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Can someone talk to me about dyslexia, I have my doubts about 9 year old ds...

(28 Posts)
DrNortherner Wed 14-Sep-11 19:09:01

I know very little about dyslexia, but I am worried about ds who has just started Y5. I have mentioned it to previous teachers who have all assured me it's not dyslexia, but I have just read something that dyslexic kids are often prone to ear infections....ds had glue ear from a very young age, gromets, anti b's, and many hospital app's he still has perforated drums. I was unaware of a connection, can anyone confirm this?

Anyway, he does read, although he is slightly below average. Until 7/8 he reversed b, d, 9, p, 7 and q, and still will occasionally.

His handwriting is not good and he has never grasped basic letter formation, he starts letters mostly in the wrong place. He partic struggles writing k, f, w, m and z. Sometimes he can't read his own writing.

Today we were practising spellings and he wroted messed as mesde and fussed as get the picture. He has a short attention span and is kind of the class clown.

On the plus side he is bright, asks great questions, loves to build/touch to learn, is very energetic, great at sports/PE/football, has a wonderful imagination and is, and always has been very articulate.

Dh I suspect is also slightly dyslexic, could there be a connection?

Any comments much appreciated.

mrz Wed 14-Sep-11 19:28:34

DrNortherner Wed 14-Sep-11 19:32:20

Oh so it's just bad teaching is it? hmm

dolfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 19:38:20


There are three cognitive subtypes of Developmental Dyslexia :- auditory, visual, and attentional. So an auditory processing disorder (listening disability), a visual processing disorder, an attention disorder, or some combination of the three can cause the dyslexic symptom.
Dyslexia is about having cognitive problems decoding and recoding the graphic symbols society chooses to represent speech.
You mentioned that your DS had Otitis Media with Effusion (Glue Ear), this is a method of acquiring Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) which is one of the underlying cognitive problems which can cause the dyslexic symptom.

You can find more scientific research based information from
CiteULike Group: Reading: Acquiring and Developing the Skills and Abilities - library
CiteULike Group: Developmental Dyslexia - library
CiteULike Group: Audiology and Auditory Processing Disorder library

dolfrog Wed 14-Sep-11 19:44:32


"Oh so it's just bad teaching is it?"

If they insist in only using phonics based teaching methods, then yes it is about bad teaching and not understanding your childs cognitive differences and not meeting your child's learning needs. Which is a big problem in the UK, due to low standards set at teacher training colleges etc.

DrNortherner Wed 14-Sep-11 19:47:13

Thankyou, very helpful.

Will check out those links.

IndigoBell Wed 14-Sep-11 19:49:56

DrNortherner, if you look at the website properly you will see that lots of causes of dyslexia are suggested, of which bad teaching is only 1.

DrNortherner Wed 14-Sep-11 19:52:26

Yes I see that now, just it linked to the bad teaching page, I thought perhaps that was for a reason seeing as no commentary accompanied the link,

IndigoBell Wed 14-Sep-11 21:04:26

Well if you do the auditory discrimination test it will tell you if your DS still has hearing problems that is effecting his ability to read.

It's very likely he has some residual hearing problems which is effecting his reading and spelling.

The letter reversals are of course also a classic dyslexic symptom.

The real question is what you want to gain from knowing whether your DS has dyslexia.

A good school won't do anything different, ie they will already be supporting him properly.

A bad school won't do anything differently, ie they won't be able to support him any better.

There are however some schools in the middle which need a 'nudge' in the form of a very expensive EP report to encourage them to support your DS better.

But really, I don't recommend paying £400 for an EP report.

I recommend concentrating on what you think your DS needs, and what you think you should be doing, and what school should be doing.

Probably starting with a long talk with the SENCO.

dolfrog Thu 15-Sep-11 02:58:12


The problem in the UK is the lack of a scientific diagnostic approach for dyslexic symptom and it's underlying cognitive causes.
Ideally dyslexia should be initially be assessed by a multi - discipline (multi professional) to identify the existing underlying cognitive issues, so it would require an audiologist to assess for any auditory processing issues, an optometrist to assess for any visual processing issues and a psychiatrist to assess for any attention issues. And from there say for an Auditory Processing Disorder as further multi - discipline team an Audiologist to diagnose the various auditory processing disorders, a Speech and Language Pathologist to assess how the diagnosed auditory processing disorder issues can cause relates speech and language problems, and a psychologist to assess the problems of living with the diagnosed auditory processing disorders. Similar multi discipline teams would also be required for visual processing and Attention diagnosis if required.
Unfortunately in the UK we still have a very amateurish approach using dyslexia as the first part of the screening process to identifying the underlying cognitive deficits which can cause the dyslexic symptom, which have more serious symptoms than just dyslexia.

