or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Waldorf › Waldorf education and dyslexia - UPDATE Post #23
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Waldorf education and dyslexia - UPDATE Post #23 - Page 2

post #21 of 39
Thread Starter 

Small update post

Hi all,

I thought I'd do a brief update to this thread.

We got DS' outside reading assessment on Tuesday. While he's a bit behind the norm, the assessor thought he'd catch up by Christmas. The good news is that he showed few to none of the signs of dyslexia other than some word reversal which she thought, based on how he was during the assessments, due to him reading ahead too quickly. So . . . although he's clearly not an "advanced" or "good" reader, he's not showing many signs of dyslexia, which we're thrilled about.

We have an appointment set up at the Waldorf school for the week after next to meet the possible future teacher, ask questions, and get a feel for it.

Because DS is actually most likely not dyslexic, but, rather, is being pushed to read faster than he's ready to because of the way the school teaches reading, we're feeling like the Waldorf school might really be better for him all around.

Thanks for all your help and contributions and I'll update you all when we've visited the school!
post #22 of 39
that's good news from the assessor!

i look forward to your report about the local waldorf school too!
post #23 of 39
Thread Starter 

big update post

Hi All,

I just thought I'd come back and update you all, especially because of the time and effort so many of you all took to answer my questions with honesty and thoughtfulness.

After a few minor scheduling delays, DH and I went to meet with the local Waldorf school this afternoon. We spent almost all the time with his future teacher (for Class 2; American 2nd grade). We really really liked him and felt very comfortable.

My DH has some very tough questions (he's better at that kind of thing than I am) which I felt were answered with honesty and integrity. I never felt we got a "hard sell." On the contrary, I felt that the teacher was very upfront about saying that if our DS was doing well socially at his current school (he's not), to just leave him there and that if we were very focused on grades and outward indications of academic achievement that we wouldn't be happy with their way of doing things (we're not, though we obviously want to make sure that DS learns to read!)

I knew I would love all the natural materials in the school already but, of course, the most important thing was that I felt the teacher was really good, since DS will stay with him through the next five years.

Now, the next step is for DS to go and sit in on classes for a few days to make sure he's ok with it and then we can possibly even have him start there after our fall break.

Honestly, I feel such relief. DS just wasn't at all happy at his current school and that has weighed on me *a lot*. Of course, I know it won't always be all rainbows and unicorns and such at the Waldorf school. I know DS will have different challenges there. But I think that a change of scene will make a *huge* difference.
post #24 of 39
that's great!

i think it's going to be an interesting journey over the next few months, and i look forward to hearing about it.
post #25 of 39
Yes, please keep us updated.
I have been following the posts here.
My daughter is 10 and just found out she's got dyslexia. She's in class 4 this year. She started in Class 3.
We spoke to the teacher just recently. We have her a bunch of info about the outcome of the tests that were done on her daughter plus in there, there's general info re: dyslexia.
I don't know if she's actually going to do anything different.
dd case is very mild, like mine was.
She doesn't know she has anything.
She is the 3rd best reader inthe class because the others are just learning to rread but they may get better than her fast.
She is a litttle book worm so we're hoping she will continue to slowly get better and better.
She loves archie comics.
I would like to know if the teacher that you spoke to suggested anything that he would do differently?
Was he familiar with the condition?
Thanks.
Michele
post #26 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MicheleRMT View Post
Yes, please keep us updated.
I have been following the posts here.
My daughter is 10 and just found out she's got dyslexia. She's in class 4 this year. She started in Class 3.
We spoke to the teacher just recently. We have her a bunch of info about the outcome of the tests that were done on her daughter plus in there, there's general info re: dyslexia.
I don't know if she's actually going to do anything different.
dd case is very mild, like mine was.
She doesn't know she has anything.
She is the 3rd best reader inthe class because the others are just learning to rread but they may get better than her fast.
She is a litttle book worm so we're hoping she will continue to slowly get better and better.
She loves archie comics.
I would like to know if the teacher that you spoke to suggested anything that he would do differently?
Was he familiar with the condition?
Thanks.
Michele
Hi Michele,

DS is currently in a "normal" school. He gets a bit of remedial help for reading, though, honestly, most of it is via a computer program that helps kids "automate" their reading -- as in, get quicker and more or less "sight read". They are aware of dyslexia in his current school, though the protocols would not have him tested for dyslexia until the end of this school year (2nd grade in the US) or the beginning of next year (3rd grade in the US).

At the Waldorf school the teacher was also aware of dyslexia. Their system would be to test later because they start reading later. If a child were dyslexic, they would have the remedial teacher work with the child outside of class, just like at DS' present school. I'm not sure what, if anything, they would do differently inside the classroom to accommodate a dyslexic kid. It's a good question . ... . I suppose it would depend on how severe the dyslexia is.

