What should I do?

HI, its my first post here. My 7 year old son's teacher has mentioned that she thinks he may be dyslexic, It came as quite a surprise and I felt quite defensive to start with but now I'm just feeling a bit lost.

He reads quite well, he is writing ok but often mis-writes 3, 7, 5,2 backwards as well as the letters b,d, & s. His maths work is ok, the understanding of it I mean.

The teacher said that he would be going out of class to get extra help and she gave me some sheets so I could get him to practice the above letters and numbers. This was about a month ago, some days he gets things right for me other days its mixed and some days he seems to be getting every number backwards. I can't see that this has made any improvement as yet, I don't know what I should be doing to help, can someone please point me in the right direction.

Many thanks in advance

19 Replies

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  • People with Irlen Syndrome can reverse numbers. Irlen Syndrome is a visual processing difficulty that results in difficulty reading and writing. Sometimes letters and numbers will appear in a distorted way. Here is the Irlen Institute website to find out more. irlen.com Some people just have Irlens whilst others will have it co-occurring with Dyslexia.

  • Thank you, I will have a look.

  • Hi Lizzie Well firstly well done to the teacher for recognising your son has difficulties and not swept it under the carpet and let him struggle on. Age 7 is a typical age for a child to be recognised as dyslexic and is good that caught early so he can get the right help. Dyslexia comes in many many forms. My son was 7 when his teacher told me she suspected he was dyslexic and dyscalculia ie reversal of numbers. The school was very good at putting in extra lessons and being taken out of class with an LSA to work on own etc but with my son it didn't help. To be honest schools are not dyslexic friendly if a child is struggling they throw more phonetic programmes at them which is what the problem is and depending on how dyslexic your son is he will either progress or he wont. The thing is now is that you have got to monitor the progress. Speak to the school senco and find out exactly what they are going to do and the most important thing is to monitor the progress because this is the evidence you need to either decide in a years time whether he needs assessing by an educational psychologist to see what you are dealing with. This is what I had to do and I was shocked to learn my son was at the floor or the scale ie in 0.5 % 1 percentile which really stood him no chance in a mainstream school and was told I had to go through the Local Authority to get him a place at a specialist dyslexic school. He moved there when he was 9 and the progress is amazing. Being removed from class for lessons and his peers causes low self esteem and even though my son had brill friends his self esteem was shattered in main stream because he knew he was different. You say some days he gets it right and other days he doesn't this is so typical of dyslexics they can read a word on a page turnover the page and its like they have never seen that word before. They get very tired also. I would keep the learning at home to a minimum also probably 20 mins max whether it is reading, writing or maths as they struggle all day at school and don't want to appear to be a failure at home also. My son would be ok at school but have melt downs at home which was heartbreaking to see. If you need any further advice please get in contact.

  • Excellent advice. Remember also praise what your son is good at. Dyslexic learn differently something like being left hand it in a right handed world. Also make learning fun.

  • Cundiamor, thanks I must work harder on the praise and not let my frustration show.

  • Austinsmrs, thank you so much for your reply. Your mention of reading a word then turning the page was exactly what was happening this evening with his reading book.

    Its good to hear that your son is now doing well.

    I'm sure I'll be popping up with more questions.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

  • One thing I would say is that dyslexic kids quickly develop a low self esteem. Austinmrs has given lots of very good advice, and I would add that you should watch out for how your son feels about being taken out of class and how his peers are responding.Watch out for any signs of bullying. Self esteem is one of the major issues with special needs children. Here's a link to something I have written about this - it has many tips and ideas on how parents can organise their kid's school work and especially h/w. hubpages.com/family/dyslexi... . These are all the things I did with my son. I am a special needs teacher by the way - and I am also dyslexic. I also recommend this book: hubpages.com/family/what-is... - it's very easy to read and extremely insightful.

    Good luck Dyslexia Advantage is a super site as is Dyslexia Action of course!

  • Dyslexia Advantage has a channel on YouTube, too. Very helpful and inspiring! youtube.com/user/DyslexicAd...

  • Thank you I will take a look tomorrow.

  • Thank you, I will have a look at the links in the morning.

    With regards to the being taken out of class I don't think that is an issue for him as its something that often happens within the school day, the children are taken out of class in small groups for reading or extra practice with one thing or another, but I will keep an eye out. Thanks again.

  • I could always read, too...I just read slow. For me it's not a problem of letters and numbers flipping, but getting out of order. Dyslexia gets worse if you are tired or stressed, like austinsmrs said. Some days I'm fine, others I'm playing word scramble while I'm trying to read and have problems finding the words to talk. And even a calculator isn't much help if you put in the numbers out of sequence.

    No two dyslexics are alike. That's why 75% of dyslexics are unaware they are dyslexic, because they don't fit the "classic" description. Also there is the belief that dyslexics are "defective." Your son's brain is just wired differently. His letters and numbers keep flipping because he thinks in 3-D and is seeing the numbers from all sides! (How many people would kill to be able to think in 3-D?) You will find he is brilliant in some areas normal kids struggle with. Also be patient. The good news is dyslexics are excellent problem solvers so your son will eventually figure out a way to get around this problem, although he probably won't be able to explain how he did it.

  • Too true and very well put!!

  • Thank you, really helping make sense of things for me.

  • We got a work book 'toe by toe' for our now 9 year old last year's as his teacher implied that he was far behind the class, with a possible learning difficulty. Last year he had one to one reading everyday. I would really recommend this book, it requires some dedication but is worth it. Also teachers I know said it is excellent, work on his reading, then the writing when he is feeling to feel more confident. If your son can read, and if he is dyslexic, it is mild and he can work on it, and improve. But if he's like my son reading and writing take a lot of encouragement. Good luck.

  • Thank you for the recommendation, I'd seen that book mentioned elsewhere so ordered it from amazon at the weekend and we started with it last night.

  • Yes I use Toe by Toe with my kids and it's very effective. Don't skip any of it!!

  • I can't thank you all enough, thank you for all your replies.

    I will take all the advice on board and no doubt I'll be posting more questions soon.

    Thanks again.

  • This will be a joint effort :)

  • Dyslexia affects the ability to learn to read and spell. It involves difficulties in dealing with the sounds of words, which makes it especially hard to learn to use phonics to read words.

    It can affect short-term memory and can co-occur alongside other difficulties such as difficulties with maths or dyscalculia, but not always.

    Dyslexia is not the same for everyone:

    it can be mild or severe;

    it varies depending on other strengths, or difficulties;

    it varies depending on the kind of support and encouragement that is given at school, at home and at work.

    Dyslexia Action's Learning Centres provide free sessions for parents to ensure its members of its specialist team can support you and your son in the most appropriate way possible. For your local Learning Centre visit: dyslexiaaction.org.uk/find-us

    The Learning Centres also hold a number of drop-in sessions, parents courses and open days to provide advice and information alongside answering any questions or concerns you may have.

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