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What are your best tips on helping a dyslexic child at home?

(60 Posts)
teamcullen Sat 29-May-10 11:01:22

Ive been trawling the web but most information just says read with your child every day and repitition with homework etc..

But there is no real advise on how to keep your child motivated (unless they are trying to sell you something) or ways to keep their mind on track and get them into routines.

So does anybody have any tips on surviving homework or morning routines helping DCs become more independant or anything else that you might have had problems with.

Any advice or useful websites would be really apreciated. Thank you

Dallyspots Sat 29-May-10 18:10:12

My seventeen year old severe dyslexic is taking AS levels at the moment in History, English Language and Photography. How old is your child? My son and I would be happy to help where we can.

teamcullen Sun 30-May-10 09:54:33

Dailyspots he is almost 8. He is not serverly affected but he also has irlen's syndrome.

Your ds sounds as if he has done really well. You must be really proud.

I think i'm a bit overwhelmed at how much effort we are all going have to put in just to make sure he reaches his potential, as some mornings it can be a battle to keep him focused long enough just to get through the morning routine.

ItsAllaBitNoisy Sun 30-May-10 09:58:00

Teamcullen, I will watch this avidly. My DD is the same, recently diagnosed, she's 9.

Mornings are a nightmare aren't they?

As for homework - ARGH!

Dallyspots, well done your boy!

cornsilkcottagecheese Sun 30-May-10 09:59:29

I used to use a hand puppet to get ds to do his work at that age (alas it doesn't have the same effect any more). You have to pick your time carefully, he'll be very tired after school. Is the homework set reasonable?
I also used numbershark/wordshark with ds bought from Whitespace - numbershark is better. I also like Units of sound (although ds didn't really like it many chn do)- very plain screen and does the job. You can get a usb pen with it on from Dyslexia Action for about £70. You can download a trialversion I think. I used to get him to read the stories on cbeebies as well!

flumperoo Sun 30-May-10 10:05:17

Sorry to gatecrash your thread team cullen, sorry, I don't have any advice.

Dallyspots, I'm really interested in what support your son is getting at school. Does he attend a state school? My severely dyslexic teenager attends school abroad and I'd like to know what, if anything, she is missing out on in terms of specialist support.

If you'd rather email, my address is flumperoo @

Cheers smile

ItsAllaBitNoisy Sun 30-May-10 10:08:13

I was told my also severely dyslexic dd would have been entitled to a Special Needs Assistant, but because of cutbacks here (Ireland) she can't have one.

It would have been bliss..

teamcullen Sun 30-May-10 10:27:46

ItsAllaBitNoisy Some mornings I will send him to brush his teeth and he will stand staring at the sink for 10 minutes until I come and shout prompt him to move himself.

cornsilk He gets quite a lot of homework set over the weekend. Literacy will be linked to what they are doing in class and can be quite demanding. It would take the able members of the class an hour to complete. The teacher asks that they work independantly and for no longer than an hour. But DS will usually skip to the maths questions rather han tackle the literacy.

He is working his way through Easyread at the moment which has brought up his reading level a lot over the past 8 months.

We live in quite a small house and I think I need to create an area for him to work which is away from distractions, but then as I say, he is distracted by his own mind as much as things going on around him, so I could really do with some strategies to help him keep his mind on track. Does this sound familiar to you or is it just my DS?