The outside assessor didn't think DS was dyslexic, though it's still early to test. However, if he is, it's probably very mild, like my DH's dyslexia. In this case, I think the Waldorf method would be better because there's less pressure to read quickly. We'll see though.

DS goes to the Waldforf school for three days next week to see how he likes it (his current school is already on Fall Break). I'll let you all know how it goes!

Michele, it sounds like your DD is doing great if she's loving books and reading well in comparison with the other kids. Please also update and let us know how it's going.
post #27 of 39

Hi

 

I see these posts are old but I can't help asking.  Did you send your dyslexic child to the waldorf school and, if so, how did that work out?  I am in the same boat you were, ie my child is dyslexic, we found out early, and we are paying for tutoring.  He is in first grade in a waldorf school now, and I am fretting over whether he should stay there.  I do not buy into the whole movement/brain gym thing that is big in waldorf for "curing" dyslexia but they are not bothering me about it and allowing me to pull my son out for reading work.  I, like you, think that his emotional health is better served at a waldorf school and that we should stay there because he is receiving tutoring for his dyslexia so no harm, no foul so to speak.  Just wondering how it turned out for you.

 

Thanks.

post #28 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran222 View Post

Hi

 

I see these posts are old but I can't help asking.  Did you send your dyslexic child to the waldorf school and, if so, how did that work out?  I am in the same boat you were, ie my child is dyslexic, we found out early, and we are paying for tutoring.  He is in first grade in a waldorf school now, and I am fretting over whether he should stay there.  I do not buy into the whole movement/brain gym thing that is big in waldorf for "curing" dyslexia but they are not bothering me about it and allowing me to pull my son out for reading work.  I, like you, think that his emotional health is better served at a waldorf school and that we should stay there because he is receiving tutoring for his dyslexia so no harm, no foul so to speak.  Just wondering how it turned out for you.

 

Thanks.


Hi Fran,

 

Yep, we sent DS to the Waldorf school and he's been there for over a year now. He's now on Christmas break but will start the second half of 3rd grade next week. He loves it and is *so* happy. He's really blossomed socially. He's never going to be the most popular kid in the class, but he has made some good friends, has playdates after school, and generally feels like he fits in and is accepted, which he never felt at his other school. Plus, he loves all the "hands-on" learning and was so proud that he was the first in his class to finish knitting a cap (their knitting project for the Fall) smile.gif We're very happy we made the switch.

 

As for the dyslexia . . . we're working with the school and he'll most likely get an "official" diagnosis by the end of this school year. This is mainly important because once we have the diagnosis, our insurance will pay for some of the tutoring plus he'll have longer on the nationally-mandated standardized tests (we live in Europe. This may be different in other countries). The school did put DS in some of what I'll just flat out and somewhat dismissively call woo therapies. Maybe they help some kids, but not DS -- moving around while singing, etc. (a bit different from eurythmy but the same sort of concept) as well as some other things which we just refused. We have our own tutor and she comes in once a week and helps DS during school. She does use some of the concepts advocated by the so-called Davis Method . . . . working with clay, operating from the idea that most dyslexics are "picture thinkers", etc. but she also incorporates traditional methods to help his reading and spelling, as well. The school does have their own remedial teacher but, for various reasons, we chose to work with our own.

 

At any rate, I think the coordinator for "special needs" at the school was a bit put out that we didn't stick with the Waldorfy type "therapies" for DS and that we brought in our own tutor. However, we were nice, polite, and firm about it and they've accepted our decision as to how to approach it. As I mentioned, they are working with us to get the official dyslexia diagnosis and things are fine. So, basically, it sounds like we're approaching it in the same way you are, Fran, and it's working well so far.

 

Obviously, I don't know your DS'  school or his situation, but, based on our experiences with DS, I'd rather have a child be in a healthy emotional/social situation and fill in the rest as needed rather than the other way around. If your DS is otherwise happy and thriving, and you all can supplement with the tutoring, then I'd say leave him where he is.

 

PM me if you want more information and good luck with it all/

 

post #29 of 39

Thank you so much for your reply!  We do seem to be approaching this the same way. We are in the USA.  My son is in first grade. We love waldorf and chose it before we knew he was dyslexic.  I think like you that I also do not appreciate the approach taken to reading issues by many in our school.  I also was firm with our teacher, letting her know that I considered it a medical diagnosis, that I had made what I considered to be a medical decision about how to '"treat" it, and they are also, not without complaining a little, letting our private tutor pull him out of class for tutoring.  I also have refused BrainGyym and any other movement type therapies, as well as cranial-sacral therapy.  So far, so good. I think I have an understanding with our teacher.  Sometimes I worry, however, that without knowing that much intimately about exactly how waldorf is taught, being new to it, that it is hard for me to evaluate whether it is 100% a good school choice for us given my son's disability.  I highly value that he is happy there and emotionally  in a good place, which I do not think would be the case in a traditional setting.  So, we will  stay the course.  Today, I got permission to sit in on a main lesson, which will help me better assess whether the learning approach there is a good fit for him. I am happy it is working out for you and your child.  Thanks for responding to me! Fran

