What is going on with my son, and am i making it worse?!(62 Posts)
Internet, please diagnose my child! He is 6. He's very articulate, chatty, emotionally switched on, great communication skills, creative and so so cuddly! His school is Outstanding, within the top 100 in the country for literacy, amazing sats etc. And my boy cannot read. Or write. He has phonics interventions, literacy interventions, maths group, god knows what, and despite all this expert contact time, he is tanking.
He can just write a diminutive form of his name. He can maybe identify a few numbers, but cannot decode at all. His writing and drawing is incredibly immature and he swaps hands too sometimes. School tested him for dyslexia but then ruled it out. He struggles with coordination and gross motor planning sometimes, and school say he loses focus sometimes but i suspect at least some of that is that he just cant do what the class is doing. He seems so bright and yet can't count anything over 5 and usually climbs under the table when asked to do anything tricky!
I thought i was helping by printing pictures and words and sticking them around the house but now i hear that is encouraging sight reading and is WRONG!
His twin is also "behind" but can decode, do basic maths, and will read when it suits him. He has hearing problems which may have contributed to things, but that seems to be clearing and he seems to be getting on ok.
What is going on and what should i do?
No diagnosis from me, the most I'll say is dyslexia can present atypically and go undercover. It might be worth posting on special needs in case anyone recognizes symptoms.
If I were in your shoes I'd get a bit pushier with the school, ask them what they're doing about it, and what they will do next. Have they attempted any other assessments? Can they refer to an educational psychologist and how long is the waiting list? The school may be totally on top of it but outstanding schools sometimes have a less diverse intake and don't always get to grips with children that are a bit outside the norm.
DS can be challenging and has been to two schools, The first was outstanding but they didn't seem to know what to do with him. The school he is at now suits him much better, and they "get" him. In Scotland now so schools aren't rated the same way.
I'd find out what the policies are in your local authority for supporting children who are struggling to get on at school. I'm less sure how it works down South.
When we were really concerned about DS I spoke to our GP and got DS referred for an assessment. I got a phone appointment for this so didn't have to take DS in to GP. The waiting list is probably very long so you might as well get on it, if everything resolves itself you can take yourself off again. I found out afterwards it might have been better to ask to see the community paediatrician, or even health visitor, different areas might have different age cut offs for these services.
My DS issues were different from yours but he has settled down so much since we got the referral that I suspect the referral feedback will tell us there is no diagnosis. It is partly that he matured himself, partly a fantastic teacher and very patient school.
Fingers crossed for you.
Sorry, questions rather than answers coming up:
Have you looked at dyspraxia?
Does he know any of his phonics, but just can't blend, or is basic phonics a mystery too?
Were they prem?
Can be recount a familiar story eg 3 little pigs in the correct order?
I am assuming sight and hearing have been checked.
What have the school actually said as does seem like they are trying things?
Thanks for your replies. Yes his eyesight and hearing are fine. We aaw the community paed with a view to PDA as school cant get him to do anything, and neither can we really. He is a happy chap but the things he does are on his terms.
Anyway the paed ruled out anything ASD but said he was certainly a bit "odd" but wasnt sure in what way. We have an appointment to see him next month again, but he seemed at a loss as to which way to steer.
Today he has been playing Minecraft and made a stunning replica of the house we stayed in on holiday. It was number 340 but he has written "wb0" on the door.
Im in touch with the senco at school and he is on the sen register but they dont know what to do and are waiting for guidence from the paed i think.
Yes he can retell stories by the way, but it admittedly easily distracted.
He has had swimming lessons for ages now. His twin can swim really well, but this one seems to regress between lessons and the teacher has to start from scratch!
I have another child with ASD and have become adept in spotting things in other kids but i have no idea what is going on with this child, beyond dyspraxia, which i didnt think was a huge barrier to learning anyway!
Teenandtween they were not prem. Phonics is a mystery to him. His school teach cursive writing from the start, which doesnt seem to be helping him.
His teacher has said that it is as thiugh he isnt quite ready for school somehow, but he is 6, in yr1
You said he's a twin. Was he premature? Has he had a brain scan?
No they werent prem, and weren't low birth weight either, the fat lumps! No he hasnt had a brain scan. (Why would he?)
Has he had an OT assessment and or seen an educational psychologist.
With regard to not ready for school some countries font start till age 7.
Other things to look at are auditory processing disorder and other processing issues
Another thought. Could it be anxiety related, if so would it be worth totally backing off with all demands?
My 2 DDs both have poor fine and gross motor skills, bottom 1%.
However my DD1, 17 has been assessed with dyspraxia, and how it presents with her, it definitely affects her learning
- slower to learn in the first place
- requires regular repetition (e.g. in y11 I was still needing to remind her about percentages, how to add fractions etc)
- slow processing skills
- poor spatial awareness (hits her elbow on door frames, can't see if pictures are straight)
We didn't get a diagnosis until she was 15, and when given a full list of potential struggles from the OT it was like a light turning on, as it turned out there was a whole load of related stuff she struggled with that we had never linked to the suspected dyspraxia.
I could imagine that if you multiplied her struggles by 5 or 10, you might end up with her presenting as your son.
I'm not surprised he is avoiding things if he is struggling as much as you say. There must at times be so many things he is being asked to do that seem overwhelmingly difficult. Definitely push to see GP / OT or whoever.
He needs to see an OT. Sounds like he could have sensory processing difficulties.
Push for him to see and Ed Pysch.
I have worked with children with SPD before and just did a quick Google and found this checklist. Not sure how good it is but worth a look.
My dd is six and hates phonics. She knows them but can't apply them into reading to decode words (or doesn't want to). She has asd and ADHD and sight reads. She failed her phonics test last year and her LSA who is amazing and very knowledge said phonics might just not work for her. The senco aswell said phonics taught now isn't how it was taught when I was young (mid 30s) and I read and spell pretty well.
Could be a processing delay (I have very slow processing and need time to think). What are school doing with support? As surely they realise this isn't right. I'd try with sight reading to be honest as it will at least get him started.
It does sound a bit like dyspraxia, and also dyslexia.
Also have you heard of dyscalculia and dysgraphia? Because it sounds like it could one or both of those too. They're all neurodevelopmental conditions that are often linked to ASD, but you don't need to have ASD to have them, they just commonly co-occur.
The wb0 is interesting as well rotated looks like a 3, ditto for b/4.
Is he having memory retention for anything other than swimming lessons?
Ffs autocorrect. W rotated looks like 3. And "memory retention issues".
The paed tried to refer him to OT but they wouldnt take the rrferral as it was deemed not to be severe enough.
Im going to ask him to try and refer him to OT again.
I asked our senco about my seven yr old having dyscalculia. She's got no issues and she said if it was they couldn't do anything to help with it😕
You can pay for private assessments from an OT. Could potentially get very expensive as you'd have to pay for every session if he needed any... But possibly they could assess and advise anyway. Hard to say. I've worked with many children who've really benefited from OT but the parents have generally forked out privately for regular sessions. On the odd occasion where they've not gone privately sessions haven't been that regular or gone on long enough for a difference to be seen.
I suspect it will depend on where you are in the country too.
Haven't read too in depth just scanned but have you looked st dysgraphia?
I was thinking dyspraxia also. I would go to a private OT.
I noticed that you mention your DS sometimes switches hands when he is writing. This article by a paediatric OT might be of interest.
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