teamcullen Sun 30-May-10 10:32:16

crash away flumparoo The more the merrier smile

Dallyspots Sun 30-May-10 10:50:27

Hi, I'm sorry I have no good news on the gettingout of the house in the morning front I found it the most stressful job I have ever done, but, I don't think it is reserved for children with SEN. But somedays are better than others and it does get better in time. My ds was diagnosed at the age of 6 and has therefore always had teachers who were aware of his condition. I was told that dyslexics work as hard in 20 minutes than non affected children in do in 2 hours, this means they get very tired and fractious and lose concentration and can often get into trouble at school. As wide a time gap in getting home from school to doing homework can help. In year 4 I came to an arrangement with his teacher that I would see him every fortnight and discuss any problem area that may have come up sometimes the weren't any but it really helped I developed a good rapport with the school and any problems learning or behavioural could be sorted out. We also found that if ds could answer a question orally he could give a far clearer and to the point answer. Check if the school would be willing for you to write a dictated essay or coursework. My ds dictated his year 6 SATS and got highter marks than expected. If your children have not been assessed by the school for special needs ask the school to do so and get a an Individual Education Needs plan this will involve both parent/carer the special needs asseossor and the school. Always get in writing what the school propse to do. If the school cannot provide the level of help needed the assessor should be able to give you advice on how you can help at school. Ds had a book calld Toe by Toe which he did most days either with a parent helper at school or at home. This worked very well for my son it did not help a great deal with spelling but it did with reading, he also used Spelling Bee. At home we had always read to ds even as a baby. Read anything they are interested in we read a lot of history and anything on ships as well as childrens stories. Audio books are a great boon too although they can be rather expensive they can be got through public libraries.

ItsAllaBitNoisy Sun 30-May-10 11:37:30

I used to use a picture chart to get DD to get organised in the mornings.

Wake up - smiley face 7.30am

Kiss mum - a heart.

Eat breakfast - bowl and spoon 7.40am

Teeth, face and hands - toothbrush 8.00am

Get dressed - drawing of her in uniform 8.10am

Relax - drawing of a TV 8.20am

It actually worked pretty well, but went by the wayside last summer. Must start it again.

I also seem to say "FOCUS pet.." about a million times a day.

Dallyspots Sun 30-May-10 11:38:38

Hello Flumperoo. Yes ds goes to a state secondary school it is a CofE assisted one. Assisstance at school can be anything from extra time allowed to complete things to using a laptop or having someone sit with the child to act as scribe or reader. Our school has a SEN room where catch up work can be done and a range of software to help with spelling they tried out a programme called Lexia with ds and on his recommendation ordered it for the school. One of the problem with teenagers (apart from being teenagers) is that they can be resistant to help they want to be inderpendant and don't like to be seen going and receiving help, this might apply to boys more though. If dictation or a laptop is used for an exam make sure that your child is used to working in this method. Extra time should also be allowed. Exam arrangements must be made through the school. I'm afraid I don't know the process for schools abroad. We made use of audio books for set English Literature where they were available. A word of caution to English school parents the rules for public examination have changed and a child has to take the exam in the manner they use in the classroom. As ds cannot dictate notes in a classroom situation this could be disaster but if course work and mocks are dictated that should should suffice. Ds's school bought him voice activated software but this is proving rather problematic as it either seems to need a lot of tweeking by a technician or it doesn't work. As a result ds has had to take his AS exams by typing on a laptop. I know there is various software out there for dyslexics but Lexia is the only one we have tried. Good luck.

flumperoo Sun 30-May-10 14:44:56

Thanks Dallyspots. It sounds similar to the support my child gets. I assume that your son gained a good grade in GCSE English for him to be taking it at AS level - is that correct?

teamcullen Sun 30-May-10 15:01:49

Thank you daliyspots

He has hac an IEP since Y1 and has has a lot of intervention from the school already. In Y2 he did Reading Recovery. At the end of that, his teacher had picked up some things that he did and refared him to be assessed. At that point they made recomendations and picked up Irlens syndrome but their was no mention of dyslexia.

We took him to the Irlens centre for a full assessment and got him coloured filted lenses which he has had since January. His teacher has been quite surprised at the difference his glasses have made to his work and concentration.

He has recently been given a short test to identify dyslexia specifically, which is being followed up after half term with a full assessment. The next test will show where his strengths and weeknesses lie and will give us stratigies to help with his learning.

kittycat68 Mon 31-May-10 21:58:24

my dd goes to a private dyslexia centre for one hour a week with a specialist dyslexia teacher, we are using most of the above we do 5minutes daily of TOE by Toe at home set my phone alarm every day to remind me! picture charts also very helpful as well my dd is moderate and ds is severe dyslexic. ds has statment and ds on school action plus. school useless! dont leave it all to them coloured acrylic sheets from whsmiths can also help some children my dd uses pink/rose to overlay her work and she finds this helpfull ds doesnt find it usefull! so....

mummytime Tue 01-Jun-10 06:25:55

My biggest regret with my son is that I made him do homework at all at primary school. It would have been much better to just refuse to do any, and then work on the skills he needed at home. They do work so hard at school just to keep up.

