Dyslexia Action
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My 8 year old Dyslexic daughter


Nice to be able to share my concerns with you all out there, I am a stay at home dad and have been since March of 2015, were I made the decision to wind up my business after 15 years and stay home and look after my daughter who is 9 and my son is turning 6.

I must say what a roller coaster ride it has been, my daughter has just being diagnosed with dyslexia, and has an IQ 0f 120, which we also have just recently being tested. We are very active parents in our children's lives, normal day to day running around sports events etc., and school volunteer work, making sure that in general our kids are happy and healthy children.

My daughter is a very generous and loving child, when she wants to be, most days I have to fight for three hours to get her to do some homework, basic house hold chores like feeding our dog takes like an eternity. It seems that everything we ask of her is a fight and we need help.

The school (Catholic), has not been much help at all, it seems that the blame is on her, they she is disruptive, figits when sitting down at reading time, and the list goes on. To my disgust we had an open day at the school two weeks ago in which I attended, and found that she was sitting by herself on a small table at the front of the class, I asked my daughter why she was there, her reply was that she got sent up there last week and SHE doesn't want to move back, she likes being by herself.

My daughter has ALyn Syndrome As well so she requires different coloured glasses for reading and writing, and the paper has to be the same colour as the glasses, so no coloured paper, I ask my daughter where is the coloured paper, her reply I don't want to be different dad and upset the children, my heart broke for her.

We are know moving schools and have an interview on the 28th March, I hope all goes well, this school is a parent controlled Catholic School, and the class rooms are 15 instead of 35, and have one on one mentors to help each child.

it is very exhausting, and there are turns everywhere, I worry whether she is going to be happy or sad every day, but at the end of the day I am happy that I can be there for her and my son (yet to be diagnosed, but keeping a very close eye loves his kindy homework, and reads good), and get the help they need.

Thanks all


12 Replies

Sorry to hear about the problems at school. I am an Irlen Diagnostician and awareness seems to be the key. Can the diagnostician that prescribed the colored glasses for your daughter help by providing information for school? When people understand the difference colored glasses/overlays can make they usually 'get on board'. There are some information packs for parents/educators on this site irlensyndrome.org/toolkits-...

As your daughter has a high IQ it must be difficult for her to understand why she is having problems associated with her Dyslexia such as reading/spelling. Sometimes it is useful to discuss other people that also were thought to have these kind of difficulties but still succeeded en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_...

The new school with fewer children in the class sounds great. I am sure you have discussed the weaknesses/strengths that your daughter has. Also ask about accommodations that they can make in class/exams - if your daughter has been diagnosed there should be a report with suggestions.

Good luck with the new school I hope that she will blossom!


Sounds like she has the most important thing.....a parent that is a champion. Keep fighting for your little girl.


Thank you for the feedback much appreciated


Hi. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling. She is exactly like how I was. You may find whilts some things are difficult like spelling for me, we find classes boring to death. I became a weirdo know it all who could challenge any teachers in a private Catholic famous Loretto convent school. I also had other issues. I give you my experience as an example.

Sorry I'm not too well, so can't go into the rational of everyrlthing I'll tell you. Don't rely on the school necessarily. If she suss out they are sheep rather than thinkers she might shut down. I use to miss the first half of lectures at uni I was so bored. Find a private teacher that explains rather than preach who she can discuss rather than be inducted into a subject.

I might be able to put you in contact with one who specialise in in and can give you more details. If she accepts and you want to.

Homework should not stick to the curriculum but go beyond. Her brain need to be stimulated. So a religious school of any type might be too narrow in their approach of the type of question she'll ask.

She is not telling you the half of it.

Understand me, when you can correct a teacher in every session, or ask questions they don't know half the time you loose faith. Especially if you are different in how you think or express yourself. It feels like a prison. At 5 I was arguing the irrationality of the concept of zero. But took a year to learn to write and read in a Seperate group. I have no idea what my front door looks like. I get lost going home. But I can explain string theory and multiverse theory though I chose midwifery as my career. But contemporary politics makes no sense. It's like adolescent trying to impress. Passion rules us. Well always be outsiders. Finding how we negotiate our difference makes it easier. I hope you can understand what I'm saying here.

People fall into a "normal distribution" in all things. So some are hopeless, otherwise extreme genius, with the majority falling in the middle. Our way of thinking itself is so alien we feel like one.

She will beneficial from talking to a good, friendly psychologist she respects. It might sound strange to you. But it will help in coping. Latter she might just jump a year or two, remain where she is if she learn to value her different, amazing brain and just learn standing out is also being unique, a rare gem. Forget she's her age. Try to evaluate her understanding in different areas. So I can't do my own banking. But I'll negotiate any challenges in right to refuse treatment for example. And that was at 14. You've heard the term "savant idiot"? French for idiot genius. We are not quite genius, thank God. But it applies.

Different languages is another way of keeping her busy and engaged.

Writting is an excellent way of self expression.

If you insist on a religious school, then ie The Loretto schools are excellent as their final years are Cambridge certificates. Final year is equivalent to a first year of uni. She needs that type of challenges. I'm not a snob. I know wiser people who are illiterate. It's a fact that type of private education doesn't compare. You can tell at sentence 3 who went where. Let her read or watch prety much what she wants and discuss everything as an individual, not a child. We don't want to be the weird kid, daddy worries about. Who we disappoint. I found the mensa test illogical, I think so differently. Let her know disappointing you is an impossibility. She needs to see the world as this great, weird, marvelous adventure. It's her mind set, not how many activities she does, that will be her saviour.

