Dyslexia - should I get my 8 year old dd assessed?

(39 Posts)
AmericanPastoral Sun 24-Jan-16 13:06:18

My 8 year old dd - who will be 9 in August - has never liked reading as she finds it a struggle. Her everyday spelling is poor but if she revises for a test she usually gets all the spellings right. She also sometimes gets numbers around the wrong way - she will say 96 when looking at the numbers 69. How do you know if your child is dyslexic? She is also very easily distracted -her 5 year old sister needs much less prompting to get things done than she does. I'm not sure if this is a trait associated with dyslexia. Is it worth getting her tested? A friend of a friend had her child assessed and it cost £400. Thanks.

tacal Sun 24-Jan-16 15:10:01

Hi, sorry I don't have any advice. I have been asking myself the same questions about my ds. How do I know if he is dyslexic and is it worth getting him tested. He gets a lot of support at school so I am thinking that an actual diagnosis would not change anything. But I would like to know if he is dyslexic. I have ordered some books about dyslexia from Amazon and joined one of the dyslexia charities and will start attending their meetings. I really want to try to understand what dyslexia is . I hope you get some good advice from others.

AmericanPastoral Sun 24-Jan-16 15:27:25

Thanks tacal. I haven't looked into dyslexia charities - can I ask which ones you've seen? Once you've read the books it would be interesting to know if you would recommend those. The friend of a friend has an 11 year old daughter who is dyslexic and she was diagnosed in year 5. She seemed very similar to dd. Good luck to you as well.

Fatfreefaff Sun 24-Jan-16 16:00:48

I would speak to the school. It may be possible for them to refer her to the Ed psych. If they are concerned.

A private assessment is worth it - though expensive as at least you know what the problem is. We had to pay for an assessment and specialist teaching but it was worth the money.

AmericanPastoral Sun 24-Jan-16 16:09:32

Thanks Fatfree. The person I know who got a private assessment had had one done at the school and the conclusion of that was her dd wasn't dyslexic. It was only when she had the private one done - which was much more intensive than the one done through the school - that the dyslexia diagnosis came. Her mother had been saying for years that she thought her dd was dyslexic - her husband is - but the school had been saying that she was too young to diagnose.

junebirthdaygirl Sun 24-Jan-16 18:56:40

One of the main indicators to dyslexia for you would be does the child seem bright in lots of ways but reading is not matching up to this. This is not a diagnosis of course but a strong indicator for your own information. Getting a diagnosis is important if those working with her are getting impatient not taking her difficulties into account or setting very low expectations on her in other areas due to her poor reading. If her school can assess her all the better as you could use your money for tuition instead. Toe by Toe which you can do yourself at home is a very helpful programme for over 8s. Meantime l would encourage you to treat her as if dyslexic so over learn everything and constant patience and understanding.

Seryph Sun 24-Jan-16 19:00:55

I would like to second the private assessment. I was diagnosed as having dyspraxic tendencies as at 7 or 8 by an OP at Guys Hospital, she saw me again at 11 and confirmed the diagnosis as dyspraxic tendencies that would get better with age. At 14 an OP employed by my school agreed with my record.
At 19 I saw an education psychiatrist privately through my university. I was diagnosed as definitely dyspraxic and she couldn't work out why no one had noticed that I was quite dyslexic too. We both suspect it is due to my very high vocabulary and love of reading (which I do not find difficult).

It is definitely talking to the school SENCO, most schools are far more advanced in their acceptance and understanding of dyslexia and other SEN than they were when I was a kid. Check out: www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/ as a good starting place.

Traalaa Sun 24-Jan-16 21:58:37

If they are dyslexic it can really help to know. A full Ed Psych report is incredibly useful as it breaks down strengths/ weaknesses and so tells you / teachers how best to help them. Just knowing he's dyslexic really helped my son as it somehow made sense of a lot of life for him. He's really grown in confidence since the diagnosis (he was 8 then/ 11 now) as it was possible to stop him thinking he's stupid and start him understanding that his brain's wired a bit differently to some of his mates. The school should be on it though - we only paid for a private referral because the school couldn't tell us when our son might be assessed. They'd already told us he was dyslexic as they'd spotted it in class.

AmericanPastoral Mon 25-Jan-16 11:46:26

Thanks very much junebirthdaygirl Seryph and Traalaa.

maizieD Mon 25-Jan-16 13:31:32

It would be interesting to know just what she finds difficult about reading and spelling so that the best ways to help her can be investigated.

A diagnosis of dyslexia may relieve your worry but it is no help if it doesn't lead to intervention which specifically targets the skills she lacks/finds difficult.

zaphod Mon 25-Jan-16 13:41:45

What Tralaa said.

Hackedabove Mon 25-Jan-16 13:46:58

We had DS1 tested last year when he was 9, it's only mild, but explains why spelling is so difficult for him. Have to work out if it's worth getting DS2 assessed.

AmericanPastoral Mon 25-Jan-16 13:52:58

Thanks maizie zaphod and Hacked.

tacal Tue 26-Jan-16 07:50:14

Hi American sorry I took so long to get back to you. I am in Scotland, Dyslexia Scotland have meetings in a school near me so I will start attending their meetings. The meetings are open to everyone. I have ordered some books that they have suggested on their website. My ds has autism so I am not sure at this point if his difficulties are because of his autism or if he could also have dyslexia. Good luck.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 26-Jan-16 08:27:57

I had DD (10, year 5) assessed privately a couple of weeks ago, her attainment in school has been gradually slipping till she was below average in everything except reading (!) when she clearly is very bright, with the school attributing it all to lack of effort/attitude. Markers for us were slow writing, appalling spelling, dyslexic traits/dyspraxia in close family members. She turned out to be dyslexic (with 90th centile underlying ability). Dyslexia was confirmed. It did cost around £500, but I think it will be worth it, we feel so much better knowing there is a real reason for it all and it has given us lots of suggestions to work with. I will feel happier choosing a secondary school this year armed with the full facts too.

