Dyslexia Action
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Has my 7 year got Dyslexia?

Hi I'm writing here because I've been fobbed off by her teachers over the past 2-3 years.

I have a very bright daughter who can do the most amazing crafty and arty things but when it comes to reading, remembering and writing its all goes wrong for her. She loves writing but we cant always read it but she sticks to the words she knows.

The teachers were telling me she is just stubborn, or unruly or fidgety or basically naughty. In reception I just went along with it, In year 1 myself and her teacher had a plan that she would write about things she enjoyed because getting her to do homework was a battle. Things improved slightly and she had extra help with reading and her writing was getting better. So I put it down to her age and said to myself she'll get there.

Then this year, year 2, its been awful, the teachers are constantly putting her down saying she is naughty and unruly and disruptive with the class. They gave her detention for talking in class. A 7 year old detention. I got really angry by then and spoke to the Senco who said she would speak to the teacher. I said that the constant negative putdowns are not helping at her. She is regressing and getting really upset. I said if they want to say negative things about her then they have to say something positive she has done. I also found out that the teachers have no idea about dyslexia so they don't know how to educate children with dyslexia.

My daughter has come to me and says she has a really bad brain because she can remember anything and constantly repeats herself.

She holds her pen like she has made a fist because it hurts other ways. She cant remember things we have told her 5 mins earlier and forgets words that are the same on the page that she has just read.

I know my daughter is not a naughty child, she is a very bright and clever child who has many talents but this one reading writing and maths are a big problem for her.

I'm waiting to hear from dyslexia action to see if I can get an appointment.

Any advice would be good.

13 Replies

Hi there,

I think you are absolutely correct in looking for extra support for your child 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 another label after all. What you - as a concerned parent - need to know is what can be done to help the child to overcome the problem. Toe by Toe is written to be used by non-qualified people so there is no reason why you cannot take her 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. Progress / success is the ultimate motivation for struggling readers and they soon realise that what is - for them - a mysteriously difficult skill is well within 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. Also, our Facebook Page at: facebook.com/toebytoe/


Have you read "The Gift of Dyslexia" by Ronald Davis? I noticed both new and used copies on Amazon.uk as well as audio books. I've only heard good things about his technique. It could help your daughter. Also keep in mind that no two dyslexics are alike, so what works for one may not work for another.

The teachers are definitely not helping, but making things worse.

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I certainly sounds as if she has dyslexia. I had a similar battle with a SENCO who would not believe that my son was dyslexic. When I saved up and took him for a proper dyslexia test which took a few hours and cost a lot of money the school where given the report and this unhelpful woman actually became enraged that I had undermined her, made me apologise to the senior staff at the school.

It turned out that he had multiple problems and was very mildly on the autistic spectrum and had dyspraxia as well. My son got pain in his hand for many years when writing and still writes very slowly, he has a scribe for his exams. He also has a visual sensitivity and wears coloured lenses for reading. For many years I was blamed for my sons' strange behaviour in school and it takes a deal of fighting and work to secure the rights that your child has to a fair and equal education. When the unhelpful woman left my son made instant progress under a more enlightened and sensitive SENCO and generally we have had a better experience through secondary school.

Adaptive technology is very useful. It would help her a great deal to get a diagnosis because children stop blaming themselves and thinking they are stupid, and start finding ways around their difficulties. The best thing you can do is be supportive and praise the things that she is naturally good at. Remember that often people deny dyslexia because it is a hidden disability. Schools are often worried that it might be expensive to make proper accommodation for her, but it is her right.

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Sorry to hear of your experience at the school with your son. Amazing to think we trust teachers with our kids and they fail them. I hope your son has blossomed through secondary school. The worst thing for me was seeing my son call him self stupid and hit his head calling himself an idiot especially when his younger sister overtook him on reading ladder at school. It really does break your heart. Like you say be supportive and I explained it to my son that when the special olympics was on at the time that they didnt have limbs to do things the way we abled bodied people do and so they found another way to succeed and when he was diagnosed it was like Harry Potter moment when he found the correct wand and he finally realised it wasnt his fault it was like a veil of low self esteem had been lifted


