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Mirroring numbers and letters

(21 Posts)
Labtest7 Mon 23-Jun-14 20:07:18

My daughter is almost 7 and a half yet still mirrors certain numbers and letters. She is in year 2 but has missed a lot of school due to being diagnosed with leukaemia in nursery. Her treatment finished at the beginning of year2. Because she hates school her consultant referred her to an educational psychologist and her IQ was assessed as very high. It was broken down into sections but verbal reasoning was 160 and non verbal 120. Processing speed was below average and we were informed this was a common consequence of chemo particularly the chemo that was injected into her spinal fluid. Like I said she hates school, struggles with handwriting and is only average in maths. The maths, I believe, is genetic and doesn't particularly concern me but I am concerned with the mirroring of letters and numbers as she seems old to still be doing this. She has been diagnosed as having a sensory processing disorder as well and sits on a wobble cushion at school though I've no idea if this helping. One other thing I've noticed is though she uses her right hand predominantly she doesn't look natural doing so. Cutting, gluing etc all seem to be done very clumsily. She's an excellent reader but has to be forced to pick up a book. My question really is could she be dyslexic despite the advanced reading. Her head teacher says no as her reading is too good but I'm sure you can be a good reader and dyslexic. Thanks in advance for any advice

Safeinourbubble Mon 23-Jun-14 20:42:10

What did the EP report say? That would have picked dyslexia up. Have a read about b and d - it is about direction, rather than dyslexia: How is her spelling? Can she read nonsense words?

It sounds like she has an uneven profile, maybe even dyspraxia, which can make school very hard.

Back to the EP report, did that make recommendations? What does your DD say about school? Does she know why she hates it?

For handwriting DS 1 and 2 have done the "Write from the Start" books. DS2 has improved. And DS1 can word process next year - so Dragondictate here we come! Is she better/happier with technology - ipads are indeed the answer to many problems, unless you lose them.

gardenfeature Tue 24-Jun-14 06:11:21

I think it could be dyslexia. Have a google on "twice exceptional", "stealth dyslexia", "gifted dyslexia". My DS has always seemed to be a good reader - he learned at the average time and his comprehension is excellent. On closer insepection, he cannot read nonsense words and makes small errors and ommissions. He has an excellent memory for words and I think this is how he learnt, rather than the decoding method. His spelling and handwriting is poor, has difficulty with left, right, etc. It took us a long time to realise because like you and the teachers, we thought that he couldn't have dyslexia because his reading was so good.

BucksKid Tue 24-Jun-14 06:20:58

Absolutely could be dyslexia.

Slow processing can also be part of dyslexia.

It's normally called SpLD these days (specific learning difficulty) which gets around the 'but she's a good reader' objection.

She has a spiky profile. There's a massive diff between her verbal and non verbal scores. That by itself indicates SpLd.

And she hates school.

An EP can easily miss SpLD if they haven't been asked to look for it.

I would def assume she has SpLD

Labtest7 Tue 24-Jun-14 07:05:19

Sorry for late post but iPad charger isn't working properly. To answer some questions, her spelling is very good and she got 100% in the year one phonics test so can read nonsense words. It's the appalling handwriting, and mirroring of letters that makes me suspect dyslexia.
The educational psychologist has suggested that she is given extra time to complete written tasks but the school have not put this in place yet as have not received an official copy of the report and apparently cannot act without it. The assessment was very recent and I was informed it can take up to a month to be written up.
I have recently ordered the 'Handwriting Without Tears' course which I am hoping will help to improve things over the summer.
We have never managed to get to the bottom of why she hates school but every morning is an ordeal as she will try anything to avoid going. She has loads of friends and is always invited to their houses so that's not the issue.
The psychologist is going to be working with her for the foreseeable future as she was initially referred due to this school hatred.
She has also been seen by an occupational therapist who diagnosed the sensory processing disorder as she can't keep still and when forced to its as if her brain shuts down. At parents evening I was told she is often in such a deep day dream that shouting her name has no effect. The wobble cushion is meant to help with this as it allows her some sensory input without her kicking her feet, rocking or climbing about on her chair, but like I say this is a new tactic and I'm not sure how effective it has been yet.
Another thing, I am often asked if she is left handed due to how awkward she looks when writing, using scissors etc but she naturally uses her right hand though I did notice that when she had a cannula in her right hand she switched to the left without any problem and I could see very little difference.
She can swim very well and learned to ride a bike with no problems so it seems her issues are with fine motor skills.

bigTillyMint Tue 24-Jun-14 07:13:48

Lots of children still mirror-write/reverse till they are 8 or 9, but it does sounds like there's more to it for your DD. I agree that it sounds like it could be dyslexia or could it be dysgraphia? You might need an OT assessment to diagnose?

