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Any ideas why ds can read sometimes and sometimes can't?

(15 Posts)
someoneoutthere Wed 03-Aug-11 09:29:35

DS (6.1, ASD) has been learning to read for the last 2/3 months and is doing very well with sight words. He is also doing headsprout and starfall and is beginning to blend words every now and then. Words that he have learnt as sight words he knows very well and makes no mistake on them. But it's been really puzzling why sometimes if I show him a new word he can read it without any prompt, sometimes he just can't. Any ideas?

Maryz Wed 03-Aug-11 09:45:11

I don't know how your systems work, but ds (who was subsequently diagnosed with AS) refused to read anything more than once. He just didn't see the point, so once he knew a word he would refuse to read it from the list, once he had read a page in a book he refused to read it again. He drove the teacher nuts, as you can imagine.

I think just push on, take your time, he will more than likely get there. I discovered when ds was about 8 that he could read fluently (including very long words he had never seen before), but was just unwilling to show it.

drivemecrazy63 Wed 03-Aug-11 14:09:31

often in ASD dcs have a short term memory problem my dc does and it took him longer to learn he also had good and bad days when he seemed to retain more than others took a lot of over learning , he did fantastic in comparrison once changed over to synthetic phonics rather than jolly phonics.

someoneoutthere Wed 03-Aug-11 15:40:32

Marry, ds also hates show what his abilities are, he looks embarrassed if we show too much enthusiasm. He also doesn,t like to do one word twice.

What is synthetic phonics drivemecrazy? Ds is still not getting the blending.

IndigoBell Wed 03-Aug-11 15:55:55

Synthetic Phonics means blending.

Can he read regular 3 letter words? Man, Hat, Top etc?

dolfrog Wed 03-Aug-11 16:19:43


There are two parallel processes required to perform the task of reading, lexical and sublexical. Most are able to use and develop both processes and can learn to read regardless of the types of teaching method used.
However others can have a variety of cognitive information processing weaknesses, deficits or disorders which means that they may not be able to access and and develop one or both of these learning and information processing abilities.

The lexical process is the word recognition process, or whole word approach, which would use whole word recognition, which most developed readers use when reading.
The sublexical process is concerned with decoding the graphic symbols society chooses to represent the sounds of speech, or phonics. or sounding out a word by decoding a word from those graphic symbols.
These are two different skills required to perform the task of reading, and some like me, have a cognitive barrier which prevents me from developing any phonic abilities. So I have to rely purely on word recognition, not ideal but a workable option.
Dyslexia has three cognitive subtypes, auditory, visual, and attentional, and those who have have auditory processing disorders or attention problems will have problems with using phonics.
I have auditory processing disorder, and i have problems processing the gaps between sounds, the gaps between the sounds that can make up a word, and even the gaps between words in rapid speech. So although i understand the concept of phonics for me it will always be an abstract concept I am not cognitively able to use.
ASD is diagnosed on the basis a behavioral criteria, and research is still trying to unravel the underlying cognitive information processing deficits / disorders which combine to act as a potential trigger for these behaviors. Many of communication issues issues are being identified as various forms of auditory deficit. So it could be possible the your ASD DS is not cognitively able to process phonics or perform phonic blending, and needs to use a whole word recognition approach to reading.

utah Wed 03-Aug-11 16:40:11

dolfrog that is so informative my eldest could do phonics but when tricky words where introduced he could not except that it could not be done by using phonics so we had to restart again using whole word recognition as he could not manipulate two systems together.

someoneoutthere Thu 04-Aug-11 08:07:16

Thank you dolfrog for the explanation. Ds definitely is using word recognition to read. He can do regular three letters words like Indigobell described and that is without being taught, but can't seem to do four letters word atm. He knows his phonics sounds, so he can or will sound out words by doing the phonic sounds, but when it comes to finishing the words by blending it, he is unable to do it atm. All we can do is persevere, but I was wondering why sometimes he could not read words he already knows.

IndigoBell Thu 04-Aug-11 09:56:08

If he can blend 3 letter words, then it should only be a matter of time before he learns to blend harder words. It doesn't sound like he has any difficulty with blending itself - he's just still learning how to do it for harder words.

