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Dyslexia? But he's great at reading!

(29 Posts)
mrsbaffled Sat 23-Apr-11 19:13:38

Hello! <<waves>> This is my first MN post - I have been plucking up the courage for some time(!) Forgive me if this is in the wrong Forum, I am a little lost LOL!

I am writing regarding DS1. He's nearly 7 and is IMO an extremely bright boy (he started talking at 5 months, for example, with over 100 words before 12 months). The class teacher this year has recognised him as "able" (not been spotted as such up until this year, year 2 - prob due to difficulties in putting stuff on paper), but has raised concerns regarding his writing/spelling ability.

I hadn't even considered that he had a problem until she brought it up, but it's becoming increasingly obvious to me that there may be an issue when comparing his writing to others in his class, and his general ability in spelling is very poor. I feel bad because I have been gettig stressed with him when it comes to homework as it takes him so very long to write even a sentence. He writes, crosses out, does it all big then tiny, wrong words, capitals in the wrong places etc etc. i find it hard not to pass my frustrations onto him :'0(

He has never enjoyed drawing (in comparison to DS1 (3) who loves to draw and can even write his name) and says it hurts to write, but I am unsure if that's really true and he's just saying that to get out of doing it. he doesn't like using scissors and often eats with hands as he doesn't like a knife and fork.

HOWEVER, he reads brilliantly! I would estimate he has a reading age of 10-11 years.

The class teacher has made me buy "Toe By Toe" (the dyslexia intervention book) and I have been doing that with him for several months, in the hope it would improve his spelling, but I don't think this is really helping with spelling. Reading, yes (not that he needs any help!), but not spelling.

Has anyone else had experience of a child who reads well, but struggles to write?

School are in the process of arranging an assessment - hopefully next term. I await the results eagerly!

Thanks for listening!

kittyfu Sat 23-Apr-11 20:30:56

Hi mrsbaffled, i just wanted to say that it happens. i am dyslexic, i read exceptionally well and always have, like your ds i started talking at a very young age.

my reading, and verbal ability and my ability to express myself on paper are still miles apart. i would'nt say i find it painfull but i do find it very stressful and frustrating to write (if i get very frustrated, i start to feel very uncomfortable,and i remember when i was younger i used to feel like my whole body was vibrating and then i would feel phsically sick), as what i want to write always seems better in my head that it does once i have writtern it down.

as you grow older you learn and impleament a lot of coping stratagies yourself. i perfer to work on the laptop, its much easier to delete and change things than when writing on paper. there is also the added benifit of spell check, when you can be borthered to use it it does not get get rid of the proplem complettly as if i am given more than one word choice i oftern can not tell the right one. but it helps.

i think the best things you can do, is to just keep working with him, go over things you have done before as a word i can spell today may not be one i can spell tomorrow. stay clam, try not to let your frustration show, because i bet he gets more mad at him self than you ever do. i always leave myself plenty of time to get essays done, so i can stop and start.

i remember my mum and step dad sitting at the kitchen table with me for hours when i was younger doing home work and spelling, it all helps and i dont think i would have improved as much as i did with out there help.

mrsbaffled Sat 23-Apr-11 20:43:04

Hi, Kittyfu! thanks so much for replying :0)
Your story is really interesting. If you don't mind me asking when were you diagnosed with dyslexia?

It seems to me that dyslexia can take many many varied forms...

EllenJane1 Sat 23-Apr-11 21:02:24

There is a boy in the class I work in who really struggles with spelling, uses completely the wrong letters, but can read quite well and has a great imaginative vocabulary. Eg in y4 used works such as 'fragrant' and 'immense'. It seems quite a common variation of dyslexia. Would a keyboard like an Alphasmart Neo be an option?

Hopefully someone like IndigoBell will come along with some links for you.

mrsbaffled Sat 23-Apr-11 21:09:00

EllenJane, thanks for your thought. The atecher has mentioned an Alpha Smart, but i don't think this will happen for a few years....

