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Dyslexia: How and When did you know your child was Dyslexic?

(20 Posts)
artichaut27 Sat 04-Nov-17 11:07:27

Hi all,

My son is 6 and in Y1.

He seems bright but he is already in 1:1 reading sessions with his teacher. He generally doesn't 'shine' (I'm quoting his Reception Teacher and I'm not hoping him to shine anyway).

He now is in the process of being assessed by a speech therapist for a lisp and maybe more speech issues. He confuses lots of sounds and his grammar isn't fab. He struggles to find his words and will sometimes stutter.

His handwriting is poor compared to his peers. He writes without spaces. He wrote "your" like this yesterday "yro" (y written backwards).

He is very distracted and doesn't do well with instructions. He struggles with anything in a sequence, days of the week, reading clock/time. He can't catch a ball (and has never had any interest in balls).

He doesn't listen very well and he's 'off with the fairies' a lot. I found out he had been 'timed out' at school for not listening.

His strengths are a very powerful imagination, creativity and a really long attention span for things he likes (he can build Lego for 3 hours straight without realising). He is good at designing/planning his creation. He has lots of ideas.

Now, he's only 6 and they say to start diagnosing when 7 by a child psychologist.

When did you start thinking your child was dyslexic and who did you contact for diagnosis?

many thanks,

HamishsMomma Sat 04-Nov-17 11:33:27

Hi OP my older 3 all diagnosed between 6-8 years - younger one (4yrs) not yet but has shown obvious traits so am expecting him to be the same. I was unaware with my older son until he started school and his Yr1 teacher - who herself has a dyslexic child called me in to have a chat and to inform me that she suspected he was. The school then organised for him to be assessed later that year - he was 7yrs when it was done. His younger sisters were in Yr 2 and Yr3 when they were also assessed but again the school organised it all. Good Luck - however I know that lots of schools won't carry out assessment until the child is 8yrs because so many children when younger fail to do their letters correctly, are slow to read and they are not dyslexic. Mine can all rides bikes (2 wheels) which many dyslexic children find hard, but they vary with catching, telling time, are all very messy and disorganised, 2 of the older ones are very good with Maths but older daughter struggles there too! My older son hates to sit down in class and he Yr4 teacher called me in - I asked was she aware of his diagnosis - quite obviously she wasn't - anyway she calmed down and compromised that he could sit on his leg on the chair and have a 'mental time out' and then he then made excellent progress (now in Yr6). Have had to battle about doing joined up writing - most dyslexic children find printing much easier because the joining process confuses them - think I have won the battle because I said that whilst slower it does mean his work is legible and surely that is the most important thing! We shall see though. Have to say the school have mostly been extremely helpful and supportive and I do feel very lucky that my children are getting the extra support and time that they need.

The next challenge is Yr6 Sats and I am waiting to see if they try to exclude him from the English paper. League tables have a lot to answer for!

Norestformrz Sat 04-Nov-17 13:30:48

Disapplying from the SATs won’t improve the school’s results or position in the league tables (he’ll count as not achieving expected in the school data) but he should take the tests if he can answer the easiest questions.

Norestformrz Sat 04-Nov-17 13:32:08

Most dyslexia “experts” agree that joined handwriting benefits dyslexic children so it’s worth the effort.

Santaschiefelf Sat 04-Nov-17 17:00:44

Hamish- you say your 4 year old is showing traits, can you share what those traits are please?

horsemadmom Sun 05-Nov-17 17:23:18

DD2 was caught at age 4 when she did the 4+ at DD1's school. The 4+ assessment pegged her as the most verbally advanced girl they tested that year but she couldn't put together a 4 piece jigsaw amongst other tasks. She was also ambidextrous which is a big, red flag.Formal diagnosis came at age 6 (EP testing is standardised from age 6). We had already lined up a behavioural optometrist and a specialist dyslexia teacher and the Ed Psych just confirmed what we suspected and gave us an exact label (many, many sub-types of dyslexia) .

Norestformrz Sun 05-Nov-17 17:43:38

*“*^*She was also ambidextrous which is a big, red flag*^*”* it’s really common for young children not to have developed a hand preference (I still haven’t and I’m not dyslexic).

artichaut27 Mon 06-Nov-17 09:48:09

Thanks for the replies.

