Struggling getting head round dyslexia diagnosis(28 Posts)
My dd is 7. She has always been very able and a 'high flyer' we never pushed her she just loved to learn and did it well. But over the past year she stopped progressing, lost her love of learning and lost a lot of confidence. Nothing made sense it was like everything was grinding to a halt but because she was still achieving to target school didn't see a problem. For various reasons things came to a head over the summer and I got an educational psychologist assessment done which confirmed she is really bright but has significant learning issues - poor processing and working memory which are really affecting her performance and her intrinsic awareness of the disparity in her ability and her performance has really knocked her confidence. School have been great now and taken it all on board and we will do anything we can to help her but I am struggling to get my head round this not being 'fixable' and she will always have to work so much harder to achieve. I know in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter and she is healthy and in my eyes fabulous but it makes me a bit sad as she works so very very hard and is so desperate to do well despite us reassuring her that being happy and just doing her best are the important things. Any parents of dyslexics got any advice ? I feel a bit out of my depth !
As a dyslexic and mother of a dyslexic acceptance that you have to work much harder is a massive part of being able to achieve. Being dyslexic is bloody unfair, but you can't change that the only way is to accept it.
For a bright dyslexic anything is possible I am living proof of that. But look for options that make life easy my DD does mandarin as her language at secondary school, no grammar or tenses - brilliant.
I have 2 dyslexic children and at the last parents evening the teacher said she suspects my third child is also dyslexic. I remember that feeling when they were diagnosed but now a couple of years later I can see that the diagnosis was a good thing as they no longer feel they are stupid. Homework can still involve lots of tears but both the children and I are more patient with each other. My daughter is also quite bright and she was picked up later as she had developed strategies to hide her difficulties. Her dyslexia has not affected her as much as my son who isn't as bright and has very low confidence and self esteem as a result of peers being mean to him in the past.
Show your daughter this video on YouTube. My kids love it and it has really helped them.
First, just be kind to yourself. It's hard finding out that your child is going to have a tougher time than you might have hoped for them. And, let's face it, it's also hard having to work with the school to create interventions that will work for your child. (No matter how supportive they are.) I needed to find someone now and again that I can rant in front of about the latest bit of idiotic government policy etc...
On the plus side... knowing which areas your daughter finds difficult will allow you and the school to plan good quality support for her. And you've caught it early, so she won't be too far behind her peers.
One important thing for me was to focus on what my child is very good at. (In his case 3D and spatial stuff.) it means that we're not just st always focused on the things he finds tough. We deliberately do stuff at the weekend to stimulate that bit of his interests - art/sculpture/engineering - his ideas are brilliant, if a little crazy!
Thank you. It's great to here from other parents in the same boat. I feel guilty for feeling sad and a bit fearful because I know she will be OK. I have a lot of very successful dyslexics in my family and I myself am almost certainly dyslexic but had so many coping strategies at school that until I got to uni I could 'hide' it but spent my school years feeling inadequate as I never did as well as everyone expected. I think this colours how I feel about her now too as I don't want her to feel like this. Also she is in a VERY high achieving friendship group which she was well up with and now has to work so so hard to stay with academically ( her choice not ours! ) so I'm worried it may affect her friendships too ! But I guess at 7 most kids are pretty accepting of difference. Thank you for your support.
I've also been really honest with his friends- they can be inadvertently hurtful. Just to say that everyone's brain is different and that my son's can find xxxx difficult, just like some people find catching hard.
There's a useful primary level book called Tom's Special Talent which his year 2 teacher read with them.
In the exact same boat - got DD's report back from the Ed Psych last week with a dyslexia dx. She's also 7 and has been struggling for a couple of years with reading and writing.
I'm a little bit sad that DD is going to find things tougher than some of her friends, but relieved that there is so much that can be done to help and make things easier for her.
I coasted through school and university and it's not a very good habit, much better and more satisfying to succeed through hard work.
DD is so relieved to have a reason for her problems and she's stopped saying that she can't do things and is actually writing for fun at home - still can't decipher it easily, but she's obviously feeling less 'stupid' which was our main worry.
It may help you to hear that a diagnosis doesn't stop your daughter from achieving. My DSis is dyslexic. She attended a top public school for sixth form on a major scholarship and has a 2.1 degree. She's now a teacher having taken some time off to be a SAHM for her three beautiful DCs. She loves her job.
