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6yo dd (Y1) with dyslexia?

(28 Posts)
Molotov Fri 19-Jun-15 20:54:24

My dd1 is bright, highly talkative, extremely energetic and sociable, good a maths, good at recalling events and details, good at reading and capable with phonics.

However, she really struggles with handwriting. It's often difficult to read without dd telling us what she has written. It hasn't really improved over the academic year. Her writing 'floats' across the page; she doesn't stick to lines or margins. She regularly confuses b/d p/q and I noticed the other day that she wrote 6 backwards a few times. She doesn't seem to enjoy writing and will try to do any other task than write (for example, colouring in a picture when she also needs to write a sentence). She's easily distracted in a general sense, too.

I wondered if she might be dyslexic, or at least have some form of dyslexia? Or is this typical for a 6 year old?

I've raised my concerns with dds teacher who I'll meet with next week to talk with in detail. I don't think she thinks there is a particular problem but something just doesn't feel right, if I'm honest. I think dd definitely needs some form of extra support.

Anyway, can a 6yo be tested/assessed for dyslexia? My worry is that this won't resolve on its own and she'll struggle in Y2.

morningsarepants Fri 19-Jun-15 20:58:20

I am bumping here as I have the same problem with my DS also going into year 2 in Sept.
I spoke to the Special needs coordinator at the school and they will get him assessed. Apparently they don't diagnose dyslexia yet anyway but they appreciated me raising my concerns and were very supportive.
Have you tried speaking to your SENCO?

Molotov Fri 19-Jun-15 21:03:09

No, not yet. But I will say to dds teacher that I would like to speak to the SENCO. The handwriting issue has been her Achilles heel all year but I really started to feel concerned by her handwriting having shown no determinable improvement and for the letter and number mix-ups.

I don't want to make an issue if this happens to lots of other children at this stage. Likewise, I don't want to ignore a potential problem in the hope it'll disappear.

morningsarepants Fri 19-Jun-15 21:08:12

That's exactly how I feel, I didn't want to ignore it. DS writes all d, b,a,g etc backwards and also some numbers esp 2,7. Sometimes a sentence can be a mirror image. Totally illegible really. Yet his reading albeit slow at first is coming on now, but no change in writing after a lot of effort all year.

Molotov Fri 19-Jun-15 21:13:30

Exactly the same here, morning!

Molotov Sat 20-Jun-15 10:16:17

Just wondering if anyone else has advice? I'm especially wondering if I should push for her to be screened? If there is anything else I should be looking out for?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 20-Jun-15 10:27:21

They might be a symptom of something, but equally all of the things you have described can be completely normal in a child of her age. Given the second half of your first sentence I would say it is unlikely that she is dyslexic, I would expect issues with some of those things in a child with dyslexia.

I don't think a label at this age would help. You'd be better off with looking at the specific things she finds difficult and try and improve those. What are her fine motor skills like? That's probably where I'd start looking.

BananaCake123 Sat 20-Jun-15 12:10:33

Fine motor skill issues are usually more associated with dyspraxia - how is she with PE and \ or other aspects of co-ordination? Also, you may want her to see an optometrist. Try and find one that deals specifically with dyslexia as the problem may be something visual to do with tracking. Visual issues relating to dyslexia are most effectively sorted whilst still young so I'd follow that up sooner rather than later. Finally, don't be fobbed off by teachers saying "she's fine" etc. Most teachers haven't a clue when it comes to recognising dyslexia and other SEN because unbelievably this does not form part of their training and they do not know what to look for. My very bright DD's issues were dismissed as her being "lazy" until 14 years of age when her coping strategies were no longer able to mask her difficulties. I had raised concerns with teachers over the years but to my shame I was too easily trusting that the teachers were professionals who knew best. Trust your instincts. If you think something is not right, insist on getting to the bottom of it. Good luck.

mrz Sat 20-Jun-15 13:41:04

Has she had a recent vision check? (not the school check which is very basic) if not I would suggest ruling this out first.

Has she been taught to form letters correctly and reminded about finger spaces and that letters need to sit on the lines? It sounds obvious but it's a common cause.
Letter and number reversal is very normal in young children and not an indicator of problems on its own.

Molotov Sat 20-Jun-15 17:16:00

Thank-you all for replying. Dd hasn't had an eye test since her YR vision check, so this is something I'll book for her ASAP.