Does she hate school because she has to do stuff she doesn't see the point of? Follow rules that she doesn't understand? Want to do things her way, not the teacher/schools way? She may be very good at masking her annoyance in class and doing as she is asked, but inside be hating it IYSWIM!

Labtest7 Tue 24-Jun-14 08:20:00

BigTillyMint, she won't elaborate on why she hates school. I don't even know if there is a specific reason. She's very well behaved in school but as she seems to spend most of the day in a trance doesn't get time to be disruptive. She is quite obsessive though and when she gets interested in something it dominates her thoughts. As an example she recently asked what fractals were ( only because they are mentioned in the song Let It Go from Frozen), I told her and for about a month she has talked about them constantly, googled them and looked for them on fern leaves etc when out walking with us. She did ask her class teacher about fractals and was told to be quiet and get on with her work. although she did exactly as she was told she was annoyed by this. When she attends school at the hospital her teacher uses her interests to teach so quite often Harry Potter will feature in literacy or even maths and she really responds to this (she is also obsessed with Harry Potter), but the hospital school has a couple of pupils per session so its pretty much one to one tuition. Obviously her normal school cannot do this.
One other thing is she recently got moved from the top table as she was not punctuating her work. She knows exactly where the punctuation should go but has told me she doesn't see the point. I'm wondering if this is a maturity thing.

bigTillyMint Tue 24-Jun-14 11:10:09

So she is very bright, is lost in her own thoughts and has some obsessive interests? Also she is quite rigid in her way of thinking and finds it hard to see others point of view? Did the EP report mention any of these things?

I think it would definitely worthwhile to talk about your concerns with the school - the SENCO should be the first port of call - and ask for further investigation/assessment.

Labtest7 Tue 24-Jun-14 11:56:24

The EP only mentioned that during testing she needed to keep prompting her to stay on task as she was drifting off into a world of her own. She is a sociable child and plays well with others and stays engaged then. I realise I've made it sound as though she is on the autistic spectrum but I really don't think she is.

bigTillyMint Tue 24-Jun-14 13:19:40

That is why it would be worth getting some more professional advice! In particular Occupational Therapy if her handwriting is so out of kilter with her academic ability.

She sounds lovely and you are doing the right thing seeking to find out why she is finding things difficult.

gardenfeature Tue 24-Jun-14 17:01:16

Perhaps it's not dyslexia if her spelling and phonological knowledge is so good but still worth checking out as I wouldn't know for sure. It might also be worth contacting Potential Plus because an IQ of 160 is one in 31,560 so that can surely bring with it many issues.

Labtest7 Tue 24-Jun-14 19:16:15

We are still waiting for her follow up appointment with the occupational therapist. I will chase it up.
Gardenfeature, only the verbal reasoning was 160. Her overall IQ isnt that high. We weren't told what that was but I'm guessing it will be 120 and 160 averaged out?
Really as long as she remains in remission everything else is just gravy though I would like it if she didnt have these issues with school.

Labtest7 Tue 24-Jun-14 19:17:13

Thanks gardenfeature. I will take a look at potential plus x

bigTillyMint Tue 24-Jun-14 19:51:12

Yes, Labtest, fingers crossed her good health continuessmile

gardenfeature Tue 24-Jun-14 20:28:18

Lab, I think that when IQ scores are so different, they don't always average them out as the average figure doesn't really tell the real story. A full IQ score would bring up the low scores and bring down the high score to equal a score that does not reflect the full picture. This is probably why they didn't average it out.

Safeinourbubble Tue 24-Jun-14 21:35:47

Back with more questions: can she open packets, bottles, drinks?

What pencil grips has she tried? DS1 has only had some (very, very marginal) success with:

What was the processing speed? Below average means below 100, right? That is a massive difference. Could her zoning out be a way to cope with the effort of processing or to handle the sensory disorder? What are her triggers - noise, light, taste? Or does she not know where her body fits into the world? (that sounds odd - but can she close her eyes and touch her nose: one of mine couldn't). Is there any chance her dislike of reading could be visual? The midline stuff - being able to swop hands - is unusual.

