View Full Version : Help! I think my ds is dyslexic

Lindsey Carter
10-28-2011, 09:59 AM
I think my son may be dyslexic. At first I thought he was inmature, so we took our time with reading, but continued to work daily for at least 15 min a day. Once he turned 8 I started working more intensly with him, but have yet to see any real improvement. He has now turned 9 years old and in “3rd grade” and still lagging behind. This is why I think he may be dyslexic...

-after 4 years of one on one instruction he still has considerable difficulty reading “level 1” readers
-he really wants to read, but struggles greatly
-it took him over 2 years to learn the basic letter sounds
-he had some speech problems as a young child (although he never had any therapy) and still has difficulty with the th sound (in words like mother, other, father, etc)
-he cannot sound out a word when trying to spell
-when I sound out a word for him to spell he sometimes write the wrong letter (I say /b/ he writes d, I say /d/ he writes t, I say /e/ he writes a).
-he still reverses some letters and numbers
-he does not form his letters correctly
-his printing is messy and he has difficulty writing on a line (it tends to be all over the page)
-he tires easily with reading
-he mostly uses context and picture clues or memorization when reading
-he sometimes looks at the initial letter of a word, but often misses the rest and almost always ignores the ending sounds
-he can't seem to remember any common letter blends (like ch, th, sh, bl, etc)
-he is inconstant in the words he can recognize (he can read a word one day and not read it the next)
-he mixes up his left and right
-he has some difficulty in following complex instructions
-his grandmother and second cousin are dyslexic
-when he tells a story it is wonderfully creative, with great vocabulary, but often not very linear.
-he is very creative, athletic, and empathetic
-we have had his vision (including tracking) tested and it is fine (other than very mild color blindness)

From what I have read online this seems to cover many of the dyslexia symptoms. Unfortunately I live in Japan and I can't take him somewhere to be tested. I've heard of test you can do at home and mail them in, but can't seem to find any.

What I am mostly concerned about is how to help him learn to read and write. There are all sorts of things out there, some of which cost an arm and a leg. I don't want to waste money or time on a collection of reading curriculum that won't work.

I've taken college classes on how to teach kids to read, but they didn't really cover learning disabilities. I am willing to do some reading, research and training to help my son, but I don't even know where to start. Googling has left me feeling somewhat confused and overwhelmed. Do any of you have dyslexic children and if so how did you help them? I'm sorry this post is so long. Thanks for hearing me out and offering any suggestions you might have! :)

Julie in AZ
10-28-2011, 10:12 AM
Are you a member of HSLDA? If so, you can call them for help. I spoke several times with Dianne Craft who was their special needs coordinator at the time when looking for help for my ds with vision issues. Her resources are excellent too. http://www.diannecraft.org/

10-28-2011, 11:26 AM
I have a ds who is 12 and was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia when he was 8.5 yrs. We had him tested locally, even though I had been sure he was indeed dyslexic and had been teaching him that way for about a year. The professional evaluation helped me focus my teaching and they gave me suggestions for programs to use with him.

For the dyslexic child, learning needs to be multi-sensory. In other words, when he is learning to read, it will help him to place letters tiles or letter magnets on a cookie sheet to build the words with blends, instead of writing it. It will help him to hear the word spoken and then he should speak the word while he builds the word. He needs to see it, hear it, and hold it in his hands.

There are programs out there, but we did not know about them when I first suspected his issues. I simply bought some cheap letter magnets and had him building words on a cookie sheet. A friend had given me an older version of Hooked On Phonics and we followed that sequence for learning. He'd do the tape and we'd go over the words in the book and then we'd move to the cookie sheet and magnets. He also drew in sand, wrote in shaving cream, and typed on the computer when we practiced spelling words. He learned to read and he was only a little below grade level in second grade, but he was struggling so hard to be there, I just knew he had more issues than just being a boy and immature.

Still, it worked and he was reading. The next level of intervention was Dianne Craft right brains phonics and brain integration therapy. It was good, but I did not see the jump in his abilities, even though we followed it to the letter for a year. It is not expensive and certainly worth a try. It did seem to help his handwriting ability most of all, so it was worth it.

We also tried sequential spelling with mixed results. He was able to spell the
List of words and see the patterns, but he did not retain it. It was hard to work on this daily and not be able to see much help. He made tiny gains in spelling abilities with it, not big ones.

I read a book called Overcoming Dyslexia, which is filled with lots of wonderful information about dyslexia, medical and neurological and educational. Well worth the time to read it. Best book I have ever seen for learning about dyslexia. The author also suggests many practical interventions that we began to incorporate into our day. The one thing we saw that helped him the most was reading together out loud. Every day, we pick up our book and I read a page outloud, then he re-reads the same page outloud and if he stumbles with a work, I immediately give it to him. We would read 6-8 pages each day from an interesting grade level book for him and that counted as his reading. This simple technique built his vocabulary, his confidence, and his speed in reading more than anything else we ever did.

