Hoping to hear others with similar experiences
I have a 7 year old son. He is left handed, though he can use the other hand about the same. Diagnosis of hyperlexia at 21 months when he spontaneously began reading, writing and spelling. Around the same time in early toddlerhood he was diagnosed with epilepsy (partial complex seizures, frontal lobe origin)
He began writing words around 24 months and never had trouble with letter reversals, for example no backwards d's or s's. I noticed he could read cursive by 2 1/2. He also did things like reciting the alphabet backwards and would immediately know which letter preceded any given letter. Very into the "code" of language as a two year old, more so than the content.
Now at age 7 (in 3rd grade) his reading level is high and he totally loves the content. He especially likes Greek mythology, The Iliad, etc.
Which brings me to my question........... he mirror writes, frequently, whole paragraphs. Never makes any letter reversals (wrong ways d, for example) and it doesn't seem to be a mistake, it is not mixed in with regular writing - if he does it, the entire piece of writing is mirrored. It happens at school about once a week. He has been doing this since around age 3.
The current teacher thinks it's dyslexia - it's not
The neurologist says it's a "novelty" and he will outgrow it
We have wondered about boredom at school, though he does it at home as well, when he is presumably not bored
In the same vein, sometimes he sit down intending to write in code. He will make a key then quickly write in his code. One day he saw the Greek letters on a sorority sign on campus and he wrote for the rest of the day in Greek letters. He also sometimes on schoolwork will do a jumble pattern to the letters in his words, which is consistent through the piece of writing and appears to be voluntary. When pressed for why he's doing it, I get no real reason.
Any experiences from others whose kids do similar things? He does frequently have seizures, so I do wonder if this is a neuro "problem" in some fashion. I also realize other gifted kids sometimes do this. I have seen very little on why (other than young children who do letter reversals on accident). I would love to hear other experiences. Especially if anyone has a term or resource for what is going on.
edited to add: I say this is a problem because he's doing it on schoolwork despite being clearly told by the teachers to cease and he does not get credit for the work when it occurs. His behavior is always great, so something is pulling him to do this despite the negative consequences of doing so.
I can not help you at all-I think it sounds (to a layperson-me) as what you have been told- a novilty and personally I think the code writting is neat!
Any way - here is another way to look at it- at least he is writing! I am so not thrilled- we recently got a new computer and are setting up our old one for our 4 year old-child size mouse and we we want a child size keyboard-talk about HARD!! No place near us (and we have a great selection of stores too!) has one - all on line to buy, well we were told "Why would you even want it?"- as the "genius" bar associate produly told us, our child will have no need for a keyboard because he will have no need to spell or use grammar and our next computer will not have a keyboard either......your voice will do it all, so take a big heap of confort in the fact he is using his mind and his hand......hope you get an answer to your questions, you should post a picutre of the codes, really seems intriguing.
I can't help either, except to say I'm impressed. I recall having fun with my siblings deciphering and making up codes when we were kids. They were nowhere near as complex as you are describing and I don't recall ever trying to submit coded homework. I know there are some fun books about codes and code-breaking but I can't remember any titles. I also recall that my kids had a kit from the Museum Store that had rubber stamps with Egyptian hieroglyphics and a book about Egyptian writing.
I'd keep encouraging him to write codes in his own journals for personal use and reinforce the idea that his teachers can only evaluate schoolwork that they can read and understand. If he tried to submit homework written in French or Chinese, even if the answers were technically correct it would probably be returned ungraded.
ETA: Just saw the photo example you posted. It looks like a combination of codes and fonts that interest him, eg. "gods and goddesses". He might be interested in typography books or websites, illustrated manuscripts and those sorts of things too.
FWIW, I like writing backwards. It's easier in cursive. I did it and do it when I am trying to entertain myself or surprise other people. I don't do it for the surprise factor much anymore, but I did some when I was little. My best guess is that he is bored.
the photo is impressive- encourage it!!!
we also have this- great fun
if you don't have it get it and look for more Greek as well, old kid's soy code books, etc - very nice job!!
I loved trying out mirror writing. learning greek letters and making up "ancient" scripts when I was little. I'd also say it is his way of challenging those regions of his brain who crave the intense stimulation. It is a very sophisticated way of acting out...does he mind not getting the credit for his work? Does it appreciably hurt his grades? I'd try to gently redirect but otherwise treat it as a phase right now...
MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
Both of my kids wrote mirror-image backwards (not just single letters) when they started to write. They are both lefties, and we could tell both were lefties from a very early age. Neither has epilepsy, though, and they are not gifted (smart kids, but not officially gifted). Once they started school, they got used to writing the other way around and also starting on the left instead of the right side of the paper. We never got to the bottom of "why," and once we found out Leonardo da Vinci did this, too we just rolled with it. I always figured it felt more comfortable for them for some reason. I also wrote backward, in codes, with my left hand (I'm a rightie), learned the sign language alphabet, etc. in school, but for me it was boredom in school that made me do it.
