Does anyone have a child with dyslexia?

Yolanda - posted on 01/22/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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This is new to me and I don't know much about it and I don't know how to help her deal with it, any good advice will help.

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Cindy - posted on 01/22/2013

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Thank you so much Gwendolyn for all your advice. You were really helpful to me in understanding everything. I do have one of those brushes but I didn't know it was so important. Her school is testing her for OT services. We would have put her in OT but we can't because of work. I do have a book that I am reading on it that an OT gave me.

Gwendolyn - posted on 01/18/2013

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I'm sorry I didn't explain the sensory diet more. I too thought it had to do with foods (like they tell you with the ADHD diets) but it's not. It's a diet for the nervous system.

I am by no means an expert but this is how I understand it.

Think of how each body part is designed to perform a function. the nervous system is supposed to bring in sensory information for processing. If it can't do that it becomes "starved" and you become compulsive. Like when you've been riding in a car all day and your legs start to almost ache with the need to get up and walk around. The need to walk around can become almost compulsive like you feel like you will explode if you don't get out of the car.... ok so that extreme may only be me but I think you get the idea. lol Your daughter's (my son) nervous system doesn't register the small things. A light touch on the arm doesn't mean anything. So their nervous system is always "starving" unless they are doing something intense. Imagine that gonna jump out of your skin feeling all day. That's how they live. Keeping that in mind might make it a bit easier to have compassion and patience with her.

My son loves hot peppers on his food, he will spend forever jumping off things as hard as he can. Hitting things (sticks, baseball bat) into the ground, trees, anything else that he thinks he won't get into trouble for. Rubbing his hands over everything we pass in the store, he has to touch it all. Sound ADHD? lol but it's not it's his nervous system bringing in all it can. "Feed" that and he no longer needs to get up and walk, hit things, etc.

The sensory diet is a "diet" of presenting stimulus to the nervous system. The goal is to teach the nervous system to respond to lighter touches, to learn to recognize the small things.

There is a specially designed brush you run over their arms, legs, back etc several times a day. It stimulates the deep nerves and helps to "feed" them. Joint compression is one we do. When you talk to different OT's ask them about sensory diets, they should be able to create one that will work for your daughter and teach you how to do it at home.

There are other activities as well that help. Things like sand tables are great. It doesn't have to be sand, fill a box with dry rice, beans, split peas, etc throw in a few small toys to find. That will help to stimulate her hands and "feed" that need to touch things. Clay and putties are good for stimulating the hands.

Other tips I was given we are trying not all will work for everyone. Tying a elastic band between the legs of her homework chair so she can bounce her feet on it while working. The idea is it will help "feed" the nerves in her legs so she won't need to get up and walk around as much. Haven't tried it but was told some kids respond well to sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair to do homework. The balancing it takes to stay on it "feeds" the nerves in the legs, back, and stomach.

One of the things my son loves to do at OT is they have large plastic tweezers and he is supposed to pick up dry cereal (like corn flakes) and put it in a cup. There are a few other "fun" foods mixed in but mostly it's the easily broken flakes. He gets to take it with him when the session is over to eat. The idea is that he will learn the amount of tension he is using, if he's too rough he will break the flakes.

For homework try a textured board (sometimes you can find wooden clip boards that are textured on the back) and have her write her spelling and vocab words on it with her finger. Draw lines like on the school paper for her to have the reference points. I've had success with kids and doing that, it involves more senses when learning those abstract things like written language. Have her say the word out loud, spell it as she "writes" it, say it again (meaning if it's a vocab word). 3 times, go on to the next.

If there is any complaint about nausea or headache, dizzy, etc when doing any sensory activity stop and take a break. That is a sign of sensory overload.

If you try anything I've suggested, try the textured board for homework. I've had sooo much success with it.

Good luck

Cindy - posted on 01/18/2013

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Hi again Gwendolyn, I just read one of your other posts and it's really interesting how confusing the letters can look the same but I do get what you're saying. You explained it so well. Thank you for posting that. It helps me understand.