Traalaa Tue 26-Jan-16 09:03:24

That's great for your DD, WhoKnOws. It must explain a lot. I hope the school listen and at least try and make some adjustments for her.

In case it helps, I thought I'd paste this as it's the best I've found and my son found it useful and inspiring too (there's a big chart with famous people from all walks of life at the back). Dyslexia/Dyspraxia guide, Uni of Hull

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 26-Jan-16 09:12:05

Thanks Traalaa, that guide is good. It is a relief, although I am feeling a bit rabbit in the headlights about it all, even though I have been right through the SEN system with DS (dyspraxia and AS, statemented and at special school). I hope the school listen too, they have not been very supportive to date (to be fair they were brilliant with DS when he was there, but his needs were so much more obvious). I had DD assessed at a specialist centre, I am planning to go on a course there myself to help me get to grips with it.

redhat Tue 26-Jan-16 09:19:22

We're about to have DS2 assessed. He's very bright and in a selective school but at 98 he's still transposing letters frequently, skips words and sometimes whole lines when reading aloud, can get 20 out of 20 when spelling out loud but will write the words down and miss out very obvious letters e.g. "secondary" as "scondary"

School have given him a brief 10 minute assessment and say he's fine but I'm not convinced.

redhat Tue 26-Jan-16 09:19:41

hmm he's 8 not 98! grin

Traalaa Tue 26-Jan-16 10:03:28

Arf at 98! redhat have you thought about visual stress? Ask your son what happens when he looks at a page of text. So do the words stay still, or move/ blur? You don't have to be dyslexic to have this problem, but a higher proportion of dyslexics are. So my son can't see black text on white at all well. So white boards are a nightmare as well as most books. If he focuses on a word it moves making it really tricky to read. He wears dark tinted glasses now to read/ in class and they've made a massive difference. Normal eye tests don't pick it up, so a lot of people miss it.

WhoKnOws, we were warned that if your child's bright and ticking all the basic achievement boxes it's often hard to get help for them. It was true too, as the SENCO at my son's school said he'd get no help as he was working at the required SATs level. The fact that he was capable of a whole lot more didn't seem to matter. Fortunately the HT was appalled when we told her what he'd said and he also happened to have a class teacher who was dyslexic herself, so she really made a massive difference. We've found secondary a lot better than primary. Such a relief!

tacal Tue 26-Jan-16 10:21:55

My ds reads some words backwards eg he reads dog as god and was as saw. He is only 7. Does anyone know if that is a usual mistake at this age? He can also read words completely wrong. For spelling homework last week he was sure thought was forget. The school say he is behind where he should be for reading and writing. They want to start him using a computer for language work.

Traalaa Tue 26-Jan-16 10:50:40

tacal, I think 7 is around the time when learning tics start to straighten out, so it's around then that teachers will agree there's maybe something else going on other than just natural variance in when kids pick things up. If they want him to use a computer, then I'd say ask them why/ what they think might be going on.

maizieD Tue 26-Jan-16 11:05:15

My ds reads some words backwards eg he reads dog as god and was as saw.

This can quite often indicate that a child has poor eye tracking skills. English words are read from left to right but this doesn't come 'naturally'; it has to be practised so that the eyes' tracking muscles can be 'trained' and strengthened. The most effective way to do this is by teaching children to sound out and blend all words from left to right all through the word. Problems with eye tracking can usually be traced back to initial reading instruction. 'Mixed methods', which teach several strategies for word identification, don't give some children enough consistent practice in reading words from left to right and so left to right tracking isn't properly developed.

If the eye muscles are weak for L to R tracking you might find that asking a child who reads words the 'wrong way round' to consistently read words from L to R causes them actual stress as they have to exercise weak muscles to do so. They rub their eyes a lot, maybe complain that it's giving them a headache, get nearer and nearer to the print so that their nose is practically touching the page... I'm afraid that the solution to the problem is more practice..little and often, of course, to avoid causing undue stress.

Strategies which may have been taught and which may have contributed to this problem are learning words as 'wholes' (the dreaded 'sight words') and looking for clues to words in pictures. These both interfere with L to R tracking. The more dependent a child becomes on these strategies the less 'correct' exercise the tracking muscles get.

It's worth considering...

With regard to spelling, it is essential that a child knows that the letters in words represent the word's component sounds and that to spell a word the first step is to identify the sounds, then ensure that every sound in the word has been spelled. Depending on learning a string of letters is difficult as letters can easily be missed or transposed because the child a) can't remember them all and b) doesn't understand what their function is in a word.

So it's also worth considering how your child was taught to 'learn' spellings. Was it by learning 'letter strings' or by breaking words into 'sounds' and spelling the sounds? The method they use may well have a bearing on their difficulties.

AmericanPastoral Tue 26-Jan-16 11:37:09

Thanks so much for all your comments - they look so useful. tacal thanks for the info and great guide Traalaa - thank you. Have just skim read but will return to later smile.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Tue 26-Jan-16 11:57:52

Traalaa, yes, we had that problem with getting DS a statement, he was heading towards levels 3 and 4 in his Y6 SATS so the school (who had put in a huge amount of support) thought he was perfectly OK, when in fact he was nowhere near OK and he got the statement. I think I have a bit of leverage with DD as she got 2A for both reading and Maths in KS2 and 2C for writing, I know it's all changed, but she's now behind where she should be in Maths and it won't look good if she only gets 3s in Yr6. Or whatever it is now. I have pointed this out to them!

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