HerRoyalHighnessPrincessCervix Sat 23-Apr-11 21:09:05

D1was always very good at reading. shite at spelling though. spent a number of years asking her teachers about it. was assessed at year 4-ish and lo and behold is dylexic. school suggested te-by-toe which we did for a while but becaus eher issue is speling not reading it was painfully crap and boring. didn't work at all for her.

she's still crap at spelling but much better than she used to be, but probably always will be. but she reads, which is so much better than not.

flyingmum Sat 23-Apr-11 21:09:49

You are right - Toe by Toe is not going to do much for the spelling but its probablly worth keeping on with. What he needs is a phonic based programme. i can recommend Violet Brand Spelling dictations. You can also get games such as TRUGS - teaching reading using games - google it. Use kinesthetic techniques such as he makes the letters out of plasticine. Use magnetic letters, etc. Keep to one phonic pattern - eg, long a sounds - a-e, ai. ay. Over learning is essential and dyslexics will have good days and bad days.

HerRoyalHighnessPrincessCervix Sat 23-Apr-11 21:10:24

my issue is typing. and wine. - hope the above makes sense.

Tiggles Sat 23-Apr-11 21:24:20

DS1 is 8, he has a reading age of 12-13, but his spelling age is 6-7, so a massive disparity between two (and his writing is pretty poor despite lots of work on it), his teacher is fairly certain he isn't dyslexic though, just not good at spelling.

mrsbaffled Sat 23-Apr-11 21:39:37

Interesting...thanks for all the suggestions. I will look into them.

LittleMissGreen, I am very interested to see what the assessment comes up with - it is possible he just hasn't developed in this area, I suppose (seems odd as so advanced in all other areas)?

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Sun 24-Apr-11 08:01:05

The problems with his hand hurting and difficulties with cutlery would suggest Dyspraxia which often goes hand in hand with dyslexia. Have a look at the Dyspraxia foundation. Sorry I'm on my phone and I don't know how to link on it!

amberlight Sun 24-Apr-11 08:07:00

DS here is dyslexic, dyspraxic and has specific learning difficulties because of an almost completely missing short-term memory. But he can read a whole 300 page novel in a couple of hours. He can't spell, can't punctuate, and gets grade U in exams if left to write them by hand. But if you ask him to tell you the information, he can get a grade A. Brains are odd things...

Get all the assessments, advice and suggestions you can. It'll make a big difference if they can find out what's what and indeed what to do about it.

dolfrog Sun 24-Apr-11 16:22:05


Dyslexia is a reading disability, or a problem coding and recoding the graphic symbols used to represent speech, or the visual notation of speech.

There are two types of Dyslexia, Developmental Dyslexia, and Alexia or acquired dyslexia.
Alexia results from brain injury, substance abuse, stroke, dementia, or a progressive illness, and is about loosing or having lost the ability to read.

Developmental Dyslexia has a genetic origin, and has three cognitive subtypes: Auditory, Visual, and Attentional. So an auditory processing deficit / disorder, a visual processing deficit / disorder, an attention deficit, disorder, or any combination of the three can cause the dyslexic symptom.

Those who have an auditory processing disorder also tend to have speech delay issues due to not being able to process all that they hear, or have a listening disability.
Those who have a visual processing disorder, can have visual tracking issues, and sensitivity to specific light frequencies. (glare from backgrounds like paper, computer screen, background colours and font colours)
Those who have attention problems are not able to focus long enough to enable to visual and auditory processing task required to perform the task of reading writing and spelling.

There is another area which can be indirectly involved, the working memory. We use our working memory to run the programs we use to perform every task we carry out. Working memory is a bit like the RAM of a computer, with limited capacity. So we have to be selective with regard its use to prevent it from crashing. Those who have some from of cognitive deficit or disorder develop alternative cognitive skills to work around or compensate for the cognitive deficit / disorder. These work arounds or coping strategies have to be run in the working memory, and as a result some other cognitive programs may have to make way to allow these coping strategies to run in the working memory. We priorities how we use our working memories subconsciously, so we are not able to switch coping strategies on and off when we need them. Those who have a high IQ can be very adept at creating coping strategies, to such an extent that they are able to conceal or hide the true nature of any cognitive deficit / disorder. (this is why many dyslexics are not identified until they reach university, or later in life if at all)