You are right -she is well, she has friends, but it would be so good if she were happy at school. Keep looking for the answers - with you for a Mum, it will all come together but might take more time and more professional help.

Labtest7 Wed 25-Jun-14 06:49:28

Safeinourbubble, funny you should ask about opening bottle etc as she struggles with things like that. For instance she still can't put a straw in cartons that have a ready hole for the straw. The occupational therapist thinks the sensory processing disorder, which manifests mainly as either constant movement or complete zoning out, is due to her needing to identify where her body is just as you suggested.
We weren't told what exactly her processing speed was just that it was below average. I got the impression that it was very low though. I will make sure I ask at her next appointment.
We have tried different pencil grips but they don't seem to make a lot of difference. I should have mentioned earlier that at two she was diagnosed with hypermobility which may also be affecting things. When she does right it seems impossible to for her to do so without getting ink all over her hands and subsequently her face and she doesn't notice this at all.
I'm not sure what the issue with her reading is. Is there a way to find out if its visual? Her school eye test was fine.
I really appreciate all the advice offered.

Safeinourbubble Wed 25-Jun-14 18:52:44

Right, DS1 has a friend with hypermobility - he uses finger splints. I understand writing is painful for him and that these help. Not being able to open the simple things shows a real weakness in the fingers, so, at the very least, writing is a massive effort. Investigate further? If it is painful, then, avoid writing - learn to touchtype if it helps, or dictate - technology is wonderful. Link from a previous discussion on stuff to help hypermobility, in case you haven't come across it -

Sadly, normal opticians might not turn up visual stress issues - didn't in our case. I use a behavioural optometrist - ask your OT if they think this is an avenue you should explore, or the midline issue may well connect to her sensory disorder.

From what you are saying about reading, there is avoidance going on - and there is usually a reason behind that. Have you tried different formats: books on cd, Manga, comics, First News, factual books, sticker books, instructional manuals for the latest craze? Does she like you reading to her?

Is the psychologist making a difference? If not, maybe consider CBT - it dug us out of the worst hole ever this year: DS2 was beyond sad and I was beyond stressed by his downward spiral. Keep going.

BanjoKazooie Wed 25-Jun-14 23:52:10

My DS2 did mirroring for years. I can't quite remember how old but, maybe, up until 11 or 12. He can still write lower case y's with the tail going the wrong way and he still forms his letters in an odd way. Eg he will form a lower case e starting from the bottom rather than the middle.
His crafting skills were always atrocious too. Otherwise he has always been an excellent all round student and is now at a RG Uni studying a maths subject. Thankfully, I don't think he needs to do much writing these days.

My DS went to a very traditional school overseas that was very strict on the three 'R's. I know he was taught to write correctly but I think it just wasn't important to him and that he is naturally not that good at it.

rocketjam Sat 28-Jun-14 22:49:21

I am not 100% sure about this, but could she be / is occasionally ambidextrous? DS 1 is right handed to write but left handed at tennis, to eat, at cricket, to throw a ball... and left footed at football. he wrote many letters mirror until he was 8, but we never made a fuss about it because his writing/spelling were always good. He also reversed some numbers, and we found that he can easily write right to left, in mirror letters! I would think it's linked with dyslexia if your DD doesn't have any other issues. Did she take a long time to settle with right/left hand?

Labtest7 Mon 30-Jun-14 12:09:04

Safeinourbubble, she does read manga. I think it's less off putting as not all words. Similarly The Invention of Hugo Cabret which had pages consisting of pictures. She loves me reading to her which I do every night. Can you self refer to a behavioural optometrist?
I'm not at all impressed by the OT my daughter was assigned to. She has booked annual leave without rearranging our appointment so we sat waiting for ages until her colleague informed us and has failed to contact us to make another appointment. We are back in the oncology clinic 8th July so I'm going to ask them to refer to a different OT. All our referrals have been through her consultant as its easier to keep appointments under one roof.
Rocketjam, I have considered she may be ambidextrous as like I said she looks clumsy doing certain things with her right hand. Think I will buy some left handed scissors to see if she looks more comfortable using them.
Banjokazooki, my daughter has the tail og 'y' and 'g' going the wrong way too. She also occasionally writes her 'c' backwards. With numbers it's usually 3,7 and 9. Like your son she also starts her letters at different points and the formation doesn't seem to flow if you know what I mean.

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