to test or not?(12 Posts)
Hi folks I'm after your opinions.
My four year old son has just started his second term in reception. He is ahead with his reading and maths but struggling with writing - nothing I'd worry about in a 4 year old if it wasn't for my own experiences.
Both my partner and I are moderately dyslexic. Both of us have high IQs (170+) but went through school bored and frustrated because our dyslexia masked the intelligence and the intelligence masked the dyslexia. I don't want this to happen to my son.
So far his reading and maths is about a year ahead and his writing below ave but when tested for spatial and verbal reasoning he scored the max for the test ie above what the test can measure. It is quite possible I'm being paranoid (I am a parent after all) but I have a feeling that the school don't recognise his level of intelligence because dyslexia is meaning that he is performing below his ability.
At the moment this probably isn't a serious issue. He is only 4 after all and should be spending most of the day playing. But I don't want him to go through his education being held back by dyslexia that is not recognised and not receiving any support for it.
I wouldn't be thinking dyslexia if there wasn't a strong family history and the fact he talked late (another red flag, esp in a family with history). The school don't think there is an issue because his reading is above ave.
Should I get him privately tested or wait and see?
Thanks for reading a rather long post.
I understand you! My advice would be to get ready for a long journey, and take a deep breath: my son is 8 and we are in a similar situation. You say he has been tested already for verbal and spatial reasoning, was this done privately? What kind of testing are you considering?
I think you are right to be vigilant but that it is probably too early to get helpful results from testing.
What specific writing difficulties are you talking about?
thanks for your understanding jaws. He was tested for verbal and spatial reasoning at school - I don't know much about the tests but the teacher was clearly surprised by the result.
I have 2 options for testing. We live near Bangor Uni which has a specialist dyslexia unit and offers private testing. So we could go there for just the dyslexia - although I'm not sure how good they are at picking up compensation by intelligence. Something to enquire about.
The other option is the more expensive one - Potential Plus do comprehensive testing including strengths and weaknesses and will talk to the school about the results.
My problem is that I don't want to create comfrontation with the school by implying that they don't know what they're doing. If I leave the testing for now the school may recognise the issue themselves and/or private testing is more likely to give clear results when DS is older. But in the meantime DS isn't receiving any support if he needs it.
Did you go down the private testing route Jaws?
In my experience and from what I have learned, 4 is too young to have accurate dyslexia testing, 7/8 is the earliest. My son was having difficulties and behaviour issues from year 1 and the school referred him for a pediatric and ASD assessment. This included V/NV reasoning tests which showed exceptional ability and suspected dyslexia as it also runs in our family. ASD was ruled out. He had a dyslexia screening at school and receives one-to-one support weekly. I would like him to have a comprehensive test done by an Ed Psy. but the school has refused to refer as his achievement is on target, average in fact. He is clearly underachieving, his writing is inconsistent, slow, etc. Teachers always say that he learns differently to other children and I'm not sure if this is because of the dyslexia, the high IQ or a mixture of both. It's very frustrating, especially for him, and I am watching carefully as I am not sure what kind of school will be best for him at secondary. He is extremely articulate, creative, interesting and knowledgeable and I would love to see that reflected in his results, but so far this is not happening...
I have looked into private testing and found out the following:
1. Testing will cost about £600 and should be done by one of a handful of people specialized in testing gifted children. They tend to have a long waiting list.
2. State schools don't necessarily take into account private Ed Psy results, they will very likely dismiss them altogether, the same applies to Potential Plus results.
3. Testing can be useful in providing strategies that will help the child and parents cope with years of educational demands that can prove stressful for children with Dual Exceptionality.
Dyslexia runs in my family too and DS1 has it. My experience with schools has been very mixed, it became apparent that he had some difficulties at age 7 although I knew long before then that he was dyslexic I didn't start to push the issue with the school because he wasn't struggling. He was actually tested within the state school but for whatever reason they refused to accept the result and kept insisting he was lazy. I moved him to another state school and they totally embraced his dyslexia and got him loads of support and it went swimmingly well into secondary school where he also got lots of support. Unfortunately we had to move areas last year and his new school are dyslexia deniers so we are back to it being a really uphill struggle to get support for him.
The problem has always been that because he is very bright he performs above average in most subjects so the schools argue that there are other children who need their help more. DS is now 15 and about to do GCSEs. He will probably pass with nothing outstanding because he, like me, is totally fed up with the whole system, he is bored to tears in bottom set English which the school refuse to move him up in because his reading and writing are poor but at the same time they won't let him use a laptop that he has been assessed for and granted as part of his learning needs. He won't let me go in and cause trouble because I am a bit of a dragon and he wants to sort it out himself now.
And breath, sorry it is all so frustrating. So I think my point is that your DS may be a little young to test and even when you do test what the school chose to do with the results may be quite disappointing.
The type of tests involved in looking for dyslexia weed out IQ compensation, however, to get accurate results children do need to be at least 7/8years old. There are earlier indicators, but they are only indicators.
You need to prepare yourself for the effort you are going to need to put in to get the right help and providing support yourself.
As a high IQ dyslexic who is the mother of a high IQ dyslexic one of the most frustrating things is that often teachers assume you as a parent already understand. I have lost count of the number of times I have needed to remind school that sending home just a list of spellings to an entirely dyslexic household with no strategies is useless.
Try a google on "twice exceptional", "2E", "stealth dyslexia", "dual exceptionally".
My experience... It's a rocky road! Some teachers will get it immediately and others won't.
Make sure they don't get put on the "bottom table".
A student working at the average is not going to qualify for any additional help or get much sympathy or understanding, even if they are underachieving massively.
When the time is right, make sure they are tested to ensure they get extra time, reader, scribe, etc.
Give the kids a chance to shine at something they are good at: art, drama, woodwork, etc.
The other risk to watch for is in the top set with a teacher who doesn't 'do dyslexic' and you just get 'the kitten doesn't want to push herself'.
In the right school, with enough foot stamping you will get the right help, but you need to be very stompy.
However, I am proof that with the right help is anything is possible two degrees (both incredibly tough entry requirements) currently studying for my post graduate diploma .
Being stompy does get you somewhere but having a high IQ child with dyslexia means that they will generally perform at or above average without any help at all which does mean that one to one support will not happen. However they will get extra time, use of a laptop, a reader or what ever else they need. Unfortunately this is great for exams but not so great for day to day learning.
Dyslexia is not a barrier to success, most of my immediate and more distant family are affected by dyslexia to some degree we also mostly have two degrees at least in subjects with high entry requirements. I do think its a lot easier to have dyslexia in uni than it is in school, the trick is getting to uni!
Personally I would pay to get the test done as soon as an expert says it is feasible/useful. If you wait several years to find out if your son is dyslexic then you will kick yourself about the years you have wasted when they could have been getting help. If you find out they are not then its years saved of having that nagging feeling that you should be doing more.
Worry about what to do for it when/if you get a positive result.
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