Welcome to this site. My situation is well documented on here. My son was in year 2 when it became apparent he wasnt just a boy born in the summer (a quote from a teacher for reason why he was struggling). I had him assessed by Dyslexia Action and found out he was 0.5 centile for reading ability so you could say about reception age in ability and he was 9 ! Unfortunately, primary schools are so not equipped to help and dyslexia awareness is non existent. I fought the system and believe me it is a fight you will be told that you cant get a statement or now an EHCP for dyslexia this is false I have one for my son because he has severe dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia and because of his treatment at mainstream school he had self esteem issues. It took me a year to get him assessed by the Local Authority who basically told me he was doing really well at school and he could read being assessed as a 2A reader amazing for a kid who couldnt read and couldnt write his own name so I threatened them with legal action and to see them at tribunal and 2 days before the court hearing the LA caved in and agreed to assess him by their own Educational Psychologist whose report didnt even mention the word dyslexia. Funny that eh they reckon they are independent but look who pays their wages!! Anyway to cut a very long emotional roller coaster short I ended up getting my son into a private dyslexic school in Lichfield all paid for by the LA and he is nearly 12 now and his progress is amazing. He is in a small class of 10 pupils the whole school is geared for dyslexic kids and he is now reading and writing age appropriate. He loves school and learning and I am so grateful that he is there and not in mainstream another kid lost in the system. So my message to you is get your daughter assessed either through Dyslexia Action or through a qualified Educational Psychologist to see what is going on with her and then you can see which way you are to proceed. To get help like my son you need to have severe dyslexia and therefore, it is wise to stop all help extra lessons whilst you are getting them assessed. Very important to get your own assessments done first and then write to senco with a copy of the report to see what the school are going to do to help Make sure the Ed Psych puts in recommendations in the report and tell them it may be used as evidence for tribunal as I made this mistake and had to have two done. (they are not cheap expect to pay between £250 to £500). If you are in the midlands area I have contact details for some I can give you. Dyslexia comes in many many degrees of severity and your daughter may not need to have the level of help my son did but you dont know this at this time. Keep all evidence, dont help with home work for the time being if all she can do is put her name on the page then so be it make a note to teacher that she tried and thats what she did in the half hour allotted. To get help you have to prove that there is no progress in learning. Sounds like your daughter has self esteem issues too and the acting up in class is because she knows she is different and doesnt want to stand out. To be honest girls tend to be diagnosed later on around 10/12 yrs old as they sit quietly and are behaved in class so the fact she is struggling now is not a good sign and well done you for acting on it. My son used to sit quietly and gaze into space so much so they thought he had petit mal at school and was told to go to the doctors and he ended up at hospital having test after test which turned out that nothing was wrong with him medically -- teachers should all know the signs of dyslexia and associated learning difficulties but Im afraid to say they dont know and normally treat the parent as some sort of neurotic self absorbed being.

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I agree wholeheartedly with everything austinsmrs has said. I am a SEN teacher - I gave up my job to home educate my son through his GCSEs - it was the only way. I tried all sorts of alternatives when he was little - but when it came to the 16+ public exams only 1:1 could work. So don't delay in getting help - don't take no for an answer - don't accept that there's nothing more to be done. It's a battle but it's worth it because dyslexic children are very special -each one is unique - and they are more than capable of achieving whatever their dreams may be.

This blog will help you.


Oh yes and I have taught many kids using the Toe by Toe book - it does work. But do as austinsmrs advises :)


Thank you for taking the time to reply. I keep doubting myself because she can recognise words and basic spellings and can read slowly but it's just not clicking and to keep being told she is disruptive in school is so wrong. They should want to know why she is behaving like that. She said she doesn't understand and they go to fast. Anyway I'm going in a few weeks to have a chat and we'll go from there. I just want to know so I can help her. Thanks again.


You've had loads of really good answers so I only want to tell you that by the age of 9, my youngest son couldn't write as well as the average 4 year old despite loads of intervention. Something just didn't sit right so I paid £700 and took him to a highly recommended private Ed Psych and suddenly everything made sense. All those things he couldn't/wouldn't do such as Lego, following the rules of a game etc and the anomalies that didn't fit with the conventional interpretation of dyslexia (visual rather than auditory) didn't rule it out as the school had assumed. I now understand everything about him - it's so empowering. I can't recommend it highly enough. Another approach is via NHS literacy difficulty clinics but the waiting lists are long and don't offer the depth of information that a really good EP can. Good luck.

Ps. I have just bought the Toe by Toe book and intend to work through it. I also take him to an excellent specialist tutor outside of school and she totally 'gets' him which is so good for his self confidence.


I'll have a look at that book it does sound like it would help but in the meantime I'm just going to back off and see how she gets on until my consult. She loves writing buy she can't read what she's written I put it down to her having so many wonderful thoughts she can't keep up with them. Also she struggles with maths too because she can't remember how to do sums. Homework is a huge struggle and she gets so upset about it too. Hopefully I'll have some answers soon .


Listening to books and looking at beautiful pictures as she listens is a fantastic way to help with language acquisition. She gets to lie back and listen to fantastic stories and hear good quality English - that will set her up for life. It doesn't matter that she can't read the words. Listening to the books are the first stage of learning how to read, concentrate and develop a love of reading. Libraries have lots of them - tapes and CDs - my dyslexic son loves reading and this is how he started. We read to him every single night and never forced him to read the words. As for maths - small steps. It'll take time -years. It doesn't matter.


Take time to think how a child feels when they battle all day at school to understand what's going on in the classroom last thing they want to do at home is have that battle with mum or dad definitely back off until assessment. Then you can help her in the correct way. Because Tom struggled at school I sat with him every night reading he would read a word on a page turn the page over same word and it was like he had never seen that word before. It was so frustrating for me as I thought I'm ashamed to say he was just being awkward because he didn't want to do it. Looking back now I would have withdrawn all help from me until a diagnosis. Once we got that diagnosis it was a light bulb moment for both of us. We attend local events and on national dyslexic awareness day I'm the mum standing at the school gates with leaflets etc. tom wrote his story to inspire other children and handed these out at a consultation at the county council offices afterwards he was so emotional and we had a good cry. I think he had held on so long about his emotions of how he felt before he got help now he wants to help others

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 Hi there, did you manage to get through to one of our Centres? Our Learning Centre in Egham will be able to help you further and provide you with free advice and information on how it can support you and the additional learning support that your daughter needs. You can contact them on: 0300 303 8358. Alternatively, you can find your nearest Learning Centre by visiting our website: dyslexiaaction.org.uk/find-us

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