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Is this a symptoon of dyslexia?

(21 Posts)
willyoulistentome Wed 24-Oct-12 14:20:05

Not sure if this is the right place for this question - but here goes.

DS1 is 9. He has never been a voluntary reader. He CAN decode words, and can read out a text with not many mistakes, but in a fairly monotone way, so I have not been too worried that he never reads by himself. My brother didn't read for pleasure either - lots of boys don't I understand.

Now he is getting older his homework is getting harder and he seems to be able to cope less and less. His number work is very good, but as soon as it involves working out the problem from a text, he is stuck.

DS2 is only 7 and copes easily with reading writing. He had a homework the other day that I knew DS1 would REALLY struggle with. DS2 had no problems at all, and it got me thinking. When I come to think of it DS1 has ALWAYS struggled with any homework where he has to work with writing. I have never been able to leave him to get on with it by himself. He needs quite a lot of spoonfeeding/handholding.

Even though he can read lines of stories he strugles to answer questions about them.

The teachers have never flagged up anything to me, but I don't think some of them are particularly on the ball, tbh.

I am going to speak to his teacher again, but could this difficulty understanding text on the page be a sympton/form of dyslexia? I have described the problems to a couple of people and they have asked me if he is dyslexic.

Or is he just thick? Be blunt!

Jerbil Wed 24-Oct-12 17:47:26

Hmm, could be many thing from my experience. I would strongly advise you as a first step to take your DS to the optician. However, I do not mean just for a standard eye check. I mean checking for movement/tracking difficulties. I had to do 4 months of daily exercises with DS1. Previously he was unable to follow print from left to right.

In addition he now has been dx with visual stress. Google it. Aka Meares irlen syndrome.

With a colour overlay DS1s reading improved by 48% in comparison to black print on white paper.

These eye conditions can be co morbid with dyslexia, but can also be independent of each other.

There are probably many others. Most people tend to think people with dyslexia use overlays but not necessarily true. You could also just ask senco if they have any available to see if you can try. DS1 often changes his colour. It is not scientific as to which one thy choose. It is purely their choice so just as a trial it wouldn't matter what colour.

Just an idea. Have to share my own 'lucky' (and paid for) findings.

zzzzz Wed 24-Oct-12 18:24:51

Could be an underlying language issue (there is a school of thought that this causes some dyslexia). You may not be ble to tell from casual chat.

Eye test, hearing test, salt evaluation. Self refer for all, receptionist at GP will give you numbers.

Badvoc Wed 24-Oct-12 20:28:23

"Is he just thick?"
No I don't think he is.
You, however.....
If you are serious about helping your child then I would suggest contacting the Senco at the school as a first step and ask for him to be assessed.
If you get no joy (and you probably won't tbh) then you will need to ask the shool or your gp to refer you to an educational psychologist to get him assessed and diagnosed (or you can pay)
There is a lot you can do wrt dyslexia.
If you want to start working on his word finding and spelling then apples and pears is the best programme out there IMO.

Badvoc Wed 24-Oct-12 20:31:24

Oh, and for eye tracking and convergence problems (which he will most probably have if he is dyslexic) try the computer programmes from here;
They will really help.
You can test yourself quite easily for convergence actually...take a pen and ask you son to focus in the tip of the lid.
Being it slowly closer to his face and see what happens to his eyes....I would bet the movements are jerky and not smooth and that he finds it very hard to keep both eyes in the pen....
If a child has convergence then they also have tracking problems.
If you can't track with your eyes you can't read fluently or easily.

Niceweather Wed 24-Oct-12 21:25:39

You may find that a lot of Junior schools don't actually "do" dyslexia and that you will have to do all the investigations yourself. I found this book very useful as an introduction: Dyslexia: A parents' guide to dyslexia, dyspraxia and other learning difficulties by Dr Valerie Muter. I got it from our local library.

willyoulistentome Thu 25-Oct-12 13:06:21

Thanks all for your answers. I'll try out the vision exercises website with him, though I am not sure I would be qualified to say whether his eye movements were out of the normal range. I gues an optician would be the best option.