post #30 of 39

I have some experience here, and want to chime in and say that if you are doing tutoring for reading/language based issues, it is really imperative that this occur on a very set schedule, ideally every day, if you can make that happen.  My child was/is dyslexic and we had curative eurythmy, chanting Steiner verses, lit candles, painting, Brain Gym, etc.....on and on, all obviously not remotely helpful, and expensive to boot.  Solid reading tutoring, using a proven method such as Orton Gillingham, is the best bet.  The daily piece goes against the block scheduling of waldorf grades, but it is essential.  I would pay attention to math and handwriting as well.

 

We have a very happy ending...our child is an excellent student, and an excellent reader.

post #31 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran222 View Post

 I think like you that I also do not appreciate the approach taken to reading issues by many in our school.  I also was firm with our teacher, letting her know that I considered it a medical diagnosis, that I had made what I considered to be a medical decision about how to '"treat" it, and they are also, not without complaining a little, letting our private tutor pull him out of class for tutoring.  I also have refused BrainGyym and any other movement type therapies, as well as cranial-sacral therapy.  So far, so good. I think I have an understanding with our teacher. 

My DH's whole family is dyslexic to varying degrees. DH is mildly dyslexic as is his  mother, while a few cousins are extremely dyslexic and still struggle as adults with reading. So it's very clearly genetic and a "medical" issue to us. Although I've been relatively open to some alternative approaches (a moderated Davis method for DS' spelling has helped him a lot), two months of whatever it was they had DS doing in school (jumping around and singing verses, which he hated!), showed us that we really had to bring in a tutor with actual qualifications to help him. And she has - a lot.

 

It was a pity the special needs coordinator's nose was out of joint about it, but . . . yeah . . .  helping our son with his reading was the most important thing to us -- not her feelings!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

I have some experience here, and want to chime in and say that if you are doing tutoring for reading/language based issues, it is really imperative that this occur on a very set schedule, ideally every day, if you can make that happen.  My child was/is dyslexic and we had curative eurythmy, chanting Steiner verses, lit candles, painting, Brain Gym, etc.....on and on, all obviously not remotely helpful, and expensive to boot.  Solid reading tutoring, using a proven method such as Orton Gillingham, is the best bet.  The daily piece goes against the block scheduling of waldorf grades, but it is essential.  I would pay attention to math and handwriting as well.

 

We have a very happy ending...our child is an excellent student, and an excellent reader.

You made me gigle with the candles, etc.

 

DS' tutoring occurs weekly at the same time, though not daily as there's no way we could afford that. We practice with him daily, however. Math is fine and he excels in it. His handwriting is dreadful, which is something the tutor is also working with him on.

 

I'd be interested in hearing more about what worked for your child, Karne. I'm not in the US so DS isn't learning to read in English at the moment, but perhaps some of the methods/approaches are available here.

 

Also, if Imm remembering correctly, Karne, you ended up leaving the Waldorf school (or am I confusing you with someone else?). Obviously, don't discuss it if you're not comfortable with it (or PM me), but I was wondering what happened? We're not thinking of leaving the school because DS is so happy and (knock on wood) they are working with us and have accepted us bringing in our own tutor. Because we're in Europe, the school works more like a Waldorf charter would in the US as there's strong government oversight and standards, but I'm still interested in knowing what we might want to look out for with a dyslexic child and the Waldorf appraoch.

 


 

 

post #32 of 39

We are also pursing a very conventional course at this point.  A very informative and great read for all of us Moms of dyslexics is Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz.  Thanks for sharing that your child is a great reader now. Fran

post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

I have some experience here, and want to chime in and say that if you are doing tutoring for reading/language based issues, it is really imperative that this occur on a very set schedule, ideally every day, if you can make that happen.  My child was/is dyslexic and we had curative eurythmy, chanting Steiner verses, lit candles, painting, Brain Gym, etc.....on and on, all obviously not remotely helpful, and expensive to boot.  Solid reading tutoring, using a proven method such as Orton Gillingham, is the best bet.  The daily piece goes against the block scheduling of waldorf grades, but it is essential.  I would pay attention to math and handwriting as well.

 

We have a very happy ending...our child is an excellent student, and an excellent reader.



We did not have as extensive or negative experience with Waldorf and ds's dyslexia because he only went for preschool.  Even so, when he was in early elementary, dd was still at the Waldorf school and I talked with dd teacher because she had previously been a reading teacher.  She told me that as soon as he learned how to tie his shoes, he would forge the right pathways in his brain for reading.  How I wish that were true.  

