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Dyslexia - Can I pick your brains

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My youngest has just been diagnosed with dyslexia - he had an assessment by DECS at school (he attends local publi school). Dyslexia was something that never crossed my mind, I will be honest, as his problem is really about what he hears/phonics. Because he is unable to break down words into phonics he struggles with both reading and writing. Dilema - DECS do not recognise dyslexia as an issue. He gets 2 40 minute session a week with an SSO. He is now beginning to realise that he is not as able as his peers and I envisage that he is falling further and further behind. We have found a great speech pathologist (at Wayville - we are at Aldinga) who specialises in dealing with dyslexic children and teaching them to decode, which is going to be a slow process. I guess our dilema is do we leave in public school (he's very happy there) or will he get more help in the private system. Anyone got any advice or similar issues?



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Guest AngPhil

Hi Lindsey,


I am not sure if this will help much really, as I am still in the UK. I am dyslexic and I really struggled at school until I was about 14 and then it just started to click. I went on to get a degree and I am now a secondary school teacher. I was really lucky too as Keda Cowling, who developed toe by toe (http://www.toe-by-toe.co.uk/), was a teacher at my primary school and I was a test student for toe by toe.


My oldest son is dyslexic and has not had much help in the UK. School will not recognise him as being dyslexic (even though we paid for him to be tested independently). He has really struggled with reading and writing, but his reading has really improved dramatically this year (he's 12 and just started secondary school). The thing that really helped me was learning to horse ride and riding daily, with my son it has been doing loads of basketball, cricket, trampolining etc. There has been loads of research that shows that improving hand eye co-ordination really helps, which is why certain sports seem to help. I'm not a specialist, but it has worked for me and my son. I have also started toe by toe, we tried it when he was younger but it got too hard quickly.


I think to be honest my son and I both found/find school hard and I still HATE reading aloud. But being dyslexic has made me a really good problem solver and I can see that in my son too. Don't worry too much, when my son started to realise he was behind his peers we told him why this was. He understands it more now and is not embarrased about it. I think the Australian education system is much better set up for students who may not be traditionally academic, the system in the UK is moving down the academic route for all.


Good luck


Ang x

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My youngest daughter went to SPELD for testing because of reading difficulties and lack of progress at school. This was about 20 years ago.

Not only did her school not support the diagnosis of a form of dyslexia, they went out of their way to obstruct us by not allowing us to take any of her work away from the school and criticising us for attempting to go outside the system. As we were living in the country at that time it was difficult to find help.

SPELD tested her and gave us a great report to work forward with. They enabled us to help her with a method which worked for her and retested her annually. Over three years she progressed well until she was within her peer groups ability and it gave her immeasurable confidence. I would fully recommend testing and an independant report from SPELD. You have to pay, but it was worth it in the long run.

My daughter was greatly helped when we let her write her work on computers, as it seemed to help her express herself and write much more comprehensively than by hand. But that was 20 years ago, when it was a new way of doing things.

She is now an able professional with a degree and other qualifications. She was not unintellingent at any stage, but was being labelled as such by the system. Not every child learns by the method schools adopt and its just a matter of finding the best way for the child to work.

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I work in the private sector and it is less well-resourced than the public system. No students are getting 2 x 40 minute one to one sessions as there is only 1 SSO for all the students and she works in classrooms. Some of the private schools are better resourced but more funding goes into the public sector, so it's probably a case of finding a school you are happy with - perhaps investigating which secondary schools have good intervention programs, or offer specific support. I agree with the other post, he will learn strategies to deal with this and the differences will become less pronounced, particularly as he becomes able to use computers more to draft work.


My advice would be to save your money, make use of the public system and invest the considerable savings in extra support (knowledgable tutor for example,) which you will ultimately have more control over.

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Guest toniew



My kids attend public school, and my youngest was assessed as having learning difficulties, but not severe enough to warrant DECS funding any support for him - we are supposed to wait until he falls behind enough to allow him to qualify. The school he attends funds the additional support he receives from SSO's and they tailor work around his needs. I think it differs between individual schools, public and private.


I think the only way to find out is to speak to schools in your area to see what they can offer your child.

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Guest bidsandrew

Hi, my son has possible dyslexia but we have been told that he is to young to formally diagnose (he is 6)?


We have contacted SPELD and have had a tutor get in touch with us. Our problem is the school he currently attends are not able to accomodate the tutor and there is also no extra help for him even if he is officialy diagnosed. It sounds like the school he does attend are doing all they can and I think the 2 x 40min sessions he does get are quite good for a state school. From asking around I think the school my son attends is the only school in the area that doesnt get any funding!


We have actually decided to move our son to a Catholic school where we are hoping he might get a bit more help (we have had other issues with his current school apart from just the dyslexia). Its definitly worth contacting SPELD as I know they have tutors down in your area. We have found them very helpful so far.


Good luck with it all and I hope you can get the help your son needs.



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  • 1 month later...
Guest josephine

fullarton house has great staff that can help you in regrds to dyslexia. there is also an excellent book by mark le messurier called parenting tough kids.

It has a lot of great suggestions for the little things that often go with dyslexia like disorganisation etc. THis may not be the case, but just an example. The school system does not recoginse dyslexia as a disability only a difficulty and so no funding really. But the diagnosis helps your child know they are not dumb and that made a big difference to my children who are all dyslexic.

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