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Dyslexia, Visual processing problems or totally normal?

(40 Posts)
bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 00:09:30

I'm really struggling with this!

My daughter is 7 and coming to the end of year 2. She's a bright kid who was exceeding in Maths, Reading, Writing, Communication , Understanding the World and several of the other EYFS areas at the end of Reception. I've noticed over the last couple of years that she isn't making the greatest progress at school. She's slipped from top set to middle for Maths and Literacy. She's still flying high in science, which has always been a real strength for her. Despite getting 10/10 in every spelling test her spelling when writing is dreadful. She is a very slow writer and although she's still above average, reading wise, she lacks fluency and is quite hesitant when reading. She reads long, complex words just fine but substitutes small words like but, who, she, he, the, a etc, at pretty much every opportunity. She will misread words for those with similar letters. Earlier today she read large in place of eagle. She is still mixing b,d,p,q,9,6, n,u , and many more up, both when reading and writing. She also reads and writes maths problems incorrectly, for instance 125 for 521. Previously, school have said that she's fine whenever I've asked and I've always come away feeling a bit neurotic. We had parent's evening recently and her teacher said she was ' so very bright' but testing about where she should be generally, but probably wouldn't get expected in the SATs SPAG test. I'm no fan of SAT's but is it right that she should have gone from exceeding to developing ( not reaching expected) in two years? It's a very mixed inner city school where lots of kids are really struggling and I feel a bit ridiculous even suggesting that she might be struggling. There is a very strong family history of dyslexia and I'm in two minds as to whether this might be the case for her. I've mentined dyslexia to school before and they've seemed to brush it off. I did an online dyslexia screen with her and she scored very high in all areas but failed to score at all in Visual Sequencing. She just couldn't do it. I dont really know what this means or how significant it is. I've asked to see her teacher and the SENCO to discuss this but feel like i might be making a big fuss about minor setbacks. Is there anything I can do? Thanks for your help x

EskSmith Fri 14-Apr-17 00:47:39

What was her teacher's overall prognosis, is it just SPAG that she won't meet expectations or anything else. Was the teacher able to offer any ideas on why she was not continuing to progress as she did in early years? The change from EYFS to ks1 is a big one.
My dd has visual processing issues but was never quick to read, it has been a long hard struggle to get her to read 1st chapter book level now in y3. Her handwriting is pretty much illegible and she needs help with the reading needed for her to access maths at her (high working with y4's) level.
Having said all this a discussion with the senco is probably an excellent idea.

EskSmith Fri 14-Apr-17 00:50:31

Meant to say dd's spelling is bad, same word will be spelt several different ways in the same piece of writing but her punctuation and grammar understanding is ok. Verbally she is bright and like your dd she excels in science.
She has a dyslexia diagnosis with severe visual processing issues.

mrz Fri 14-Apr-17 06:01:18

*"*^*but probably wouldn't get expected in the SATs SPAG test.*^*"* The SPAG test is optional and isn't reported so it's not an immediate issue. Did the teacher say what they planned to do to address the problem or suggest any thing you could do to help at home?

Sometimes encouraging her to slow down and track carefully left to right (uncovering one word or one symbol at a time) can help. Sequencing games that encourage her to really focus rather than skipping ahead are worth a try.

Fluffybrain Fri 14-Apr-17 06:32:42

It may be possible to have her tested privately somewhere like Dyslexia Action. About £130 for a test with a specialist teacher. About £500 for a full assessment with an educational psychologist. They then offer lessons with specialist teacher (2 children present) for about £36 a session.

Bunkai Fri 14-Apr-17 06:54:36

The school can get her tested for dyskexia in year 3. Before that it will be a more general test. It's possible that she could have a specific type of dyslexia where she has working memory issues but strong processing capability. The processing can mask the working memory issue especially with logic subjects like maths.

Bunkai Fri 14-Apr-17 06:55:33

*dyslexia think I've given myself away grin

Fluffybrain Fri 14-Apr-17 07:40:20

Depends on the school. Some are rubbish, some good with it. My DS previous school said that they don't know anything about it and don't deal with it and to take him to the doctor. NHS don't deal with dyslexia. His new school are much better. Lots of 1-2-1 support and interventions. Did a harcourt test which give a risk factor for them possibly being dyslexic. But if it's a visual processing thing then some opticians do testing for this and you can buy special coloured glasses. My friends daughter has green glasses with prisms in. Cost about £170. My son has aqua glasses that I bought online for £20. They seem to help him with reading and writing. Both the senco and I thought gat colour board helped him. But he has no formal diagnosis as yet. We just do what works. I will pay for a ful assessment at some point.

mrz Fri 14-Apr-17 08:03:06

Coloured glasses overlay are treatment for visual stress not visual sequencing issues

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 09:39:55

Spelling is the big , or most obvious issue and the one the school are most concerned about. They've just said to learn the spellings on the (national I think! ) y2 spelling list. These are pretty basic but she'll learn them and then start getting others wrong or forget them all after about a week. It's difficult to get it to stick and target what needs to learnt because the target seems to always be moving. Verbally she's VERY sparky and so interested and enthusiastic about the world around her, I guess that's part of her ability in science. She just really seems to struggle with visual / written material .

mrz Fri 14-Apr-17 09:57:03

How do they actively teach spelling or do they merely send home lists to learn?