Cindy - posted on 01/18/2013

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Thank you so much Gwendolyn for the advice! I have never heard of a sensory diet? Are there specific foods to avoid and certain ones to eat? Chloe has trouble with touch. She may hug you too hard or whack you not knowing she is hurting you. She gets into trouble frequently at school because she cannot keep her hands to herself. She used to be on a stimulant but then would not eat and so that wouldn't work because she wasn't feeding her body. I also have ADD and my mind can go many directions at once, I do have lots of trouble understanding the sensory issues and how it seems to affect everything. My husband and I both work a ton as we own a business. It's so hard to have time to work with her as I am not done teaching until 7pm and by then she is way too tired to focus. My husband tries to work with her before 7pm but is not able to every night; however, I have found in the past with my other children that they learned just about everything in school. So I'm trying not to come down on myself for not having the time to work with her alot. But I do read to her a ton in the evening before bed and with one simple book, I read and point and ask her to then read after me to help her learn. It's the only non-stressful way I know of. I do that because I know she has had alot of stress at school. Also, I do have a friend tutoring her once a week, but it seems like no matter how much help she has she just cannot succeed. We are meeting today with her teacher and the principal and I want to discuss with them ways to help her succeed. We are also trying to get OT services approved through school and it's taking forever.

As far as holding her back, I'm not sure at this point if it will do her any good. I've been told that her IQ is low but I don't think it's accurate. During the testing she was climbing on the table, underneath the table and taking her shoes on and off and I don't know that in 4 hours of testing with that how they could get accurate IQ results. They couldn't even get to the point to test her whatever kind of dyslexia she has but they did say she was reversing things.

Chloe is adopted from China and there's been some discussion as to whether she might have fetal alcohol syndrome because of her symptoms. I do wonder if she does.

We are looking to find something she is good at. She does love to swim and she is one strong little girl and I think she could be a strong swimmer. So maybe when it gets a little warmer. I think here in Texas that they only have swimming lessons during the summer but I'm not totally sure. Another thing we thought of was martial arts but I don't know yet if she would like it because we haven't tried it yet and funds are low right now.

Thank you for your advice. Please tell me more about the sensory diet.

Thank you.

Gwendolyn - posted on 01/18/2013

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Don't make things just about what she can't do like everyone else. Remember to focus on what she can do better than everyone else. For every "disorder" there is a compensation.

In my previous post I already listed some that come with dyslexia. ADHD has advantages as well. An ADD mind sees the world differently, it "connects" things that aren't normally connected. They are the outside of the box thinkers, creative, inventors, etc. I have 5 children, because of my ADD my house is almost always cluttered, it's a daily struggle to stay organized. Also because of my ADD I know where all my kids are and what they are doing, my mind can go 5 different directions and it's ok. I have ppl ask me "how do you do it?" the answer is simple, I'm ADD. lol

I also have children with sensory issues, that can be very hard. I don't know which end of the spectrum your daughter is on so it's harder to comment there. Make sure you get a good OT and a sensory diet for her. I'm not as familiar with the mood disorder but if I had to guess based on my kids sensory issues things would get better with a sensory diet. One of my boys doesn't receive sensory input like everyone else, his body is always craving stimulus. Makes it very hard for him to stay still. He would get in trouble and then frustrated and things would escalate. I had several dr's say it was ADHD and maybe mood issues but it wasn't, it was all the sensory disorder. Feed his nervous system so it doesn't have to go looking and he does pretty good.

It can be hard, it can also be a huge blessing. Stay positive.

As for the repeat, only you will know what is best for your daughter. My personal belief is avoid a repeat at all costs. If she is already down on herself you need to very carefully consider the emotional consequences of that. I would probably exhaust all options for good tutors and such before holding her back.

Cindy - posted on 01/18/2013

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My daughter is 7 and in the first grade and was just diagnosed with dyslexia. She also has ADHD, sensory disorder and a mood disorder which causes alot of problems for her with learning. We are in the process with school to help her and they are cooperative for the most part. I don't know how to make my daughter feel better about herself. Her tummy hurts her all the time and she feels like a failure at school. She doesn't feel like she fits in because she doesn't learn no where near as well as everyone else. How can I make her understand that it's ok? I just don't know how. Everytime I talk to her about it, I tell her that it's ok if she cannot do the work the same as everyone else; just do her best. Also, she is failing first grade so badly that we are thinking she should repeat it. We don't know if this is the best decision because of friends and she has very little friends.

Kathryn - posted on 01/23/2010

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Hello - my son was diagnosed with severe verbal dyspraxia at Nursery age, he is 12 now and has had lots of speech therapy session via the school and we have done lots of work at home to improve, he is a happy, popular boy and gets on very well with his older sister, you don't mention how old your child is, there are lots of free websites that offer great advice. Is it dyslexia for numbers or words or a mixture, I struggled at school and discovered at the age of 38 whilst enrolling in our local Adult Education classes that I have dyslexia for numbers. The brain just has to learn a new route in talking. solving problems and can be re-trained with help

Good Luck

Yolanda - posted on 01/22/2010

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Thank you all so much for your advice and Shelly I will get in touch if I have any questions.
I thought i was in this alone thanks for letting me know that i have someone to talk to.