We have had charts for the morning routine. Also occasionally just letting them either be late or leave the house not having finished getting dressed. Do make sure he gets enough sleep, a good bedtime routine and the use of lavender oil have helped us.

teamcullen Tue 01-Jun-10 21:43:21

kittycat and mummytime Thankyou for your replies. DS used to use the turquoise overlay but hasnt bothered since getting his tinted glasses, as they do the job much better. There has been a lot of recomendations for the Toe by Toe on MN, so I might look into that if the school dont after this next assessment.

Also the morning routine chart seems to work well for a lot of people, it might be a good little project for DS to do over the holidays.

Dallyspots Wed 02-Jun-10 13:52:33

Hi teamcullen, Have you tried Omega 3 and 6 oils such as eye q. My dp just reminded me. Our ds took them for a while and after three months the difference was quite amazing - no more unpredicatable mood swings, more concentration, he could sit still for a whole mealtime and he could manipulate his cutlery more effectively so his food stayed on the plate instead of the table. We enroled him at DDAT which I think is now the Dore Institute and for three months before that we had to take him off
eye q so that they could assess him. Truth be told after a few months respite we had forgotten how challenging ds had been. Within 3 weeks at DDAT he was up to the level he had been after 3 months of oil. I know DDAT has been slighted by some people but for ds it was a life-saver. I don't think it helped greatly with spelling but the following I can vouch for. DDAT works through personalized exercises and they must be done everyday with check-ups every so often and a new exercise programme devised. Soon ds could balance on his bike without violent wobbling, he could catch, after five years swimming lessons stuck at beginners 2 he moved to gold award in two terms, he could remember rhymes, and play football. One of the exercises several months in required spinning and dp asked him how he felt, meaning did he feel dizzy, ds said he felt really good because now he could play football and the other boys would let him play with them at school because if you can't play football they don't want to know you. he also became able to relate to his peergroup. Another big step was the upsurge in self-confidence and acknowledging that he was a dyslexic. He felt confident to tell people that he was dyslexic and ask for help. Some of things we hadn't even realised were connected with dyslexia. He also had coloured lenses for a while which calmed down the movement of words when he was reading. Of course what helps one child doesn't necessarily help another. Ds says that one of the most important things at junior school was supportive teachers who encouraged him to bring things in to about.

teamcullen Thu 03-Jun-10 20:32:52

Dallyspots First I want to say sorry for calling you dailyspots in my past posts blush I dont know how I read that wrong confused

Ive just been laughing reading your post. Do we live in paralel universes?

Ds gets food everywhere but in his mouth
He cant ride a bike (no balance)
He is in swimming lessons but progress is much slower than the rest of the class
He gets very fidgety and loses consentration although he is better when wearing his tinted glasses
he is not the best ball catcher
He gets put in goal when playing football in school because he is a rubbish kicker
He can get very cranky and cries about everything.

Thankyou for the recomendation of omega 3 and 6. I was wondering about them a few nights ago. I will also have a look at the DORE website. Ive come across it on web searches, but as you know you come across everything on web searches.

teamcullen Thu 03-Jun-10 21:42:46

shock shock Ive just seen the prices for the Dore course Dallyspots! I think I will try the omega 3 and 6 smile

Sounds fantastic though!!

mummytime Thu 10-Jun-10 20:17:39

Have you thought of dyspraxia? The lack of being able to ride a bike etc. seem to indicate that. It can be diagnosed via the health service rather than school.

Proper omega oils are good too, my son has found they help him cope.

teamcullen Sat 12-Jun-10 09:47:42

DS2 was assessed on Tuesday. He is definatly dyslexic.

