Dyslexia


My little boy came home from school today with a letter from his teacher requesting my permission to allow him to be assessed by the SEN (special educational needs) department for dyslexia. 

I knew it was coming because we’d discussed it previously but when I opened the letter I couldn’t help feeling a touch anxious. 

His assessment will bring about one of two outcomes…he’s either got it or he hasn’t.  That is unless there are different levels of dyslexia, which there probably are just to add more administrative crap to the whole thing.  But either way, I can’t for the life of me feel positive. 

If it turns out that he doesn’t have dyslexia then we need to address why he is struggling with his writing and spelling.  Funny how that never bothered me before.  I always had the mind that it didn’t matter as long as he tried his very best and enjoyed life and made the most of his good points and there are loads of good points – he’s an excellent reader (which confuses me a bit. [note to self: must google dyslexia]  Does dyslexia actually affect reading?) and he creates some magnificent artwork and he’s a mean rugby player and he has this hearty chuckle that comes up from the bottom of his tummy and infects everybody who hears it and he’s sooo affectionate and he constantly tells me he will always look after me and never let anything bad happen to me.

And if he does have dyslexia then that means his school work is always going to be that much harder for him…take that much longer.  He’s not the studious sort at the best of times.  Homework is tiresome for him and he often comes out of school totally disgruntled about how much work he’s had to do which has robbed him of his fun-time.  But then, it might all have been hard for him because he does have this condition.  So once it’s confirmed at least we can deal with it.  I’m sure there must be specific learning techniques that can help [note to self: really mustn’t forget to  google that dyslexia].

Or…it could all be just because he’s left-handed.

Think I’m getting my head round it slowly…trying to be philosophical and all that.   And anyway, I reckon there are loads of adults – successful people, achievers, or just perfectly happy people who are dyslexic without even being aware of it.  It’s just been given a name that’s all.

Tha’s why I love this blog.  I can always manage to talk myself round to being positive.

Right, I’m going off to google dyslexia. 

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10 responses to this post.

  1. My little brother always struggled at school. He didn’t have dyslexia or ADHD (which every child seems to have at the moment). It was becuase he couldn’t sit still and there were so many other things he would rather do. Then he joined cadets (something that he loves) and realised that to do this he need to go to school and get and education. It also helped that his friends at school thought the same way and he has good teachers. What I am trying to say in a long winded way is things don’t always have a name and with support things will work out. There are many famous, well adjusted people who suffer from dyslexia.

    Reply

  2. He’s left handed. To make him use his right hand might some times bring alterations in their functions. I don’t think that’s the case, but I’d say it’s going to cost him more than others, his remuneration will come as he becomes older. Not something to be worried too much about.

    Reply

  3. Look who was dyslexic! Another artist in the making?

    http://www.dyslexia.com/leonardo.htm

    Easy for me to tell you not to worry, but all is not lost if you find he *is* dyslexic. Like you say, he has many other gifts.

    Reply

  4. And to make light of it~

    “Did you hear about the dyslexic Devil-worshipper?”
    “No”
    “He sold his soul to Santa”…

    Reply

  5. Thanks for the reassurance Pocket,

    Jose, back in the days when the world was flat, they used to tie the left hand of left-handed children behind their backs in the belief that they would get used to writing with their right hand.

    Misslionheart, interesting link. Josh does exactly that. He writes from right to left and in mirror image!

    Good joke. Heard it before though.:-)

    I spoke to his teacher tonight and she gave me some reassurance. Said that if he is dyslexic there are strategies they can use. And if he’s not, then it’s probably his left-handedness and there are also strategies for that. What I want to know is why haven’t these left-handed strategies been utilised already. He’s always been left-handed. He could have benefitted sooner.

    Reply

  6. Absolutely. These are the people we leave our children with! This could have been picked up a couple of years ago…

    I *love* the new theme.

    Have a great weekend X

    Reply

  7. Thanks Misslionheart.

    I’ve gone back to my original theme. I just wanted to see what the book shelf photo would look like. It looked good didn’t it.

