Faltering. Trying. Finding a way to help a dyslexic unschooler - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-04-2010, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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X-posted in unschooling...

Wise mamas, I need support and help. I have a 9 year old who I'm pretty sure has a form of dyslexia. I've let him go at his own pace in what he needs to learn at what time but I'm worried that I may be making a mistake in not trying to help him learn the right way for his brain to grasp reading.

Any suggestions or mamas who have dealt with dyslexia?

My 7 year old is reading and grasped it right away, which does help me not feel like a complete failure!

BTW he is amazing at math! He can do figures in his head in a matter of seconds (unlike me who still counts her fingers j/k! )

I'm willing to be patient and work with him, I just need to know which roads to go down. What, if any, programs work or methods of guiding.
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Old 02-04-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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Dyslexia certainly isn't a failure on anyone's part- it's just someone who will need extra help and different help figuring out reading. Don't despair!
I've heard really good things about this: http://intervention.schoolspecialty....eriesonly=491M
http://www.learningabledkids.com/rea...gillingham.htm This is the same method, just different resources.
Good luck!

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Old 02-05-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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I want to add some words of support, but I'll also tread carefully around because I see that you are US'ing. My oldest is dyslexic, and was in a school where later reading, "absorbing" reading, etc. was encouraged, and it was a disaster. She needed a very structured program to get on her feet-she used Wilson, but there are others out there. There is a book I love as well, referenced on another thread here-my brain w/out coffee can't remember it, but I will at some point!

What helped my child was starting at the beginning, getting a sound grounding in phonics (still occ. shaky on this), being taught specific decoding skills, and using leveled readers. And practice, practice, practice. DD was never going to pick up a book to read on her own because it wasn't fun or rewarding-although we are a book-rich family and she was surrounded by her own reading material. She would sit a nd flip through books, but the actual reading wasn't happening until she was "taught".

Some of what we struggled through was that the reading material was fairly uninteresting at the early levels-babyish for her. We tried to counter by having beautiful read alouds, and richly worded books on CD available. We read, read, read aloud as much as we possibly could. And, it was hard to feel like I was doing something wrong. So often, even here on MDC, there is the idea that kids will read in their own time. Where was that beautiful experience for dd? It just doesn't work that way w/dyslexia, and I think it's easy for kids to get frustrated and lose confidence.

I am so happy to tell you that we have turned a corner here, and my dd is definitely reading for pleasure, with very good comprehension. The world of books has begun to open for her. Series books were the first hook. It has taken time, and it wasn't easy, but we are definitely moving!
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Old 02-05-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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You need more help.

My mother sent my brother to a private tutor who specialized in teaching dyslexics to read. It helped a lot.

One of MILs does this for her career, BTW. She is special ed teacher, who now only works with private students out of her home.

If you can't pay for it yourself, I believe that if you are home-schooling, your school district has to provide you with some special education assistance. You might want to contact them and ask them what they can do for you.
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Old 02-05-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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DD1 is severely dyslexic, we were hsing up until this year. I definitely lean towards unschooling in the scheme of things, it did not work with her. She is also amazing in math, but for everything else she needs lots and lots and LOTS of repetition. I can never assume that she will remember something that she has gone over 50 billion times, because sometimes it is just gone from her brain but as time goes on, the recalling is much easier and faster.

Because that is just not me, sitting there going over something again and again, no matter how fun you try to make it, I can not do it, she does well with it though, we hired someone to help with her reading. We have a private language therapist that works with her 5 days a week for an hour a day, all year long. DD1 has made absolutely amazing strides in the last 9 months. There are many different programs out there, the grand daddy of all of them is Ortho Gillingham, with many branch off programs. We personally use Sounds in Syllables because it is the one that works well with DD1, not all programs work with all children.

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Old 02-05-2010, 02:47 PM
 
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I am dyslexic and I would like to tell you what helped me.
1. to only be able to see the line of reading that I am on I had a book mark with a rectangle cut out
2. middle school --typing on the computer, so words become motion as well
3. reading out loud....I was in high school and my Mom and I were still reading to each other. I college I read outloud into a tape recorder and listened back. With that said, reading with a book on tape might help.
4. at a young age....after having time to figure out each word, going back and reading the sentence, then the paragraph and discussing each.
I still struggle and spell checker is my friend. My vocabulary was greatly affected because you tend to stick to the words you can read and spell. The good news is, your child is probably gifted as well.
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by GAjenn View Post
I still struggle and spell checker is my friend. My vocabulary was greatly affected because you tend to stick to the words you can read and spell. The good news is, your child is probably gifted as well.
I find this w/my dd as well. None of the richness of what is in her head is making it to paper. I cannot wait for her to be solely keyboarding, even though I do appreciate penmanship. It is so difficult.

