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Gifted and dyslexic - any experiences?

(46 Posts)
parrotonmyshoulder Wed 06-Apr-16 07:43:20

Just had an ed psych report for DD that basically shows her to be gifted yet dyslexic. Her verbal comprehension, processing and perceptual reasoning are all very high, while working memory and literacy skills are poor.

Does anyone have experience of supporting their child with these types of difficulty? Her primary school is excellent and will try to be supportive, although the report was a private one due to her average attainment in class.

Many thanks.

var123 Wed 06-Apr-16 08:36:18

DS1 (age 13) has something similar to deal with, although not exactly the same. DS1 has the high IQ, high memory (all types) and dysgraphia.

(Dysgraphia is the writing part of dyslexia.)

I am sure you've started googling already, but in case you haven't found it look for twice exceptional (also called dual or multiple exceptionalities, dme, 2e). The profile of average performance is common because the intelligence masks the SEN and the SEN masks the intelligence.

The bad news is that its really hard to get any help. Schools are not measured in a way that slices and dices this way and so you end up relying on the good nature of the teacher to help. If the SEN wasn't there, your DD would be scraping up against the glass ceiling of maximum learning. If the ability wasn't there, she'd qualify for the active interest of the SENCO and various interventions aimed at getting her into the normal range.

My own experience is that the child takes it really badly. They know what they want to do, they can self analyse, and they hate the SEN with a passion. I think it must be like being an olympic athelete whose leg is in traction. Helping DS deal with this mental hurdle has been the biggest challenge for me as a parent.

Practically, from an education point of view, all you can do is make sure the school (SENCO) and individual teachers recognise the diagnosis and will make whatever accomodations the ed psych has recommended. TBH I don't expect that you'll always get the sort of support you are currently experiencing from the school as it does vary according to the individual who is the teacher and their attitude to whether average is good enough.

DS1 is actually doing very well at school. He's top set in every academic subject and for some, he's top of the top set. I don't know what the future holds. I hope DS will be able to find workarounds so that he can still excel despite his disability.
My advice to you would be to research it all as best you can. Speak to everyone you can to see what workarounds may help your DD and try them all. Then just keep going, taking each year as it comes. But do watch out for the mental impact as she grows up and starts to really mind being different.

biddy53 Wed 06-Apr-16 09:24:23

DD1 is very able and also very dyslexic and also dyspraxic - she was not diagnosed until she was 17 but was relieved to get a diagnosis as she knew she had to work harder than others to get the same results and had assumed that this was because she was less intelligent. She got all 10 A/A*s at GCSE without extra time and As & Bs at A level - she got extra time for her A2s. She is now at a RG uni studying history - so lots of essays and reading.

DD developed lots of coping strategies which hid her difficulties and also worked extra hard. Individuals with dyslexia need to over learn information to achieve automaticity - so your DD will need to find a way that helps her learn key facts /spellings for instance. DD does this by writing them over and over and saying the words /letters out loud as she writes. Meta cognition is often weak for individuals with dyslexia so DD may need explicit support to make links in her learning. Ideally your DD should be given handouts rather than asked to copy information from the board. DD has poor short term memory so repeats back instructions to both clarify and as a memory support.

If your DD's literacy is poor she will benefit from a phonics based intervention that includes phonological awareness activities - Sound Linkage is evidenced based but may need adapting if she is upper primary. Self regulated writing development strategies (Google for more information) may support her with structure in her writing.

Your report should have given next steps for your DD regarding specific difficulties.

parrotonmyshoulder Wed 06-Apr-16 21:46:08

Thanks. These replies are really helpful. The report has given some good suggestions, including software and assistive technology alongside other classroom strategies.

Most pressing problem is that DH seems to be doubting the veracity of the report. Poor child. She's going to be up against all kinds of people who don't 'believe' in her difficulties, and her own father is one of them.

var123 Thu 07-Apr-16 07:35:59

Denial isn't uncommon, no matter how obvious the issue.
I can think of 3 examples that I've personally witnessed:
1. DH spent the first year at DSs diagnosis getting irritable with him for not trying hard enough (whilst I kept intervening to stop him making it worse). In the end, we had a huge argument and I told him that he could either learn about it from me / the psychologist or he could research it himself but he wasn't to speak to DS about it again until he'd taken the trouble to inform himself!

2 A family member has mild Asd (diagnosed) but their parents will not accept they are anything but a little quirky.

3 A mother I know has just had her son diagnosed with Asd. She was told 8 years ago that there was a concern and testing would be a good idea but she says she was just in denial until she couldn't ignore it anymore.