He has had vision checks before - all fine. There is history of eye problems in the family DH has had numerous eye operations, so they have been quite vigilant when checking the children, but DS1 seems to have no problem when looking at numbers - or sheet music, all of which I would have also needed the eye to track left to right.

Re "thick" would you have prefered 'slow'? What's the PC word? It's a genuine concern. If there are no specific issues preventing him from interacting with text, then it's the likely explanation. I'm not talking to him or anybody who knows him here, so I wasn't guarding my words. AApologies if it hit a nerve.

Badvoc Thu 25-Oct-12 15:34:28

A nerve?
Probably best not to post on an sn board and use the word "thick".
I dont think it has anything to do with being PC, I think its just about being a polite decent person.
A normal optometrist will not have any clue re: tracking and sons told me repeatedly his vision was fine.
When it was tracked on a visiograph it was dire..all over the place sad
When you have a child with sn/sen you really need to get into the mind space of only dealing with specialists...gps, hvs, optometrists are fine as far as it goes but you need to research specialistions, not generalists.
Good luck

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Thu 25-Oct-12 15:42:27

I think you would need to see a behavioural optometrist rather than a normal optician. My DS1 had some convergence issues when younger and had always struggled with reading compared to his brothers, but with some fairly simple exercises given by my local BO, he improved really quickly. As Badvoc says you need to be thinking of specialists, rather than generalists. We can get a bit sensitive over here, but Badvoc has given you some good advice! smile

willyoulistentome Fri 26-Oct-12 09:57:30

It seems I have a lot to learn. Many many apologies for any hurt caused. I wasn't very tactful was I?

Badvoc, it sounds like you have a lot of experience. Are these behavioural optometrists fairly widely spread or did those of you who have visited one have far to go? We are a bit in the middle of nowhere here.

Also, if iturns out he has no eye problems, does anyone have any experience of any other possible causes of this problem? Confidence issues? Concentration issues? Any ideas gladly accepted. I have a meeting booked with his teacher right after half term. I would like to go armed with some vaguely informed opinions as I don't want to get fobbed off. Time seems to be ticking by really fast and I am very keen to get him some help that will have some time to be effective before he gets to secondary school, as I know they don't spoon feed the kids so much as they do in primary. DS1 is very unlikely to ask for help himself in class if he is not following something.

zzzzz Fri 26-Oct-12 10:07:40

The sad truth is that outcomes for dyslexic individuals are very dependent on the expertise and expectations of those around them. The vast majority fall between the lines (in fact are written off as thick). Sorry I know you've already responded to that, but it is worth saying if it will change a lads life eh?

With correct differentiation and support, outstanding results can be achieved.

I know a dyslexic adult with a PhD, and certainly many with Bachelors degrees.

You need to educate yourself and start making plans on how your family are going to handle this.

willyoulistentome Fri 26-Oct-12 10:51:28

Thank you z. I would never EVER write him off. I am determined he WILL be getting whatever help he needs, and I will do whatever it takes to get it for him. Unfortunately if I or DH try to help him he ends up screaming at us and it never goes well. I guess the first step is to see what school offers, which I understand may not be much. This years teacher seems far more receptive and 'user friendy' than last years one, who pretty much turned any issues back on me when I spoke to him.

Ironically there is a great big poster in the staff room claiming 'No child will be left behind' I hope they will live up to their word.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 26-Oct-12 11:01:24

ime DS was seen in the CPOC clinic (similar to BO but on the NHS in Colchester area) who were able to identify tracking, hand-eye co-ordination, retained reflexes, poor working memory etc which are all consistent with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia) but they do not give an overall diagnosis and so -are can be ignored by the school. I had to see a private EP to diagnose dyslexia at the beginning of year 6 after 4 years and 2 LEA EPs had failed to diagnose - they prefer to focus on parenting skills and the self-esteem of the child. This is partly possible because children are often displaying obvious symptoms of stress as a result of undiagnosed learning difficulties by this time.