Her dyslexia made her life harder than mine when it came to academics, but the diagnosis actually helped. It helped her to understand how she learnt and what she needed to do to help herself. It helped her self confidence no end too because it meant that she wasn't stupid, just different (the tests proved she had a genius level IQ!).
No one is perfect at everything... Her weaknesses are processing and working memory. Other people are non-musical, rubbish at sports, non-arty or have no social skills etc... Just be happy with your daughter's strengths and ability rather than focusing on what she struggles with. Also, she's been diagnosed early on which is fab as the school can support her appropriately. I hope you feel better about it soon
Just because she has dyslexia does not mean she cannot still achieve and aim for her dreams
My 2 sons are dyslexic ( one severely the other moderately), both are now at University. She will develop strategies to help her handle situations.
While dyslexia may not be 'fixabable', the severity of it can certainly be reduced (if you want to).
Dyslexics have different brain activation patterns to non dyslexics. But brain activation patterns can be changed. (This is called Neuroplasticity)
One of the best places to research dyslexia is the Yale center for Dyslexia (dyslexia.yale.edu/Research.html). If you read through those articles you will find there are interventions you can do which change brain activation patterns and therefore reduce the severity of the dyslexia.
That's only one of many approaches you can take to reduce the severity. The more you research, the more you'll find.....
Get her on a typing course ASAP!
Then teach her how to use the computer for longer writing - firstly, quick typing. Then the extensive editing and reordering that it allows. I have had older students go from B to A* at A level doing that (bright but v dyslexic)
Also, really encourage going for big words and aiming for a phonetic (readable) spelling. When she switches to a computer for secondary, it will pick up her spelling. One of the great dangers is that dyslexic students become scared of big words and so they have a huge differential between spoken and written vocab. (Though Agree it with the teacher that they will just focus on a few boring spellings and not mark every one wrong).
Play lots of scrabble! It trains the dyslexic brain quite well. The analogy I use with kids is that You can't get rid of dyslexia - instead it's like asthma - I'm really sporty and good at sports, but I have to manage my asthma to do it, or else I appear to be terrible. Learning tricks to manage the dyslexia will manage her symptoms as it were. (But don't use those tricks during further testing for extra time and use a computer later on! Encourage her to try as little as possible then!)
A couple of other things that have been particularly useful are Barrington Stoke books. In particular The School Spelling Dictionary by Christine Maxwell.
My kids teacher kept writing in their school books they should 'use a dictionary' which of course they couldn't do! The dyslexia dictionary lets them look up a word the way they they think it is spelled and then gives them the correct spelling. I initially bought just one to see if it was any good and it turned out they found it really helpful so I ended up buying 3 so they can have one each. Of course it would have been nice if the school provided them but they haven't got the budget.
Helen Arkell and Dyslexia Action FB pages are also good.
Nags any typing courses for kids you can recommend? My daughter's teacher also recommended typing practice as she is particularly slow at it. We tried CBBC but she didn't like it. We can't do Nessy fingers as our home computer is an iMac.
Before you embrace typing remember handwriting aids memory /learning in ways that using a keyboard doesn't and while it might seem like a quick fix the long term benefits are doubtful.
I barely write at all now. I have never found the handwriting aspect of learning particularly useful. I know that it works for many of my students but for me it doesn't help. I cover a 60 point uni course a year at the moment for work and take very few notes. Dd seems to be following in my footsteps although for her she benefits from listening above all else. Writing for her is a pointless exercise as no one can read it. Even she struggles to read her own writing and it just reinforces her incorrect spelling. Spellcheck has been the best way for me to learn spellings because I can see the errors visually. My spelling has improved no end through using WORD and now I have very few red lines.
My dd was diagnosed with dyslexia at the same age. She's now doing her gcses and predicted As or Bs. It's good that your dds school is helping, dds primary school didn't at all.
Dd gets 25% extra time in her gcses so nearer the time push for stuff like that. She probably should have got it for SATS, but like I say primary school were useless.
Only subject she struggled with was German. She did great in year 7-9 at languages but then in year 10 couldn't cope with the increase in level at all.
