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can a 'good' reader be dyslexic ?

(32 Posts)
hotpotato11 Mon 05-Oct-09 22:14:08

I have a DD of 8 and my gut feeling is that she has some kind of problem connected with literacy.Although she knows and understands phonics patterns her spelling is apalling.She can say what sounds she needs but write them down in the wrong order and can'tt see that it is wrong unless you make her touch each one and sound it out.School think she is a good reader because she was at level 4 in Y3 SATS.But she isn't. She relies on recognising the shape of a huge number of words but when confronted with an unknown word has no idea.
I have just realised she can't even easily read out the letters because she says she can't see them properly because they move about too much.She has had a recent eye test
She scored 3a in yr 3 in literacy although her spelling age was very very low.
She has recently done Verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests at school and came out in the extremely high bracket only dropping one mark on each paper putting her top of her year.So she isn't daft
I don't know anything about dyslexia but I wonder whether there is a possibility DD could be affected.
Are there any simple tests we could do at home to give us an idea if it is worth putting her in for an assessment.
Finally would the school help her even if she was diagnosed ?
Any replies would be most gratefully received

maverick Tue 06-Oct-09 09:02:46

I have many children like your daughter coming to me for tuition.
Do have a look at the following for an explanation:


yesitsme Tue 06-Oct-09 09:05:35

Dyslexics are very good at compensating for their dificulties, which is why so many dyslexics slip through the net, if they are highly intelligent which I suspect your DD is then they find a different way to read, my DS who is severley dyslexic amazes us sometimes by reading large words but cant read words like saw,was, there,where because he learns to recognise large words by their shape! My DS describes the letters jumping round the page aswell.

We took our son to Dyslexia Action to have him assessed, it was only once we had the report from them, was school then able to put the wheels in motion to get him all the extra help he needs.

Due to the fact your DD is performing so well in her test results you may struggle to get any extra help from school.

Dyslexia Action do have a literacy program that we use that helps with spelling, my DS does it at home and in the holidays.

3littlefrogs Tue 06-Oct-09 09:08:06

You might also consider asking the optician about coloured filters. My nephew is severely dyslexic, but can cope very well with a blue filter.

Dd had awful problems with the non verbal reasoning papers for 11 plus. The black and white patterns jumped all over the page. A blue filter cured this instantly. It has to be exactly the right shade though. Luckily our optician is something of an expert in this field. She also gave dd some exercises to do which helped.

It is worth asking for a proper assessment though, because dyslexia is a very complex thing and every child is different.

FaintlyMacabre Tue 06-Oct-09 09:10:59

A friend of mine was only diagnosed as having dyslexia when she was about 19, partly because her reading skills are so good. She is the fastest reader I know and can read a novel in a hour or so (and talk about it intelligently afterwards!). I think what triggered the diagnosis was her writing skills and possibly sequencing difficulties.

hotpotato11 Tue 06-Oct-09 09:34:30

Thankyou very much for your replies.The first thing I will do is talk to the school about it.TBH I am shocked that they are not being pro active
the more I think about the effects of dyslexia , the more worrying it seems.How will she cope with learning foreign languages and chemical equations at secondary school ?

LissyGlitter Tue 06-Oct-09 09:35:35

I am studying for a degree in English Literature (and doing pretty well!) and would have laughed if you had suggested I was dyslexic. However, I am obviously dyspraxic, and when i went to get formally diagnosed, the woman said I was clearly dyslexic too. She put a filter over a page and suddenly all the words "stuck" to the page! I had just been thinking everyone got that moving words thing and had been compensating for it. I had been preferring to read old books because of the yellowed pages making things easier without even realising.

PeachyTentativelyPosting Tue 06-Oct-09 09:50:45

I sat through ds2's aprent evening yesterday. He's a good reader, reading Tom's Midnight Garden atm (he's 8 so about right I think) and yet his handwriting is so applaling they cannot read it, and he has all the organisational difficulties associated with dyslexia as well (worth looking at- its more than just a literacy thing)

In actuality, the SENCO and I are arranging for ds2 to be seen for dyspraxia as he ticks all the bxes n the dyspraxia org website, but nonetheless he is a good reader.

bruffin Tue 06-Oct-09 10:12:59

DS 14 is similar. Very bright and reads well, but his spelling is awful. He can spell the same word wrongly 3 different ways on the same page, even if it's spelt correctly at the top of the page.
He has never been formerly diagnosed but primary said he had a SLD (specific learning difficulty of which dyslexia is one) but his current SENCO says he is almost certainly dislexic. He can read well because he was taught synthetic phonics properly.