A diagnosis of dyslexia is only a screening process to help identify the underlying cognitive cause of the dyslexic symptom. many of these underlying cognitive disabilities can have more serious symptoms than the just the dyslexic symptom.

coogar Sun 24-Apr-11 16:30:00

Mrsbaffled in answer to your original question ... Yes, my ds aged 7 is dyslexic and his reading is pretty good - writing and spelling, however, is way below age expectancy

dolfrog Sun 24-Apr-11 16:47:54

coogar and Mrsbaffled

Dyslexia is about having problems decoding the graphics chose by our society to represent speech, and also the recoding of speech into the graphic, writing symbols chosen by our society to represent speech. Spelling is about understanding the rules we have created regarding how the graphic symbols relate to the sounds of speech they have been chosen to represent.

We have developed many writing system from the purest, shallowest orthography, logographic (single sound to single graphic correspondence) writing systems (Chinese and Japanese) to the most complex, or deepest orthography, the alphabet writing systems, like the one we use the Latin Alphabet. And then within each writing systems there are differences in complexity of orthography between the languages, so in the Latin Alphabet, the purest languages are Italian and Finnish, and the most complex is English. So English has the deepest orthography, or most complex written language structure which govern the rules of spelling.

Writing systems are man made creations so may be we could make them more user friendly, by making them more suitable to our various cognitive learning needs.

coogar Sun 24-Apr-11 17:00:11

hmm lost me there Dolfrog .... why do I need to know about the Italian and Finish language being the purest?
"Writing systems are man made creations so may be we could make them more user friendly, by making them more suitable to our various cognitive learning needs" .... How does that sentence help the OP? Are we suppose to understand you? No offence ....

bruffin Sun 24-Apr-11 17:14:55

Mrsbaffled Toe by Toe do a specific book for spelling which is called Stareway to Spelling. I thnk Toe by Toe is mainly for reading.
DS 15 also reads well, but didn't really click with reading until he was 7 and overtook most of the children that were reading fluently in reception. He is also very bright. He was on the SEN register for Spld but his secondary SENCO said he was almost certainly dyslexic, it was just he was taught phonics well from nursery that he learnt to read. His problems tend to be recalling the words for spelling and to some extent punctuation. He does also have some short term memory problems ie not remembering a sum between seeing it on the board to looking down to write it on paper, but that he seems to have grown out of over the years.

Lots of intervention with wordwall and Stareway to Spelling brought him up to narrowly scraping a 4 for his KS2 stats, although his reading was a high 5 so his overall literacy was 1 point short of a 5. The problem is that his writing was probably about average by the time he left primary but it was a long way behind the rest of him if that makes sense. Thankfully he was put into top sets at secondary and his other abilities that are not valued so much at primary such as abstract thinking meant he has been allowed to flourish in secondary.

His spelling is still a bit of a problem, ie he can spell the same word 3 times differently on the same page even if it is spelt right in the title.
However end of KS3 he got level 7 for writing and is forcast A for english at gcse.

dolfrog Sun 24-Apr-11 18:40:55


It is about understanding what dyslexia is, and how it can vary and is language dependent.
A child can be bilingual in say Japanese and English but only dyslexic in English, which is all due to the structure of the language or orthography, or the rules of spelling, which varies from one language to another.

May be when teaching our children to read we should try to understand the differences that have developed in the design and structure other languages, which are also man communication systems, to help understand the cognitive learning needs of our children. Who are having problems with our variation of the visual notation of speech.

