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Can you have dyslexia but be able to read well?

90 replies

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 09:51

DD is in year 7 and her teacher thinks that she may have dyslexia based on her spelling and writing abilities. She can usually spell high-frequency words but has a hard time learning to spell new words and even though she can learn a few words (would usually get 4 out of 6 correct) for a spelling test she will forget them the next week when she gets more to learn and she never puts them into practice when doing other written work. She does still put a couple of letters and numbers the wrong way round, and her writing is big unless she really concentrates.

The thing that I am confused about is that she can read really well. She exceeded her reading targets at the end of year 2 (but she does miss out small words such as the, and, it etc). Could she be dyslexic but be able to read well? Everything I have read regarding dyslexia since discussing with her teacher a few weeks ago seems to say that reading is a big issue and is hard for children with dyslexia. I am confused!

For example, if I showed her the word 'because' she could read it no problem, but if I asked her to spell it she would put something like 'bocse', and then read it back as 'because' and not notice it was wrong in her own writing. But then if I showed her 'bocse' in some other way such as on a screen or printed out she would read it as a nonsense word and know it wasn't 'because'. Does that make any sense?

The Senco is going to work with her and they have already tried the coloured overlays with varying success.

I must say that school are great and DD is the happiest she has been since reception. Academic work doesn't come easily to her and she is much more of a creative child, loves making, designing and drawing and wants to be an architect when she grows up (as well as being a popstar on the weekends!! Grin) Any advice would be great.

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3littlefrogs · 03/11/2014 09:54

Yes. Absolutely.
All the dyslexics in my family are/were excellent readers.
The writing, memory and organisational skills are a nightmare.

lemisscared · 03/11/2014 09:59

My dd is 9yo and severely dyslexic. She can read because but can't spell it. Ask the school for an ed psych assesment. No, insist on it. If you have to pay yourself its about £300.

Now the school have flagged it up what are they putting in place to help her?

lemisscared · 03/11/2014 10:00

Overlays don't help my dd really.

lemisscared · 03/11/2014 10:02

We have got a specialist tutor for dd. It is ££££ and i had to take an evening job to pay for it but the improvement over one term is staggering.

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 10:03

Thanks so much for the reply.

I can't believe I have gone all this time just thinking she was bad at spelling. And the memory and organisation skills fits too. Days of the week are a challenge - ie knowing what day it is today and how many days until something she is looking forward to.

Are there ways of helping with the organisation side of things?

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DramaAlpaca · 03/11/2014 10:04

Yes. DS1 is dyslexic, though not severely so. At primary school he could read so well that his problems with spelling were completely missed. School thought he couldn't be bothered learning spellings Hmm and he didn't get any help with it because he was diagnosed so late. He's 21 now and still spells phonetically, but I'm glad to say it doesn't seem to be holding him back.

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 10:08

Sorry, missed the other replies whilst typing!

Thanks for your reply. School are now looking into what the next step is for her. The HT is going on a course tomorrow, so we will have a meeting later in the week to see what the next step is. They seem to be focusing on what they can do to help her, rather than diagnosis at the moment, but they are great and are willing to work with us on this.

Does it take time to get a diagnosis? Once we have things in place at school the tutoring might be something for us to look into. How often does your DD have the extra tutoring?

The overlays seem to work for when she needs to copy out of a book or from a sheet as she can't copy text accurately either, but the teacher said that they are a bit hit and miss.

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Ludways · 03/11/2014 10:10

Very good friend of mine could read perfectly fine but was dyslexic in that her hand and eyes didn't quite match up, meaning she struggled to write.

addictedtosugar · 03/11/2014 10:10

Yep. Totally possible.
With hindsight, its because I scan read everything. So I don't actually read every word, just enough to know what is going on in the sentance.
It does make reading road signs a long way off easy - I can tell you which way to turn ona roundabout way before the letters are clear, because London and Brighton just look different. Annoys the hell out of DH.

addictedtosugar · 03/11/2014 10:11

Oh, and a diary to keep on top of the organisation.

May need to be whiteboard which you can all add to at the moment, but electronic might be best long term.

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 10:11

DramaAlpaca, I have heard of so many who have had their dyslexia missed for just those reasons, which I find terrible. I am glad to hear that your son is doing well, though and that it isn't holding him back.

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JeanneDeMontbaston · 03/11/2014 10:13

You absolutely can.

I'm an academic in English Lit. I have read a blog post today from a colleague about her dyslexia, and written my own. We're both fluent readers and have been for most of our lives.

The other symptoms sound as if they'd fit, so I can see why the teacher would think dyslexia.

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 10:16

Ludways, that sounds just like DD. The reading side just doesn't match up with the writing!

Addictedtosugar - I find that side of it so interesting - the fact that the words just look different and so help you to read them! Thanks for the tip regarding organisation. Think I'll start with a white board and make it very visual for her as that seems to help and she can decorate as she sees fit.

