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Teacher mentioned dd may be dyslexic but has always been at top of the class?

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llynnnn Wed 05-Mar-14 20:37:16

My dd is in year 3, and she has always done brilliantly at school, been at the top of her class and is currently working at level 3b in all subject areas. But, her teacher says her spelling isn't good at all and she just isn't remembering and using the correct spelling 'rules' in her writing.

We know this has always been her weakness and she hates learning spellings. despite us working on them through the week she still struggles, but we have always been told before that she's doing great and will get it etc, however at tonight's parents evening her teacher mentioned that she may be dyslexic?
Has anyone else been in this position? The school have advised us to have her eyes tested first and then they'll do dyslexia tests within the school.

The teacher seems to think that if this area doesn't improve then her writing level won't continue to increase and that this will hold her back. sad she was always very enthusiastic about school, but we have noticed a change since she went into year 3 and she is worried and gets anxious about it all

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the long post! thanks

RawCoconutMacaroon Wed 05-Mar-14 22:41:46

I'm another one who was diagnosed at university (with a huge 50 point difference between the different parts of the iq test. I was 24 at that time.
It was a massive relieve to get a diagnosis after my experience of school failure.

I knew DS2 was dyslexic from about the age of 3, it's about so much more than writing, it's the whole way the brain works and processes information. Like me, he is very very bright and enjoys reading (even though it's harder work for us). He wasn't diagnosed until he started uni last year... School screening tests ARE NOT diagnostic, they give an indication of problem and don't seem to work very well will bright kids who can find coping strategies. But believe me, the problems are very real.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 11:28:04

We were told DS was dyslexic in yr3 and like your DD he's top groups. It's tough for schools as obviously they have limited resources, but what you say about her losing heart rings bells. Most schools have an 'every child matters' mission statement, but you often find that if your child's doing well they don't get extra help.

RawCoconut's right as often the school assessment can a) take an age to be done and b) not be very thorough. It's really worth you asking them how they assess, then contacting Dyslexia Action for a free advice chat to see if they think it's sufficient.

In our case, DS's school said they'd get him tested, but that it 'could happen anytime in year 4'. When we looked into it it wasn't a full raft of tests anyway, so we ended up paying for a proper assessment. It's helped him massively just to be officially recognised as dyslexic. Knowing there's a reason why he can't write very legibly or spell as well as some of his friends meant he's stopped saying 'I'm just not very good' or 'they're really clever and I'm not'. It's also helped us to talk to the school in a targeted way to get him proper help.

In other words, don't just trust the school. Doesn't matter how nice they are, be forensic about what they tell you/ promise and do the research to see if it's sufficient. A full Ed Psych report breaks down how your child's brain works, so highlights strengths and weaknesses. It's a real eye opener and we've found it really does help.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 11:31:35

Meant to add, but on the eye thing, there's a condition called Meares Irlen which normal eye tests don't pick it up, so my son has 20:20 vision but he has it. It's best described as visual stress, so when he looks at black text on white paper the words blur and move. You don't have to be dyslexic to have it. My son now wears tinted glasses and it's sorted it for him. Just ask your DD what happens when she looks at a page of text. So do the words stay in focus or not? Do they move? If she says yes then investigate further!

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 06-Mar-14 11:57:58

yes we have coloured glasses here too like smee for Irlen/scotopic sensitivity/eye stress. Made a huge difference instantly. 25% increase in reading accuracy in the tests just from adding the colour.

she still has problems, still can't segment words etc so obviously whilst the lenses have removed the glare and made the words and letters stay still (and stopped her crying when looking at the white board) they are not solving all her problems so we are having full screening done privately with a psychologist but it isn't cheap.

very definitely worth checking it out.

smee Thu 06-Mar-14 14:21:13

nonick, same with us so it hasn't solved all the problems as in our case DS is still dyslexic regardless of the Irlens. I was appalled when I realised he was suffering from it. Had never heard of it. Wish more people knew about it as it does have a massive impact.

