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6 year old kinder struggling with reading/writing


Penny_P
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I read through the kinder posts in the curriculum forum, but I figure I'll come here instead with our family history. DS19- dyslexia, DD17- ADD, DS10- ADD, DD8- waiting on results from ps testing- has dyslexia/dysgraphia type presentation. 

First, is it really normal for all of this to come out in one family? My husband and I never had any learning challenges- we were both in gifted classes. I'm starting to feel like that crazy mom who's looking for diagnoses for their kids. I promise I'm not- I'm far too lazy/busy.

So, with some of the family history, I decided to delay my kinder's start. He turned 6 in June. Then covid hit and I just decided to homeschool. (I had homeschooled my oldest to 9th.) I thought he would pick things up really easily. I bought How to teach your kiddo to read in 100 lessons- once again I try to keep things simple. I was sort of pulling him through, but it was obvious that he just wasn't getting it. He knows the letters and sounds, but blending CVC words was an issue. I stopped around lesson 25 or so. I have explode the code 1 and with ALOT of help he can sort of sometimes read it... He's good at math concepts (CLE1), but his writing is messy. He'll sometimes reverse digits. I've mainly just having him copy letters still for handwriting- but he hates it. He spells his name FiNNy after tracing it properly and won't attempt our last name. If he were 4, I would just back off, but he's six- a lot of his peers are already in 1st grade and reading well. Is it still premature to get testing? I know there's a wide range of "normal", but I guess I'm surprised that reading/writing isn't really clicking. Maybe I just need a curriculum overhaul....or just more games? What do you all suggest?

 

 

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I don't have any kids with learning challenges, but we did do the 100 Easy Lessons book, so I thought I'd comment 🙂 . What was he having trouble with with sounding out? I know they teach that very incrementally... saying words slowly, then doing the letters you can drag out, using your finger, etc. Any idea where he got stuck? 

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33 minutes ago, Penny_P said:

is it really normal for all of this to come out in one family?

Yes, it is normal for there to be various degrees learning issues among siblings. I'm sure someone else can give a better explanation of why this is but I do know that it is normal even when the parents have/had no learning issues growing up.

Your son is presenting a lot like my youngest son. Have you had his eyes checked by a developmental ophthalmologist? Regular eye exams or screenings like they do at the doctor's office don't always catch the little things that can cause big problems with reading. My ds started vision therapy a little over a month ago and the improvement he has made in such a short time has been dramatic. He has convergence issues and slight intermittent amblyopia. So he could pass the vision screenings at the doctor no problem, he can see at a distance. But up close, he was seeing double and didn't know it wasn't normal and everyone didn't see what he saw.

My son was 7yo and just finishing first grade unable to read by the time we got him in to a developmental ophthalmologist but now that I've seen the difference, I would recommend that any child that just doesn't seem to get reading or has problems writing and especially if they have both be screened by a developmental ophthalmologist. My insurance treated it as just a yearly eye exam so it didn't cost us anything extra but made a huge difference for ds.

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7 hours ago, Penny_P said:

First, is it really normal for all of this to come out in one family?

Well have your kids been exposed to lead paint? There are things like that, but no just in general you probably had the convergence of some genes. If you ask Barton, she'll say unusually gifted is code for dyslexia, hehe. At least the EF issues are not surprising.

7 hours ago, Penny_P said:

Is it still premature to get testing?

No, you're at the perfect time. They could do a CTOPP at this age and get it diagnosed.

7 hours ago, Penny_P said:

his writing is messy. He'll sometimes reverse digits.

If he were enrolled they might get an OT eval. You can still get evals through the ps, even if you homeschool, as it's a federal right. Writing the IEPs varies by state but the evals are federal. 

Fwiw, my ds was diagnosed at newly 6 and sorta similar. Of course we also got ASD2 added to the mix in the end. But yeah it can be obvious and diagnosable at this age. 

I think do the things you know to do. Get evals for a baseline. Do intervention and do it completely. We just got some evals for audiology and they want us to go back and do with a more heavy emphasis on *auditory* things we already did for *reading*. So blending with reading, but also blending just with auditory. For the OT issues, he obviously needs evals. Look for retained reflexes and just work through stuff (gross motor, fine motor, VMI). 

7 hours ago, Penny_P said:

Maybe I just need a curriculum overhaul....or just more games? What do you all suggest?

Yes, yes, and yes? Absolutely games as much as possible. Yes, curriculum and methods that are appropriate for what you see going on. I did Barton, but any OG derived method will work, anything meant for dyslexia. And then evals. Hang here and ask lots of questions. :smile:

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6 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

vision therapy

As part of going through things when my ds was 6, we had him checked by audiology and a developmental optometrist. These are great things to be getting done. Kids who have the midline and development issues (those reversals) sometimes have it show up with vision. You can try a developmental optometrist, which you find through COVD. I usually suggest starting with a basic vision eval (the annual thing, $60) and asking them to *screen* for the developmental vision stuff. That way you know if a further eval is warranted.

Kids have to be treated individually, even within families. The mix may vary and how it presents may vary. If Mom's gut is saying there's a problem, there's a problem.

7 hours ago, Penny_P said:

blending CVC words was an issue.