If you have concerns then I would advise that you have assessments carried out and then have the BO assessment done and see how you can help. If you do things the other way around any improvement brought about by the interventions you do will be used as evidence that the school is adequately supporting him.

Badvoc Fri 26-Oct-12 11:27:21

Will you
Thank you for the apology.
If you are really interested in helping your son and want to get to the bottom of his issues then I would suggest you check out the tinsley house support thread part 2...sorry I can't do links! (Blush)
You do not state whether you son has any other issues...ime dyslexia is never present on its own.i.e. there's always a co morbidity with other conditions/symptoms eg; asd/OCD/ADHD/dyspraxia etc.
So for example in my sons case he was severely dyslexic, OCD traits and asd.
I say was because through various therapies we have done he no longer has the above problems/symptoms smile
Hs progress in the last 8 months has been incredible smile
I have been on this sen journey now for 4 years...I tried the usual Senco, NHS, EP etc and it got me nowhere.
Feel free to PM me if you would like more info.
A good place to start would be reading "is that my child" by robin was the start of my own journey.
It's about £4 on amazon.

Badvoc Fri 26-Oct-12 11:30:35

I am not a massive fan of behavioural optometrists in all honesty. They are quite expensive.
The programmes I told you about will really benefit him.
You can start them without having a dx of tracking or convergence - it will do him no harm at all.
I think that's another reason I like it...not invasive, not distressing for the child (although they do moan a bit sometimes!...)

willyoulistentome Fri 26-Oct-12 12:38:27

It's so hard to know whether there are other issues. He is 'difficult' at home, though school says he behaves perfectly there. I am no child behaviour expert and I only have DS2 to guage him against. In comparison to DS2 he is argumentative, selfish, disobedient, does not recognise other people have feelings. e.g can't understand why he should EVER let DS2 get his own way. Will chuck a huge tantrum if I insist he does something he doesn;t want to do. ( like come out for a walk with us - as if he doesn;t come one of us will have to stay behind. I don't think he should rule the roost when it comes to family life) He finds social contact a challenge. Is he just shy or is it something more? is what we have started to wonder. DH and I have been coming round to the realisation that his behaviour at home is not in the 'normal' range, though again, we only have DS2 to judge against. I spoke to his teacher a couple of weeks ago about the issues we face re behaviour generally. She did not recognise any of it from her experience of him, but she did ask the school counsellor to have a session with him. I have not had any feedback from the meeting althoug I know it has happened as Ds has commented on it. I do suspect that he has mild ASD. I broached the subject withhis teacher and so far she has listened very sympathetically and seems to want to be helpful.

Or is he just reacting to the 'not great' relationship that Dh and I have. i have posted on other threads on that topic and it maywell have a bearing here.

I am going to confess that this is a possibility to his teacher, I hope I don't get teary. I guess it may account for the bad behaviour, but would it stop him being able to do his literacy homework?

Badvoc Fri 26-Oct-12 14:47:08

Quite often a child with asd will behave normally at school (or what the school class as normal...I.e. sitting nicely and doing as they are told) and its at home that their behaviour is most challenging/difficult. I think this is partially because they aren't afraid of sanctions at home. They know you love the, no matter how bad their behaviour is.
I dont know you or your son obviously and would urge you to get him assessed by a professional but it does sound to me like he is in the spectrum (from my own experience and anecdotal stories on MNSN)
If you live anywhere near Southampton I would really recommend phoning robin pauc's clinic and chatting to was a 7 hour round trip for us! But so so worth it smile (tinsley house clinic)
Ime schools have very little interest in getting a dx and therefore help for's not that they don't care per se it's that it costs money. Money they dont have. Sen budgets are minuscule. For my SMS school it is £500 a year for a school of over 150 children!
This time last year I was desperately worried about my son. He was struggling in every way sad
It's parents evening next week and I am looking forward to it!!! Because I know what amazing progress he has made and I am very proud of him smile

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 26-Oct-12 14:48:38

If I were you I would not confess to any problems with DH as a possible cause for DS's behaviour and problems unless you are absolutely sure that this is the case - that you can remember a time when DS1 did not have these problems and there has been a sudden deterioration. Why do you think that relationship issues would not cause DS2 to have similar or manifest different problems?