 

I think Waldorf is a great school, but I think it is easier to miss dyslexics because they are so relaxed about kids developing later.  We do not have Waldorf elementary available in our area.  I think the OP is right to keep pursuing dx and additional services for reading and writing.  I am still learning about dyslexia (thanks to experience and parts of the Sally Shaywitz book)- but one thing I found is that few teachers here in public or private schools really understand it.  I asked in 2nd grade when ds did lots of letter reversal, and was told that is normal for all kids even at that age- ok. She did not think we should get him tested even though he was struggling with reading and did not really write.   In fact very few dyslexics reverse letters, so that is not a good measure for evaluation.  He has the more "classic" characteristics, like creative, very verbal with large vocabulary and comprehension, makes odd mistakes with similar sounding words, can not sound out words very well, has hard to read handwriting and is slow, reads slow but accurate... We do not have family members with dyslexia, but I there is a strong genetic link for many dyslexics.  

post #34 of 39

Sally Shaywitz's book is excellent, as is the Eides website, esp. if you have a learner who is gifted, and may have an LD.  This is actually quite common with dyslexia, and I have certainly seen it in our situation.

 

The above poster is correct-dyslexia, which is not a frequently used term anymore, or at least really tends to function as an umbrella term, is incredibly complex, and very often it is amenable to appropriate and early intervention.  This includes direct, explicit, instruction.  


Edited by karne - 1/9/12 at 3:27pm
post #35 of 39

Hi there. I know you've already received loads of helpful ideas and advice but I just wanted to say that for me, personally, crafts helped me learn about my dyslexia and therefore how to work with it. Weaving and working with positive and negative space activities [like drawing a picture of the negative space around a chair, instead of drawing a chair] is a great mental exercise. It helps you think in opposites and understand how to work with your own dyslexic mind versus excelling in spite of it.

 

Good luck to you!

post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by elefante View Post

Hi there. I know you've already received loads of helpful ideas and advice but I just wanted to say that for me, personally, crafts helped me learn about my dyslexia and therefore how to work with it. Weaving and working with positive and negative space activities [like drawing a picture of the negative space around a chair, instead of drawing a chair] is a great mental exercise. It helps you think in opposites and understand how to work with your own dyslexic mind versus excelling in spite of it.

 

Good luck to you!



Betty Edwards has a great book, Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain, and she has exercised that include drawing negative space.  It is a great activity for developing understanding of space.  My understanding is that dyslexics are very good at right brain activities and they tend to read with just the right hemisphere as opposed to both like the typical reader.   This is why they tend to be slower because they see the word as a picture instead of a series of symbols representing sounds. (Right brain processes in holistic pictures and left brain is the verbal domain).  It is also why it is easier to read to oneself silently then aloud because it does not require speech- the left side.  I think a multi sensory approach works, if it is conjunction with reading and not separate.  So, students tracing letters with fingers as they learn sounds would be more helpful to learn to read.  Ds went to an OT for his issues with handwriting and she tried to work with a multi-sensory approach. He only had limited success, but he ran out of sessions with the OT last summer and only now with the new year can we look into getting another referral.  

post #37 of 39

 

I'll definitely look into that book. Thanks.

Good luck in working with your son. I love my brain and do not feel at all at a disadvantage. But understanding the way you work and acknowledging the differences has made my life much easier. :)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s View Post



Betty Edwards has a great book, Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain, and she has exercised that include drawing negative space.  It is a great activity for developing understanding of space.  My understanding is that dyslexics are very good at right brain activities and they tend to read with just the right hemisphere as opposed to both like the typical reader.   This is why they tend to be slower because they see the word as a picture instead of a series of symbols representing sounds. (Right brain processes in holistic pictures and left brain is the verbal domain).  It is also why it is easier to read to oneself silently then aloud because it does not require speech- the left side.  I think a multi sensory approach works, if it is conjunction with reading and not separate.  So, students tracing letters with fingers as they learn sounds would be more helpful to learn to read.  Ds went to an OT for his issues with handwriting and she tried to work with a multi-sensory approach. He only had limited success, but he ran out of sessions with the OT last summer and only now with the new year can we look into getting another referral.  



 

post #38 of 39
Hi, it was interesting reading your post especially being a proffessional. I have three sons, two with Dyscalculia and one with dyslexia. We are planning a move to Canada and enrolling the boys in a Waldorf school. I know so little about it all but from what I have read it sounds like such a terrific approach to learning?
post #39 of 39

My name is Christy and I have a son with dyslexia.  Are you still on this email?  I had some questions about Enki and dyslexia.

Christy

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Waldorf
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Waldorf › Waldorf education and dyslexia - UPDATE Post #23