Her fine motor skills have been an issue and were raised at our first Y1 parents evening last autumn. It's something I'll ask dd's teacher if she's improved upon.

It's difficult to know whether I'm falsely labelling, or whether there is something in my concerns. Dd1 is my PFB and I only want to do the right thing.

Dd is very intelligent and sensitive and I don't want her to feel inferior to her classmates. She already knows that her handwriting isn't 'as good as' her peers. Whatever the case, I think she needs extra support.

mrz Sat 20-Jun-15 17:27:37

Fine Motor Skills
Things to remember:
Upright working surfaces promote fine motor skills. Examples of these are: vertical
chalkboards; easels for painting; flannel boards; lite bright; magnet boards (or
fridge); windows and mirrors; white boards, etc. Children can also make sticker
pictures; do rubber ink-stamping; use reuseable stickers to make pictures; complete
puzzles with thick knobs; use magna-doodle and etch-a-sketch as well. The benefits
for these include: having the child's wrist positioned to develop good thumb
movements; they help develop good fine motor muscles; the child is using the arm
and shoulder muscles.
Fine Motor Activities
Moulding and rolling play dough into balls - using the palms of the
hands facing each other and with fingers curled slightly towards the palm.
Rolling play dough into tiny balls (peas) using only the finger tips.
Using pegs or toothpicks to make designs in play dough.
Cutting play dough with a plastic knife or with a pizza wheel by holding
the implement in a diagonal volar grasp.
Tearing newspaper into strips and then crumpling them into balls. Use
to stuff scarecrow or other art creation.
Scrunching up 1 sheet of newspaper in one hand. This is a super
strength builder.
Using a plant sprayer to spray plants, (indoors, outdoors) to spray snow
(mix food colouring with water so that the snow can be painted), or melt
"monsters". (Draw monster pictures with markers and the colours will run
when sprayed.)
Picking up objects using large tweezers such as those found in the
"Bedbugs" game. This can be adapted by picking up Cheerios, small cubes,
small marshmallows, pennies, etc., in counting games.
Shaking dice by cupping the hands together, forming an empty air space
between the palms.
Using small-sized screwdrivers like those found in an erector set.
Lacing and sewing activities such as stringing beads, Cheerios,
macaroni, etc.
Using eye droppers to "pick up" coloured water for colour mixing or
to make artistic designs on paper.
Rolling small balls out of tissue paper, then gluing the balls onto
construction paper to form pictures or designs.
Turning over cards, coins, checkers, or buttons, without bringing them to
the edge of the table.
Making pictures using stickers or self-sticking paper reinforcements.
Playing games with the "puppet fingers" -the thumb, index, and middle
fingers. At circle time have each child's puppet fingers tell about what
happened over the weekend, or use them in songs and finger plays.
Place a variety of forms (eg. blocks, felt, paper, string, yarn, cereal,
cotton) on outlines
Match shapes, colour, or pictures to a page and paste them within the
Self-Care Skills
Fastening Snaps
Using a screwdriver
Locking and unlocking a door
Winding a clock
Opening and closing jars
Rolling out dough or other simple cooking activities
Washing plastic dishes
Sweeping the floor
Scissor Activities
When scissors are held correctly, and when they fit a child's hand well, cutting
activities will exercise the very same muscles which are needed to manipulate a pencil
in a mature tripod grasp. The correct scissor position is with the thumb and middle
finger in the handles of the scissors, the index finger on the outside of the handle to
stabilize, with fingers four and five curled into the palm.
Cutting junk mail, particularly the kind of paper used in magazine
subscription cards.
Making fringe on the edge of a piece of construction paper.
Cutting play dough or clay with scissors.
Cutting straws or shredded paper.
Use a thick black line to guide cutting the following:
A fringe from a piece of paper
Cut off corners of a piece of paper
Cut along curved lines
Cut lines with a variety of angles
Cut figures with curves and angles
Sensory Activities
The following activities ought to be done frequently to increase postural muscle
strength and endurance. These activities also strengthen the child's awareness of
his/her hands.
Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking
Clapping games (loud/quiet, on knees together, etc.)
Catching (clapping) bubbles between hands
Pulling off pieces of thera-putty with individual fingers and thumb
Drawing in a tactile medium such as wet sand, salt, rice, or "goop".
Make "goop" by adding water to cornstarch until you have a mixture similar
in consistency to toothpaste. The "drag" of this mixture provides feedback to
the muscle and joint receptors, thus facilitating visual motor control.
Picking out small objects like pegs, beads, coins, etc., from a tray of salt,
sand, rice, or putty. Try it with eyes closed too. This helps develop sensory
awareness in the hands.
Midline Crossing
Establishment of hand dominance is still developing at this point. The following
activities will facilitate midline crossing:
Encourage reaching across the body for materials with each hand. It
may be necessary to engage the other hand in an activity to prevent
switching hands at midline.
Refrain specifically from discouraging a child from using the left hand
for any activity. Allow for the natural development of hand dominance by
presenting activities at midline, and allowing the child to choose freely.
Start making the child aware of the left and right sides of his body
through spontaneous comments like, "kick the ball with your right leg." Play
imitation posture games like "Simon Says" with across the body movements.
When painting at easel, encourage the child to paint a continuous line
across the entire paper- also from diagonal to diagonal.