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Asteria · 03/11/2014 10:17

Yes - I am dyslexic and had read all the books in primary school before I made it into the juniors. My writing is good, but if i get tired then I get a "block". Memory and organisational skills are terrible though - and if I have a form to fill in then I go into blind panic! Mine wasn't spotted till university.

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 10:19

JeanneSeMontbaston, would you be able to link the blog post for me? I feel like I need as much information as possible to help DD. I feel awful for not realising that this could be dyslexia. Someone (another Mum) did ask me last year if she could be dyslexic after discussing the problems she was having with spelling tests, but I dismissed it as she was so good at reading. I feel terrible now.

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MrSheen · 03/11/2014 10:22

I'm dyslexic and my reading out loud is still a bit shoddy but I was always a good reader in my head and my comprehension is fine. I can't spell to save my life and my handwriting is almost illegible and I couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery. I'm also shit at doing basic things like closing drawers.

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 10:23

Thanks so much for all of these replies. They are really helping. I think part of me though that if she was tested they would laugh us off as she could read, but I see now that this isn't the case.

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JeanneDeMontbaston · 03/11/2014 10:24

I don't know how helpful it would be - I only mentioned it because it was such a strange coincidence. But then, this week is Dyslexia Awareness Week. Anyway:

This one's mine, which is more about day-to-day life being affected while academic life isn't:

This is the other woman's:

She gives a really good sense of how you could be pretty competent, but still have underlying difficulties. I've seen people use her strategies (spider diagrams, recording things, working hard on structure) with primary-aged children, too.

WheresItTo · 03/11/2014 10:44

Thanks you for the links, JeanneDeMontbaston. There are some points that really ring true, especially this part:

'imagine that postcode is OQFXJD298 894PLZGFH. And imagine that the buttons you have to press are arranged in a random order, too, so you need to look for each letter and number. You don’t track well, so imagine they shift around slightly every time you look away.'

This is something I have noticed DD do often. She will look for each number or letter individually and her finger will whirl round the keyboard looking for the key she needs even if she has just pressed it for the last digit, but though it was just something that would come with age.

Have also found the link to the BDA website form the other bogg post, so really helpful, thanks.

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JeanneDeMontbaston · 03/11/2014 10:47

Yes! And that is classic, to my mind.

Bear in mind - dyspraxia might also be a possibility. They overlap a lot.

I'm glad they were helpful. Good luck to your DD!

Mashabell · 03/11/2014 12:45

Yes, because learning to read is much easier than learning to spell.

Only about 2,000 main English words contain one or more letters with variable sounds (e.g. man - many, on - once, fruit - build) and children can use the other letters of such words as well as context to help them access the right sound when stuck.

Spelling quirks occur in just over 4,000 words, and they all have to be memorised word by word. This makes learning to spell much harder.

Masha Bell

Corestrategy · 03/11/2014 12:56

I haven't read the full thread but I have a lot of experience with dyslexia as my children all have it.

Dyslexia is not a specific condition but is the name given to a collection of learning difficulties. Reading is just one of those things and each dyslexic has a different profile of weaknesses. Just because you are bad a reading would not necessarily mean that you are dyslexic and possibly vice versa. However, I think that reading/spelling/writing problems are the strongest indicators within a dyslexic profile.

Whyamihere · 03/11/2014 12:57

Dd is dyslexic (she's 10), she struggled to read until about 2 years ago when she'd built up enough words to read comfortably, she now has a reading age ahead of her age, but her spelling is diabolical, her writing untidy and don't get me started on how hard it is for her to learn her tables, sequencing is a very poor area for her. But when you mention dyslexia to a lot of people they instantly think that she can't read and don't even think about the other areas.

The funny thing is that I can't spell for toffee and I still don't know my tables (despite being an accountant), but when I was young my reading was always streets ahead, so dd probably gets it from me although until she was diagnosed I had never thought of myself as even midly dyslexic, again because of the reading (and I'm so old dyslexia wasn't recognised at the school I went to anyway)

Corestrategy · 03/11/2014 13:04

I had a dyslexia assessment when I was at Uni recently. The Ed Psch said that I had a variety of problems such as poor auditory processing, working memory and visual processing. My spelling was terrible at school and I remember being humiliated in front of the class for it on more than one occasion. I'm 43 now and I have had a lot of time to learn my spellings! Red lines under my typing are a good way to learn :) The Ed Psch said that my reading (slow but accurate) and my OK spellings did not fit with a dyslexic profile. I think that had I been tested 20 years ago my spelling would have come out a lot worse. She did however, conclude that the other low scores fitted with a mild learning disability.
My reading has always been good but slow and I do wonder if I would have been diagnosed dyslexic if my spelling had been worse.

TheWordFactory · 03/11/2014 13:08


I am a dyslexic. I never struggled to read or write, but spelling and grammar...oh my!

I also have huge problems organising. I have to over compensate.

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