Can he read 4 letter words which only have 3 sounds to blend?

sh o p
ch i p
th i n
b oa t
r ai n

Normally after 3 letter words, the next sounds learnt are sh, ch, and th. And then 4 letter words containing those sounds are learnt.......

You also have to be careful if you are teaching him both sight words, and words to blend. How does he know if a new word is a sight word or one he should blend?

someoneoutthere Thu 04-Aug-11 12:03:11

I am not sure he is blending a three letters word though, he seems to be just reading it. But with a 4 letter with 3 sounds to blend he would just sound out the letters seperately. He actually knows all his sounds including sh, ch and th. It took him no time to learn the sounds from cbeebies 'fun with phonics', but he just wasn't getting the blending bit. So we started with sight words by the recommendation of his ABA therapist (something to do with asd kids having problem with phonics). His ss school does not do any academic staffs (I don't think any other kids there are capable of it atm, so unfortunately they are refusing to follow a curriculum for DS. We can't take Ds out either as we have not found a school for him and it is better for him to have something going).

We are doing both at the same time as he seems to be getting frustrated at not being able to do reading phonics way, he recognises and remembers sight words well, so it gives him confidence. I have paid for headsprout without thinking about it much, so we are continuing with it to see if it clicks one day. DS is only showing interest in reading and writing for the last three/ four months. As I am having to teach him ( I did not learn phonics way), I am trying everything I know of.

IndigoBell Thu 04-Aug-11 12:28:15

It's not possible to read a 3 letter word you haven't seen before without blending it. How else could he be reading it?

It is very possible he has auditory problems which makes phonics hard for him.

But it's really, really hard to teach someone to read by only using sight words. I don't know of any learn to read program that does that........... They might exist, I just haven't researched them.

Phonics might not work for him. But I'd give it a really good shot before giving up on it. (Although I absolutely would give up on it if you're sure he can't do it)

Bear Necessities is a synthetic phonics learn to read program designed for kids who are having severe difficulties learning to read.

someoneoutthere Fri 05-Aug-11 15:08:58

Thank you indigo bell. Is "bear necessities"available as a computer based programme?the website does not say anything. At what age or how long does it normally take for a child to start blending without any underlying problem like asd? I have only started head sprout with ds about 3 months ago, although he has known his sounds since he was two and half years old. We have been concentrating on other aspects like behaviour and social skills.

We not sure about APD, but he has no learning difficulties. We have already paid for all the episodes of head sprout and we are on episode 22, so we got a long way to go before we can say " ds can't do phonics".

IndigoBell Fri 05-Aug-11 15:33:00

Bear Necessities is a work book, which you do with your child at home (or at school).

Kids with no underlying problems, who are taught well, can normally more or less read by the end of Y1 - certainly if they weren't blending by then I'd start to think there was an underlying problem......

By auditory problems, I am absolutely not referring to APD. I mean he could have auditory discrimination problems - which is not the same thing.

I don't know headsprout - moondog is the expert on it.

I'm not sure how much phonics teaching your son has had - just 22 episodes of head sprout? Or more as well? It can take children a lot of lessons/practice to learn to blend. In school they should be getting a phonics lesson every day. So in a year they're getting approx 200 lessons.

Bear Necessities teaches blending, and only costs £16. It takes 10 minutes a day to do with your son.

I think you should do Bear Necessities. It has mastery tests at the end of every unit, if he can't pass these tests after doing Bear Necessities with you daily for 3 months, then I'd start to research dyslexia......

someoneoutthere Fri 05-Aug-11 17:21:39

Ds has learnt his sounds from Cbeebies 'fun with phonics', otherwise he only had the 22 episodes of head sprout lessons. If a child takes until end of year one, then ds really has not had much lessons. Head sprout has 80 lessons, so we have a long way to go on that.

Can you please tell me if I need bear necessities book A1 or A2 or both? Had a look at the website, was not sure which one I need. As I will have to get it sent to U.A.E, I would rather have it done at the same time. Thank you for this indigo bell, I am not a teacher material,so I really appreciate your advice.

IndigoBell Fri 05-Aug-11 17:30:20

To completely learn to read you need Bear Necessities A1 and A2, and then Dancing Bears B & C.

But each book will take you months and months, so you might want to only buy the first book now........

If you click on the picture of the book you can see inside it, so you can see what it is you are actually buying, and if you think it would be right for you.....

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