mrz Sat 20-Jun-15 17:29:33

I use a Busy Finger Box in the classroom but you could easily find most things at home

1. Pegs –
You need pegs of different sizes, clothes pegs, small bulldog clips, stationery clips etc. Get the children to use one hand only at a time. I usually get them to peg about 10 pegs of different sizes onto the sides of a gift bag. They might put them on with their left hand and take them off with their right.
They can also try squeezing the pegs between the first finger and thumb (on each hand) then the middle finger and thumb and so on.

2. Elastic bands –
Elastic gymnastics! – Start by putting 2 elastic bands (the same size) around the thumb, first and middle fingers, ask the child to open and close the fingers. Then add another 2 elastic bands and so on. The more you have on, the harder it is to move your fingers. These exercises help to develop the muscles which make the web space when writing.

3. Beads –
Get beads of different sizes and thread. Ask the children to thread some beads onto their string. The smaller the hole obviously the harder it is to thread. Develops hand/eye coordination.

4. Ball bearings and tweezers –
Put the ball bearings in one little box and ask the child to try and pick one ball bearing up at a time with the tweezers and place in a second small box. If this is too tricky try using Hama beads and tweezers.

5. Floam / Playdough –
These products are great for squeezing and rolling which provides necessary sensory feedback and helps to develop hand strength. Ask the children to squeeze the dough and roll it with the palm of their hand.

6. Doodle board –
The Doodleboard is just a way of children practising handwriting patterns or letters without having to commit them to paper. Provide some patterns and shapes to copy.

7. Gummed Shapes –
Give the children a sheet of plain paper and ask them to make patterns or pictures with the gummed shapes. Just picking up on shape at a time, licking it and then sticking it down all help to develop hand/eye coordination and the pincer grip.

8. Hama Beads –
Hama beads are good for pincer grip and hand/eye coordination. The children have patterned sheets to copy and peg boards to put them on.

9. Lacing cards –
Also good for hand/eye coordination. Just give each child one card to lace.

10. Bean bags –
Give a child 4-5 bean bags and place a container about 3 feet infront of them. Ask the child to try and get as many beanbags in the container as possible. (Hand/eye coordination)

11. Chalk and blackboard –
If you can, try and wedge the blackboard between two tables and provide the child with a piece of chalk in each hand. Ask them to draw the same pattern with both hands at the same time on both sides of the board. This helps develop bilateral movement.
Allow the children to draw patterns, shapes and letter shapes on the blackboard. The chalk gives sensory feedback and sound simultaneously.

12. Stencils –
Children can use the stencils to make a picture. Helps develop pencil control and special awareness among other things.

13. Feathers –
Ask the children to try and balance a feather on different parts of their body. This helps to develop balance and coordination.

14. Handhugger pens –
Hand hugger pens are the triangular shaped pens. These help the children to establish a better pencil grip.

15. Tissue paper strips –
Place the child’s palm (at the wrist) on the end of a strip of tissue paper. Ask them to only use their middle finger to get the paper to scrunch up under their hand.
Repeat, but this time place the side of the child’s hand on one end of the tissue strip and ask them to only use their thumb to scrunch up the paper and bring it under their hand.
These activities really help to develop the hand arch, web space and muscle tone of the hand.

16. Stickers –
Children love stickers. Just peeling them off provides an opportunity to develop fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination.

17. Peg boards –
These can be peg boards where the child has to place pegs in the holes, maybe copying patterns.
They can be the boards with plastic pegs already on where they have to stretch elastic bands between them to make patterns.

