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6yo DS - teacher says he exhibits key signs of dyslexia

(20 Posts)
HappyAsEyeAm Thu 13-Mar-14 12:16:37

We went to parents evening last night. There is one every term. DS is in year one in a small private school, small class sizes, homely feeling to the place.

The chat was with the form tutor of year one. They are taught by different teachers for different disciplines so his form tutor isn't the teacher who teaches his comprehension, reading or maths. She is a humanities teacher, but she had feedback from all of the other teachers about him. She and another teacher suspect dyslexia. She says that he has lots of the key signs. I think she is right. She will have seen hundreds of kids, and she has family experience of dyslexia. And I agree with her.

The feedback was that he is a delight to teach, well behaved,and always tries his best. But he struggles very much with comprehension, reverses his numbers and letters, and writing. He is very imaginative and a good reader, though nothing spectacular (stage 7 ORT). He doesn't struggle with comprehension when it comes to reading his reading books though, talks with lots of expression, empathy etc. but he struggles with extracting words in text in school and comprehension of that text in the form of questions about it afterwards. He reverses numbers and letters constantly.

The school is a small private school. We chose it because of the very small class sizes and the locality of it. The school does not believe in labelling children, and I have no idea if they would adapt teaching to accommodate DS if he is diagnosed. I suspect not. There are no other children with dyslexia at the school, which is quite academic. The school would mot refer him for a diagnosis, I would have to do that myself, but I understand that I would not be able to do that until he turns 7 in a year's time anyway.

I am so sad for DS as I know that life will be harder for him.

I don't know what to do in terms of school, diagnosis, helping him at home, buying whatever would help him etc. i work three long days a week ( we have a nanny on those days) and DH works extreme hours monday to friday. We have a toddler too.

I don't know what to do.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 13-Mar-14 13:10:44

ok well firstly he does not have to be 7 to be tested. A private child psychologist can test younger than 7. my 6.5 yr old yr1 daughter is having a private dyslexia test next week and I REALLY wish I had done it a year ago but I didn't realise I could have done. (I too was told 7 by the school) Last year I have no doubt she would have clearly shown up as dyslexic but I have now taught her lots of techniques to help her (at the end of the day she has to learn to cope with it so we have done a lot of toe by toe work which is a book designed to help dyslexics) and she has a very high IQ so has learned to compensate very effectively for her problem and the psychologist said she is compensating so well it may well not show up now. typical, thats what you get when you try to help isn't it. anyway that is another story.

so my advice would be to look on the BPA website to find a local child psychologist near you and ask to have him assessed. that is the first thing. We only started arranging this a couple of weeks ago and she has now had a WISC IQ test (we had other concerns too) and the dyslexia test is next week. had it just been the dyslexia test it could all have been done in about 2 weeks from my initial enquiry.

As for what you can do well I think wait for the test to be done, speak to the child psychologist and I think you should get a breakdown which will indicate which areas are a weakness. for example can he segment words or does he just read purely by memorising what whole words look like because he actually struggles to break them down. Once you know the areas he struggles with then you can look into more specific exercises to help.

I find it hard to believe there are no other dyslexics in the school, in fact that shocks me to be honest and the school will have to accommodate him.

HappyAsEyeAm Thu 13-Mar-14 18:06:05

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I wish you the best of luck with your child. I completely get where you are coming from when you say that she has learned such good coping mechanisms that she may now show up on the test. I agree that I should get him tested quickly. I will find out about who can do the test and where, locally.

His school is very small. About 80 or so pupils 4-11 yo. It is very academic and parents tend to send their DC there as they have such good success at getting them into state grammars. We chose the school more for the class sizes. There really are no dyslexic children there, or at least none that the parents are disclosing and the school doesn't want to put a label on any child. I have not talked it through with them, but I don't have much confidence about them going out of their way to help a dyslexic child in the way that he is likely to need help. I suppose they can do whatever they want and its up to us to decide if we want him to stay there. He really loves his school though, is so happy there and has lots of friends.

nonicknameseemsavailable Thu 13-Mar-14 23:16:07

As a private school I suppose they can probably get away with doing whatever they want but I think that is a really bad attitude from them. I suppose the first step is to get it checked out and then find out what the situation is. you can then arm yourself with information about it and go and speak to the school and see what they say. It isn't exactly a rare problem so they must have SOME idea of what they should do but all dyslexics are different which makes it more complicated.