DH is the same but was taught "look and say" which was a disaster for him and he couldn't read until he was 10.

DS has struggled with foreign languages, but I think the main problem for him was that he was expected to learn 2 in Yr7 and being top class of top set an awful lot was expected of him. He is on the g&t list for science..

In primary they gave him a lot of one to one help with spelling using a scheme called "stareway to spelling" which did help to a certain extent.

bruffin Tue 06-Oct-09 10:20:57

link to Stareway to Spelling

DS can often spell quite well if he is saying it, but can't write it properly. He used to have a problem copying off the board as he would forget what he had just read by the time he looked down to write it on paper.

turkeyboots Tue 06-Oct-09 10:24:25

Yes, I am. Taught myself to read at 3, but cannot spell and my handwriting is dreadful. Any basic spelling help will help, even if you don't get SEN help. At primary school I was moved round tables for various subjects, thanks to a very good teacher, so wasn't stuck at the "bad" table for all subjects, and it really helped.

turkeyboots Tue 06-Oct-09 10:26:10

Oh and I have a chemistry degree and speak German, so don't worry about that!

hotpotato11 Tue 06-Oct-09 14:01:30

Ok thanks for that very useful input.
Now , next problem speaking to the school
I have raided the issue twice already- the first time her teacher offered her one to one spelling tuition for half an hour after school each week.This continued for a term after which the teacher said she didn't think she needed it any more but I couldn't really see much ,if any , improvement.
the second time was at the beginning of this term and the teacher has given her a workbook which is really designed for handwriting practice ,but she thought it might help her with letter patterns.the first page concentrates on 'ave' and the child has to write out words like 'brave' and 'traveller which contain the 'ave pattern but I think are more confusing for her then helpful !
Any advice about how to approach the school would be very gratefully welcomed
many Many thanks

Hulababy Tue 06-Oct-09 14:19:00

My 7y DD (Y3) is a very good reader but, after assessment at school last year, is known to have some dyslexic tendancies. She is now seeing a support teacher at school one day a week, along with anothe girl in her class, for some support with handwriting (esp reversed b/d etc) and some spelling patetrns. Done 4 weeks s far and it is going well.

sugarcandymountain Wed 07-Oct-09 23:02:20

My son doesn't meet the BPS definition of dyslexic but he's had an Ed Psych assessment which recommends that he should be taught as a dyslexic child. He has a reading age at least a couple of years ahead of his chronological age and spelling about the same, but he scored very differently in different sections of an IQ test (very high verbal and average processing/short-term memory). His school haven't been at all helpful in supporting him for this, they've mostly focused on associated behavioural problems and the Ed Psych was seen privately.

I do wish the definition of dyslexia would be broadened to allow for these kinds of situations - he probably would have much more difficulty with reading if his general intelligence wasn't so high and compensating for it. But he benefits from things like mind maps and learning organisational skills in the same way a dyslexic child does.

Kez100 Thu 08-Oct-09 17:01:38

My son (age 11) is severely dyslexic and mildly dyspraxic.

My first encounter with this was age 7 when he still couldn't spell reception words.I decided to teach him them over the summer. It seemed to work well, he knew them and I knew he knew them ....then 24 hours later having not used them for a day he was back to square one. His spelling has improved painfully slowly but even age 11 he cannot spell many simple words - was, there, they and many others. Even the he will occassionally put teh (even though he does recognise the error on re-reading) - it must be so frustating.

We fought for years for a proper assessment but never got anywhere until we decided to pay for a formal private ed psyc. diagnosis. He is a perfectly capable young man until it comes to the written word.

He managed to secure a year 6 SATS (with scribe and reader where allowed) of level 4b (reading/comprehension) 4b (maths) and 5b (science) but 3c writing (and that was brilliant - he wasn't expected to score but he was determined to do the paper and not be singled out!)

He has good self esteem as we have concentrated on encouraging things he excels at (Science, Creative things and Music) and the school are working with us and him to ensure he makes the progress he is worthy of. It's a new school though, so I don't know how it will pan out. Due to his good self esteem he is able to confidently explain his issues to teachers when necessary and converse on where he needs help. He treats it as something he has to live with and work on, and it's payback for the things he is very good at! I am very proud of him.