Anniegoestotown Thu 06-Mar-14 14:39:50

dd is dyslexic. She could get 20/20 in any spelling test but get her to write the words in a sentence and everything goes out of the window.

Having been through the school promising testing in yr 3 x 2 (ds also dyslexic) I would not hold my breath. Dd was eventually tested privately in yr 9. She is in the bottom 1 percentile academically but in the top 1 percentile in speaking. I.e. She could talk an Eskimo into buying a ton of snow, just don't ask her to write the advertising flyer.

Dyslexia takes on many forms. Dh I suspect is dyslexic, he has never read a book in his life. In fact he never reads anything. I on the other hand could read the book and tell you all about it but don't ask me to write about it. The story disappears from my brain as soon as I pick up a pen.

llynnnn Thu 06-Mar-14 22:07:47

Thank you for all the replies and you sharing your experiences. The school learning mentor has had a little chat with dd today and asked her if she's struggling or worried about anything etc and to let her know to go for a chat whenever she wants to. DD has been bullied quite a lot since sept (although the school have sorted that now) so her confidence is very low, which I'm sure isn't helping her learning and enthusiasm for school especially in areas she finds tricky anyway. So far so good with the school support, and I have an eye test booked for next tues so can move things along again after that.

Thanks again smile

Teatimecakes Thu 06-Mar-14 22:09:04

I'm dyslexic and a teacher smile also not diagnosed til part way through my degree. My IQ is high and i had/have multiple coping strategies that kept it masked for years. Please try not to worry too much - year 3 is very often the year when these things start to show. Early intervention is key - good luck smile

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 16:26:51

My dyslexia wasn't diagnosed until I was twenty and enrolling in university. I was however picked up as dyspraxic at seven, for similar reasons to your DD. Very bright, top of the class, I loved reading and never had any problems with it. What I couldn't do was spell, and I took hours to write even a line.

Dyslexia isn't the end of the world, so long as you don't treat it like that. I have a vocabulary in the top 1% (according to my dyspraxia/dyslexia test), and have always scored that high.

By all means, get her tested and get her help. But don't make a meal out of it. The last thing you want is her to have a scribe and a reader and never learn to do it for herself, I know several dyslexics who were given so much extra help they now can't hold down real world jobs that require reading and writing skills because they never learnt them.

Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 18:14:29

Too many English spellings have no rules (e.g. blue shoe flew through too) and simply have to be memorised word by word. That's why exceptionally bright children often have trouble coping with the brute memorisation involved.

They usually cope in the end.

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 18:20:06

Masha, don't start that again. I can't memorise letter patterns of whole words and I manage just fine, for example: Through - /th/ /r/ /oo/ - <th> <r> <ough>

There are rules behind much of English spelling, they just simply aren't taught in schools (like learning the plural of CHILDREN, it's an Old English spelling that has been kept, the same as OXEN).

Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 19:06:14

There are rules behind much of English spelling.
Yes and no.

Consonant spellings are fairly consistent.

For several vowels, the exceptions, are almsot as common as regularities.
My claim is based on a careful analysis of the 7,000 most used English words.

Several vowel spellings obey no rule whatsoever.
speak, speech, seek, shriek, seize, siege, machine, canteen ...
hair, care, bear, there, their ...
scoop, soup, fool, rule....
her, bird, turned, third, word...
all, crawl, caught, bought, salt ...

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 19:19:06

Okay, well go study the other 493,000+ words of the English language and come back to me.

The spellings can be understood through a use of phonetic reasoning, and while some children do struggle with spellings (myself included) it can be worked on.

For example: ought, bought, thought, sought, nought, fought, etc, obviously do follow a rule, I don't know why you think they don't.

mrz Sun 09-Mar-14 19:25:20


Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 19:28:06

ought, bought, thought, sought, nought, fought, etc, obviously do follow a rule, I don't know why you think they don't.

Because 'caught, taught' and 'taut, nautical, water, prawn, yawn, small, fall' and dozens of others don't.

They all have to be learned word by word.

