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(42 Posts)
broomsticks Wed 05-Dec-12 10:30:27

Hi, I used to be a dyslexia teacher (sorry my husband says I should say a teacher of dyslexic learners otherwise it sounds bad!). Still doing a bit as a volunteer. Anyone else got the same experience?

crimson Wed 05-Dec-12 11:38:07

It concerned me when my children were young [@ 25 years ag] that a good friend who was a headmistress of a primary school said to me one day that there was no such thing as dyslexia. Those words stuck in my mind; thankfully my two never had a problem, although a child I looked after for a while was dyslexic. I didn't agree with her at the time but I wonder how and when attitudes changes to dyslexia. It must have been awful for the children. I know some parents who struggled for years trying to convince the authorities that their child had a problem.

Greatnan Wed 05-Dec-12 11:56:58

I am glad to say that when I was Head of the Wirral Schools Remedial Service, serving every primary and middle school in the Wirral, we gave a course for 16 teachers a term on the teaching of reading, with a special module on dyslexia. I also helped the local Dyslexia group and converted the headteachers who also thought it was a middle-class excuse for less talented children.
I was very well aware of the reality of the problem, as my own daughter suffered from it, in spite of being highly intelligent. Unfortunately, her comprehensive school failed to recognise it and she was put into the bottom stream where she got bored and started being a nuisance. Three of her four children are also dyslexic, but they were luckier with their schools and had some one to one teaching. The internet has been a boon - one grand-daughter, who has two children, is studying for a degree with the OU and finds Spellcheck invaluable.

broomsticks Wed 05-Dec-12 11:59:30

Some people still say there's no such thing as dyslexia, as if it was a disease or something angry It's just to do with how your brain works, some people's brains don't make the automatic connections that Mr Average does without having to think about it. It makes me furious that really bright kids and adults are treated as hopeless just because no-one helps them get round the problem.

broomsticks Wed 05-Dec-12 12:01:01

Oh, my husband comes from the Wirral originally. I agree computers are a life saver if you are dyslexic.

crimson Wed 05-Dec-12 12:27:24

And the more intelligent the child the more they manage to work round it but at the same time underachieving.

soop Wed 05-Dec-12 12:38:58

One of our grandsons is dyslectic. He's thirteen, and attends a small, private school in Leicester. He is highly intelligent and I'm always amazed by the breadth of his knowledge...particularly in matters of history. Given half a chance, he would talk about the subject until asked to stop. At the weekend, my family in Leicester, had a "who dunnit" party. Every member of the family had a role to play. When my grandson was given his part to read, according to his father, he was visibly shaking with nerves. We're all very proud of the fact that, inspite of his dyslexia, he played his part to the best of his ability. smile

Greatnan Wed 05-Dec-12 12:43:20

Yes, they do learn all kinds of strategies to help them cope, especially if they are very intelligent. It is interesting to learn that many successful people, in all kinds of fields, are dyslexic. If you google 'what is dyslexia' you find many other effects of the condition, not just the problem with reading.

crimson Wed 05-Dec-12 12:59:53

Mackintosh was dyslexic. I was looking at some old coursework that my son did about him last night and had forgotten the fact. One reason why he is so enigmatic as an artist/architect as he wrote very little about himself.

HildaW Wed 05-Dec-12 13:54:50

I always had problems reading aloud in class............something they used to make us do when we were reading a 'classic' book. It meant I spent the whole lesson dreading for my turn to come - and totaly ruined me for literature. I would stammer over simple words and the whole class usually ended up chuckling at me (yet something else to be bullied with). Nowadays I still have to read more carefully and slowly than most especially text books where there is no 'story' to help you along. My spelling is also dire. Whilst I was qualifying to teach in pre-schools in my 30s I attended many special needs sessions and it slolwy dawned on me that I was in the dyslexic 'spectrum' albeit at the less severe end. It explained my complete inability to play the recorder, read music (yet come from a musical family) and learn to drive. I have problems with time tables also. However, I taught myslef several tricks (ruler under the line of print for example) and pushed myself through an O.U. degree which I passed. I also managed to get a driving liscence by learning on an automatic first - then progressing to a manual. Once you know its not you being 'stupid' and someone gives you some support and help most things can be sorted.

crimson Wed 05-Dec-12 14:01:27

I've often thought my problems with driving [the sense of direction being the main problem] stem from a sort of map reading dyslexia. I also have no sense of balance; no horse or bike riding for me.

