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What counts as good support for dyslexia?

(21 Posts)
TwoLeftSocks Tue 26-Jan-16 17:01:29

Also posted this on SN Chat... Noticed there's just been a dyslexia thread here but I think this is a bit different...

Not sure DS1 (Yr5) is getting the right support for his dyslexia at school and I'm wondering if anyone can give examples of good support that their DC receive.

Help with reading, spellings, one-to-one, support from supply teachers, interacting with peers, general encouragement, anything else really.

If anyone can add combined support for inattentive, medicated ADHD then that would be a bonus though I get the feeling that's not so common.

And also should I even be thinking of dyslexia tutoring or should he get enough help at school not to need that?

spanieleyes Tue 26-Jan-16 17:10:01

A boy with dyslexia in my class has 1:1 reading every day, 20 minutes additional spelling support every day, 15 minutes independent work using a dyslexia computer programme each day and additional support in the lesson with planning/organising his work as needed.

maizieD Tue 26-Jan-16 22:47:48

Now that's an interesting question smile

I worked for 10 years with 'struggling readers' in KS3. This was all children who had problems with reading, not just those who were dx as 'dyslexic'.

From my experience I would say that the absolutely vital starting point for supporting dyslexics would be to give regular one to one or small group intervention sessions for reading and spelling with a teacher or TA who had a thorough understanding of synthetic phonics teaching and an ability to tailor the way it is taught to the child's needs.

This is more rare than you would think it is. Currently not many 'specialist dyslexia teachers' actually use synthetic phonics, they tend to favour a much older, more complex way of teaching phonic knowledge and skills.

Beyond that I would be wanting all teachers the child encounters to base their support for reading and spelling on synthetic phonics principles. This may not apply quite so much at primary school but is really necessary at secondary.

That should really take care of the reading and spelling aspect.

I don't think that full time one to one support is particularly vital so long as the child has access to help when needed. The focus in education for all children should be to develop them as independent learners.

When we get into the realms of 'co-morbidities' I leave it to others to give their views.

TwoLeftSocks Wed 27-Jan-16 20:17:50

Thanks both.

I think they use synthetic phonics but I think I might have a chat about how much they still use that on his year, and for him especially. I know at least they're very good at looking at the needs for each child.

maizieD Wed 27-Jan-16 21:01:04

Sometimes the KS1 people are good with phonics teaching but KS2 don't expect to have to be using phonic strategies with their pupils. Some may always have taught KS2 and never used phonics. So be aware!

Seryph Wed 27-Jan-16 21:12:08

Good support will depend on what support the individual needs. For example, I am dyslexic and dyspraxic but I have never had a problem with reading and at my last assessment my vocabulary was in the 99th centile. And I just wrote the last sentence without having to use the spell check for anything.

When I was a kid my spelling was dire, we were taught to read with mixed methods and spellings were learnt by rote. So I had no phonetics to fall back on and it wasn't until my mum and tutor taught me to sound things out and try that way that I started being able to spell.

I was considered dyspraxic, not both, as a child and the support I was given at primary school was to be taken out for an hour a week with the other children who for whatever reason found reading/writing difficult. This only happened in yr6 and only in the lead up to SATs. We practised words like "was", "they" and "says". We were given yr3 handwriting sheets and spoken to slowly.

In secondary I got 10% extra time on exams and in yr9 six 45 minute sessions where we did Brain Gym, drank lots of water and were finally taken through the alphabet letter by letter to show us the correct way of forming the letters for optimal writing ability. I was told three of my letters were wrong because I formed them minutely differently from the chart. I binned everything after that.

None of these things helped me, and I hate HATE mind maps. But one of the girls in my yr9 class got loads out of the sessions. Four of the other children in our SEN group found the lessons with the SENCO really helped them and their reading improved during the four months we worked together. There is no one answer.

I personally found breaking up writing/taking notes into two or three colours regularly spaced out so you don't get too much block text in one colour really helps. Writing in felt tip or a thick/italic fountain pen nib massively improves my handwriting. Running around the living room helped me memorise my spellings. Being able to type my exams and having extra time seriously helps at uni.

maizieD Thu 28-Jan-16 11:35:37

In secondary I got 10% extra time on exams and in yr9 six 45 minute sessions where we did Brain Gym, drank lots of water and were finally taken through the alphabet letter by letter to show us the correct way of forming the letters for optimal writing ability. I was told three of my letters were wrong because I formed them minutely differently from the chart.

shock Just about every example of useless and unevidenced based 'intervention' one could think of!

I binned everything after that.

Very sensible...

getoffthattabletnow Thu 28-Jan-16 11:59:36

All Dyslexics are different .So there is no standard approach.My 11 year old DS has no issues with reading .Other than the glare from the black on white and reading small text.An initial test for Dyslexia by the Senco picked up a very low chance of him being Dyslexic.He was subsequently found to be very Dyslexic in year 6.With a writing speed of 55% of normal and a very poor speller.He does however spell totally phonetically.Sometimes one word 5 different ways in a paragraph.A lot of English words are not spelt phonetically but can be sounded out phonetically .The only way to improve spelling is by learning certain spelling rules ie. grouping similar words together .I've been told this is moderately successful in Dyslexics .Nothing will ever make them brilliant spellers.

Many teachers know very little about Dyslexia.I fail to see how one to one programmes with a Ta unless specially trained can help.My DS has a Ta in some of his classes with him to support his work.She is not the teacher though.

