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Could DD be masking something like dyslexia?

(23 Posts)
SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 13:14:13

DD is 6 years old and in Year 2. She struggled quite a bit with blending words in Reception and the first term of Year 1, before it all seemed to click for her. I just pulled out her end of year report and she ended Y1 with 38/40 on her phonics check and ‘working at greater depth’ for both reading and writing.

However, for the last couple of months I have started to suspect that her reading may not be anywhere near as strong as it seems, so I asked her to read a new book to me without letting her do her usual trick of squirrelling it off to her room to study it first. She was unable to make it past the first page before giving up in tears. The book was ‘If I Ran The Circus’ and the two sentences she struggled with were ‘In all the whole town, the most wonderful spot’ and ‘it’s just the right spot for my wonderful plans’ (I was reading every other sentence). She got the first word ‘in’ wrong, saying ‘of’ instead, and made other wildly inaccurate guesses with words like ‘whole’, ‘spot’ and ‘plans’, despite pausing to think about them. We have loads of Dr Seuss books, and if I were to pull any one from the shelf and ask her to read it she would do so happily, fluently and with great expression.

She also mixes up symbols (+ x – divide) in maths, sometimes writes numerals in the wrong order (e.g. ‘90’ as ‘09’ or ‘14’ as ‘41’), can’t see non-vertical lines of symmetry and confuses quarter to/past when telling the time.

She has beautiful handwriting but she takes ages to write anything, crossing/rubbing out and re-writing up to half her words. Her spelling is generally phonetically accurate. She still has to concentrate to tell the difference between p, d and b when sounding out words.

She has become increasingly anxious that she is falling behind at school this year, despite her teacher saying she is bright and getting on well.

I think she’s probably ‘just’ an over-anxious perfectionist. However, my Dad has mild (or at least very well compensated) dyslexia that was not picked up until adulthood, so I wonder…

CripsSandwiches Fri 03-Feb-17 14:35:52

I think it's a possibility. I have a friend with a very bright daughter who did similar. She actually had an incredibly low reading age but was so bright she found ways of masking it. I would definitely get an assessment if possible. Friend's DD is now 21 and at university doing amazingly well but it turns out she was profoundly dyslexic - the school insisted for a long time all was well. At six though it could turn out to be nothing but I would be concerned about her anxiety if nothing else. Good luck!

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 14:56:32

Thanks Crisps. I completely agree that her anxiety is more concerning. We already have numerous things in place to help her with it, but it does seem to be slowly getting worse, especially where school is concerned. She is much calmer over the school holidays and with her out of school activities. Her biggest fears are around being asked to read something out and getting it wrong and people laughing at her (I don't think they would laugh, but this is what she tells me).

Her last school report said something along the lines of her 'thriving when working in smaller groups' and we did briefly consider moving her to a nearby school with small classes. However, despite her anxiety, she does love her school and her teacher, and has managed to build herself a lovely support network of friends. When I suggested 'maybe going to look around X school' she was horrified!

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 14:57:18

Crips I mean blush

CripsSandwiches Fri 03-Feb-17 15:02:11

Haha just noticed I misspells crisps in my username!

If she's not usually anxious it does sound like it's a particular reaction to reading. Although sometimes it's difficult to tell which came first (is she less able to read because she's built up so much anxiety?).

Have you spoken to the school SENCO. I do feel like with bright children because it's less apparent and less likely to be causing them to be massively behind schools are much slower to get the ball rolling with assessments. I think they usually wait until seven anyway but they could still offer her additional help. Would you be able to afford a private assessment?

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 15:57:55

I think I'm going to keep a watchful eye on her over half term, then speak to either the senco or her teacher if I'm still worried.

Private assessment is definitely an option, but I'd want to speak to the school first.

They're going to think I'm some sort of a nutter as we had her hearing tested last year (she was getting into a state saying she couldn't hear her teacher, turns out her hearing is perfect). I had her vision checked too as she was saying she couldn't see the board (vision also perfect). I should have her tested for hypochondria next wink

LarkDescending Fri 03-Feb-17 15:58:21

A lot of what you've said (other than the beautiful handwriting!) sounds very similar indeed to my niece at the same age. She has just now, aged 8, been diagnosed with dyslexia, which explains a great deal looking back.

LarkDescending Fri 03-Feb-17 16:00:11

Cross-posted - I wonder if "can't see"/"can't hear" were manifestations of anxiety in the classroom?

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 16:08:16

I think they almost certainly were Lark, and I think what Crisp said about the possibility of her reading struggles being anxiety-induced (rather than dyslexia-induced anxiety) may also be true.