Horsemadmom and HamishsMonna: the SENCO (who is also is my son's teacher) told me that they don't look at Dyslexia before age 7. She's the same person who told me that a lisp is not looked at before Yr2.

In our school, getting your child seen by a Ed Psych is a battle. So getting him diagnosed at school will require pushiness.

It's encouraging that you managed to have your children diagnosed before 7.

There's a part of me that still is very hesitant: "what if I kicked a fuss and I was wrong in the end."

I'm bolstering courage by reading masses online (mostly recent academic publications).

The latest I've read is that there is a comorbidity between speech delays/and speech impairment and dyslexia, especially if heredity is a factor. I'm never been diagnosed with dyslexia but I struggled with reading (especially out loud) from the start and I don't left from right. Also I cry inside a little when given instructions to read.

My experience so far is that my son's symptoms, from his early signs of speech delay at 2 to his lisp now have been minimised by professionals at school and NHS. I kick myself for not having listened to them and not trusted my motherly instincts.

sotiredtoday Mon 06-Nov-17 11:26:57

In Year 1, I started to realize that DS couldn't work out spelling even though he was putting a lot of effort in. And he would jumble up letters. And his handwriting was very bad.

I spoke to the teacher who told me it was all normal (although his classmates seemed to be unaffected by this normality). We saw a psy-ed at the end of Year 1. Despite her view that he had mild dyslexia the Year 2 teacher explained to me that he wasn't dyslexic , she knew this because had been a teacher for a long time and would know .... pfff.....

Trust yourself. In my experience, good help will go a long way. It's worth getting expert advice.

horsemadmom Mon 06-Nov-17 12:04:00

Pay for an ed psych (if you can). Best money you'll spend this decade. Also, go to a behavioural optometrist. PM if you want my person's details. DD2 had visual convergence issues and the right glasses fixed it . - all co-morbid. Just funny brain wiring. Ambidextrous, problems crossing the midline, left-right confusion, tracking problems.....Fix the eyes, re-wire the brain, re-teach skills that were missed and then constantly update coping strategies in line with progress through school.
At 16, you'd never guess that DD2 is dyslexic but if she forgets to put on her watch in the morning she still can't tell left from right.

sallythesheep73 Mon 06-Nov-17 12:27:11

Friends of ours have just had their daughter diagnosed with dyslexia. It took 6 months of back and forth between GP and school until they had funding to see the educational psychologist. She is 8 (Yr 4). It only really came to light about a year ago but it seems to effect much more than just reading and writing, it seems to make it difficult for her to follow complex instructions and be organised etc.
Good luck.

artichaut27 Mon 06-Nov-17 13:34:37

horsemadmom this is very interesting about eye-tracking. My main struggle with reading is going in a straight line left to right. My eyes/mind jumps around and I have to go back a lot to find the words I missed. I still have to "panic, pause and think" to tell left from right. I still feel stupid about it too!

We're seeing a Speech Therapist this Saturday, privately. See what she says. I expect something along the line of Expressive Language Delay and Lisp.

Then, I will start collecting evidence about his possible dyslexia and will probably have to go private as well.

His targets in first term of Y1 are mostly about letters and numbers formation related. He's 6 and one of the oldest in his class.

Polly99 Mon 06-Nov-17 13:49:12

We knew in year 1 that DD was having issues with reading and writing but thought at that stage it was down to school only teaching phonics (and just expecting kids to ‘get’ spelling by themselves) and allowing her to spell phonetically without correction.
It was in year 2 when we got the diagnosis, and just before we took her she told me about letters jumping on the page.
Other signs were mispronounciations of words which she did not correct until told dozens of times (playdache for play date, red for rid, biscetti for spaghetti). Some of them persist now (she’s 8).
Reversals in writing were more frequent than for other kids and almost all of her numbers are reversed now. In fact, if asked to write a series of numbers (eg her 3x table) in a row she will do the whole thing right to left.
Some of her issues are down to how her eyes work together, so she has spent a lot of time with the behavioural optometrist. She is now a much more willing reader (smile) but signs of those issues were a lack of stamina, fidgeting, rubbing her eye, complaining of headaches when reading).
She was slower to talk than her sister but was still talking well at 14 months so certainly within a range of ‘normal’ for that.