To supplement this, I bought a subscription to RAZ Kids. This is an online web based program for reading. The child listens to a book while following along on screen, then the child reads the same book on screen, then the child takes a test on this book. This was fun and coupled with the reading aloud technique, he really began to be a reader.

Now that he is 12, we use a lot of adaptive technology to assist him. He been learning to type for two years and now is pretty good. He uses the word prediction software WordQ to type all written work. He will sometimes uses Dragon Dictact on my ipad for writing as well. He speaks and it types what he says. He is a member of Learning Ally (formerly reading for the blind and dyslexic) and gets audio books this way. He is also a member of Bookshare which provides ebooks and a speech to text program free to all students in the USA with qualifying print disabilities. We buy a lot of audio books and he uses these for pleasure and for school required reading.

By using adaptive technology, our son is able to function above grade level and his written output has increased and the quality of what he writes is so much more. We continue to work on spelling and writing and reading, but he is able to keep up with technology.

I know this is really long, but I also wanted to address math and other subjects. Math was easy for him when younger. However, math that required multiple steps and organization is difficult for him. We used Math U See because of the manipulatives and his need to see math in action. He often transfers numbers incorrectly. He often flips the places of the numbers... 64 becomes 46, etc... We used graph paper to help him organize. I often wrote out problems for him, and once he'd worked it on paper and proven to me he knew the procedure, I allowed use of a calculator for some steps.

I hope this helped you somewhat. Email or pm me if you have specific questions.

Here are a few links of the stuff I mentioned above;

Overcoming Dyslexia: http://www.amazon.com/Overcoming-Dyslexia-Complete-Science-Based-Problems/dp/0375400125
RAZ Kids: http://www.raz-kids.com/
Word Q: http://www.goqsoftware.com/
Dragon Dictate - there is computer software that is really expensive, but we use the ipad app that was $10 thru the app store.
Learning Ally: http://www.learningally.org/
Bookshare: http://www.bookshare.org/
Ultrakey (the typing program we used): http://www.bytesoflearning.com/english/view/4

10-28-2011, 02:52 PM
Your post just summed my 9 yo old dd perfectly! We are in the process of having her tested because when I began to suspect dyslexia, we were living in Australia and the waiting list for services was over a year long. We never made it to the top!! We are back in the US for a while so we have just started the process. (Yesterday actually was our first meeting. :roflol:)

I have used the ABeCeDarian Reading Program with good success. We are currently using Joyce Herzog's Scaredy Cat Reading Program but only b/c my 7 yo son uses ABCDRP as well and he was catching up to my dd. She would have been horrified so we switched. I like both programs. ABCDRP is VERY no-nonsense, kind of boring but works well and very reasonably priced. Scaredy Cat is much more interactive, games and varied activites, my dd likes it much better. Both are designed for dyslexic kids and have the same approach to teaching. Joyce Herzog is a wonderful lady and you can contact her anytime you are having a problem and she will try to help you anyway she can. She sold me on her program at a HS Convention last summer.

I agree that there is so much out there, and it is hard to decide where to start. Most programs designed for dyslexic kids are similar in approach so you have to decide what you want. There are quite a few w/lots of bells and whistles that are really expensive. Most of those are designed for classrooms anyway so that helped me eliminate them. Look at samples online so you can get a feel for the programs and what you think will work for your ds. Once you have checked out a few programs you get a feel for how you should be teaching your ds and you can probably use what you already have to adapt it for him.

It is tough living overseas b/c you can't easily get these programs shipped to you or call when offices are open. :unsure: I found that so frustrating!

I hope you can find something to help your ds soon.!

Lindsey Carter
10-29-2011, 07:29 PM
Thanks ladies for all your ideas, sympathy and advice! I think I may be able to contact our missions sending organization's MK Department for help getting my son tested.
Shelly, I'll have to look into those reading curriculums.
I am going to buy that book you recommended, Esther. I have read and re-read your post and will probably pm you soon. ;) Thanks for all your insight.

Jo in PRC
10-31-2011, 10:50 PM
AERC (Asia Educational Resource Consortium) has consultants who do specialized testing in Japan. :group:

Amy Joy
11-21-2011, 04:00 PM
I tried to write before, actually I had it all typed out but my iPad went blank. Anyways, I was suggesting that you take a yellow or other colored piece of cellophane and put it over the page that he is trying to read. With some kids, this helps the letters stay still on the page. Some kids have a condition where the letters either "fall off" or "jump around" the page. It's a condition that some drs and eye drs won't even admit exists, but I know people with. One guy ended up with yellow tinted glasses because it helped him so much.
Using the cellophane can help kids read smoothly rather than letter by letter or word by word. There is a name for the condition but I can't think of it off hand. Hope this helps some.