We are presently working at home on touch typing so he can, as soon as possible, use IT for his written work which will be supplemented with a spell checker. Later we may look into dictation machines but we need to nail touch typing first. The Ed psyc does think his problems are so severe he will not be able to make the progress required to write independantly for GCSE. Thank goodness for technology!

Kez100 Thu 08-Oct-09 17:13:30

Ahhhhh, I didn't answer how to approach the school.

I always work with the school. My attitude is that, yes, the child is at school to be educated but only for a certain number of hours a day. Only so much help can be provided given the resources constraints they have. It may not be right but it's reality.

So, work with the teacher and SENCO. Try and get the diagnosis assessment because it identifies that childs own weaknesses and makes intervention more personalised. Hopefully a lot of intervention can be provided by the school but if they cannot, consider if you are able to provide it.

Also make sure, at home, you are encouraging the things they are good at as well as ICT and touch typing (I wish we had started earlier so it was in place for secondary). My sons self esteem went through the roof when he was finally 'best in the school' at something (his music)

lisad123wantsherquoteinDM Thu 08-Oct-09 17:17:25

I am mildly dyslexic, but was missed till i was 17 years. I would say Im a pretty good reader and will read books all day given the chance as i love to read. My issues are spelling, grammer and chatoic behaviour. Nothing terrible but struggle to organise myself.

cupcake123 Fri 09-Oct-09 11:58:53

Hi hotpotato,
I found this online assessment thing when I was looking for info on dyslexia for a friend of mine. The site has a lot of information about dyslexia, incl things like text moving around, remembering words etc as you describe.

nooka Sun 25-Oct-09 05:23:45

ds was assessed as dyslexic a few years back, and at the time was really struggling with reading. On the advice of maverick (nice to see you here maverick!) I found a specialist tutor for him, and he had some really focused help with his phonic skills. We only managed to do it over one summer but it made an enormous difference, and he is now a confident reader, and assessed as advanced for his age. His spelling is still a problem, but last year his teacher used a different sort of scheme and he did so much better. Interestingly quite similar to the link given, as it was all based around groups of sounds/patterns (it was a scheme personal to that teacher).

He still has terrible writing but this we think is based on poor fine motor skills. It was suggested he should have some OT support, but it hasn't happened yet, and the school are now pushing for IT support instead. He also has some behavioural issues. Some typical to dyslexia (ie poor organisation) but others I am not so sure about - basically he struggles to understand that his actions have consequences, which is a little alarming now he's ten.

I'd be curious as to whether if we had him assessed today how similar the results would be to the assessment four/five years ago.

maverick Wed 28-Oct-09 09:13:50

Hi nooka, glad to hear that my advice helped you with your son's problems.

For anyone with a 'good reader/ poor speller', I strongly suggest you check their knowledge of the advanced alphabet code and how they deal with nonsense words -before you presume that the problem is 'dyslexia'.

Assessments here:
Alphabet Code Knowledge Test. Does your child know the complete Alphabet Code? Do YOU?
Ruth Miskin's nonsense word test. This is a decoding ability test.

Problems with these two tests shows that your child's difficulty is with decoding -not that they have some mysterious 'brain glitch'. The reason why they have a problem with decoding is very simple -they haven't been taught.


madgebettany Wed 28-Oct-09 13:47:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maverick Wed 28-Oct-09 14:32:08

madgebettany, well done you for sorting out your son's decoding problems so excellently grin Spelling will always lag behind reading a bit because it uses expressive rather than receptive memory.

The problem with Toe by Toe (apart from the fact that it is so 'dry') is that it doesn't include a writing (spelling) element and really decoding for reading and segmenting for spelling are 2 sides of the same coin and should always be taught together.

I suggest you look at a synthetic phonics spelling programme such as Ruth Miskin's Read Write Inc.
Read Write Inc. Spelling. For KS3 - designed for children who have used Read Write Inc. Phonics or any child reading at National Curriculum Level 2a/ 5-14, Level 1 and above.

Also, have a look at Phase 6 of the DCSF programme 'Letters&Sounds'. It concentrates on teaching spelling and has some useful spelling guidelines


madgebettany Thu 29-Oct-09 09:54:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maverick Thu 29-Oct-09 13:03:27

Yes, you do need the 3 'Get spelling!' pupil work books, but as you say, they only seem to come in packs of 5 sad

I suggest you contact Oxford Education and ask for a mixed pack/ evaluation pack of the workbooks.

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