OP, you might also check out LD OnLine as a resource for articles, book reccs, and general info.
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, thank you, thank you I've got a great list and programs to look at.

We started using a cut out paper to cover the rest of the words and it seems to help so he doesn't get so flustered.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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I have dyslexia. I credit my ability to read to my mother. She spent hours with me every day (after coming home from public school). There is no one answer, but for me it was all about finding reading material that interested me. I second the need for structured reading/learning times with a dyslexic - but don't make it stressful for your LO or they may shut down. For me it also helped to memorize the shape of words and to use colored paper or a colored sheet of clear plastic over the page (I had a colored clear plastic book mark for reading). White paper often wrecks havoc on the eyes for dyslexics - I think it has to do with too much contrast. You will have to see what color works best for your LO, for me light blue was the easiest on my eyes. Another thing that worked for me was to take a speed reading class in middle school. The strategies that you learn for speed reading are very beneficial for those with dyslexia. You may want to look up some of those techniques to teach your LO.

What didn't work for me: I hated reading out load and would stutter (even though I don't normally). Teachers would humiliate me and make me read in front of the class all the time.

HTH!
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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never mind.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 02-25-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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At some point, you may have to decide if your views on education are serving your child well.
Agreed. We spent far too long going along with the "developmental" view that kids read when they are ready to. It was the worst approach possible, and I wanted to believe in it in the worst way! At some point we all have to look at our kids as whole people with their own needs.

Anyway, coming back to say that books with large print are sometimes helpful as kids move on with their reading skills. There are many books published for those with low vision, or in need of large print-try asking at the library. And, I have to say, reading aloud is something we still do at home because it's not always clear that my child is reading the entire sentence or skipping a word that is difficult to decode. I will often model how the sentence can be read as well. It's a very active process.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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Find an Orton-Gillingham tutor. They're supposed to be really effective in helping dyslexic children.
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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My other advice is to start creating a paper trail of what is going on with your child. We've spent nearly a year working on a dx for my DD. It didn't matter exactly what her label was when she homeschooled but it matters A LOT now and this stuff takes forever.

Proper tested by a qualified professional is very important. Figuring which tests to be done by which professional is confusing, though!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 02-26-2010, 02:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to clarify a few things. Just because we unschool doesn't mean I am unaware or stuck on MY own desires as a parent/teacher to quote "decide if your views on education are serving your child well". We do this because it works for our children plain and simple. Now if he needs help in an area, we get it, just like the second kid excels at art - he gets help. I won't send him to a public school to get that help because I don't think that is the answer, if need be we can employ other methods. My mom is a special ed teacher of 30+ years and has been a gem. My grandfather was dyslexic and bless his heart did the best he could to assist us before his death.

I'm not just sitting on my butt doing nothing saying, ah well, he'll get it when he gets it. I'm not that kind of parent. If he doesn't show an interest one day but does the next, then we practice, practice, practice on the day he shows interest and forgo it the times he has none.

I'm quite comfortable in where we are, he is as well, I am constantly reassessing, examining and researching. Times do come when he gets flustered or embarrassed, but that is the age and the personality.

I am bowing out. Thank you to the mamas who have offered methods tried and true
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Old 02-26-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Am am currently using a Right Brained Phonics program from Dianne Craft. www.diannecraft.org for my dd with an auditory processing disorder with a lot of success. The program was actually originally designed for dyslexic children. Good luck, mama.
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Old 02-26-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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I just want to clarify a few things. Just because we unschool doesn't mean I am unaware or stuck on MY own desires as a parent/teacher to quote "decide if your views on education are serving your child well". We do this because it works for our children plain and simple. Now if he needs help in an area, we get it, just like the second kid excels at art - he gets help. I won't send him to a public school to get that help because I don't think that is the answer, if need be we can employ other methods. My mom is a special ed teacher of 30+ years and has been a gem. My grandfather was dyslexic and bless his heart did the best he could to assist us before his death.

I'm not just sitting on my butt doing nothing saying, ah well, he'll get it when he gets it. I'm not that kind of parent. If he doesn't show an interest one day but does the next, then we practice, practice, practice on the day he shows interest and forgo it the times he has none.

I'm quite comfortable in where we are, he is as well, I am constantly reassessing, examining and researching. Times do come when he gets flustered or embarrassed, but that is the age and the personality.

I am bowing out. Thank you to the mamas who have offered methods tried and true

Well said. I was quite irritated by those comments, myself, but didn't quite know how to address it.