I have two dyslexic children and my heart goes out to them - they have to work that much harder to get where their contemporaries are at school/uni and it's not fair that it should be this difficult for them. However, having an official diagnosis has made it easier for them in school and for exams as it is recognised. It's not - you should try harder, etc. Also as she progresses through school you will need to make sure that each teacher is aware of this diagnosis and what strategies help as sometimes the message doesn't get through the system.
Over the years I've put strategies in place to try and smooth their paths - military like organisation of school mornings/evenings which has trained them for life as adults so that they don't become too chaotic, no more than two instructions at a time (short term memories are terrible) and making sure that at school they didn't have to write masses down from the board - they get print outs instead. As for languages, they dropped French as soon as they could and did Spanish as a language was compulsory at GCSE and they both use a laptop extensively. We also found a Kindle was really useful as you could change the font size (to bigger) which made it easier to read.
They are now young adults and post uni have forged careers paths in really interesting and successful fields and I'm so proud of them. School wasn't always easy for them and it's hard to keep their confidence going sometimes but outside school we've done stuff that they're good at and they're funny and interesting and articulate.
Sometimes they've said they feel so stupid, when they're not, they're both really bright - they just learn in a different way.
DD2 was diagnosed as dyslexic in P6 (Scotland) after I moved schools because the first school was giving her no help. She has a very unusual type of dyslexia, including Scotropic Syndrome, meaning that coloured glasses help her. She finds it impossible to do jigsaws, as she can't differentiate the puzzle shapes. When she was growing (one year she grew 6 inches) she found it impossible to spell her own name.
But to cheer you up, she is in her final year of a joint degree in history and politics at university. There is a lot of help out there now, so although I know how unfair it is that your child has to work so much harder than everyone else, help is available. The world is still her oyster.
I know it's a bit scary, but you can trust me in that all will be ok. I would suggest you make sure the school are giving her all the support she deserves. Educate yourself & reassure DD that this diagnosis is a good thing that will help her continue to fly. My DD lost confidence in herself so I understand how it can affect a child. What helped us to help her was reading about how dyslexia is a gift. My DC have a natural gift with music. They are exceptionally good & they were also both brilliant at dance. My DH has dyslexia as well & he believes his gift is that he thinks differently to others. This seems to give him the ability to resolve complex engineering problems that his colleagues cannot. He never understood why he could do this until after DC were diagnosed & we realised their dad was too. You only need to take a brief look at the list of famous faces with dyslexia to see how common creativity is so maybe a dyslexic brain is not such a bad thing after all?
I was so worried about posting as I was worried I would get shot down for my post ! I am so proud of her and really have no issue with her diagnosis it was just getting my head round what it meant for her and this has really helped ! Thank you all so much
I have been in tears this evening over one of my children, yr4, who is extremely bright, we know this from WISC tests done a couple of years ago when we were first trying to find out what was going on with her as something wasn't quite right. I have always felt she was dyslexic and dyspraxic but she is thought to be compensating effectively so she can't be diagnosed with either. school couldn't care less because she was so far above expected levels that even though she has now dropped down to average they still don't care because she is meeting their requirements. I have pointed out she won't meet her Yr6 targets but still no support. her current teacher plainly just thinks she is an average child and isn't seeing an above average child with problems. I feel out of my depth trying to help her myself at home with nothing from school, she thinks she is thick because she has dropped down at school, she thinks the teacher thinks she is stupid and she finds a lot of stuff insulting or patronising because her brain is actually functioning at a higher level. I don't know what to do now.
this doesn't help you at all, I know that but you aren't alone with feeling sad for your child that life isn't as straight forward for them as it probably should be but like you say, it could be a whole lot worse and they just have to learn to manage their problems in whatever way they can.
it is so hard isn't it nonickname dd's current teacher is the first one to acknowledge that there is a problem. The others have all said 'she's where she needs to be', just about hitting (old) NC targets and when you say that you think she should be above average based on all your experience of your child you are cast into the 'pushy parent' box who wants more for their dc than they are capable of. The teacher doesn't see the hours of struggle and agony to do the reading, or that actually you do bother to practise spellings but they are gone the next day. They don't see the child discussing the finer points of the American election but reading Thump instead of Trump. They just see average child making average progress and parents who will never be happy. Finally dd has a teacher who gets her we are hoping that this year interventions will be put in place to carry her across the secondary transition and will enable her to learn to the best of her abilities.
I hope so for your daughter shouldwestay. It is very hard yes. it must be so frustrating for them
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