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 19:35:07

I have been wondering whether year 5 DS is dyslexic. He too is performing at high levels academically but his spelling is very inconsistent - he doesn't naturally "get it" and although he can learn spellings for tests, in his own writing it doesn't follow through at all. His writing is pretty messy and he has problems with things like tying shoelaces, is not able to comfortably use alphabetical order, gets months of the year muddled up etc.

I mentioned the spelling problem at parents evening last week but am wondering if I should speak to his teacher any more about my wondering about dyslexia.

lougle Sun 09-Mar-14 19:38:57

Masha, do you ever get a teeny tiny bit bored of repeating yourself?

I only wonder because my shoulders sag a little whenever I see your posts with endless lists of words and sounds, yet normally I'm a lists person...

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 19:44:37

I think Masha probably has a word document ready for any thread and copies and pastes. So not too much actual typing needed.

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 19:46:02

Masha, "water" and "caught" and "fall" don't have the same sounds... why are you linking them together? Fall, ball, hall, are a group. Water, falter, halter, are a different group. They aren't learnt individually, but as groups or families.
I'm sorry that you were taught badly when you learnt English, which you must have been if someone taught you each word's spelling individually, but that isn't how English is taught in our Primary Schools.

MirandaWest, that actually sounds a little more like Dyspraxia to me, especially with the shoe laces. How is he with football, or tennis? Things that require hand-eye coordination.

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 19:57:04

He's pretty coordinated in other things - learned to ride a bike pretty early and is good at things like tennis. Not interested in football but is accurate when he plays it. And very coordinated on computer games hmmsmile

Not sure if I'm seeing things that aren't there but I suppose seeing DD who's 2 years younger finding some things much more straightforward makes me think a bit.

Mashabell Sun 09-Mar-14 19:57:17

"water" and "caught" and "fall" don't have the same sounds...


They have different spellings for the /au/aw/augh/ough' sound and their spellings have to be learned word by word. This may have led u to believe that they have different sounds, but if
'wauter, caut, baut, faul' were spelt with just au, u would pronounce them just as u do now.

MirandaWest Sun 09-Mar-14 20:01:21

Why do you put 'u' instead of 'you'? This troubles me disproportionately.

Seryph Sun 09-Mar-14 20:02:29

Actually Masha, it's to do with my accent, which you don't know, because you aren't here to ask me.
In the same way that I say bath, and my partner says bath, oh wait, you can't actually hear what I'm saying can you?
What you are missing, is the rest of the word can provide clues, and while we are at it, I find your attempts to respell the English language almost impossible to read. Please can you use the proper spelling of the second person singular, it detracts from your attempts at looking intelligent not to (especially since I know you are doing it to try and prove a point).

shggg245 Sun 09-Mar-14 20:37:37

In my experience getting a definitive diagnosis is really hard. My ds 9 really struggles with spelling, he consistently gets 20/20 in tests but just seems unable to make that connection into his writing. He will typically spell the same word in several different ways.

He's done toe by toe and his reading has improved slightly. Been on school action for 4 years. He uses a blue overlay - but I'm not convinced it's doing any good. Placebo?

Very frustrating as he doesn't seem to be progressing. The senco is adamant he's not dyslexic but something's not quite clicking into place. I'm at my wits end with it all, this has been going on 4 years.

Worried but feel powerless. Just keep communicating with school is the only advice I can offer.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 10-Mar-14 10:04:19

I was lucky I was diagnosed dyslexic at 8. However, one of the key features of going for diagnosis was that I was top of the class in everything, but spelling. I was found to have a high IQ, high verbal reasoning and poor non-verbal reasoning.
I learnt to work with my dyslexia, one of the key things being I do have to work harder to get things into long term memory. Once I learnt to work with it I flew two degrees, exeptional close range hand eye co-ordiation.
Still have truly awful spelling (wanted to use different word couldn't spell it today), if I am tired I get left and right round the wrong way and have the most awful long range hand eye co-ordination (don't ask me to play ball sports).

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