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Is it possible to have dyslexia but have advanced reading skills?

(43 Posts)
IsadoraDunking Sun 25-Oct-09 12:21:01

I am a bit confused. This week we were told ds1 (11) has dyslexia and dysgraphia. He has very poor spelling, handwriting, concentration, and it would explain an awful lot. But his reading has always been excellent, he reads an awful lot, for pleasure, voluntarily, a wide range of stuff - from younger stuff like Geronimo Stilton / Horrid Henry to most recently Charlie Higson's new book The Enemy which I think is a challenging enough read for an 11 y-o. Someone has said to us "Oh the diagnosis can't be right if he can read that well". Neither of us knows anything about dyslexia (we have been researching it for the past 2 days though!) and I am wondering if anyone else has experience of this?

The diagnosis was made privately by an educational psychologist, through an assessment we arranged ourselves - I am not sure how it is normally done but we are in Ireland anyway so systems are probably different, I think in the UK the assessments are done through school? Anyway that's largely irrelevant, just wondering if anyone has any view on this?

Many thanks.

debs40 Sun 25-Oct-09 13:59:57


I don't know much about dyslexia but a Guardian article " here""

quotes a professor who says "the sign of real dyslexia is a reading ability far below that for a child's age and intelligence".

Might be worth asking the British Dyslexia Association

cornsilk Sun 25-Oct-09 14:01:49

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 14:24:48

Hi. many dyslexic children can learn to read well - phonics is the thing and it's a slow process in most cases but works.

Spelling really can lag and can prove to be an issue for some time.

I work with dyslexic children and many now have a good functional reading age of around their actual age, but with spelling lagging.

For some children, however, literacy is a total challenge.

The 'discrepancy' definition of dyslexia (ie bright, but with ongoing difficulties with literacy) has largely been replaced with the British Psychological Association's definition that a person is dyslexic if they have difficulty acquiring literacy skills despite continued targeted interventions.

(am on second M.Ed researching dyslexia and teaching)

cornsilk Sun 25-Oct-09 14:31:03

Bramblebooks I wonder if I know you? blush

IsadoraDunking Sun 25-Oct-09 15:36:59

I'm sorry but I don't understand what GCA is. If this is something that is specified as part of the diagnosis I should add that we were told this as part of an oral feedback session after his assessment - we have not had the written report yet and won't do for a couple of weeks, I believe.

I suppose if you are talking about "acquiring literacy skills despite continued targeted interventions" - and if literacy covers any subset of reading, writing and spelling - then he has had difficulty acquiring writing and speling skills, but the writing has only been a problem since they started joined writing. Spelling has always been erratic, and reading has always been noticeably excellent, and he was also an early reader though I suppose that doesn't make much difference.

Where is the best place to find about it all? The BDA I suppose and (I am in Ireland) we have an assoc here too.

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 17:13:10

ooh cornsilk, tell me more?

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 17:15:10

... yes Isadora, try the BDA, also try Dyslexia Action, although off the top of my head I'm not sure of how many regions they cover.

cornsilk Sun 25-Oct-09 17:16:57

I'm wondering who you work for...

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 17:32:26

Quick hijack Isadora - cornsilk, when not working for Interpol I'm based in Cheshire working mainly for my 2 ds and also in a mainstream primary. How about you?

cornsilk Sun 25-Oct-09 19:22:59

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 19:51:39

oooh. Are you somewhere beginning with T or B?

IsadoraDunking Sun 25-Oct-09 19:53:25

Oy! This is not a matchmaking thread!

cornsilk Sun 25-Oct-09 19:54:00

No. We may well have crossed paths though.

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 19:55:57

Staring into cornsilk's eyes and planning a phonic spelling test.

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 19:57:06

west or East?

IsadoraDunking Sun 25-Oct-09 20:11:20


"many now have a good functional reading age..." etc

I suppose my question is does the fact that ds acquired a very high reading level without anyone realising he was dyslexic, or giving particular help, mean that he might actually not be dyslexic at all?

nickstmoritz Sun 25-Oct-09 20:14:17

My DD2 has dyslexia but it only affects spelling, her reading age is above her actual age but spelling below. She had a test via the local authority learning support service in school which seemed quite thorough. She is getting some support in school but you need to make sure 1. That your DS gets extra time for year 6 SATs, he should be entitled but your primary school SEN needs to sort it out and get him the time 2. His secondary school is made aware so that he gets support and not put in lower set than he should be in. Dyslexia is not about intelligence or general ability - what he writes could be interesting just not spelt correctly.

IsadoraDunking Sun 25-Oct-09 20:22:06

Thanks nickstmoritz that's interesting.

We are in Ireland so it's a bit different here I think - lagging behind most probably. We are - coincidentally (more or less) - moving schools at the moment, there is very good learning support in the one he is going to now - which I suppose equates to SEN teaching.

He is highly intelligent, very articulate, etc, which the psychologist said was one of the reasons it had not occurred to anyone till now - i.e. that he developed his own strategies for coping with it and was doing very well at school so no-one realised till the last year that something was up.

While in the back of my mind I am still thinking can this be right?, I am also really looking forward to his getting the help he needs and looking forward to seeing him flourish again. He's a lovely boy and he's been unhappy for the last year.

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 20:25:31

*tears self away from thoughts of cornsilk during training sessions (possibly?!)*

Positing the question that will it matter what we call it as long as he gets the help he needs, or will he have to have an identification in order to get support?

In schools in England, SATs support is dependant on a few different tests - writing rate and reading age being two of them.

He may well be dyslexic and have learned to overcome the barriers to learning with his reading - spelling often lags.

There are other features to dyslexia - co-ordination, self-organisation, being able to do buttons, zips, etc. There is a list, I think, on the BDA website. I note you also mention poor concentration - has he seen a SALT for assessment within the school system?

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 20:26:50

Glad you're happy with the new provision.

IsadoraDunking Sun 25-Oct-09 20:35:39

No to the SALT question - I have never even come across it here via the school system tbh - and re. the does it matter what it's called / get the help etc - it's that if we are starting out on a new programme for him I'd like to be sure it's the right one. The assessment was 2 hours long - can they really tell so much about him in that time?

Other issues would be: loose concept of time, poor self-organisation, concentration (very poor), possibly difficulty using knife and fork (previously ascribed by me to him not bothering - I feel absolutely dreadful now). I feel dreadful about it all, as if I should have spotted it sooner. But this is about him not me.

(And it's not about cornsilk either wink)

ouryve Sun 25-Oct-09 20:39:09

It would be reasonable that he has little problem with decoding, hence the ability to read well, but has difficulties somewhere along the line with actually encoding, so writing is very difficult for him.

bramblebooks Sun 25-Oct-09 20:42:15

There are lots of indicators there.

IME, a range of programmes work for the children. Quite often there may be children who present with the same difficulties and need different programmes. In general, a phonic approach with lots of multisensory overlearning works, slowly usually, there can be plateaus and there can be swift leaps in learning too. Our psych often used to say that she felt it was a case of having 1:1 with a phonic-based programme which made the difference, rather than giving specifics.

In my work I do a lot of assessing and this way find what works best for the child I'm working with. If there's not much 'shift' or if the child isn't enjoying the programme I'll make some changes. I also have to be sensitive to other stuff going on in the child's life and whether they're having a general learning plateau or shift.

*and breathe!*

mumslife Sun 25-Oct-09 21:29:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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