Isadora2007 Fri 03-Feb-17 16:08:28

My dd is 16 now and was diagnosed with dyslexia and associated processing issues age 13/14.
She has beautiful handwriting and a fantastic memory so used to just learn books to cover that she couldn't read them well. Her reading is better now and she actually loves drama so can read in public but still prefers to learn a script rather than read it and can do it quickly so that is less stressful for her. She can't tell the time on an analogue clock easily and so needs a digital clock for exams. She finds reading info in a column particularly difficult e.g. Dictionary or funnily enough plays. If she is told a list of info or instructions she will forget them all... I wonder if that is similar to your dd "not hearing" the teacher ?
I wouldn't go private just yet but I would be asking to speak with and meet with the educational psychologist for her school. They can even come to your house.

TizzyDongue Fri 03-Feb-17 16:12:26

I don't have time to read properly, but she sounds similar to my son. He's dyslexic.

I'll be back later and read in more detail.

mrz Fri 03-Feb-17 17:01:44

It sounds as if she's being careless and not really looking at what she's reading so making silly errors rather than a major problem.

TizzyDongue Fri 03-Feb-17 17:17:14

Hi, I've pm'd - was going to write here but some of its personal about DS and he doesn't want his thoughts and feelings public!!

Think the lessons on internet safety are being taken seriously by him.

0hCrepe Fri 03-Feb-17 17:26:46

She sounds like she is highly intelligent and yes possibly dyslexic. Her compensatory strategies have worked well for her though so I doubt she'd get extra support in school if she is achieving and making progress.

mrz Fri 03-Feb-17 18:24:12

Nothing you've said is out of the ordinary for six year olds.

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 19:39:01

Thanks so much to everyone whose taken the time to respond.

Mrz, am I correct in thinking that you're a primary school teacher? It's very reassuring that you think it sounds normal. She's not 7 until after Easter, so she is one of the younger ones in the year. 'Careless' isn't a word I would ever have used to describe her though. Anally-retentive, people-pleasing perfectionist is closer. Feedback from teachers is always along the lines of 'model pupil', 'enthusiastic', 'joy to teach', 'delightful', etc. I have honestly never had any teacher even imply that she's giving anything less than 100%. She always gets As for effort on her reports.

irvineoneohone Fri 03-Feb-17 19:52:52

Mrz is primary literacy/phonics/fine motor skills/(what else?) GURU.

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 19:57:42

Ah, knew I'd seen her somewhere. Thank you!

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 20:07:03

She is smart, OhCrepe, but I don't think unusually so (certainly not to MN standards!) I suspect a lot of her attainment might be down to effort rather than natural ability.

MrsWooster Fri 03-Feb-17 20:15:08

Sounds like a carbon copy of ds, without the handwriting, so very reassuring, mrz! Thanks.
Can't work out why this sounds sarcastic but it isn't meant to Be

TizzyDongue Fri 03-Feb-17 20:25:28

My eldest was very similar to his brother at 6 (in fact he couldn't blend whereas his brother could). It is too early to diagnose dyslexia and it can be normal. My eldest reads widely and writes often (and well), his brother is dyslexic and doing great (anf tries so hard so well I can't help feeling exceptionally proud)

elfonshelf Fri 03-Feb-17 21:45:12

There are things that you have written that ring bells with me - my DD (7.5 years) was diagnosed earlier this year with dyslexia. She also has beautiful handwriting, but pretty much every word is spelled incorrectly and the same word may be spelt 3 different ways in a single paragraph!

Her school were very proactive - raised the possibility with us around this time last year when she was in Y2, but said that she needed to be at least 7 for testing and so much is still 'normal' development at a younger age.

There were clues that something was up from fairly early on - very bright child with a huge vocabulary but zero interest in letters or reading is not that common... she utterly refused to participate in reading or phonics during nursery and reception, she would 'read' by making up her own stories to go with the picture but not attempt the actual words!

They got the Ed Psych in at the beginning of Y3 and we got all the official testing done. She now works with the SENCo for a short session every day and her class teacher and TA do various things with her.

She's using Toe By Toe with the SENCo which she seems to enjoy - although I'm not sure she spells any better yet! There are quite a lot of resources out there. DD's main issue is working memory, so we do lots of games to improve that as well as trying to sort out the more obvious things. Amazon has a good selection of things.

It's incredibly hereditary and lots of my family have it, so the fact that your father has it should also make it worth keeping a close eye.

SitsOnFence Fri 03-Feb-17 21:53:43

Well I feel very reassured that it's most probably normal, but also that if it turns out to be not normal, all is not lost there either!

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