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Advice please: DS very slow reader and writer, has mild APD - how can I help?

(15 Posts)
tigerrsc Fri 25-Sep-15 14:08:16

My DS is in year 5 and he is struggling to keep up in class with the speed of reading and writing, frequently having to catch up in break in the more wordy subjects.

He was diagnosed with very mild APD (Auditory processing Disorder) whilst in year 2 (as well as confidence issues etc after a prolonged bout of hearing loss as a very young child). All his teachers have been informed so that they can tweak lessons but he is not bad enough for SENCO to be involved etc.

He is bright, great at Maths, hates comprehension work. His lack of speed does impact the quality of the work he does at school since he tries to write as little as possible and gives up on work quickly in the majority of arts subjects and even in Maths he hates wordy questions.

We have been leaving him to it but with secondary transfer rearing its head I am wondering if we need to help him with his reading / writing speed as this impacts him across all subjects. If so, what can we do?


Mashabell Fri 25-Sep-15 14:48:35

I would do everything possible to improve his reading at home.

Explain to him gently again if need be how important reading is for everything else, including learning the hundreds of words with silly spellings,
and that he probably does not like reading because he finds it difficult,
but that many other children do too, because English spelling is often silly,
e.g. through, rough, trough,
but if he works at it, he'll get better.

Can u spare a few minutes a day listening to him read aloud again?
Would he be happy to do so?

If yes, go for it and help him out patiently with words he stumbles over.
With most of them u will probably be able to say,
'That's another silly spelling'.
Most of the words that pupils stumble over are ones in which some letters have irregular pronunciations,
e.g. 'marine' (cf. dfine, combine), 'simile' (cf. smile, compile) and so forth.

tigerrsc Fri 25-Sep-15 16:05:07

Thanks Mashabell

His issue is not however phonological. He is in top set spelling and finds it easy. What he finds hard is comprehending what he reads or it takes him a long time to translate what he is reading in his head to make it make sense. In addition, he will not admit it if he cannot understand something…….

mrz Fri 25-Sep-15 17:04:46

Are SaLT involved for his APD?

tigerrsc Fri 25-Sep-15 19:51:17

What is SaLT?

mrz Fri 25-Sep-15 20:18:22

Speech and Language Therapy

Mashabell Sat 26-Sep-15 11:02:48

The simplest way of improving comprehension is just to read more.
Does he have any special interests that u cd buy magazines for?

What matters most is simply to read more.
What it is matters much less.

mrz Sat 26-Sep-15 13:02:55

Reading (alone) more won't improve comprehension, especially if there is a processing disorder... if only it were that simple

Ferguson Sat 26-Sep-15 19:35:40

I will give you a 'link' to APDUK, a site that may be useful, and it might be worth your while exploring in detail:

There may be books that are aimed at supporting weak comprehension, but I don't know quite where they would be found. APDUK lists many books ABOUT the condition, but I didn't notice books suitable for children to read.

This site might be useful as well:

mrz Sat 26-Sep-15 19:45:32


anotherdrink Sat 26-Sep-15 20:59:40

OP we had the same issue but we had to tackle it earlier due to DS 8+ prep school entrance exams. DS was like yours, excellent at maths, spelling & dictation in isolation but terrible at comprehension he could not bring all the instructions together. We panicked and spent several thousand pounds on a Lindamood Bell course but in hindsight I wished I had spent that monies on personal English tuition on tackling wordy comprehensions and breaking down text into manageable chunks to process. Good luck. Persevere. Our DS has made enormous progress.

Geraniumred Mon 28-Sep-15 16:21:56

A good English tutor would probably be able to help - concentrated 1:1 time from someone who 'gets' him and who knows how to help would do him a lot of good. It's no fun to be always struggling in class. Comprehension and reading speed can be taught just like any other skills.
Just reading more will not help. It is possible to be an excellent reader and still be very poor at both comprehension and spelling.

tigerrsc Mon 28-Sep-15 19:47:59

Thanks everyone

MRZ - yes Sam's APD was diagnosed by a SLT but she has left the school to get on with things as his condition is mild.
We went back to another SLT to help with the comprehension and inference skills - It did help hugely to start with but then quickly plateaued out and at £80 an hour we swopped to a general tutor

anotherdrink & Geraniumred - we have started Sam (and my daughter so 2:1 session) with a tutor and it is early days yet. She is focussing on comprehension but not reading speed. Also, as I don't want to overload him with extra work on top of the already overloaded prep school homework, I am not sure how much she is helping

TBH I only recently twigged that the extremely slow speed of reading could be down to the APD. The more that I think about it, the more the speed does not seem to be a comprehension issue per se, although I am sure that would make it worse, but more of a processing one.

I was just wondering if anyone else had a DS or DD with a similar issue that they had managed to find help with either with a SLT or other…

Ferguson - thanks for the links. I must admit that I haven't gone back to them since SAm was diagnosed 3 years ago as I did not find them easy to get information from. However, you are correct, that would be a good place to start.

Thanks everyone

Atenco Mon 28-Sep-15 20:06:30

Watching this out of curiousity for any suggestions for the writing problem.

Reading. I would try to find him things to read about his particular interests.

mrz Tue 29-Sep-15 06:53:12

I would probably ask for SaLT to reassess if only to rule out the APD as the cause. They should be able to provide a programme if required.

If it isn't the problem I would use easier texts to work on comprehension so she can focus on understanding rather than the effort of reading lots of more complex words.

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