I think now looking back that I am dyslexic and I compensated for it very effectively, it is only since reading up on it for my daughter that I can see it and suddenly so many things make sense. Assuming I am then it hasn't ruined my life but it did knock my confidence struggling with things which logically as a bright individual I should have been able to do. My exams never matched what my coursework or my effort indicated they should and so on. But times have changed a lot and if identified, even if the school don't do much to help, then in a child who is already learning to compensate for it I think they can move forward pretty successfully. I hope so anyway.

I hope you find someone nearby to do the test. Might be worth looking at dysgraphia and reading about that too - not sure if a child psychologist would be the one to test for that as well but I would expect so, can't think who else would do it if it isn't a psychologist.

HappyAsEyeAm Fri 14-Mar-14 13:25:32

Thanks for the heads up about dysgraphia. I recognise some of the traits and I see that is is commonly linked with dyslexia. So much to think about.

Nobody in our family has dyslexia. It is all very new to me. DH and I are what everyone would call high flyers, we both have degrees and professional qualifications and earn high salaries. I will be keeping an eye on my toddler from a young age as I want to be on top of it.

I will look into getting him tested. I have spoken to other teachers at the school and their views are that they don't think he is dyslexic. I think it may be too early to tell, so I am keeping an open mind. I don't want to be in denial. I just want to do what is best for him.

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 14-Mar-14 21:43:17

if you are bright, the chances are your son is bright too in which case he could very effectively compensate for it to a point and I think a lot of teachers have no experience of dyslexics who compensate, many do seem to believe you have to have exact problems and that isn't true. Some also believe that you just can't be dyslexic if you can read or write at a reasonable level but of course you could be functioning at an average level when really you are capable of functioning at a much higher level but noone knows that. Does that make sense?

HappyAsEyeAm Fri 14-Mar-14 22:28:54

That makes complete sense. I am pretty overwhelmed at the moment. DH is up for keeping an open mind as DS is so young, and other teachers are saying that he is atypical of dyslexic people as he loves to write (anything - stories, lists, notes, cards, copy from a book) and will never turn down an opportunity to write. And he is a good reader (though we have worked on his reading a lot at home, and not so much on his writing). We will not know until he is tested.

nonicknameseemsavailable Fri 14-Mar-14 23:02:40

DD loves to write too, poetry, great stories, not well presented but spellings phonetically plausible and she is good with adjectives and similies too. she has orientation issues though, can sometimes follow long complex instructions but othertimes completely forgets what she is supposed to be doing, can't remember where things are, she can't do left and right, she has scotopic sensitivity so contrasts are a problem for her and letters move around etc so she has coloured glasses. I will PM you now so that I can hopefully remember to PM you next week after we have had the dyslexia test and I can tell you what our verdict was, it sounds like a similar situation so might be of interest to you.

MrsDe Mon 17-Mar-14 12:49:18


I have a 6yo DD in private school and have a meeting this evening to discuss her progression. We have a feeling that the meeting is to confirm their thoughts about dyslexia and how they can help. We have touched on it briefly and they have been nothing but supportive and have mentioned that they might not test straight away but will look at it next year. Like you I have no experience of dyslexia so struggle to understand what it must be like for her. My dh however is dyslexic so he is brilliant with her. I also feel worried and sad for DD as feel that life (and school) will be tougher. But I guess I musn't transfer my anxities onto her.

Anyway, no real advice but wanted to let you know that you're not on your own.

elastamum Mon 17-Mar-14 13:03:15

Sounds like my DS1, who didnt get diagnosed until yr4. Because he was so bright, although he was way behind where his IQ (99th percentile) would predict, he was bobbing along in the middle of the class.

I would worry less about the label than making sure your DS gets the support he needs to thrive.

DS1 (now 15) is well aware of his profile and it has helped his confidence to understand why he finds somethings hard that others find easy. FWIW he has always read really well, way above his age range, and is slightly below average in his written ability, but his discrepency scores between the two are huge.

I think yr4-6 are hardest for dyslexic children as there is a big focus on spelling and grammar. Once they get past that into subject based teaching they can pick subjects more suited to their abilities.