We had absolutely no help with my DS's Dyslexia in primary school as it wasn't recognised.He has a reasonably high IQ so learnt I think to compensate and hence didn't do badly enough to warrant any intervention.
A Dyslexia tutor will really help.As will an accurate assessment by a qualified professional of his abilities regarding his Dyslexia.I think if you're getting any help with your sons Dyslexia you're lucky.My experience of my children's state primary was you're far more likely to have help with behavioural issues,/ADHD.

misscph1973 Thu 28-Jan-16 12:58:57

My DS, age 8, is being tested for dyslexia at school. It was the teacher who picked up on it, not me. At first I was suspicious of the teacher's idea, I thought they were expecting too much from him, I thought that he was just a bit slow learning to spell and read. But then I started reading "The Dyslexic Advantage", and I'm beginning to see what the teacher meant. Unfortunately the testing is taking forever as the SENCO cut down on her hours.

I really think you should get "The Dyslexic Advantage" (I got it from the library), as it's very insightful and it seems to be at the cutting edge of dysleaxia research and theories. I didn't know much about dyslexia before I started reading it, and it really is very diverse, the diagnosis covers a lot more than I thought. Also, you might find this book especially interesting as it describes several cases of children being misdiagnosed ADHD, and it turned out they were dyslexic, and once this was recognised and the children got the relevant support, but probably more important, understanding, everything changed for them.

Personally I don't have much hope for what the school can do for my DS, which I why I have started educating myself. I hope I will be pleasantly surprised, though! I'm a former teacher (not in this country, though), and I had no knowledge of dyslexia, so I am not surprised if teachers in this country don't. I am hoping to find good ways I can support DS with home work.

Seryph Thu 28-Jan-16 14:04:05

maizieD: yep. I recognised just how stupid that was at 14. And this wasn't a million years ago either. This is one of the main reasons I am training to be a primary teacher, in the hope that I can help since I've been on the other side as it were!

Geraniumred Thu 28-Jan-16 16:13:38

A good dyslexia tutor can really help, but you may need to shop around. Using synthetic phonics is essential. As other posters have observed, there is no one size fits all solution, otherwise we'd already be using it. A school may not always be the best help.

Badders123 Thu 28-Jan-16 16:19:25

Adhd/aspergers/dyspraxia are very common conditions which also include dyslexia.
The best intervention I have found is Apple's and pears by sound foundations.
And believe me, I've tried em all!

Badders123 Thu 28-Jan-16 16:20:11

And school won't help.
They can't.
They dont have the time or resources.

maizieD Sat 30-Jan-16 11:01:37

As other posters have observed, there is no one size fits all solution, otherwise we'd already be using it.

You are joking, of course. The one thing I have learned about teachers over a number of years through many areas of social media (forums, twitter etc) is that if many* of them are ideologically opposed to something (i.e it's their opinion) they wouldn't use it unless absolutely forced to and even then, they would do their uttermost to subvert it!

*Of course I don't mean 'all' teachers; we wouldn't have SP in place now if it were 'all' teachers...

TwoLeftSocks Sun 31-Jan-16 12:45:31

Thanks everyone. I had a chat with the teacher at the end of last week as he'd meet up with the learning support person about bespoke support for DS, he seems really keen to get the right so support and said he found it really useful talking through the dyslexic elements DS struggles with - fluency and accuracy in reading (still has to sound out alot) the way he recognises words by their shape as much as the letters in them, and I think she have him some spelling strategies too.

He's also been really great when I've explained things like DS becoming a reluctant writer when too much pressure is put on getting spellings right so I'm hoping the spelling will come on but without taking away from his efforts at just getting things on paper to start with.

I'll see how things go and gauge whether a tutor would be useful, it's awkward in a way as he gets quite exhausted from concentrating during the day at school, and also his meds wear off during the afternoon so an after school tutor might not be useful anyway.

Thank you for the ideas and book suggestion too.

maizieD Mon 01-Feb-16 12:41:59

WRT what constitutes good support for dyslexia you might find this rundown on what isn't helpful quite interesting:

Programmes which incorporate some (or all) of these tend to waste time in a situation where time is of the essence for remediation.

TwoLeftSocks Mon 01-Feb-16 16:16:35

Thanks, will have a read through.

TheStorySoFar Wed 03-Feb-16 20:51:44

Can I jump in & ask what the difference between synthetic & linguistic phonics is please? Our Primary have spent the last two years transferring to the latter 8yo Dd Has been screened twice in 2 different years & is 'slightly dyslexic' according to the results. She won't see an EP here for assessment as the school doesn't have the resources & may not be able to implement a personal plan if we have her privately assessed. Her spelling & reading skills have improved, but she gets lots of one to one at home & I'm sure that's helped. Her vocabulary scores have always been excellent. The teacher thinks linguistic phonics will continue to improve her spelling/reading more than synthetic phonics would.....

mrz Wed 03-Feb-16 21:11:38 an explanation written by one of the authors of Sounds Write linguistic phonics programme

misscph1973 Thu 04-Feb-16 09:57:51

maizieD, I read the article you linked to - that's a very long list of unhelful things, it makes me wonder what is left to do!

Traalaa Thu 04-Feb-16 10:12:39

misscph1973, I think the key to any dyslexic child is to realise that they're all different - as are all children. So a good educator sees the individual child. With that list from maizieD's link, my son ticks some but definitely not all of those boxes. What really helped him was knowing he was dyslexic (i.e. there's a reason why you find some things harder than your friends) and then having a dialogue with him about what helped him and what didn't. There's a lot of trial and error as no two dyslexics will be the same, but if you can keep them involved and enquiring about how they learn, in the end I think you land on something that they both believe works and can trust and buy into. I know that's the case for my DS. He's confident now at secondary school and able to tell teachers and speak up for himself if something they suggest isn't working. Confidence is all!

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