Year 2 possible dyslexia - how can I help?

(21 Posts)
redroses86 Wed 14-Oct-20 18:49:32

My 6 year old has been struggling with writing for a while. She’s very creative and loves school but is finding the ‘work’ bit of school hard.
Her reading is slightly above where she should be, her reading age is 6.5, it’s improved loads in the last 6 months.
Today her teacher spoke to me to say she’d like to put her in for a dyslexia test. Her written work can be very poor. She writes on phonics, not spelling things correctly. Sometimes she gets b and d mixed up. So sentences look like gobbledygook. She can read all of the words on her spelling lists and can write them when we practice. But it all goes out of the window when she’s back in the classroom and she gets them all wrong.

Apparently when the class was small, during lockdown, she made lots of progress and her written work improved. But she’s now getting ‘lost’ in the class of 30 again. She’s shy and would never be one to ask or put her hand up.

Has anyone got any advice on this type of dyslexia or how we can help her?

OP’s posts: |
Autumngoldleaf Wed 14-Oct-20 22:02:49

You are extremely lucky to have a teacher spot this to help.
Can you get a test?

We suspect my dd has it.
She's nealry 8 now and has struggled for years. What changed for her was a rainbow spelling board.
It's a flat magnetic mat, with foam letters.
They make the alphabet then move the letters down to spell. Seeing the letters, feeling them, helped to start make sense of them for her.
Then once she could spell with that we would practise the words on the white board.

Within weeks we went from 3 years of 0/10 to 8,9, 10/10.

Her reading had a big boost over lock down. What band is your dd on? Which book scheme?
Getting her diagnosed now, may help work out where she needs specific help. She will probably need lots of visual aids.

redroses86 Thu 15-Oct-20 18:38:30

Thank you, I’ll have a look at those rainbow boards.
She’s on Reading stage 8 at her school, I’m not sure what this equates to but apparently it’s above where she should be for her age.

I think spellings are our big problem and her written letters. Hopefully a dyslexia test will help us identify that. I’m not sure what school will put into place to go from there though.

OP’s posts: |
OhCrumbsWhereNow Sun 18-Oct-20 22:13:15

Generally they won't test for dyslexia until they are at least 7 as before then it fits within 'normal for age', but having the 'official diagnosis' as such doesn't change the help that is worth putting in place. And even if they are not, the strategies work well anyway.

Lots of people like Toe-by-Toe which does repetitive spelling testing. We found that DD could do those fine when she was working on them specifically but as soon as she was back in class it rather went out of the window, but lots of people really like it.

My DD had a dyslexic teacher in Y2 who recognised the signs and the EP saw her at the beginning of Y3. Her major issue is spelling and while she can read quite well, it's obviously a huge chore for her and she gets no real enjoyment out of it (we have a house full of books and DH and I are always reading, so I find it really sad that she will do everything to avoid it.)

Just to add to the fun, she has hypermobile finger joints so writing is painful both physically and mentally.

The EP recommended at the beginning of Y6 that she learn to touch type and move asap to using a laptop as her normal way of working. I wish we had done this years earlier. I got a copy of English Type Junior which is a fun game-based touch typing programme and she's started Y7 with a laptop for everything bar Maths and PE.

Still can't spell, but laptop has a read-back function and spell check (although even spell check is defeated by DD's phonetic interpretation on a regular basis). But... she now writes huge quantities whereas before we struggled to get a couple of sentences.

Audio books are also great - make sure to get the unabridged versions and they can follow along in an actual book. Also films... if DD really likes a film then I can sometimes interest her in the book of the same title.

Worth trying kindle and seeing if altering font and background colours helps at all.

Other things that are a huge help:
- sit at the front of the class
- ensure they have understood concepts properly
- handouts rather than being expected to copy things down (and in a dyslexia friendly font and pt size - Arial 14 or similar)
- giving an overview of a topic before starting on the detail rather than working A to Z.
- having a cheat sheet of common words laminated and on the desk all the time to refer to.

Also, when you get the testing done, if your DD qualifies for extra time for exams, make sure she gets it for class tests as well. My DD qualifies for 25% extra, but never got it during class tests... hence why she never moved up a level on times tables... 48 or 49/50 every week, but she never managed to finish question 50.

anna114young Mon 19-Oct-20 14:56:44

Not sure if this will be helpful, but I have recently started an online program called Easyread after ds was showing signs of dyslexia. Its been really good for me as they don't diagnose dyslexia as such but they find out why there is a reading difficultly. My ds has an eye tracking weakness and trouble blending so we are working on those two things specifically.