PS If I were his teacher, I think I would just stick his paper in front of the mirror and grade it anyway. Really, this and the codes are an interesting talent.
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"
One thing I've focused on with reading and writing with my kids since they've always been way off the charts is being sensitive to everyone being at different places with regards to ability. They love reading upside-down and backwards and we have talked about how it seems easy to us (all of us in our family), but that some people (we've met a lot) cannot do it. Likewise there are things that come easily to others that they can't do. Anyway, we work a lot on respecting others (sometimes successfully and sometimes a work in progress), and they get that certain things aren't appropriate for school. In your shoes, I would focus more on helping him see different forms of expression as appropriate for different times and places. Does he understand that his teacher has trouble reading it?
I did a little accidental mirror writing when I was in 1st grade. I used to get my left and right confused (still have to think about it, actually) and when the teacher said start on the left side of the paper and copy this down I started on the right side and went right to left. I'm pretty good at spatial thinking and turning letters and objects around in my mind and I guess I could read it fine. I have read and heard that many dyslexic people have the ability to visualize and rotate objects and that helps them with thinking in 3D, but mixes up the letters on the page for them. I know a talented builder who is dyslexic. So, I could see where the dyslexia suggestion would come from, but if he's not having any other problems with that (other than doing his homework in code) I think it's probably just exploring the idea of codes. Maybe you can sit with him while he starts his homework for awhile and make sure he's writing correctly and then encourage the mirror and code writing in his spare time. Looks like you got some great book suggestions. My kids like to teach themselves kanji.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
My daughter is 6 and I have recently noticed her accidentally mirror writing some words as well. She has been writing since she was 4 and has been identified as gifted so there might be some correlation there. It seems to happen without her even realizing it, and it's only after I point to the word that she notices.
The only times she does it are when she accidentally starts a word on the right side of the page instead of the left... And since she gets her right and left mixed up frequently I feel like it is more of a right/left visual processing issue more than anything else.
Since your son is so skilled at symbols and codes he might be looking at the letters as pictures, in which case the left/right orientation wouldn't seem important (a cat is a cat no matter which way it faces).
I don't agree with the way the teacher has handled your situation... Has the teacher tried putting a mark on the left side of your son's schoolwork so he always knows which side to start writing on? I have noticed that gifted children can have their difficulties made light of because they are clever enough to get by in school anyway. Your son's teacher should be working with him in a positive way to correct the issue rather than just refusing to give him credit for anything written backwards.
I vote for a leftie thing. Dd did that for about a year between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2. The only trace left in first grade was a few numbers (9 and 4). They were gone by the middle of 1st grade.
I suspect he's just trying out things and he might be a little bored, so he's trying to make it interesting. I remember trying to take notes with my left hand (I'm very right handed) when I got bored. You may need to work on the concept of "the teacher needs to be able to see that you can do it their way".
My left-handed, very bright boy also mirror wrote for a while and is fascinated by languages and alphabets - during his free time at school for a couple weeks he would skip playing games and take out the language dictionary they had so he could learn to write his name in every language . He's never done it on actual turned in school work, but did it recreationally and *at* school in free time for quite some time. He does, however, still have to think about what direction the "circle" letters go...but that is a separate thing from the mirror writing, which was intentional.
Kincaid, when I saw your initial post, it made me think of Leonardo Davinci because he did mirror writing. I had come across sources that said it was both for code, but also for speed and efficiency because it is easy to mirror than to write left to write for a lefty. I went to look up on google just now, and it did bring up articles that associated both to fun/code and or beginning writers that were left handed confusion, but there were also many sources that said it was a characteristic of injury, lesion or disorders like epilepsy. I think you need to talk more with your neurologist and the teacher because might be more significant than just boredom. Also your initial post reminded me of this thread http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1292346/consistent-mirror-writing-on-the-back-of-the-paper-only-why-and-how-do-i-help-her-stop
I do agree with this.
It's interesting you find it easier in cursive...not me. I am not sure when I started (perhaps in grade 3 when we were learning about code writing). I loved it and still will do it for fun. I am very quick at it now as I just as easily envision the letters in reverse. I have always been able to read it easily and can read upside down/sideways etc easily. I didn't really realise until a few years ago that not everyone can read multidirectional.
I say encourage his fun writing skills and interests. I'm sure it is a phase (but something he will likely have with him always)
Sadly, Jan 21, 2011 m/c 6w5d
No advice, but that is really impressive! My 5 year old has recently started writing in code. But it's not mirrored.. more like his own secret language. He also can recite the alphabet backwards and just random words sometimes.. like if he sees a sign he'll spell it backwards. It's very interesting to just watch him. He does strange things all the time though.. he finds it rather amusing to amaze people or "weird them out". I'll try post a photo of one of his secret messages if I can find one
Alyssa, married to the love of my life Bear (step-daughter) A, Our little man P , (step-son) Little Land May 2013- TWINS