I hope that helps. All the best inbyour endeavours. 💗


PS she needs to know people like Einstein was dyslexic. 💗



Dear Ray,

Hope this finds you well. It sounds like your daughter does need some special support but there is no reason why you cannot supply that necessary approach yourself. First of all, please note that we maintain that - in practice - it is largely immaterial whether your child is 'officially' diagnosed as "dyslexic". If a child is struggling to read there is a problem and it needs to be addressed. 'Dyslexia' is only a label after all. What you - as a concerned parent - need to know is what can be done to help her to overcome the problem. Having said that, much does depend upon the severity of the child's literacy problems. Dyslexia is like anything else. Not black & white. It's a continuum. Toe by Toe will work with any child but - of course - the length of time to get through the manual varies enormously. Under ideal conditions, for a child of average 'disability' (if I can use such a term), it should be possible to finish TBT in 2 school terms. In contrast, where a child is very severely dyslexic it can take years. However, with perserverance, they will eventually be able to finish.

Toe by Toe is written to be used by non-qualified people so there is no reason why you cannot take the child through the scheme yourself. You will probably find the web site useful (details later) and we also have a free telephone / e-mail support service to provide as much help to parents as we can. Toe by Toe is most effective when done 'one to one' for 20 minutes per day. This is not to say that the scheme will not work when used for less time or done less frequently - the problem is that it may take longer than the target of 6 months to finish. It is unlikely that your child would get DAILY TBT sessions at school so it will probably be best if you work with her at home. In that respect, I have no doubt that Toe by Toe will make all the difference but it may be for the best if I give you a few pointers first:

The scheme has been developed in such a way as to make it possible for non-qualified people - such as parents - to use. In fact , in our experience, the support of an able, committed parent who can find the time to spend 20 minutes a day going through the book with their own child works wonderfully well as long as the instructions (in the red bordered 'coaching boxes') are followed to the letter.

Unfortunately, despite the simplicity of the instructions in Toe by Toe - they are often unread or ignored. For example, I often have parents or classroom assistants tell me that their student "simply will have nothing to do with the nonsense words" and thus they have had to "miss out those bits". This scheme took my mother 25 years to develop and the nonsense words are an integral part of the scheme and it simply will not work properly unless the nonsense words are covered and read correctly. Also, some parents feel that they may have to accept some incorrect pronunciation to avoid discouraging the child. This is self-defeating. If a child knows right from the start that the words and sentences have to be read correctly in order to receive a tick, they will have a real sense of fulfilment as they see the pages signed off by their tutor.

Generally speaking, a tutor's first task is often to convince students that they CAN learn to read. It is important, of course, for confidence that the student keeps a sense of momentum. Therefore, what we do when a particular word / skill is holding things up is: draw a circle around the problem word and then move it forward a few pages (i.e. write it at the top of a new page where it can be practiced further until the student gets it right on 3 consecutive occasions). The old page can then be signed off as finished (I put the completed pages behind a rubber band so it is easy to find the starting point for the next session and also the child can easily see how much has been completed and - crucially - never has to be looked at again). The manual will certainly get more difficult later but - as a decoding scheme - this should not matter too much. As long as she is prepared to 'have a go' that is all that is required. A sense of progress is the best motivation for most struggling readers and they soon realise that what is - for them - a mysteriously difficult skill is within their reach.

Please accept my best wishes in your struggle to provide your child with the precious gift of literacy. If you need any further information please don't hesitate to contact me by e-mail at: frank@kedapublications.co.uk

Yours sincerely,

Frank Cowling ( Toe by Toe admin.)

P.S. Further info on our new website at:


You may find the Feedback Page and F.A.Q.s of particular interest.


I can't praise Toe By Toe highly enough, go on Amazon.co.uk and look for my review (Sherbertlemontiger is my user name). My young son went from unable to read to reading everything he can lay his hands on, and sneakily reading by torchlight at night! It was a battle, he resisted for the majority of the year that we did it - just because!!! But it has transformed his life, he now reads 2 years above his age. It has also improved his ability to do Maths as he can now read the questions.

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Thank you for your kind words, Suzanna. Would you mind if we used your message on the Feedback Page of our website at: kedapublications.co.uk and our Facebook Page at: facebook.com/toebytoe/ ?

Thanks again for your time and sentiments.



Hello Frank, thank you for asking and yes you can. Your Mum is one of my all time heroes.


Thanks Suzanna. Much appreciated. I'll do it today.


& there is a p.s. to this story, at Parents' Evening tonight we heard that his reading age is 5 years and 3 months above his chronological age!!

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Wonderful Suzanna - I've put your postscript onto our Facebook page. You really must be a very proud mum...

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All these experiences will forge her personality, I struggled through school with all these similar difficulties undiagnosed. It was difficult but It was also character building try not to be over protective and let her get upset, this is her experience and she will overcome it and find ways to win in the world. You just have to be comforting and loving and some times, take off the pressure and do some things that are nothing to do with education.Remember education is supposed to help us in life but we must not forget to live and enjoy our lives as well. This age is full of pressure but some children do less the more they are pushed or made to conform to what is "normal".This is your child do not let the expectations of the system undermine your relationship with her.

Who knows what skills will be needed in the future, she may well be much happier

in the real world after school and much more able to deal with it than you think.


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