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 10:50:37

They did phonics, as all schools do and actually she scored highly on the phonics test last year, as did the whole year group. They have spelling tests each week using the look, cover, spell method which I'm not the biggest fan of to be honest! At home she responds best to clapping, throwing balls, drawing pictures to remind her of the word and mnemonics work brilliantly with her. She invariably gets 10/10 in her spelling tests, but doesn't retain them. She is an unable to spell many, very basic words from the year one list such as our, your, be, were etc and it's these words she has issues with when reading too. She constantly substitutes them for each other. Her teacher has said that they've tried to work on the reversals in her numbers and letters and teach her groups of spelling such as great, steak etc but that they don't stick and her spelling of the same sounds/ groups of words can be totally haphazard. They are saying that it is simply developmental and that she will mature and grow out of it. I'm struggling to buy that explanation and don't want her to slip further. I'm tempted to have her privately assessed but don't want to go tread on the school's toes and question their judgement. I think something is just not clicking for her though!

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 10:53:01

When I say she scored highly in phonics there was a lot of emphasis in " getting them through this" in the weeks leading up to the test. She can score highly on things she is learning in the short term but it often doesn't stick in the long run. I don't think the phonics test in an accurate indication of her ability to decode to be honest.

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 10:58:17

As for the overlays/ coloured glasses. I use a blue overlay to read and it makes a massive difference to my reading spead and comprehension. She's used mine on occasions and says that it helps. She does seem slightly more fluent with it. I don't know whether it's just a case of copying me and the novelty factor though !

mrz Fri 14-Apr-17 11:00:27

The words for the phonics screening check are quite basic (final eight have slightly more complex structure) so not a definite test but a good indicator for ability to decode (inability would indicate possible reading difficulties "Dyslexia" assessments use similar assessment methods.

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 11:27:18

This is partly why I'm not sure it's dyslexia Mrz, as it doesn't seem to add up. It seems to be sight words that are a massive issue for her. Everything she spells is phonetically plausible, just wrong!

mrz Fri 14-Apr-17 11:30:31

Is she being taught "sight words" rather than how to decode all words?

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 11:31:51

Can you be dyslexic and be ok at phonics, or is it more likely to be something else, or indeed, nothing at all! I keep swinging from thinking it's something and nothing!

mrz Fri 14-Apr-17 11:36:37

Simple answer is no.

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 11:39:43

Yes, they've been taught sight words all the way through too. It's always been a massive uphill struggle with her though! Her brother ( 2 years younger) is absolutely bloody amazing at reading ( most able by quite some way in his year of 60). She is unable to read the sight words he brings home, which he is doing easily. After 6 months of school he is a better reader than her and actually takes an interest in reading and words. She on the other hand seems a bit blind to them, it's hard to explain. Of the two she has always presented as "the bright one".

kesstrel Fri 14-Apr-17 13:25:33

It sounds to me like you should perhaps start by getting her to sound out the 'little' words she's been taught as sight words. She may think that she 'has' to recognise them as sight words, if that's how she has been taught. You and she both might find a detailed alphabetic code chart helpful, as it shows all the alternative spellings for each sound, in order of how common they are.

This one is good, free and you can print it out: alphabeticcodecharts.com/free_charts.html

Choose the second option in the list.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Fri 14-Apr-17 14:08:22

She sounds a lot like my DS (6, August born Y2).

We had a full screen done on him and it flagged up an auditory processing issue. He also has the visual tracking issues you mention, leading to reading anagrams of words and 'he' for 'the' etc.

Things that have helped include:
Apples and Pears- dull but really effective for spelling.
Nessy- less effective but more fun.
A writing slope.
Dancing Bears- basically to 'reboot' visual tracking
Using a little, transparent green 'pointer' for reading (pictured) to help with tracking. I don't know if you can buy these anymore, but you could fashion something. I find it is particularly helpful when he is tired or the font is very small.

In the summer holidays we are going to have a crack at cogmed to give his working memory a boost too.

DS gets a lot of help because he is in a small class, but we have had to do a lot at home too. Even if you get a diagnosis I think you will end up needing to put most of the support in yourself, tighter school budgets are going to mean a decreasing amount of intervention.

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 15:47:20

Thanks everyone, that's all really helpful. Lowdoorinthewal was the assessment useful? Did it identify what measures to take to help? Do you think it was worth pursuing and did you ask for it or was it initiated by school?

Lowdoorinthewal1 Fri 14-Apr-17 17:07:33

Yes, I found the assessment useful. He had a WRIT, WRAT, CTOPP and TOMAL (I think that is what they are all called). It came out with recommendations about what and how he should be taught and supported (7 page document including the results).

I think the best thing was that it demonstrated that he is very able, so the staff must maintain high expectations of him even though his spelling is poor (at the end of Y1 his writing was pretty dreadful).

We had it done at the very start of Y2 and TBH, although his spelling is still a weakness, he has caught up in all other respects. He has done a lot of extra work but it has been worth it because his confidence is back where it should be and he no longer dreads being asked to write.

The assessments were done by the Learning Support dept at his Prep- at their suggestion after some head scratching- and took a few hours over several sessions.We paid for them. It's a non-selective prep and they are VERY on it with any type of SpLD. From the state sector (I am a specialist teacher in Primary) you would need to pay privately to get it done- it would probably be a few hundred pounds with a private Ed Psych. If you have the money I would say it is worth it. It will not necessarily lead to your DD getting intervention, but it should help her class teacher and inform what you can do at home.

bt110110 Fri 14-Apr-17 17:17:17

That's great. I'm glad he's doing well. We have no issue paying for an assessment. My main concern is that her potential in other areas is overlooked because of it. she is very able in some respects and it would be a great shame if that potential was lost. A few hundred quid is nothing in the grand scheme of things, if it prevents that from happening. Thanks for your help.

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