Pixie is a personal friend of mine and I was taken aback, to say the least, that someone would make such a statement without knowing anything about the way her children are educated and raised. Unschooled doesn't mean ignored.

I appreciate the helpful info from others.

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Old 02-27-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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If it were my child, I would find the best professional possible to assess my child, and then I would hire the best tutor in my area with experience working with children with dsylexia (or whatever dx that the child has after an evaluation).

I would let my child have the benefit of someone who has studied the specific challange they have and has experience helping kids with that challenge be successful.

I would make sure that my child learned to read.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 02-27-2010, 05:13 AM
 
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As a mother of 5 children who have been homeschooled all of their lives I am relatively comfortable speaking of homeschooling. We unschool. I am the coordinator of our local homeschooling group, there are more than 300 families on our mailing list. I have never heard of a universally accepted definition of unschooling, I was quite surprised to read of one in this thread. In my experience most families who unschool would look at the definition that was given earlier as inaccurate, I do.

"That's not unschooling. That's deciding what the child needs to learn and then making sure they learn it. Unschooling is believing that when it is important to them, they'll get it. That may not be true for children who's parents post on this board."

Unschooling to me (warning: this is my opinion only would be believing that my child will learn what they need to to be successful in life (whatever that success may be, regardless of society's standards) and helping them to achieve this goal. If they are in need of help to learn a concept, I will help them or find someone who can help them. I have never heard of parents who choose to unschool later limiting their children to only that knowledge that they themselves possess. I am familiar with many families who have searched high and low to find people who are more knowledgeable on a subject to help their child to learn new things.

I was surprised at the harshness conveyed in the previous posts, I would have felt attacked if I were spoken to in that way. I am a very supportive person in regards to educational choices, I believe that every child is different, my five children are as dissimilar as any could be. Though we choose to homeschool our children I do not pretend to know what is the right choice for any other family. I know that there are many reasons for families to choose to homeschool their children, these reasons are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. I feel that every time a family is faced with a negative comment about their choices (whether that comment was intended to be negative or otherwise) it creates more stress and conflict in a situation where positive and encouraging support could reap so many benefits. It seems that when we are put in a defensive and judged posture we can begin to lose our focus on the important issues they have been trying to educate themselves about.

If we are supportive (as so many of the previous posters have been, we can help the family to gather as much information as they can about the subject and familiarize themselves with the many choices they have to benefit their family.
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Old 02-27-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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If it were my child, I would find the best professional possible to assess my child, and then I would hire the best tutor in my area with experience working with children with dsylexia (or whatever dx that the child has after an evaluation).

I would let my child have the benefit of someone who has studied the specific challange they have and has experience helping kids with that challenge be successful.

I would make sure that my child learned to read.

Again with the implication that Pixie is dropping the ball somewhere. I don't understand this. Maybe we're misreading it, but this post sure comes across as holier-than-though, arrogant, and unhelpful.




Your post here was actually good:
Quote:
My other advice is to start creating a paper trail of what is going on with your child. We've spent nearly a year working on a dx for my DD. It didn't matter exactly what her label was when she homeschooled but it matters A LOT now and this stuff takes forever.

Proper tested by a qualified professional is very important. Figuring which tests to be done by which professional is confusing, though!

So why the snark?

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Old 02-27-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by purplepaisleymama View Post

I was surprised at the harshness conveyed in the previous posts, I would have felt attacked if I were spoken to in that way. I am a very supportive person in regards to educational choices, I believe that every child is different, my five children are as dissimilar as any could be. Though we choose to homeschool our children I do not pretend to know what is the right choice for any other family. I know that there are many reasons for families to choose to homeschool their children, these reasons are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. I feel that every time a family is faced with a negative comment about their choices (whether that comment was intended to be negative or otherwise) it creates more stress and conflict in a situation where positive and encouraging support could reap so many benefits. It seems that when we are put in a defensive and judged posture we can begin to lose our focus on the important issues they have been trying to educate themselves about.

If we are supportive (as so many of the previous posters have been, we can help the family to gather as much information as they can about the subject and familiarize themselves with the many choices they have to benefit their family.
~laura
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Thank you. I realize I'm not the OP, but as a former unschooler and a personal friend of Pixie's, I'm finding myself rather bothered that she is being targeted and picked on for reasons unknown. Perhaps this topic is very personal to some posters (I understand that because some topics really get to me in a personal way), but to continue being confrontational is neither kind nor helpful.