    Have a good one yourself…xxx

    Reply

  8. Oh! Why did you change it back?

    Reply

  9. Found your site looking for something else.

    Since you were googling dyslexia, you probably came across a lot of bunk.

    I gather you are not in the United States (the SEN reference).

    My daughter is now 18 and a high school senior, on her way to university in the fall. Her dyslexia was diagnosed in the second grade, and remediated through specific, direct, intensive teaching. She never went to a specialist school, but was remediated after school and during the summers.

    If you were in the US or Canada, I’d know where to send you. If you are in the UK as I suspect, I’m not as confident. For whatever reason, effective remediation for dyslexia is not as available, compared to ineffective approaches, or approaches that have not been proven to be effective.

    It included the following:

    Parents should select a program that has been shown to work, that has the following features:Effective Teaching to Remediate Dyslexia–These steps must be mastered in order!

    Phonemic Awareness is the first step. You must teach the student how to listen to a single word or syllable and break it into individual phonemes–the individual sounds.

    Phoneme/Grapheme Correspondence is the next step. Here you teach which sounds are represented by which letter(s), and how to blend those letters into single-syllable words.

    The Six Types of Syllables that compose English words are taught next.

    Probabilities and Rules are then taught. The English language provides several ways to spell the same sounds. For example, the sound /SHUN/ can be spelled either TION, SION, or CION. The sound of /J/ at the end of a word can be spelled GE or DGE. Dyslexic students need to be taught these rules and probabilities.

    Morphology and Roots and Affixes–Morphology is the study of how morphemes are combined from words. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in the language. The curriculum must include the study of base words, roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

    How it is taught: Simultaneous Multisensory Instruction: Sometimes we rattle this off and don’t really explain what it means or why it is important

    This can be confusing to parents

    Sight or seeing, using the eyes = VISUAL

    Hearing or listening, using the ears = AUDITORY

    Feeling or touching, using the skin = TACTILE

    Moving through space and time, using the whole body = KINESTHETIC

    Reading and writing go together; writing is a kinesthetic task–(can you feel how all the muscles in your hand and arm work to form letters as you write a sentence?).

    Dyslexic people who use all of their senses when they learn (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic) are better able to store and retrieve the information. So a beginning dyslexic student might see the letter A, say its name and sound, and write it in the air — all at the same time.

    Excellent instruction includes:

    Intense Instruction with Ample Practice: The dyslexic brain benefits from overlearning–having a very precise focus with lots and lots of correct practice.

    Direct, Explicit Instruction: dyslexic students do not automatically get anything about the reading task, and may not generalize well. Therefore, each detail of every rule that governs written language needs to be taught directly, one rule at a time. Then the rule needs to be practiced until the student has demonstrated that she has mastered the rule in both receptive (reading) and productive (writing and spelling) aspects. Only then should the instructor introduce the next rule.

    Systematic and Cumulative: Many dyslexic students are not identified until later in their academic careers. They have developed mental structures of how English works that are completely wrong. To develop good written language skills–reading and writing–the tutor must go back to the very beginning and rebuild the student’s mastery with a solid foundation that has no holes or cracks.

    Synthetic and Analytic: dyslexic students must be taught both how to take the individual letters or sounds and put them together to form a word (synthetic), as well as how to look at a long word and break it into smaller pieces (analytic). Both synthetic and analytic phonics must be taught all the time.

    Diagnostic Teaching: the teacher must continuously assess their student’s understanding of, and ability to apply, the rules. The teacher must ensure the student isn’t simply recognizing a pattern and blindly applying it. And when confusion of a previously-taught rule is discovered, it must be retaught.

    You might want to check out the resources at SchwabLearning (in the US, but many international members).

    http://schwablearning.org/index.asp

    You could also check out Susan Barton’s video-based tutoring — she provides guidance for parents on providing effective remediation for their children.

    http://www.bartonreading.com/

    Reply

  10. Thanks very much for all that Liz. Much appreciated. I will save it. Hope I won’t be needing it though. He has his assessment later this month.

    Reply

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