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Is this dyslexia, or something else?

(10 Posts)
Wallywobbles Thu 20-Oct-16 15:43:11

Please can someone help with this, it's really getting my DP down, and I really don't want my DSS confidence to get crushed. I slightly feel this is the last year we have to sort this out before it becomes debilitating at school.

Not in the UK, but in France, so not hugely different system I hope, but the language in question is French.

My French DSS has just started a new school along with our 3 other kids. He is nearly 8 but is young (in age) for his year. After about 3 weeks at the new school, they have asked for him to see a speech therapist as he is clearly having difficulties. I think it is just the first step in France for discovering the cause of the problem.

We have all just started living together (after 3 years together) and as my side are sporty, my DSD and DSS are just starting to do sports. This is mostly proving to be a good thing, building confidence etc, but also highlights the differences a bit too. Historically he has awful eyesight but has always had glasses. Hearing is fine, although never been tested.

Issues for my DSS are:
Cannot remember how to spell vocabulary - we are now on the same list of 60 words for the third year running.
The words he "learnt" yesterday, are forgotten today.
Difficulties in identifying the "sounds" in words in order to write them.
He is not particularly verbal (possibly made worse by our 3 extremely verbal DDs). He would rather point than speak. This is seriously discouraged.
He reads very very slowly, phonetically sounding out the syllables , but so slowly that there is no sense to the sentences.
When I talk to him I often feel like he is not absorbing what I'm saying. My sister says the same thing. This is when we are talking French, so it's not an actual language barrier.
If I say something like chocolate in English, he cannot make the leap to that being chocolat in French, likewise table or any other word with an identical root and similar pronunciation.
Cannot identify a doing word - which brings another load of issues.
When he is trying to remember how to write a word his eyes don't do that rapid side to side thing (that my DD's do).

Still can't learn his 2x table, or any other.
Generally maths is fine, but very much done on his fingers.

We suspect he is really left handed, but he chose to write right handed.
Difficulties in arm to leg co-ordination left/right in judo.
Always looks at his feet.
His hand eye co-ordination is pretty shit for ball sports. Archery seems better, but I don't think we've done enough of it to really know.

Quite good at DIY - does a lot with his Dad.
He can learn a poem.
He can use a dictionary quite effectively.
He is very imaginative, finds solutions (not necessarily useful ones but lots of them), sees a piece of wood has 50 ideas for how to use it.
Very willing to help with any manual task, like laying the table and does it well.
Will try to do some writing etc without being asked, but cannot integrate what he has just "learnt". Likes to try and write stories. But they are so phonetic that they are difficult to understand.

We would be really grateful for any help with this. If it's not dyslexia what might it be?

LIZS Thu 20-Oct-16 15:56:24

Sounds like he may have processing issues, the range is pretty wide from being unable to follow and remember a series of instructions (auditory) , following a line of text (visual) , dislike of noise and bustle (sensory) to lacking an awareness of movement (spatial) and hand/eye coordination (motor). Working memory may be problematic despite being intelligent.

The first thing worth doing is checking hearing and vision (not just sight but tracking too) . From then it might be worth asking an occupational therapist ( might be called something different in France) to assess and recommend exercises and activities, and possibly an Ed Psych. Dyspraxia might be worth considering , you could look at the Dyspraxia Foundation website to see how many traits you can identify and suggestions for working on them, although ultimately various conditions can exhibit a common pattern of issues.

Wallywobbles Thu 20-Oct-16 16:03:31

Thanks LIZS that's very helpful. I'm just starting to work my way through some resources. Up to now, I've not dealt with his education at all, and wasn't really aware of a lot of his issues. But since living together I've been more involved and in a couple of 10 minute sessions with him, the issues have been leaping out at me.

This book might help

Its written by child pyschologists and covers a range of processing disorders.

For example the pointing rather than speaking may be a Specific Language Impairment

It is not uncommon for a child to have more than one processing / communication problem. e.g. my eldest has dyslexia but also has problems with his handwriting so is classed as having dygraphia.

Usernamealreadyexists Thu 27-Oct-16 13:18:27

I too would say processing issues with possible dyspraxic tendencies. What are his social skills like?

Usernamealreadyexists Thu 27-Oct-16 13:21:02

Liz's post is spot on. Sounds like you need an Ed Psych, SLT and OT on board.

SaltyMyDear Thu 27-Oct-16 13:23:18

Absolutely dyslexia plus other issues. Dyspraxia? Speech?

pretty much everyone with dyslexia also has other issues (often ADHD, dyspraxia or speech)

The difficulty identifying sounds in words is called the phonological deficit and is a key indicator of dyslexia.

Wallywobbles Thu 27-Oct-16 16:14:53

It took him a long time to add r into words but no obvious pronunciation issues now. He's chatty on a one on one with anyone but not in a group.

Wallywobbles Thu 27-Oct-16 16:20:19

An example might be the word "beau" in French which is pronounced "bo" he might write it bau as "au" is also pronounced "o".

And this might be following him having learnt the word every week for 2 years.

One thing that my DC have learnt specifically is the different combinations of letters that can make the same sound (see and key) or where the same combination makes a different sound (cough and through). This is a significant problem in English. Otherwise they would latch on to one way of making the sound and stick to it. I wonder if that is something your DS would benefit from.

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