It is not unusual for DC on the spectrum to behave radically differently at home to how they behave at school. Your DS1 sounds very similar to mine in some ways. Because he camoflagues his behaviour at school and focuses all his attention on attempting to explicity understand social rules that others take or granted and acquire 'automatically' he is able to 'pass for normal'.

This led to a battle with the school to recognise his difficulties. I have had to fund private assessments (Developmental Paed, SALT, EP). He is now being statemented and has been diagnosed with an ASD, auditory processing disorder, 3 SpLD, ADD, tic disorder and his school phobia has re-emerged and meant that he has been unable to make the transition to secondary school. He is currently 'signed off' and is to receive LEA tution pending the outcome of negotiations with the LEA to place him in an indi ss.

btw I have done vision therapy, retained reflex therapy, high protein-low-GI diet and supplements. Not saying they don't work for some DC because they obviously do (Badvoc is not some weird zealot). They just didn't work for my DS and as things have gone from bad to worse I advise a belt and braces approach rather than either/or.

Badvoc Fri 26-Oct-12 15:01:57

(Dons foil hat and dances round the garden)
smile smile
I agree with keepon that an approach that covers all areas is your best bet...I.e. ask the school to assess, and state your reasons. If they refuse you can apply for SA yourself but without additional reports from OT, salt, EP etc it probably will fail sad
You can of course pay for assessments by an OT, salt and EP. If I had to choose ine it would be an EP report. I paid £600.
You can do all that and the more alternative therapies at the same time....
(My son also did ait and rrt like keepon's son but with great success)
A lot depends in the school tbh...but if he is already in y7 and gone undx this long I have to question their ability to identify and deal with sen.

willyoulistentome Mon 29-Oct-12 12:09:20

Badvoc -- I got hold of Is that My Child - and WOW ! It so IS my child. What I am reading is making perfect sense. From the descriptions of the various sets of symptoms it is looking at first reading like DS has mild OCD and ADD as well. I am not sure now that he is actually 'dyslexic' at all. The fact that he can read text with not too many problems seems to rule out the eye problems and he finds going cross eyed quite easy. - Can read sheet music with no issues. ( in fact the music is a bit of an obsession at the moment) He does get obsessions. He does have some small ticks. e.g loud sudden clapping. He is very reluctant to carry out tasks where concentrated mental effort is required. He rarely completes a task. This sounds to me more like what is causing the problem getting any info out of what he is reading than not actually being able to fix on the physical text on the page. There is history of severe Aspergers on my side of the family and I also believe on DHs. In fact, DH and is Dad both fit the bill slightly. Not that DH would ever admit it.

He didn;t have any of the early developmental delays, such as bed ewtting or late walking, and I also think that because the symptoms have never been REALLY severe they have been easy to write off as 'bad behaviour' or me assuming he would grow out of it. In fact the fact that he is NOT growing out of these things is becoming more and more obvious the more mature DS2 and DS1's peers are becoming.

I am not even halfway through the book yet. SO interesting. It's making me feel like maybe it's not -just- my crap parenting.

Thank you SO much.

Badvoc Mon 29-Oct-12 12:38:10

Well I can tell you right now it's not you! smile
Please Please if you take nothing else away from this believe that!
I know what you mean re the was a hard read for me in many ways as I kept thinking "if only someone had told me this earlier!" You know?
There is much you can do to help your son. That's the other good news smile
I am so glad you found it helpful. It is a great book.
I get a lot of stick in some quarters on MN for recommending robins book and clinic but posts like yours make me carry on smile

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