Tell your DH to read the report and read up on twice exceptional and then he'll believe it. If he doesn't, he'll get the picture when your Dd gets older and the gulf between what she says and writes widens to the point no one could miss it.

biddy53 Thu 07-Apr-16 08:30:58

Unfortunately there are still lots of people who don't believe in dyslexia despite growing evidence such as brain imaging and gene markers and the fact that it is a recognised disability. Teachers also vary in their knowledge and willingness to help.

My DD's top tip to your DD is to try to develop as many independent strategies as possible (ie don't become over reliant on external support) and accept that you will have to work harder than other people at certain things. There can be advantages -DD is incredibly logical an is brilliant at seeing the "big picture" and as a child competed in national chess competitions. Lots of inventors, scientists and artists are dyslexic. Apparently MI5 have actively recruited people with dyslexia (and ASDs) as they recognise the advantages of brains that work differently.

Your DH might find reading something like The Dyslexic Advantage interesting and reassuring. Sadly there is a clear link between dyslexia and poor self esteem/depression so he does need to come to terms with this and start being supportive.

parrotonmyshoulder Fri 08-Apr-16 07:45:34

Thanks. Biddy, I definitely think that your suggestion of finding independent strategies and work-arounds is going to be the way forward for DD. I am a teacher and know the constraints in schools. I have also worked with many teachers and heads who have absolutely no idea about SPLD (or SEN of any kind!) so DD has to find ways to overcome this. Disclaimer: I have also worked with many great teachers who do understand, or try to.

A clear recommendation of the report was to ensure she had access to enrichment activities commensurate with her abilities, which I hope the school will address. It is a very good (state) school - we just moved here a term ago - and their curriculum is varied and exciting. I would be happy for school to ensure that her interest in the broader curriculum is maintained and I will support at home with literacy.

Does anyone have experience of the Nessie app/ software? This was recommended by EP.

Au79 Fri 08-Apr-16 07:58:21

We used Nessie, it was quite fun but my dds wouldn't use it much unless I stood over them, other games are more fun. It has little rewards for progress that accumulate.

Also they wouldn't use the proper fingers, like I had to in the Stone Age typing lessons I had, but that doesn't seem to matter.

parrotonmyshoulder Fri 08-Apr-16 08:01:06

She doesn't play computer games so thinks that anything she's allowed to do on an iPad or laptop is fun!

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 10-Apr-16 18:10:21

I am twice exceptional and my DD is twice exceptional too. Biddy mentioned the working harder, for me the acceptance of working harder was a big hurdle to overcome as it has also been for DD. As a parent acknowledgment of the 'unfairness' of having to work harder is also important.
As twice exceptional we have tremendous brains that are very useful we are great at developing novel strategies for solving problems due to developing our own unique coping strategies. Because we have to commit everything to long term memory once we learn something it is pretty much always there are we are able to drag up facts much to the surprise of others.
Interestingly as an aside DD has found Mandarin an easier language to learn than Latin languages as her auditory processing is very good so she is able to pick up the fine intonation required. It has no grammar and it is a very logical language.

biddy53 Sun 10-Apr-16 18:59:37

Interesting about the mandarin lonecat - DD enjoyed Latin which I gather is a very regular and logical language. I know learning French is harder than learning German for dyslexics because French has a more complex orthography.

I think having to work harder can also be an advantage long term. DD has a great work ethic which has been commented on by her employers in her PT job and on work placements. I agree that it is importance that the "unfairness" is recognised at home. Also recognition that they will be exhausted after a day at school and will need down time. I was told that DD was working 4x harder than someone who didn't have dyslexia.

var123 Sun 10-Apr-16 20:32:35

Nessy? As in nessy fingers? Yes, we used that. Cost about £25 and can only be installed on one pc.

It was ok, but no better than BBC Dance Mat.

BlueGazebo Thu 14-Apr-16 06:42:02

Also have a look at Englishtype which is highly recommended. Also try a google on Stealth Dyslexia and gifted underachievement.

My experiences have been both good and bad... my DS is in Yr11 and is heading for unexceptional GCSE grades despite having much higher potential. I think many of his skills are outside the constraints of the curriculum (original out of box thinking, problem solving, debate, etc) and his difficulties in writing, spelling, planning, organising have been too great to totally overcome, even with laptop, extra time, etc. He has not worked 4x harder than other students although he has a thirst for knowledge and is usually very engaged in class (if he is interested). He got 100% A* in his S&L English. Luckily, he has been in the G&T enrichment at school which has meant trips and debates. The G&T coordinator "got him" immediately and took him under her wing whereas other teachers have definitely not "got him".... bottom table at Junior School for example.

jaws5 Wed 20-Apr-16 11:04:29

Just seen this thread, although I started one the other day about asynchronicity in a gifted, dyslexic boy. OP, I have a couple of questions: Is your DD at primary or secondary school? and, how did you find a Ed Psy, did you search for someone with experience of dual exceptionality, and how? I am looking for the right Ed Psych to test my son properly.
One of the hardest things for him and for us, is the frustration he clearly feels as he knows he's bright and miles ahead of his peers in many respects, but doing average in class -- he is very slow to complete written assignments in class, maths tests, etc.