Widdendream77 Wed 21-Oct-20 19:02:52

Fantastic help from all pp as my dd yr2 has many dyslexic traits and with a strong family history both sides it seems a certainty. Thank you

Letseatgrandma Wed 21-Oct-20 19:06:59

I would want to know exactly which test the teacher was referring to. Is it a dyslexia assessment carried out by a specialist teacher/EP or is it an online screener? I probably wouldn’t bother if it was the latter-they are notoriously unreliable, especially under y3/4.

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Atomsaway Wed 21-Oct-20 19:08:31

From bitter experience, I just want to add
SELF ESTEEM
SELF ESTEEM
SELF ESTEEM
If you can boost your child’s confidence and work on her mind set, you are half way there already.

SkeletonSkins Wed 21-Oct-20 19:17:11

I’m an Ed psych and I can diagnose children with dyslexia. It would be incredibly unusual for a child to have dyslexia and have a reading age higher than their chronological age. Plus I won’t diagnose any child under 7. This sounds more like dysgraphia or difficulties with writing specifically - ask for a referral to Occupational therapy to assess her fine motor skills in her hand. Also look up fine motor activities to do with children.

I really like ‘write from the start’ which is a fine motor skill/writing programme you can buy off amazon pretty cheap.

TheHouseonHauntedHill Thu 22-Oct-20 23:35:55

Oh crumbs, do you think phonics worked for your dd?

creativehare Fri 23-Oct-20 13:06:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

creativehare Fri 23-Oct-20 13:37:16

Ps, I tend to agree with Ed Psy above about the dysgraphia comment.

Ceara Sat 24-Oct-20 09:14:47

My son is in Year 2 as well, and similar - reading at/a bit above average, spelling and writing all over the shop. Strong family history of dyslexia. Lots of small indicators since preschool years. His school say, as others have on this thread, that if the child is reading at/above ARE, they cannot be dyslexic. But...he has had really good synthetic phonics teaching at school, and we have done Nessy and other interventions at home since Year R. So is he "not dyslexic", or is he a bright, well-compensated dyslexic child who has avoided reading failure thanks to the excellent teaching his school provide for all their pupils, but still has underlying difficulties. Don't know.

DominaShantotto Sat 24-Oct-20 12:15:45

is he a bright, well-compensated dyslexic child who has avoided reading failure thanks to the excellent teaching his school provide for all their pupils, but still has underlying difficulties. Don't know.

I was this one! Got by basically on a good visual memory for spellings, and then just grasping the gist of texts by skim reading them enough to be able to find the answers in them and pass the eternal tedious comprehension tasks that formed primary school in the 1980s. The cracks started to show at A-level and degree level where I just assumed it was meant to be that academic texts were so hard to understand that I needed to read them 10 times over to make enough sense of them to blag it in an essay.

Went back to uni to do a second degree recently, and since DD2 has a dyspraxia diagnosis (and I suspect there's more going on than that in terms of working memory and phonological memory) I did the uni's screening tests, got referred on to an ed psych and I have a cognitive profile she doesn't see very often with really high IQ and ability with things like spelling and decoding - but I can't process and retain information from a written text - take it away and ask me what I've read and it might as well just be a page that says "cabbage" repeatedly. I got through school, a degree, a PGCE and 20 years before I was picked up - and actually, you're meant to be able to understand textbooks and journal articles when you read them! This was a revelation!

Text to speech software is FUCKING AMAZING!!!

DD2 struggles physically to write (dyspraxia diagnosis - poor hand strength and low muscle tone as well) and until this year's nightmare teacher took it away, she was typing a lot of her work - the app's been discontinued now unfortunately and replaced by a really pricey subscription model - but she was using Clicker Docs on her iPad with a keyboard - reads back each sentence to them, has word prediction (you can turn it off - we do cos DD is a lazy bugger given the chance) and you can set up word banks - and minimal buttons to go wrong compared to the likes of Word.

