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Does anyone have experience of dyslexia/related difficulties with their DC's?

(4 Posts)
wol1968 Wed 05-Feb-14 11:34:18

I could do with a bit of perspective here, because the more I read about dyslexia, the more confused I get. Some people say it's been valuable to have the 'label' and understand what's happening, some people say dyslexia doesn't really exist and it's all because of bad teaching/not enough phonics/wrong sort of phonics/a massive profit-making industry making money out of middle-class parents and their not-clever-enough-for-today's-world kids....

Anyway. I've been worried for YEARS about my DS. He's almost 10 and struggles to put a sentence together without one-to-one help and prompting. He's never produced more than about three-quarters of a page of often badly misspelled writing in a school lesson. He will often copy down words wrongly. He does read - he loves Beast Quest books at the moment, though I'm moving him on to Roald Dahl and James Patterson - his reading aloud can be really expressive when I stop him skipping over stuff and rushing and guessing. He never really got phonics. Although he seems to understand the process of breaking words down when you explain it to him, he doesn't use it as a strategy for decoding, and it has never been automatic. He knows a word or he doesn't, full stop. Writing anything for a homework task is really painful. He will sit there, stare into space, cry, gouge his pencil into the paper, until you sit with him and chivvy, coax or nag him. Sometimes he will produce something really good. Most of the time it's utterly frustrating.

I've been doing the Letts Spelling Success age 8-9 with him to help with spelling and grammar as I don't think the school has a systematic enough approach for him. We saw his teacher yesterday for a routine meeting and it was worrying to see that he was only on about 2c for writing and 3a for reading when most of his class (yes, we peeked) seemed to be motoring on 4's. His maths is OK but I worry that if he is dyslexic, it may affect his performance on some of the non-arithmetic maths that comes up in year 5, and his ability to analyse word problems. He does get extra help at school with literacy, although I wonder if that's enough for him. Thing is, he's not low-enough achieving to be classified as SN, but at the same time there's clearly some problem here which is causing huge frustration. We aren't well off (not for this area of the country, anyway) and don't have ££££ to spare for private everything, and I'm well aware that statutory help doesn't really cover this sort of thing. Is it worth getting him assessed by someone, or would I just be (as my DH seems to think) wasting my money on a stigmatising label?

Sorry about the long post. blush

funnyossity Wed 05-Feb-14 12:06:40

Don't know the answer to the questions about assessment.

However I found Toe by Toe to be a useful book for working one-to-one on reading/spelling with DS (not cheap, mine cost £27 a few years back, and it is dull.)

I read to my son for a long time to get him used to the vocabulary and sentence structure of harder books. Audio books were great too. He liked non-fiction too so he has a good general knowledge - which helps at secondary level. His endurance in writing also improved rapidly at secondary as he had to COPY, a huge problem in primary was having to think then laboriously write it down, creativity was overrated!

His assessments at secondary say "dyslexia-like" and they found a definite problem with working memory. However if I comment that he is dyslexic he asserts that he is not and he refuses to ask for adjustments - was actively against extra time in exams!

Good luck.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 05-Feb-14 13:37:02

my personal opinion is that yes visual processing disorders do exist but I think they vary greatly from one person with them to another and how they manage to cope with them varies too. Part of the problem is that a lot of children who actually are academically challenged will be thought to be suffering from them when really they aren't.

HobbetInTheHeadlights Wed 05-Feb-14 16:28:41

I think dyslexia is a term that covers a wide variety of problems with reading and writing- several of which may exists in one person.

It helped me to be diagnosed and have a label which was given at University after a though assessment which I was lucky my university only require an nominal contribution from me toward it.

I found out I was being marked down for spelling and extra time in last set of exams helped with my handwriting. Helped me to get past all the comments I'd had for years berating me for carelessness and not working hard enough - I actually worked very hard.

I was taught look and say not phonics at school - and didn't infer rules like other taught this method who did read well did.

I'd get my DC assessed nearer formal exams time - years ahead - if they were still showing issues to see if we could get them extra time and some leeway with marking spelling. I don't think it would make the school give them extra help now at Primary - not with their current school.

I currently have the issue with eldest that she isn't struggling enough, till this year, that she was given extra help despite all her teachers noticing the disparaging with her reading and writing. This year - yr 4 - they are giving her extra help but we're not impressed with the help she being given - it seems counter productive and takes her out of class to do it.

Phonics - younger two have benefited form their school actually doing a proper phonics approach - not mixed approach that eldest had - and us doing dancing bears on top at home. They both showing fewer reading and writing issues - ones they had have gone.

Dancing bears reading and apples and pears
www.soundfoundationsbooks.co.uk/

Pretty sure eldest has some sight issues - pretty sure she doesn't track well so rules and finger and big black line on color overlay school uses help her with that. Also guesses before uses phonics - still despite a lot of work trying to stop this. Also struggles with word searches.

Currently trying :

www.engagingeyes.co.uk/Play.html#/Login

They haven't had issues with maths - once thing have been explained to them but the do seem to need more practice to keep hold of concepts - particularly middle DC. We use but think this was more the teaching in the school rather than the DC.

www.themathsfactor.com/

If handwriting is very uncomfortable - have you tried grips and various pens or the hand writing books like these

www.amazon.co.uk/Write-start-Programme-Perceptual-Handwriting/dp/1855032457/ref=sr_1_6?ie=U

I'd suggest some of the above I've linked to before paying for assessments - they are not cheap and the school may not accept the results anyway.

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