If the OP understands how the different writing systems, and languages within those writing systems were designed and developed to best suite the system designers rather than those who may have to use these systems. Then they may begin to understand how humans develop different cognitive communication skills, and find the best way to explain and teach how to use the writing system our society has adopted, by may using some of the orthographic rules used by other writing systems developed and designed to meet the needs of humans who had different cognitive learning and communication needs to those who designed the writing system we use.
After all we are all human, but with different cognitive communication needs, which need to be understood, when teaching a man made communication system.

dolfrog Sun 24-Apr-11 23:07:21

Just found these research papers which may explain a few of the issues better than i can
A theory of reading/writing: from literacy to literature
Sociolinguistic approaches to writing systems research
Texting versus txtng: reading and writing text messages, and links with other linguistic skills

lelly88 Mon 25-Apr-11 10:30:49

Hi Mrs baffled my son 13 has a diagnosis of dyslexia, when tested on certain reading tests by school he tests above reading age by 1 to 1.5 yrs, when the Ed Psych tests him by a different tests he is 1-1.5 below age. He couldn't read well at 7 but once he learnt to decode he learnt quickly. He fools the teachers into thinking he reads well somehow ( HOY stated he couldn't be dyslexic because he can read above his age 9(by their tests) and reads Alex Rider books that he enjoys quickly when he gets into them. He uses the context of the passage for comprehension.WHen reading out loud it is very stunted and I'm astonished that he understands at all.
Go with the testing it's best to know, writing and spelling is still a big sticking point with DS. As you say he's probably extemely bright.
Good luck

dolfrog Mon 25-Apr-11 14:19:25

There would appear to be a miss understanding about Dyslexia.
Dyslexia is not yet fully understood, nor are the causes of dyslexia fully understood. Dyslexia is at the cutting edge of International Research. There have been over 2,500 Dyslexia related research papers over the lat decade alone, and these research papers are not published because they all agree with each other. Quite the opposite, the researcher has developed new technologies to help better understand what dyslexia is,what the causes of dyslexia are, and how best to help those who may have dyslexia.

It is program providers, who need and use a sales pitch that their program is the only way to help dyslexics who promote the falsehood that dyslexia is fully understood, and that their program is the only way to help dyslexics. Some provide a diagnostic service, where by only those who can benefit from their particular program are diagnosed as being dyslexic, or all the diagnose as being dyslexic are recommended to use their remedial program (which is where they and/or their staff make their money) Some program providers even own Research Journals to influence the editorial control so that the concept of multiple causes of dyslexia are not considered as part of a research program but only so called conflicting research regarding the causes appears. This does not conflict with their funding and marketing needs for a single cause of dyslexia.

The other side of this is that Government and Education Authorities do not like the cost of providing support for multiple causes of dyslexia, so they are saving money by not recognising the research even the research of government funded organisations such as the Medical Research Council.

So to find the roots of corruption all you have to do is follow the money in the dyslexia industry. (And those who work for Non-profit organisations can have extremely high salaries, and a very good working environment.)

mrsbaffled Mon 25-Apr-11 15:54:27

lelly88, DS1 decodes really qickly when he reads. In Toe By Toe they have long lists of nonsense words to decode and he manages them easily. His comprehension is excellent and doesn't seem to need pictures/context etc. I think he reads by very fast decoding. He can't seem to apply his phonics knowledge reliably into spelling.

I am looking forward to the assessment now, just to see what's going on, and see what we can do ongoing. I kind of didn't want to go down that route initially, but i think it's the right thing now.....

SummerRain Mon 25-Apr-11 16:02:31

mrsbaffled... how is his co-ordination and concentration overall? I ask because ds1 is being assessed for dyspraxia and it affects his pen control and writing ability but his reading is good for his age (4) however his concentration and williness to do anything he finds difficult is severly affected.

mrsbaffled Mon 25-Apr-11 16:10:26

his concentration can be excellent when he is interested in something. He will listen to books or watch a film for hours. Equally, if he's made to do something he find hards he will fidget, wriggle, run away etc etc to get out of doing it. He often complains fo being bored.
School has never mentioned that he is awkward there, though. I think he sits well there because he knows he has to (he has a very strong sense of right and wrong).

Coordination is not a strong point, BUT I do not consider it to be a problem. He does often trip, though, and still falls off his chair at tea-time! But I think that's because he's a fidget. He finds buttons and shoes a bit of a challenge.

mrsbaffled Mon 25-Apr-11 16:30:43

Ha ha! Just re-read my messages - I apologise for my spelling errors! Typing too quickly, I am afraid!

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