Greatnan Wed 05-Dec-12 14:06:12

Well done, Hilda, that must have taken a lot of hard work and

annodomini Wed 05-Dec-12 14:44:31

Senior GD was not assessed for dyslexia at school, though I could see that this was her problem. When she reached 6th form college she belatedly got all the help she needed. She would have loved to do GCSE History at school but couldn't cope with extended writing. She was helped at college to cope with written work and at University she has received even more help, including a new laptop and printer and last year did very well in her course. This year she is in the final year of a degree in fashion production and technology and I am so proud of her.

Greatnan Wed 05-Dec-12 14:51:29

You are quite right to be proud, Anno, they have to work so much harder than other students. My grandson had an extra 25% of time in his exams after he was statemented. He could have had an amanuensis, but he said he would rather manage on his own. Most universities have now made provision for students with special needs of various kinds but it has been a long struggle. I met plenty of teachers who refused to believe the condition existed, even when they acknowledged that the children were of at least normal intelligence. So many poor children were labelled rebellious and punished in the past.

annodomini Wed 05-Dec-12 15:21:58

In my first teaching job I had a class of reasonably bright children one of whom simply could not spell, but dyslexia was not at that time in the teaching vocabulary. Many years later I remembered her and put two and two together. I often wonder what happened to her.

broomsticks Wed 05-Dec-12 17:05:00

Yes, I have no sense of direction either. I'm okay with maps but not when we get nearly there and I have to work roads out. It's definitely part of the same spectrum I reckon.
I read that 40% of millionaire businessmen are dyslexic, though only 10% of the general population. It suppose it could be frustration making people push harder or the originality of being wired up slightly differently.
Looking on the black side though I was talking on-line to a desperate lady whose bright 14 year old was having no help and was in a class with children with severe general learning difficulties. It's still happening!

vampirequeen Wed 05-Dec-12 17:36:22

My DH has dyslexia. Although very intelligent he spent his secondary education in the lower grades and so became very bored. He is able to read and write but he reads more slowly than you would expect and his spelling...well the least said the better lol. He mixes up g and j because they can have similar sounds and tends to spell using the sounds he hears when he says a word so tends to miss out the less audible sounds.

It must have been terrible for him at school. He left with no qualifications because in those days if you were less able in one subject then you were less able across the board.

GadaboutGran Wed 05-Dec-12 18:04:59

I used to think dyslexia was just about mixing up letters. But then son-in-law came along - he'd had an awful time at school, failed most exams but managed to get into Art college where someone sent him to be assessed. I realised how much more there was too it, such as memory problems, & we helped him get access to funding for a computer & SATNAV (after he went back & forth across Tower Bridge 6 times). These helped but dyslexics often have other neuro-diversities. I read an article about Adult ADHD and ever sympton matched my sil's behaviour. He was bullied and exploited by a business partner who should have known better as they were working in the field of assistance to dyslexics etc in Universities. With great difficulty we managed to get him assessed, diagnosed & treated.
People with such diverse ways of thinking & being are often very creative and much needed to break out of old patterns of thinking but our schools & world is geared to logical thinkers. As an adult our sil is dealing with 35 years of not being understood at home & school as well as his leanring issues. He is surviving because we and his wife have created a safe coccon in which he can use his skills but it is constantly challenging & hard work, especially when he forgets to take his medication or skips his routines.
Two University teachers I know are very rude about dyslexic students who they feel hold the University to ransom & demand extra time, facilities etc. So many just do not understand enough about the condition.

Mamie Wed 05-Dec-12 18:07:17

On the other hand there was widespread recognition of and support for children with dyslexia by the early 1980s when I was a SENCO in schools.
I was providing laptops for children with dyslexia for my Local Authority by the end of the eighties.

