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Mirror writing and other things - signs of dyslexia or normal?

(5 Posts)
Billybo Mon 03-Nov-14 20:39:12

DS1 is a bright 5 year old and in year one. I know it is officially too early to tell whether or not he has dyslexia but with a very strong family history andwith some of the things he is doing we are concerned.

For example, he mirror writes to the extreme not just back to front but upside down too. So a letter g is written as a letter b.

He can't remember names for things. For example if you show him a picture of some shapes and ask to point out a rectangle he can do it quite happily. However if you show him a picture of a rectangle and ask him to name the shape he can't tell you.

He confuses words when reading e.g. reads felt instead of left.

He gets words and phrases very confused e.g. tape measure he calls a teasure mape

He can read numbers 1-12 and 20-100 but can't read the numbers in between

He constantly puts his shoes on the wrong feet and will walk around all day like that if it isn't pointed out. He can't hold a pen correctly and really struggles with writing.

Last year his teacher wasn't very concerned about any of the things above (and he did get expected/exceeding in all his eyfs goals), but his teacher this year does seem to be listening to me more.

Its coming up to parents evening and I want to bring things up with the teacher again but I'm not sure if I am overreacting. I'm also not sure what I can/should expect them to do at this stage.

Any advice will be welcome.

erin99 Mon 03-Nov-14 21:11:30

No advice, but my DD is 7 and a consummate mirror writer. She's written a whole book back to front - title page on the 'back' cover, several pages all perfect mirror writing in sentences. She still gets 4s and 6s backwards most of the time.

She was quite slow to get the hang of reading - would read 'cat' as 'tac' or 'act' well into Y1, absolutely couldn't learn any sight words. It was like she was having to solve every word as an anagram. She has very little sense of 'left to right' at all, but I think this might be because she is lefthanded tending towards ambidextrous, living in a right handed world. Being both-handed for her first 4 years also meant each hand got less practice than other children's dominant hand.

Something clicked in the summer of Y1. She still writes backwards and doesn't have the neatest writing, but she has a reading age of 11-12 now. I fretted at her teacher in Y1 about dyslexia. She just said DD was still very little, and just give it time. And I think for her, that was all it needed.

Some stuff you mention, like shoes on wrong feet and writing backwards, I'm sure is in the normal range for a 5 year old. You say he met or exceeded all his EYFS goals, which I think is important evidence that he is not 'behind'. I'm not dismissing your concerns at all, and I have been in a similar position to you and worried too. Absolutely talk to his teacher and raise your concerns. But I just wanted to reassure you that for us it was just how DD was as a 5 year old, and she doesn't seem to be growing up with dyslexia.

Ferguson Mon 03-Nov-14 22:52:14

I was a TA / helper in primary schools for over twenty years, and as I often point out to parents concerned about their child - remember, it is only a couple of years since he learned to TALK. What have YOU learned in the past 2 or 3 years? And has he not learned a great deal MORE?

For young children I often think the written word is merely a 'shape', unless they are encouraged to look at, and sound, individual letters. If it was a PICTURE of a cat, or a car, they would recognise it as such regardless of orientation. Yet the WORDS are only one letter different, but the sounds are VERY different.

So your child is probably within 'normal' levels for his age, but I accept if this were to continue for several years, it would be concerning, and might require professional intervention.

If he is happy to do 'school work' with you, this might be worth considering:

An inexpensive and easy to use book, that can encourage children with reading, spelling and writing is mentioned in the MN Book Reviews section. In “Children’s educational books and courses”, the Oxford Phonics Spelling Dictionary presents words by their initial SOUND, unlike a ‘normal’ dictionary, which is always in alphabetical order. Thus, in the ‘S’ section are words like ‘cinema’ and ‘cycle’, which have a ‘S’ sound, even though they are spelt with ‘C’.

The Dictionary is colourful and amusingly illustrated, and can be used by children on their own, or with adult support, from Reception age right up to the start of secondary school.

The review has a link to view sample pages, and purchase if you so wish.

And for Numeracy, my standard information is:


Practical things are best for grasping number concepts - bricks, Lego, beads, counters, money, shapes, weights, measuring, cooking.

Do adding, taking away, multiplication (repeated addition), division (sharing), using REAL OBJECTS as just 'numbers' can be too abstract for some children.

Number Bonds of Ten forms the basis of much maths work, so try to learn them. Using Lego or something similar, use a LOT of bricks (of just TWO colours, if you have enough) lay them out so the pattern can be seen of one colour INCREASING while the other colour DECREASES. Lay them down, or build up like steps.


ten of one colour none of other
nine of one colour one of other
eight of one colour two of other
seven of one colour three of other

etc, etc

then of course, the sides are equal at 5 and 5; after which the colours 'swap over' as to increasing/decreasing.

To learn TABLES, do them in groups that have a relationship, thus:

x2, x4, x8

x3, x6, x12

5 and 10 are easy

7 and 9 are rather harder.

Starting with TWO times TABLE, I always say: "Imagine the class is lining up in pairs; each child will have a partner, if there is an EVEN number in the class. If one child is left without a partner, then the number is ODD, because an odd one is left out."

Use Lego bricks again, lay them out in a column of 2 wide to learn 2x table. Go half way down the column, and move half the bricks up, so that now the column is 4 bricks wide. That gives the start of 4x table.

Then do similar things with 3x and 6x.

With 5x, try and count in 'fives', and notice the relationship with 'ten' - they will alternate, ending in 5 then 10.

It is important to try and UNDERSTAND the relationships between numbers, and not just learn them 'by rote'.

I am sorry it seems complicated trying to explain these concepts, but using Lego or counters should make understanding easier.

An inexpensive solar powered calculator (no battery to run out!) can help learn tables by 'repeated addition'. So: enter 2+2 and press = to give 4. KEEP PRESSING = and it should add on 2 each time, giving 2 times table.

There are good web sites, which can be fun to use :


Billybo Tue 04-Nov-14 12:00:20

Thank you. Guess it sounds like I am worrying too early. His reading and general maths are very good for his age, so I'll just wait and see what happens in time.

APlaceInTheWinter Tue 04-Nov-14 12:06:23

We have a family history of dyslexia so I completely relate to your worries. I don't think our DS is dyslexic but he still confuses certain numbers and letters (b,d, 5). He's 6.

If you are worried then contact your local dyslexia association. They can offer lots of support and advice, even if it's just to reassure you.

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