Haribogirl Mon 06-Nov-17 13:49:48

I had a battle with my son’s school! From yr1 I was told he didn’t want to sit and listen would walk around class.
They thought he was a naughty child, I was constantly called in school.

I remember him doing his spellings, I ask him after a while of looking at them he’d get most right. I’d later go through them again and he’d get nearly all of them wrong!! I used to lose my temper sometimes, not thinking dyslexic.
Yr5I remember his male teacher asking me did I ever consider extra tuition, if he couldn’t teach him in class I’m certainly not paying him.
Yr6 I had him privately tested at the dyslexic institute, think it cost back then £200(think now 400/500)
Got a full report, he was dyslexic and also showing traits of dyspraxia
By the way his yr6 teacher was an SEN,
I had an appointment with head teacher, told her what I’d thought about how school treated son thoughtout his schooling.
It got to yr6 and only got picked up because I myself paid for diagnoses
Head Teacher apologises were “ what can I say we have let ....... down

Even in secondary school, he got some help but was a battle to get.
He’d have group lesson for hour with other SEN children and a 1-1 hour lesson. He hated it, felt he was being in the limelight and all the other kids knew. Like he was stigmatised.

Each child is different, but I don’t think it helped from how junior school treated him as a naughty child.

Push push push, if you can afford it do it.

BrendansDanceShoes Mon 06-Nov-17 13:52:38

DS diagnosed this year at age 10 and a half, in year 5. I had my suspicions from when he was in year 3. If I could go back I would have had him tested him at the start of year 4. I think that your son is still a bit too young to be tested effectively using the tests that they use.
His reading and written english progress just stalled and his spelling and handwriting was a struggle - one of the last to get a pen. Could not tell the time and still struggles with this. For year 3 and 4, teachers said "he's fine, boys don't like reading, boys struggle with handwriting, he'll get it, he's a bright boy" PLEASE don't accept this as we did. We paid for a private Ed Psych report as school (state primary) didn't have the funds to test him 'as he isn't bad enough'. It has led to us having to build up his self confidence again, he didn't tell us how his friends all thought he was thick because he wrote slowly in class. He was writing slowly because handwriting is hard and was trying about 4 different ways to write the longer word, then giving up and just writing easier words as he wouldn't get the spelling wrong. Well, report highlighted poor processing speed and phonic recognition, and a significant discrepancy between this and intelligence. This led to the conclusion of mild dyslexia. An optician has also noticed tracking problems and left eye dominance in a right hander. This makes looking at lots of words on a page more tricky. Most right handers would be right eye dominant. Basically, he has achieved at expected or above expected levels throughout KS1 and KS2, and has used many compensating strategies - ie smart enough to work out what the word should be in reading a sentence, rather than checking it phonetically. Also verbally very strong in class and has a mind for remembering general knowledge (loves maps and Horrible Histories). Be prepared going forward to do a lot of help at home, spellings, writing, but make it fun to build the confidence. We are already seeing a vast improvement.

Polly99 Mon 06-Nov-17 14:13:23

Ah yes, the confidence thing is the real kicker.
I didn’t know until I took DD to the ed psych that she had concluded she was thick. After all, every other child in the class could spell basic words and write faster than her. As a result, she doesn’t speak much in class and lots of teachers have commented on how shy she is (nope, she’s just flying under the radar). This disparity in behaviour in class v in the playground and at home was a clue.
Anyway, the look of relief on her face when the ed psych told her how bright she is was worth the money I paid for the assessment. She still really struggles with low self confidence but at least we know how to help her now.

artichaut27 Mon 06-Nov-17 17:59:07

I just had a meeting with his other teacher (part-time). She was very understanding. She is not deeply concerned about him, and he is progressing. He is definitely not in the first half of the class, but not right at the bottom either.

His handwriting is not brilliant and as for spelling, he seems to use his phonics efficiently.

The problem is that he spells like he talks.

He wrote the sentence 'The Elves wear crystal trousers'
the following way: "The eLLLvs wells cristlll srowjr."

