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Help - high language but can't read or write well

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Advice please. Tim is 8 years old. He has excellent language skills - can have great conversations, can follow instructions, loves putting on impromptu plays etc but it all falls apart when it comes to reading/ writing. Spelling is very poor and he can barely write two or three sentences. reading is well behind where he should be. As long as it's all verbal you would have no idea that he has any problems.


What do you think the problem might be and what should we do about it?

post #2 of 9

Hi Zeozeo.  Welcome to MDC and the special needs parenting forum.  Is your son in public school or is he homeschooled.  Either way, you can request an evaluation from the local school district.  My middle son is very similar, except with the reading.  He has all these amazing ideas and answers in his head, but he can not get them down on paper.  His spelling is awful and his handwriting is barely legible.  He ended up testing gifted with a learning disability. 

post #3 of 9

I should have checked if you were in the US or Canada first!  I'm not sure what the laws are about evaluations in other countries.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

In Australia, small private school. He has small group remedial lessons, but I'm not sure if there's an underlying issue?

post #5 of 9

This is basic, but has he had his eyes checked?


There are a variety of issues that can cause reading problems. Dyslexia, for example.  I'm not sure how one would go about being tested for learning disabilities in Australia.  (I find it confusing enough in the US)


Do his fine motor skills seem OK otherwise? Like when he plays with lego or needs to fasten a button or whatever. I'm wondering if his writing skills are behind because his reading is behind, or if there is also an issue with his actual motor skills. One of my DD's had fine motor delays that made learning to write extremely difficult, but it showed up in other ways, too.

post #6 of 9

My son was the same way.  He was a verbal rock star, but had a ton of problems with writing, reading, and spelling.  We eventually decided to have him tested because he seemed to bright to us and had such wonderful ideas and could grasp scientific ideas so easily but was struggling with school work.  He tested verbally gifted, but his non-verbal was WAY lower.  Further testing should that he has learning disabilities.  We resisted testing for a year, but are now so happy that we did because it is helping us help him learn better. 

post #7 of 9

My 7 y/o DS1 is exactly like those described here. Very verbal, far beyond his age with vocabulary/ideas, but reading, writing and spelling are at the very low end for his age/grade, if not falling behind. I have yet to have him evaluated, but have been looking into that for this school year. 


I have a question for those of you who have children like this and have had them evaluated. Have you noticed that your child also has some sensory issues? For example, DS1 seems to become very overwhelmed when there is a lot of activity going on at one time or a room is very loud, which makes it even more difficult for him to focus and it affects his ability to complete his work. (There are quite a few more things he does that make me suspect a sensory issue going on -- just trying to keep this brief by giving one example since that's not my question specifically.) Unfortunately his teacher last year did not notice any of this in him during class until the end of the year (which she admitted was due to the fact that she had a lot of loud/disruptive children) and only realized too late that he was having a hard time completely his work. I'm wondering if his possible sensory issues are a completely separate issue or if it might be related to his ability to learn the reading/writing skills?  


I don't mean to derail the OP's original question. If this is better suited in it's own thread, please let me know and I'll gladly move it. 

post #8 of 9

Hi Itsajenism,


Yes, my very verbal son who has trouble with reading/writing/spelling does have sensory issues.  He puts his hands over his ears whenever we are anywhere loud.  At loud, busy places he sometimes gets overwhelmed at asks to go home.  It could certainly be totally different with your son, but my son has been diagnosed with Aspergers.  It might be something to consider. 


If your son is having sensory problem and problems with writing, I would certainly get him as OT eval at least.

post #9 of 9

My ds has dyslexia, and the characteristics described by the op sound like his.  I think the best way to help in this situation is to ask the school to do an evaluation for learning disabilities.  They do not dx, but they can use knowledge from the evaluation to help set up a IEP or individualized education plan, if he needs support, special ed, or accommodations to meet his learning needs at school.  To get more specific in figuring out what his specific dx is, then you need to contact a psychologist specializing in children with learning disabilities to do a neuropsych exam.  This is an iq test that can both identify disabilities and also areas in which he is gifted.  This may be very expensive depending on whether or not your insurance will cover it, but this will help clarify which type of disability, if any, are effect your ds's ability to read and write.  

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