We're also setting the groundwork to get her used to using things like speech to text - doesn't work brilliantly with her at the moment yet but that's because she also has speech intelligibility difficulties - and a gobshite older sister who talks over what she's trying to dictate. They've not found a technological way to install a mute button on gobshite older sisters yet.

Feenie Sat 24-Oct-20 15:00:11

It would be incredibly unusual for a child to have dyslexia and have a reading age higher than their chronological age.

Complete and utter bollocks. We regularly have children who attain greater depth scores in reading and who also have a dyslexia diagnosis. Ridiculous statement from an ed psych.

Ceara Mon 26-Oct-20 10:25:45

OP, just to add what practical things we've been doing. Letter formation and spelling are the biggest issues for my DS (aged 6, in year 2) as well. I THINK from what you've said that he is reading at the same level/book band as your DD. Although he struggles massively with pretty much all aspects of letter formation and spacing, I just can't see a generalised fine motor skills issue - his manual dexterity with eg Meccano, Lego models and Lego Tecnic is and always has been great (way better than mine!). It feels more like directional confusion, if that makes sense? On the spelling front he has finally started writing words phonetically - yes, it's what's expected at the start of Year 1 not Year 2 by which time the focus is shifting to correct spellings, but as last year he was barely writing at all, at least he's moving forward!

-- Mini whiteboards to write on. The Dyslexia Shop do them with a traceable alphabet on one side in either cursive or non-cursive script, for practice, and plain or lined on the other.

- Writing for a purpose. We get no traction with worksheets. He needs more practice but the way in always has to be something he is interested in, that has a reason he is up for engaging with.

- Nessy - the Nessy letters app for more letter formation practice and the main Nessy programme.

- Visuals and mnemonics. They've helped him with learning sequences too, which is another blind spot (though he has a memory like an elephant for other stuff).

- Getting interested in etymology. We've made a game of non-standard spellings ("red words") where we turn them into a hunt for fossil words. We've got a copy of the "Oxford School Dictionary of Word Origins" which we look them up in together. The teacher thinks I'm insane but it works for DS. If he can see that, for example, a letter sound in a word isn't phonetic because it's imported from another language which represents letter sounds differently, or because pronunciation has shifted but the written words has remained "fossilised", it's easier for him to live with - he likes to have a "why" for stuff - and sometimes it gives a memory hook for the correct spelling.

- Lots of work on self-esteem, and on the fun of exploring language.

- Playing with film and voice recording sometimes, so he has times when he can focus on expressing himself and what he wants to say, with the writing taken out of the equation.

Mokusspokus Tue 27-Oct-20 07:46:57

Cears

I've also found breaking words down has helped my dd understand words more.

Eg prefix, how many words begin with un, do them together until she's on a roll... Then words ending in ing...

Apparently that's an actual strategy some employ for dyslexics.
Makes more sense than phonics to some with literacy issues. Certainly makes more sense to me!!

Ceara Tue 27-Oct-20 08:46:57

That sounds good - thanks.

Feenie Tue 27-Oct-20 12:58:01

Etymology and word building using prefixes and suffixes (and associated spelling tendencies) are actually very much a part of any good phonics lessons. They're also a huge part of the national curriculum right up to the end of Y6, so not sure why any class teacher would be baffled. Unfortunately, many schools and teachers think that phonics teaching ends after the Y1 phonics check.

Feenie Tue 27-Oct-20 12:59:57

Cutting out a corner of a cardboard rectangular shape, about the size of a credit card, and using that to reveal each sound of an unknown word can be very helpful.

OhCrumbsWhereNow Tue 27-Oct-20 20:46:20

TheHouseonHauntedHill

Oh crumbs, do you think phonics worked for your dd?

I suppose it probably did - her primary put a lot of interventions in to pass that wretched phonics test, and she spells completely phonetically (not much use for English!). I learned with whole word, and had a load of Peter and Jane Ladybird books knocking about. DD used to look at them but didn't learn to read from those either!

Her primary used phonics and Reading Recovery, and were very much of the mind that they would use phonics as most children get good results, but if a child was struggling then they would try other methods as well.

DD has a working memory score that puts her in the 7th centile, and VR and NVR scores in the 98th centile so there is a huge disparity. She's extremely musical so I find it quite strange how a child who can hear a piece once and sing it back perfectly, and who can pick out tiny differences in music can find it so hard to make the phoneme grapheme connections. I suspect that the working memory is the big issue.

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