets all the way through secondary school.

Shootingatpigeons Wed 27-Nov-13 20:20:47

I would just second Bruffin. My DD2 was formally diagnosed in Year 5 but we had seen the signs (it runs in the family) from very early on and she had intensive intervention to help her with reading writing and spelling in Year 2 from a brilliant SEN teacher that got her to the average. Then my older DD was diagnosed, out of the blue more or less, aged 14. She has a photographic memory so learnt to read with look see and word cards well ahead of the class and has always been at the top of the class academically but a wise teacher spotted there was something more there and it turned out her auditory memory and processing were way below what they should be for her level of ability (auditory memory in the bottom 10% of the population) it didn't really become a problem until she reached uni where they provide her with equipment to help her put all the complex information from lectures etc. into useable notes and she has extra time in exams. Specific learning Difficulties including Dyslexia are a spectrum of problems with working memory, processing, motor control, sensory overload etc etc which manifest themselves in all sorts of ways, of which problems with reading spelling and writing are just some. You might like to see my DD2s bedroom for evidence of one other, devastation disorganisation shock

Do not worry about labels. What a diagnosis does is to give you a complete picture of your DCS strengths and weaknesses so that you can get them the support they need and help them with coping strategies including knowing they are not "slow" or "stupid". As smee says the teaching profession cannot be relied on to understand and do what is best so it gives you the ammunition to make sure that happens.

And Dyslexia occurs in 10% of the population regardless of ability so a pupil achieving above average is not an excuse to do nothing, they may still not be achieving their potential as they could be doing with the right help.

I am just going through the university admissions process with my second daughter, not only is the label not at all a problem, but Universities are in general, much much better at understanding and supporting SpLDs than schools. It tends to be then that the strengths in the way you think, holistically, creatively etc. kick in. Both my DDs got good offers, entirely appropriate to their ability and hard work.

Shootingatpigeons Wed 27-Nov-13 20:26:55

I also groaned at the mention of Tinsley House. There is some evidence that Omega 3 and 6 (EPA) may and a cheap supplement won't harm (they get more expensive in direct correlation with their shiny packaging showing claims for the effect on IQ so avoid those). However it is no substitute for the sheer hard work of implementing the coping strategies and working with your DC in ways that suit their learning style.

Mrsmindcontrol Wed 27-Nov-13 21:01:28

I've been googling dyslexia symptoms this week for exactly the same reasons. My DS2 is 6, is a fairly good reader but his handwriting & spelling is no better now than when he was yrR.
He simply doesn't 'get' phonics in any way, shape or form.
He reverses numbers & letters but understands maths very well.

When he reads to me, he misses out most connective words & has terrible trouble keeping his place.

He is very very clumsy & is currently sporting a black eye & scraped nose from 2 separate incidents of walking into things yesterday.

I'm seeing his teacher tomorrow to discuss things as he is struggling so badly to learn this weeks spellings. For example, trying to spell the word 'usual', he cannot get past the fact that it doesn't begin with 'w'.

I'm going to ask for them to take him through dyslexia screening.

MerryMarigold Thu 28-Nov-13 12:09:26

It's strange that he struggles with phonics and yet wants to spell 'usual' starting with a 'y' (am assuming not a 'w'). I think this is a very hard word for Y1, but that's my opinion.

My ds at 6 was doing the reversing a lot, and it has improved significantly, but may indicate something 'deeper'.

bruffin Thu 28-Nov-13 12:27:26


DS used to use a ruler to keep his place in a book. It was something he came up with himself but it worked. FWIW his reading really clicked in yr 2 when he was 7.

Dyslexia can be linked to the inability to correctly process the sounds in words so children can make some slightly bizarre mistakes.

Has he learnt the letter name for w instead of the sound it makes. If he has the letter name "double you" stuck in his head you can see why be might think usual begins with a w because of the link with the "you" sound. When you think about it his mistake is sort of logical especially if he has learn "u" as "uh" but "w" as "double you"; in that scenario the "w" sound appears closer to the start of usual than the "u".

This book is good

MerryMarigold Thu 28-Nov-13 12:52:58

Also a 'w' is basically a 'u' with an extra bit on it and usual has a 'w' sound in the middle 'you-szhu-wull'.

I still think 'usual' is hard word to be learning in the first term of Y1.

Mrsmindcontrol Thu 28-Nov-13 14:29:28

Just caught up on these. DS2 is actually yr2. I have no idea why he thought usual began with a 'w'. Not from trying to sound it out. I really think sometimes he randomly picks letters hoping they'll be right with no basis in fact.

Another example- television. He got 'tel' after some promoting but really couldn't get beyond that no matter how hard he tried. He couldn't deconstruct the word to even try to begin to sound it out bit by bit.

The ruler idea when reading is an excellent one, I'll try that one with him. Thank you.

DS2 is dyslexic as well and in Yr2 and he does make some quite random mistakes and guesses a fair bit. I sometimes find myself saying "so can you point to the "b" in grape as I can't find it" after some totally random guess. It is a feature of dyslexia that they can't always split out the sounds that make up a word. A good structured phonics programme should help with that.

Television is quite a tough word - Teleevizhun?

He may stop trying because he knows he is not sure and doesn't want to make a mistake. They can start to get a bit self conscious and notice that other children find it easier.

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