He has dificulties in his Auditory processing, visual/spacial processing and short term memory. He has above average intellegence

His spelling age is 12 months behind and his reading age is 6 months behind. So I feel really lucky that considering all he has to deal with, between home and school we seem to be keeping on top of it and he is not too far behind.

Ive started him on omega oils. I bought him some Halliborange last week in the supermarket and he has been having two per day. I dont know if its just a fluke, but he hasnt been as whingy as usual this week.

Yesterday I got the Eye Q as they seem to be the most recommened to help with reading and consentration. Im going to start him on the higher dose as recommended, so hopefully we will be able to see the benefits when he begins year 4.

The Educational Psycologist also did a quick assessment on DS1. He is much further behind in his spelling and reading. Age 8.1 for reading and age 7.1 for spelling. He is 11.4 and starts secondary school in September. He said the quick test showed he has problems in DS1s visual/spacial processing and he is also dyslexic.

The Ed Psyc is based at the school where DS is going in September and said he will assess him properly in September rather than his assessment being "lost in the system" which makes sense. He said he will also make the Senco aware of DS1. Although he is further behind DS2, he seems to have less problems at least, and hopefully he will now get the specific help aimed at his problems.

Dallyspots Mon 14-Jun-10 17:10:01

Hi teamcullen, Sorry about Dore it was a lot, lot, cheaper when we did it, we buy Eye Q at Boots where it is 3 for the price of 2. One of the good points about secondary school is that they are not so obsessed about spelling, not having to follow the curriculum spelling lists as at junior school was such a relief - children are no longer set up to fail although it must be said that in Year 5 the teachers abandoned it and we ignored it year 6. It sounds awful but you may have to hound the school we found that things promised didn't always arrive mainly due to schools' having so many children it is easy for something to get mislaid in the system or not passed on to someone. I think your children and mine have a lot in common from what you have written! It isn't always easy having dyslexics in the family but it can be very rewarding and they can be great fun too. It's ok about the name they're the dog's spots not mine.
Someone asked how ds did at GCSE: B at History and C's for Eng Lit, Eng Lang, D and T, Drama and 2 ICT's (dp and I cried we were so proud of him). They are the subjects where independent thinking really helps but the subjects such as Sciences he found were difficult because he was put in the lower sets earlier with children unable or unwilling to learn. Unfortunately ds is also discalculaic so has just taken maths for the 3rd time - fingers crossed please. Have you tried the Dyslexia Association? They are very helpful and fact and help sheets and can also tell you exactly what you can expect the education system to provide. Good Luck.

teamcullen Wed 16-Jun-10 20:19:33

Hi Dallyspots. Well done to your DS on his GCSE results and good luck with his Maths exam.

I managed to get the Eye Q on Ebay for £30 for 360 capsules. DS2 really does seem to be much calmer since he started taking them. He asked this morning if he was going to cubs tonight. I said he couldnt go because I had too much to do. Normally he would cry and complain all the way to school but he just turned around and said Okay, I wont moan or cry. Will I be able to go next week please. I dont know if he is concentrating in class any better, I will ask at parents evening in a couple of weeks.

I havent started DS1 on them yet, but I think I definatly will give them a try. I have a meeting at his new school next week and Im going to try and speak to the senco then, just to make them aware of DS. Hopefully I wont have to fight tooth and nail for every little bit of help. I know they have a good system in place to help Y7s who need help with literacy so at least thats a starting block.

I must admit, I never make DSs practice spellings. It takes them that long to just copy them correctly, never mind try and remember how to spell them.

lisad123wantsherquoteinDM Wed 23-Jun-10 23:06:38

as someone with dyslexica I can only comment on my own experience. I ahted learning spellings, terrible and stressful. But weirdly enough i can tell you if a word is spelt wrong but not how to spell it right, so try looking at wording shapes.
Also I managed to get though my school life by having a huge word base, then if i knew i couldnt spell a word i would replace it with one that meant the same that i could spell, especially if phonic spelling.
I hated being read too, the wirds sounded jumbled but was easier if i could follow along, so both 2 copies of books you plan to read.


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