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Old 02-28-2010, 12:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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baileysmommy, thank you for that link. I liked it very much so! DS has an auditory processing disorder so the dyslexia falls into line. That site was fantastic in finding a method of helping him. Other programs we've tested made him crazy - he's not a musical, kiddy kind of learner, so many are too juvenile.

purplepaisleymama, thank you for the support.

linda on the move, so what precisely is your dd dx? and what, pray tell, was your point? I mean it in the nicest way possible, but I am not you and what you said neither helped nor did it lead me in any direction but negative. I came here for support and offerings of routes to look into. Again, I CAME HERE for support, which shows in some part an active roll in my child and his education. AND....... in a pursuit in helping him to *gasp* read (he can btw, just difficultly).
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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I'm a tutor and I work with a lot of dyslexic kids. Your little one is just 7, right?

That's great! Catch it young and work hard on it before they get frustrated and hit the tween years; even with unschooling, chronic sources of frustration and poor performance can lead kids to completely shut down. This is the biggest pitfall ime, these kids form really negative views of themselves and academics so imo you absolutely must work on it now, intensely so they have some good coping skills in place before they hit puberty.

So my vote is to throw everything you have at it now. I would also pursue testing and some expert input. Even some private tutoring.

Now you don't necessarily have to drill every day, but you are going to want to work on reading skills consistently whenever you can.

With my kids, I never give them tons of work, I keep it short and sweet and repeat and repeat.

Fun tools I use with my kids...

Games like Taboo and Balderdash (might be a bit old for 7 though)
Mad Libs
5 minute or 1 minute mystery books that we read and solve cooperatively
Hangman
Scrabble
Very short worksheets for reading comprehension, meanings from context, critical analysis etc...

Also understanding how open syllables and close syllables affect vowel sounds is important.

The reading strategy I use with my students is:

-Start with what you know. Frex, 'intelligence' completely bamboozled my student today. But they knew the word 'tell' and 'in' and once they put that together, the rest of the word came together.

-Be sure the letters are what you think they are. Dyslexics have a hard time with b,p, d and q in print as the are very similar but for the direction of the line. I have my students physically trace the line or even the entire letter with a finger as they read to help them see the letter correctly. (To enhance visual discrimination, we model these letters in playdoh and also use a blindfold where they have to identify the letter by touch alone.)

In the same vein, I see a lot of extra letter insertions. An S or B or R where there aren't any. Watch for those imaginary letters, in my experience, they tend to be the same ones over and over. Once you alert your child that they have a tendency to insert extra Rs or Bs that aren't there, they can then learn to stop and double check for those letters before reading on.

So, basically, find the weakness and give your child a corrective action that compensates for it.

As a tutor I do the following...

-Teach and drill spelling patterns such as -ck, -dge, tion, atch etc...until they are second nature. I spend maybe 10-15 minutes a session on this.

-Have your child read a paragraph out loud and then quiz for comprehension. This takes less than 15 minutes. You want factual paragraphs that have key points like numbers and data that need to be retained.

-The colored plastic thing bears investigation. My training included a news interview with the researchers pioneering that solution for dyslexia. It was remarkable. You can get transparencies from Office Max type places in different colors very inexpensively. Try several different colors just to see if it helps.

-Spell words with playdoh. This is a great multi-sensory tool that really helps dsylexics grasp how words work. Do one a day in just 5 minutes.

One book that you may find helpful is Smart Moves. Written by a scientist who works with LD kids and talks about the neurology as well as kinetics of learning--really helpful book on understanding the physiology of learning differences.

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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Again with the implication that Pixie is dropping the ball somewhere....
So why the snark?
It doesn't sound like the OPers son has had a professional assessment, which I believe makes sense. I know how long it can take to figure out what sort of assessment to do, who is the best person to do it, and then wait until they have a slot. (waiting list of 6 months are the norm here)

I wasn't being snarky.

I think it is possible for a parent to realize there is a problem and keep trying things and keeping trying things until they realize their child really does need a professional, and then find out that it will take year to sort that out.

On the unschooling thing -- Different people define it differently and I've no desire to debate it. But my advice, as a former homeschooler with a SN child, is to not get caught up in whether or something is unschooling.

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Originally Posted by pixie-n-hertwoboys View Post
and what, pray tell, was your point?
My point is that your child may very well need professional help to reach his potential, and that if you come to that conclussion later, it may take a while to make it happen.

Sorry that it came across snarky.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 02-28-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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Violet gave a wonderful list of things to do.


Another one that I wanted to throw out there is bypassing printing and going straight to cursive. It is much harder to reverse letters in cursive then print and it may actually be easier for some dyslexic children to write. The loopy letters rather then the straight ones may be a big difference. My 7 year old does not print, eventually we will go back and teach her how but for right now, cursive works better for her.

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Old 02-28-2010, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, thank you SO much Violet!! excellent activities

mmmm never thought of that Peony! might try cursive and see if its any easier on his brain.
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