For now one thing is for sure is that his speech problem is inferring in his phonics awareness.

The teacher was very receptive and she did mention 'the boys' do worse at spelling etc. (*BrendansDanceshoes*).

The main problem in her eyes seems to be attention. In a group situation, he will lose attention very fast and start fidgeting and move around. He forgets where he is supposed to sit when learning. He seems to struggle with instructions on school tasks too.

I'm sure she will keep an extra eye on him now.

Confidence is what I'm vigilant about! Polly99

Ceara Mon 06-Nov-17 18:29:35

My DS isn't 4 yet but we already have suspicions. There is familial risk (DH and his brother are both dyslexic). Beyond that - he has a memory like an elephant but struggles with remembering nursery rhymes, days of the week and other similar patterns, rhymes and sequences; he loves, and responds very emotionally, to music but can't clap a simple rhythm; he has an advanced vocabulary, though was late learning to speak, and loves to be read to, including long chapter books to which he will listen avidly, but he shows no interest in letters or the words on the page; he has absorbed counting and basic adding and subtraction without any effort by us or him, and can read numbers to 20 (but muddles 5 and 2 and 6 and 9...) but he won't pick up a pencil to write or draw, and he hasn't got a Scooby about the alphabet despite having had the same if not more exposure to words as to numbers. He speaks clearly but routinely muddles a handful of words eg "melon" for "lemon". And he is fantastic at Lego building.

At this age nothing is definite but I see no harm in assuming dyslexia until proven otherwise, and providing support. The British Dyslexia Association publish this guide on their website, it's really for Early Years so slightly younger children than your son if he's now in Year 1 but there might be other useful stuff on their website, and they also have a free helpline. www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/common/ckeditor/filemanager/userfiles/Parent/early-help-better-future.pdf

I'd second what has been said about assessment being worth it if only for the self-confidence boost. DH was formally assessed at university and even at that stage, it made the world of difference to him to be told that he was a highly intelligent man with a specific learning difficulty, and not "thick" as he'd self-labelled through school.

I think there are sound arguments not to assess until yr 2 as long as the school is applying the appropriate interventions for a struggling reader, such that diagnosis would make no practical difference to what they're doing (because they're doing it anyway, as part and parcel of good teaching practice). Any later that yr2 and it smacks of "waiting to fail". Which is inexcusable when there is so much research indicating that the earlier dyslexic children receive appropriate support, the better the outcomes.

Itsonkyme Mon 06-Nov-17 18:30:29

My son has dyslexia, which was undiagnosed all through school, he's 40 now but has taught himself to read and his spelling, not too bad. He is by the way, highly intelligent and business wise, brilliant.
He says he's fine with it now but angry about how stupid he was made to feel all through school. Thankfully, it's not like that any more.
He was very nervous that his 5 yr old son was the same and indeed he appeared to be struggling with reading and writing.
We took him for a preliminary interview, with a view to diagnosis with Dyslexia uk. I went with them, we told child he was seeing someone to help him read better.
He sat through the interview, while son explained problems he was having and a time was made for an appointment for diagnosis.
We were thanking them and getting ready to leave and I was picking up some leaflets that we had been given, when child suddenly said, "but you haven't let me read yet" we all smiled and said "no that's fine, you're reading next time" .
At which point, he grabbed a leaflet off table and stood there and read it.
All our mouths dropped open. The woman looked at us as if we'd lost the plot and we mumbled our way out.
We got back to car and I said, can you do that again, laughing. And he did!shock.
We drove home laughing all the way, with him spelling out four letter words all the way.
His teacher couldn't believe it and he's never looked back and reads books like a 7 year old.
All we can think is that he was just too young and it suddenly clicked that day.
Weird or what!!!!

artichaut27 Mon 06-Nov-17 19:03:49

Thanks for the link Ceara.
It resonates with other things I have read. I like the bit for Parents:
"A mother, in particular, is often very perceptive about her own child and may well have had the feeling before formal school starts that “things were not quite right”. All too often, when she has attempted to express these feelings, she has met with comments such as, “Don’t worry. Don’t expect too much. He will catch up”. At worst she may be labelled fussy, pushy, or over anxious. The mother’s comments should always be listened to and her concerns taken seriously."

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