DrNortherner Thu 15-Sep-11 07:36:32

Thank you. Some interesting food for thought here. Will take it all in, do the test on ds. It's parents eve next month, will start with a chat with his new teacher.

maverick Thu 15-Sep-11 14:45:23

You might like to read this blog posting by Dr.Taylor:

Bugsy2 Thu 15-Sep-11 14:55:31

I would recommend a full Ed Psych assessment, even if you do have to fork out for it. DS has dyslexia & a host of other cognitive impairments, all of which were assessed & diagnosed through the assessment. From the assessment, the school put together a much more thorough IEP than he had previously had. He has had SEN support once a week & it has made the world of difference. His dyslexia symptoms were: being very behind with reading & writing, a complete inability to spell & a marked inability to read small repetitative words (in, and, at, the, if etc) correctly. He would also write letters backwards. He is bright, really good at maths & very articulate, so it seemed really odd that he was virtually illiterate. IMHO it was money well spent - but I guess it depends on whether or not the school will do anything with it. If your school are not prepared to give much help, there are lots of dyslexia / SEN teachers who can give you an hour or so at weekends - for a fee of course.

dolfrog Thu 15-Sep-11 15:30:04


Unfortunately an Educational Psychologist, is not qualified to assess and diagnose clinical issues which can cause the dyslexic symptom, it is not part of the that professions remit.
This is throw back to the 1970s and 1980s before the development current neuroscience and genetics began to explain the cognitive issues which can cause many of the subjectively observable issues such as developmental dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a man made problem about having problems with a man made communication system the visual notation of speech. and as such dyslexia is a social construct, Dyslexia is also language dependent, so for instance the case of a child bilingual in Japanese and English who is only dyslexic in English. And in societies that do not use the visual notation of speech as a form of communication there is no dyslexia, but the underlying medical / cognitive issues do exist, as they are not the result trying to use a man made process.

So an Educational Psychologist assessment for dyslexia can only be considered a screening process for the many underlying medical issues which can cause the dyslexic symptom, many of which require a GP referral for further investigation.

Bugsy2 Thu 15-Sep-11 15:35:41

Maybe I've got the wrong person then. We were referred by a GP & a battery of tests were done on DS, took a whole day. The resulting report was about 40 pages long & outlined a host of cognitive impairments. It was from this that the diagnosis of dyslexia came. I agree that dyslexia is a man made problem, but regardless of that DS still needs to function in the world as it exists & not being able to read & spell is a big issue. By assessing the cognitive impairments he has, a programme to address those & adapt teaching strategies was put together for him, along with the extra SEN support. All of that has made a huge difference. It also enabled me to help him at home too.

dolfrog Thu 15-Sep-11 15:53:33


I do know what you mean, all of my family thee DSs, my DW and me, all have a clinical diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), which is the cause of our dyslexic symptoms. And it is the issues or problems cause by our varying degrees of APD and our different alternative compensating coping abilities that can make life difficult.
Both DW and I were in our late 40s or early 50s before we were diagnosed as having APD, and the real explanation of the problems we have had to go through in our earlier lives. All who have a diagnosis of dyslexia are only at the starting point of understanding the full range issues they may have, and it is only when you can begin to understand the full nature of the problem or problems that you can begin to understand how you can or have been working around or coping with these types of differences.

mrz Thu 15-Sep-11 16:15:27

DrNortherner perhaps you should have read the whole website hmm

dolfrog Thu 15-Sep-11 16:27:52


A terribly designed web site, not very dyslexia friendly, the recommendations for such information web sites is a light background, which a dark font.
For me it was too stressful to even try to read the page heading. may you could explain these dyslexic issues to the site designers, if they want to be taken seriously.

dolfrog Thu 15-Sep-11 16:35:28


auditory page of the web site only takes about hearing and not auditory processing issues, which really means that the authors have no real understanding of clinical causes of dyslexia. I am surprised that you would recommend such a poorly researched web site.

PonceyMcPonce Thu 15-Sep-11 16:42:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Thu 15-Sep-11 16:49:13

dolfrog the website has been designed by a mum of a child with dyslexia to record her experience and story. I happen to think it is very insightful and helpful to parents (and teachers) who may not want to plough through pages of research for information. It gives information based on first hand experience in language that all can understand so I will continue to recommend it. Anyone requiring more detailed knowledge can use the starting points to investigate further.

dolfrog Thu 15-Sep-11 17:10:11


Teachers should as a part of their basic training a full understanding of the issues explained in research and as an ongoing requirement to practice as a teacher. So that they are best able to teach all children who may appear in their classrooms, so there is no excuse for the Teachers.
There are many web sites created by mums who have first hand experience of dyslexia and many other disabilities, but that does not mean that they have a full understanding of all the issues involved, and consulted the relevent research professionals with regard to the sites content.
Reading research is time consuming, but currently is the only way to have a good understanding of the issues, especially dyslexia, as the cutting edge of understanding the issue moves very quickly. There are a wide range of issues that parents need to understand in depth, when they have children who have these problems. And it does not help when there are poorly informed professionals trying to provide advice, which in not based on them reading and understanding the research based information which parents etc, expect them to have understood and be able to explain the issues.

mrz Thu 15-Sep-11 17:16:34

dolfrog teachers should have many things as part of their basic training but they don't!

mrz Thu 15-Sep-11 17:19:07

dolfrog once again the website was created by a parent for parents not by a professional for other professionals!

mrz Thu 15-Sep-11 17:22:12

and for a non professional she's done a far better job of getting the information across than many of the professional sites IMHO.

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