Smoluski Wed 05-Dec-12 20:17:37

My lovely OH is severely dyslexic,this affects his memory,his confidence,his speech,he can "read" by picking key words to make sense of a sentence,cannot spell,he has coping strategies,and always held down a job until we both where forced through circumstances to give up work,at 39 he (And I but Iam 59) are trying to get back into work,it isn't going to happen anytime soon .
Essex did not recognise dyslexia,mainly I believe because it would cost them .
My lovely OH is intelligent,intuitive,and perceptive.
Not enough is understood about the condition,it is not just about mixing up letters,employers,and colleges that OH has been involved with have belittled,and treated him like an idiot,he has had to fight to get the 2NVQs that he is proud of only to be told they are not enough to secure a job for him,so who holds him while it eats away into him while he believes he is a failure,my lovely brave caring manxxxnellie

Nelliemoser Wed 05-Dec-12 20:18:44

At school between 1953 and 1966 I could read quite well ( we learnt with phonics.) I was always considered clever but lazy. A big problem I had at at school was writing anything without making mistakes in letter order and punctuation. I still have problems with anything hand written. I describe this as my head being able to spell but my hands can't. I do not hand write letters.

I was found to be dyslexic when I did an OU course at the age of 50.
A very observant worker at the OU regional office did a quick diagnostic test, I thought I was just a bad writer, but she really encouraged me to go for a full assessment. It was very rewarding to to discover that there was an explanation for getting bad exam results and being slow at maths etc.

I now notice that I find big blocks of text hard to follow visually and the same with groups of numbers. I can only really deal with maximum four digits. This is one reason why my posts are always very spaced.

Hilda It also took me several attempts to pass my driving test I suspect coordination problems but I can generally map read well.

broomsticks Thu 06-Dec-12 11:32:03

It does make you angry that people don't realise that dyslexia has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are intelligent or not.
I had one funny thing when I was teaching. We had a really brilliant dyslexic boy who needed a reader and emmanuensis for his exams. One teacher muttered darkly about having to help someone who couldn't even read. We fell about laughing when he came back looking stunned having realised the kid was one of the most gifted in the school.

HildaW Thu 06-Dec-12 13:48:06

Nelliemoser, yes your experience sounds very familiar - left and right confusion is still a bug-bear, before I took my driving test my instructer told me to explain problem to examiner and if I did turn right when he had said go left, as long as I executed a safe turn it did not matter. When you drive yourself you know where you are going so its not a problem. At the moment I am learning ballroom dancing and once again my left/right problem gets annoying but we just laugh about it now....(the plusses of being over a certain just dont give a d***).
I am so glad most teachers get decent training about this........when in my first year of secondary education my English teacher thought it would be a good lesson if she wrote all my spelling mistakes from my most recent work on the blackboard infront of the whole class. Everyone had a jolly good giggle and I just wanted to die - yet for some reason she thought she was being helpfull.

broomsticks Thu 06-Dec-12 16:44:48

Spelling is pretty ridiculous. I worked out there are 10 or more ways to spell the or sound. Daft! We all spend far too much time learning complex spelling when we could be learning more useful things, I reckon.

FlicketyB Fri 07-Dec-12 15:12:13

One of my friends has two children both dyslexic. We met when we lived on the same estate and had baby boys within weeks of each other. Her son was clever, quick, inventive and ingenious. When DS was still sitting on a rug putting things in his mouth, her child, at a year, had worked out how to move furniture to access shelving units to climb onto them and use a coat hanger to get things he wanted off the top shelf.

Our two sons went to school together and when my friend's son went into the junior school still struggling with reading the head teacher suggested that the problem was simply that he was not very bright and as a middle class mother she was expecting too much of him.

She managed to pay for him to be assessed by a private educational psychologist, who said he was in the top 2% for ability - and dyslexic. Fortunately a job move took them to another part of the country and a more enlightened education authority. Both boys were thoroughly assessed and were given tailored personal curriculums. As a result both achieved good enough exam results to get apprenticeships and both, now in their 40s have had successful careers.