Ashley - posted on 01/22/2010

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HI my little brother has been diagnosed with it .. he does have a hard time in school but his biggest problem is they make him do the same thing over and over again he thinks hes being treated like a baby.. the only thing i can tell you is you must be very supportive of your child and not lose your temper when they just get so overwelmed with stuff.. i would look on line there are some great sites that show stuff you can do to help your child out ... if u have any questions you could message me and I could try to help . good luck

Shelly - posted on 01/22/2010

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i have a 16 year old daughter who is dyslexic. I knew in the 2nd grade that she was and the school didn't agree til the 5th grade, I would recommend that you talk to the school ( if she is in school) and see what resources are available to her there. Also, we had was is called ( here in KY) a section 504. which was a result of ashleys learning disability. The section 504 was a list of things the school has to do to provide the correct learning environment for your daughter. Then that escalated up to an I E P. Individualized eaducation plan. This was a wonderful thing for my child. the teachers had to have someone read tests to her and she could verbalize her answers, provide her extra time on tests, allow her to learn on the level that she was capable of without being held down by reading and writing constraints.

I had to look everything up on the ( persons with disabilities act).

Now- on to her, specifically.

I can't speak for your child, but ashley was convinced she was stupid, retarded and so on. We were continually telling her she wasn't. It just didn't seem to get through to her. It took her improving in her grades ( which happened due to the section 504) that she began to see that she was indeed smart.

Depending on your daughters age, this next part is hard. I had to explain to ashley over and over that she just learned differently. That was the only difference.

I did changed her over to an alternative school, only because the classrooms were smaller and it meant that she would be given exactly what she needed to maximise her learning capabilities.

She is 16, making straight A's and will graduate 6 mo early.

The first battle will be getting the school to take a proactive approach. Once that is in place- she should see the difference. you are her advocate. be prepared to fight for the best education for her.

If you have any questions, please email me directly at ssky74@yahoo.con

shelly

Gwendolyn - posted on 01/22/2010

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none of my children have been diagnosed but i have dyslexia. how old is your daughter? is it severe?



dyslexia can be very frustrating. you can misspell everything and it looks right or words that are right will look wrong. makes editing school papers a nightmare. she will need your support with that. but it also has some wonderful blessings. the issue with dyslexia is how the brain thinks. an example i usually use in person so may not come across well here so be patient with me... lol.... imagine a cat... on it's feet it's a cat, on it's back it's a cat, curled up in a ball sleeping it's a cat, black fur it's a cat, white fur it's a cat, calico fur it's a cat. it can be turned a thousand different ways and it's still a cat. another example... a camera. from the front it's a camera, turn it around it's still a camera, on the side it's still a camera, broken in half it's still a camera. some cameras are thin and small, some are bulky and go on a tripod, some are in phones. doesn't matter how different it looks it's still a camera. that's how a toddler learns, one object at a time, how different it can look and still be the same thing. then they start school. they start learning symbols, like the alphabet. they learn this is a 'p', but when they flip it over it's not a 'p' anymore, now it's a 'b'... kinda confusing but it doesn't stop there flip it again and guess what? now it's a 'q'... flip it yet again and it's a 'd'..... does your brain hurt yet? lol most brains adjust to this just fine. but that is why it's not uncommon for grades k and 1 to have reversal problems. the dyslexic brain has a harder time with it. takes a lot more to grasp the idea that some things stay the same and some do not. then when they finally do grasp it they learn about cursive or typing where other fonts come into play..... makes school horrible.



the advantages, the dyslexic brain is always turning everything to see it from every angle. in the physical world they make awesome architects, drafters, almost anything to do with the hands. they can take the item they are working with and turn it every different direction including inside out all in their brain. they can see the problems before they even start, they can plan the course and do very well at it. on a non physical level they still can do the same things, they take a situation and run through it 15 different ways. they can predict the problems before they hit them, know what decision they want to make.



encourage her to work on the weaknesses and build the strengths. a lot of the "great minds" of the world have learning disabilities including dyslexia. look those up, as age appropriate teach her all you can about how her brain works. focus on the wonderful parts of it, what it allows her to do that others can not. it can be a blessing, doesn't have to be a curse. teach her that opposites are a part of being on this earth. with her gifts there are struggles, but gonna use the talents to make up for it. she has opportunities that yrs ago didn't exist. like computers that will spell check as you type.



anyway i think i may be rambling now. lol stay positive about it. never let it be an excuse to not try or to accept failure. i'm a firm believer in education and understanding why/how things are not just what they are. help her to understand her brain. have fun.

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