Understanding their individual profile is key smile

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 17-Mar-14 13:38:56

MrsDe Thanks so much for your post. A little solidarity helps a lot, doesn't it. I wish you well with your meeting tonight and I am pleased that your child's school are so supportive. I can only hope for the same. I have asked for a meeting with the Head of my child'sschool and I am waiting for an appointment. I think whatever they say then and how open they are to accommodating him will make or break whetehr he stays there, or whether we need to consider a different school for him. Such big decisions.

elastamum I completely understand, I don't care whether he is dyslexic, dyspraxic, whatever. The label doesn't concern me at all. But getting him tested will identify what his strengths and weaknesses are, and which teaching methods he responds best to. I see a difference in the standard of work (and I use that phrase loosely as he is only 6) he does one to one with me and DH at home as against at school (and he is in a class of only eight). I have no eperience of dyslexia so I have difficulty in even starting to think what his learning profile is. I think we need some external assistance.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 17-Mar-14 14:04:56

I am really nervous about DD's assessment tomorrow now. Sounds silly but half of me wants her to show up as dyslexic because then it means we know what is wrong (especially as the breakdown should show us what her problem areas are) but part of me wants her to be problem free. Am starting to wonder if I have imagined it all.

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 17-Mar-14 14:21:27

I understand nonickname. I have gone from recognising lots of traits of dyslexia in DS that are listed on various websites, and feeling that he does show so many signs, to finding ways that suggest that he is so atypical of a dyslexic child and that he just needs me to make as much effort with his writing and spelling as I have been making with his reading. And then all will be fine. Nobody wants their child to have problems, and as parents, we just want to take the problems and the difficulties away.

Whatever the outcome, she is always your lovely DD and the sme person before and after the assessment.

Sending you strength. Its all overwhelming at times. I feel that I want to have DS assessed as then I will know what he struggles with, what he is good at, which teaching methods work best for him, and where to target our efforts. In the meantime, we are doing lots of non academic things that he enjoys like cooking, making a veggie patch, getting new things for his train set etc. And non stop cuddles smile

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 17-Mar-14 14:43:52

thank you. yes I think once I know which areas she is struggling with we can hopefully ease some of her frustration. Will PM you tomorrow.

Nocomet Mon 17-Mar-14 15:01:17

My DD1(16) would say just one thing to you.

Dyslexia does not mean thick.

Yes her written work's spelling and tendency to confuse tenses is probably worse than DD2's was in Y6, but the level of understanding is streets away.

She is an A grade scientist and mathematician, she sings beautiful and isn't a bad artist.

And far more than all these things she is the most practical level headed, dare I say grown up teen you will ever meet. Quirky, a bit to chatty and in your face because she's never picked up social cues very well, but beneath it, calm, hardworking and absolutely sure of herself.

Don't dread the future OP, embrace it and be very grateful you go to schools that are so clued up. I knew DD1 was dyslexic at 6, it took school until she was 11 and SATs loomed.

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 17-Mar-14 15:38:31

I wouldn't for a spli second say that dyslexia would mean thick Nocomet. Not for the slightest second. Your DD sounds fantastic. My DS is very imaginative, knowledgeable and has wonderful vocabulary. He sings beautifully, loves being read to, is so keen to learn more, and enjoys cooking, music and gardening.

I am indeed grateful that DS' teacher is so supportive. However, I feel that she is out on a limb and I'm not sure whether the party line from the school will be as supportive. Individual teachers, maybe, but teh school is very academic and it seeks to place children intp top grammars. We chose it for the small class sizes, which I agree, should help him.

nataliabuckler Fri 28-Mar-14 06:38:30

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

TallulahMcFey Fri 28-Mar-14 08:37:49

Many people are dyslexic yet still high achieves. I friends daughter was a straight A student but only picked up as being dyslexic at Uni. She commented that she thought that everyone had to work that hard to achieve A grades, so with hindsight, it was harder for her but she still achieved regardless. Best wishes.

PolterGoose Fri 28-Mar-14 09:29:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HappyAsEyeAm Fri 28-Mar-14 11:15:26

Thanks Tallulah. I appreciate your kind words. DS' school say that we shouldq definitely get him assessed as he is able, and is getting frustrated. Sk thats what we are going to do. I know lots of high achieving dyslexic adults, and they must have worked so hard to get to where they are.

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