ClaimedByMe Sat 20-Jun-15 17:36:44

Def get an eye test even go to an optician who prescribes tinted lenses and ask them to test, our local spec savers do and a few independent opticians. We saw an optometrist at the local hospital who throughly checked dds eye sight, eye muscles pretty much everything in the eye then she did a simple overlay/tracking test that took 2 minutes and the problem was obvious.

The best advice I can give is follow your gut, I was fobbed off by the school for years before anyone listened and it turns out I was right, I wish I had put my foot down rather than trust the professional sad

mrz Sat 20-Jun-15 18:57:46

In reply to criticism in the British Medical Journal Dyslexia Action published the following

"The authors of the BMJ article confirmed directly that Dyslexia Action was not found to be endorsing the use of coloured lenses or filters, which is in line with its organisation’s policy. However, Dyslexia Action also recognises that there are some people who find it helpful to use aids that may reduce the ‘glare’ from print, make it easier to keep ones place when reading, and/or to make the text clearer to read.
Speaking about visual discomfort Dr John Rack, Director of Education and Policy at Dyslexia Action, states: “If the quality of a visual display is bad then all people will experience visual discomfort to some degree. It is hard to read in lighting conditions that are too bright or too dark or if the text appears too stripy.”

Dr Rack added: “Some may experience visual discomfort in conditions that many regard as 'normal' and, for them, lenses or filters can be of help. However, it is important to recognise that this is not directly related to dyslexia - many people with dyslexia do not experience visual discomfort, and even for those who do, dyslexic problems are in no way ‘cured’ by the use of lenses or filters."

hazeyjane Sat 20-Jun-15 22:03:48

I would just add that dd2 had a visual overlay test at the hospital, as she has a mixture of vision problems, dyslexia and visual disturbances - the overlay test was pretty intensive and took a lot longer than 2 minutes, it was a whole appointment on it's own.

Previous to being seen at the hospital, the school had done an overlay test, which lasted minutes, and she ended up with completely the wrong colour.

Dd2 was assessed in year 2, although we had raised questions in year 1, when it was felt that her issues could be developmental.

AnonyMusty Sun 21-Jun-15 05:52:10

You'll be able to have an assessment for Duslexua from the age of 7, when standardised scores have more statistical validity. Your post would flag up a question mark around dysgraphia for me, as an assessor. I would be paying attention to visual-motor coordination and how this, handwriting grasp, etc. impact upon spelling - in addition to aspects of weakness flagged up in a fully diagnostic test. I'd try to find an E.P. With a string specialist / excellent reputation for thorough assessment and recommendations for dyslexia OR an SpLD assessor (PATOSS listed).
Best of luck.

AnonyMusty Sun 21-Jun-15 05:52:21


AnonyMusty Sun 21-Jun-15 05:53:16

(It's not yet 5am) hmm

postmanpatscat Sun 21-Jun-15 09:07:05

Your gp could also refer her to OT. Many of the children I work with who have handwriting difficulties have lax finger joints that make writing tricky and very tiring. This is something else you could discuss with the SENCo as in my area the school can refer instead of the GP.

Molotov Sun 21-Jun-15 20:58:41

Oh wow everyone, thank-you so much for all of your informative and encouraging imput. Thank-you so, so much. Lots to consider.

Anony, I'm sorry but I don't understand all of your abbreviations: would you mind, please, just clarifying them for me?

I've just looked at dysgraphia and I identified a lot of what was written there with dd. At age 6, it's tricky to know whether she'll just naturally catch up, or if there is an issue. If there is an issue, I wouldn't want to see her struggling until she's 7 (Feb 2016) before getting help.

Molotov Sun 21-Jun-15 20:59:17

Just wondering what EP, SpLD are, please.

mrz Sun 21-Jun-15 21:07:49

EP Educational Psychologist
SpLD Specific Learning Difficulties

mrz Sun 21-Jun-15 21:11:52

Many "experts" refer to dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia under the umbrella term of SpLDs

PeterParkerSays Sun 21-Jun-15 21:16:20

EP - educational psychologist
SpLD - Specific Learning Difference / Difficulty (I think)

My DS has similar issues but he can't be assessed for dyslexia until he's 7, plus the funding for EPs to do these tests has been cut so there are long waiting lists.

You won't get a dyslexia assessment before she's 7 but if she's on the radar of her teacher and the SENCO at her school, that will help.

mrz Sun 21-Jun-15 21:21:37

Schools can screen from age 4

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