Tilly8922 Thu 21-Apr-16 14:49:29

My DD is twice exceptional and struggled with learning to read and sequencing until she was taught using the Orton-Gillingham method. Within six months she was reading and writing above grade level. We moved her to a school for the gifted and talented and she has flourished.

scotsgirl64 Thu 21-Apr-16 15:19:01

Where do I start!
my dh and all 3 children are 2e!!...dh was only diagnosed when 37 as unable to pass a crucial(multiple choice) professional medical exam..(despite cruising through UG/Post grad degrees) he didn't read till he was 11 and hated school until he did his A levels in science subjects .His IQ was calculated at 160!
He then had to retrain in another professional field (now a barrister- loves debating!)
dd1 was told she'd be lucky to get a few 10 GCSEs, 4 A levels and is about to graduate with 2:1 in Philosophy...also manager of the student TV station
dd2 hated school (hated the frustration of dyslexia and dyscalculia- but got her GCSE Maths at 2nd attempt- with tutor)then did a BTEC at FE college and is now doing Masters in Human resource management
DS is dyspraxia and had dysgraphia and is also doing science AS levels but hates revision
all of them found the learning environment at school did them no favours at all(the rigid subjects)..although dd1 did have an amazing 1:1 at primary school but for only 2 hrs/week
DD1 attended Millfield School for 1 year which was amazing (but v expensive)
The girls have always loved film/documentaries(discovery channel!) and learned a lot this way, husband found having access to lots of different types of books ultimately helped!
Both dh and dd1 were late to read but are both voracious readers now...
they do all tend to learn visually /kinaesthetically
I wish education was more than just passing exams

ItIsHowItIsx Sat 30-Apr-16 22:17:32

Very interesting. My son 11 y.o. has just been diagnosed with this . He was diagnosed with dyslexia about 2 and a half years ago. We did an eye training with an optometrist because he had eye coordination problems. After this he quickly became an exceptional reader but writing is diabolical in every way and nothing we try has improved it. We came across a place by accident that does a learning therapy. Turns out - and absolutely makes sense - that he has no working memory despite being exceptional on the language aspect of the tests and very high on mething else (don't remember,somhing logical). The center Specifically works with kids that have poor visual memory for symbols which she says is the cause of (his type) dyslexia. The psychologist is basically going to train his working memory .

ItIsHowItIsx Sat 30-Apr-16 22:25:46

So much more information here from you all to go nd research smile

xtreme Tue 12-Jul-16 00:53:15

glad we're not alone in the 2E life experience. all so similar to what we're going through with our 9yo since Y1. Now facing the challenge of choosing secondary schools. Any tips of schools in London area which might be suitable? thanks!

jaws5 Sun 14-Aug-16 17:44:30

Hi extremE we are in the same situation in London with a son the same age as yours and looking into secondary schools. His dyslexia support teacher recommended we speak to the SEN dept. of schools to find out what type of support they offer, as dyslexic children with this profile should be in top sets with extra support, not in average sets. Secondary schools are not consistent in this respect and it's very important to ask and push for our children once they are there. Gifted dyslexic children have very particular needs and require a lot of support and understanding from home and school. I'm quite concerned to get it right!

Didiplanthis Wed 14-Sep-16 19:52:38

Can I join the chat - Dd just got diagnosed with exceptional verbal and non verbal reasoning and seriously below average processing speed. I feel challenges ahead !

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 15-Sep-16 16:29:08

Didip did they differentiate between visual and auditory processing? On the screening tests DD at 10 had slow processing with more advanced testing had visual of an 8 year old and auditory of a 16 year old. This help a lot as she now records and listens to what she needs to learn.
Reminds me I need to find the audio book of great expectations.

jaws5 Fri 16-Sep-16 11:05:10

Didiplanthis how old is you Dd?

Longlost10 Sun 25-Sep-16 19:43:05

I have a genius level IQ, and am severely dyslexic and dyspraxic. Unfortunatly, the best advice I can give to your daughter is be prepared to work very hard, find your own way of doing things by trial and error, and ultimatly, just accept there some some things you will never do. I wasted thousands learning to drive, because I didn't want to be beaten but in the end, will I ever be safe on the road? no. Similarly not dispensing medicine, so care work is difficult. Anything involving data entry is also out - I got sacked from being a market researcher for messing up all the forms..

On the other hand , higher level jobs are actually easier, I've been a pathologist, a research scientist, a teacher, now an adviser... There are no real limits at the top end of the job market.

Didiplanthis Mon 26-Sep-16 22:22:45

Just saw post from jaws - she is 7 in 3 weeks.

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