The CTOPP that they use for diagnosing dyslexia looks at phonological processing. They'll do things like asking them to change "mat" taking off the /m/ and adding/p/. It's all done aloud, meaning vision really shouldn't be a part. Dyslexia is not a vision problem, but kids can have both going on, a mix of things. We've had people who thought their dc had dyslexia and the audiology showed hearing loss. You don't really know till you get evals. We did our audiology for free through a big university at that age. This time we went private, which got us more time and more experience. But for the first time at age 6, free through a university or other provider could be good.

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7 hours ago, Penny_P said:

I've mainly just having him copy letters still for handwriting- but he hates it.

if you back up from fine motor to gross motor, does he do better? If he draws them in sand or in the air or on your back, does he do better?

https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss  Here's the student screenign for Barton. It is NOT a dyslexia test, only a screener for enough skills to go into Barton 1. If he fails it, he's not actually ready to go into ANY OG based program. He should pass it his age. It only takes 10-15 minutes to administer, so you can do it and report back. 

She tells what to do with the results. If he fails it and needs a basic phonological processing program like LIPS or FIS, then you can meld his gross motor writing work into the sessions. I used sandpaper letters, a salt tray, writing on our backs, that kind of thing around that age. 

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22 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I don't have any kids with learning challenges, but we did do the 100 Easy Lessons book, so I thought I'd comment 🙂 . What was he having trouble with with sounding out? I know they teach that very incrementally... saying words slowly, then doing the letters you can drag out, using your finger, etc. Any idea where he got stuck? 

He can slowly sound out each letter, but when we go back to the beginning and try and actually blend the word, he just adds letters that aren't there... For example, he'll sound out M-A-P, but then when blending it comes out mat or man... 

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3 minutes ago, Penny_P said:

He can slowly sound out each letter, but when we go back to the beginning and try and actually blend the word, he just adds letters that aren't there... For example, he'll sound out M-A-P, but then when blending it comes out mat or man... 

Oooh. This is above my pay grade, since it sounds like a phonological processing issue. It sounds like he isn't hearing the sounds right in his head. 

I would get him evaluated. This doesn't sound standard 😞 . 

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15 hours ago, PeterPan said:

if you back up from fine motor to gross motor, does he do better? If he draws them in sand or in the air or on your back, does he do better?

 

I'll have to try this.... I'm not sure.  Do ps do the CTOPP? Arizona ps's are notorious for not diagnosing dyslexia. Although I think I saw a rumor that this is changing. 

22 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

 

Your son is presenting a lot like my youngest son. Have you had his eyes checked by a developmental ophthalmologist?

 

 

 Not sure insurance would cover as we don't have "vision", but maybe that's just for glasses, etc. I'll look into that- at least to rule things out. I seem to remember vision therapy was a bit controversial several years ago on the boards. Some people swearing by it and others feeling it was a waste of money. 

 

I had him evaluated at the ps for speech, but his issues were in the normal range for age. Waiting on DD8 results- our zoom meeting is the 5th- It was a process I started back in June. At least would be a free place to start, and I have emailed asking for an eval. (We're already paying out of pocket for DS6 and DS10 for myotherapy for tongue thrust.) DD8 gets OT for handwriting- which has actually improved especially since starting in person. We're looking into OT for DS10 for his ADD. 😞 Not sure how this is all supposed to fit in a week with my working part-time. 

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Penny_P said:

Not sure insurance would cover as we don't have "vision", but maybe that's just for glasses, etc. I'll look into that- at least to rule things out. I seem to remember vision therapy was a bit controversial several years ago on the boards. Some people swearing by it and others feeling it was a waste of money. 

So what usually happens is the optometrist can classify *parts* of the vision therapy and get it covered as medical, even when your insurance doesn't cover VT. But no in our case it didn't cover most. 

The controversies are 1) opthamologists may diss it, and 2) it's most evidence based for CONVERGENCE issues. So we've had people told it cures dyslexia (no), will result in them cleaning their rooms better (maybe), doesn't need homework (obviously not going to get much done that way), and more. There's usually a *reason* why someone has a bad experience. If the doc demonstrates the problem and quantifies it (convergence, use a visagraph to show you the tracking problems, whatever), and you don't pay more than one month at a time as you go and you do enough homework and the therapist doing the work is good with your dc and they screen/treat retained reflexes, usually the person has a good experience. But if you treat something less common, don't integrate retained reflexes, don't like working with the doc or the doc isn't a good click with your dc, aren't given homework, and you pay a ton of money upfront, yeah those are all things that make it go south.

And fwiw, all I was suggesting was an annual vision exam but getting it done with the developmental optometrist so they can *screen* for the developmental vision issues. 

37 minutes ago, Penny_P said:

Do ps do the CTOPP?

Pretty standard around here. It's also something many reading tutors can do, because it's inexpensive and low on the schedule (easy to be qualified to administer). So you could look for a reading tutor who does screenings, a psych, or an SLP who specializes in literacy. Your insurance might cover the SLP who specializes in literacy, and they can do an excellent eval.

39 minutes ago, Penny_P said:

I had him evaluated at the ps for speech, but his issues were in the normal range for age.

Back up, what is going on with his speech? 

 

40 minutes ago, Penny_P said:

Not sure how this is all supposed to fit in a week with my working part-time. 

Yup, that's a lot.

40 minutes ago, Penny_P said:

We're looking into OT for DS10 for his ADD.

What do you want to make happen there? Some of it, like working on retained reflexes, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. Of all the areas, OT is the most vague. Is there a particular program you've heard of that you want like Zones of Regulation? Is he having sensory issues?

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1 hour ago, Penny_P said:

He can slowly sound out each letter, but when we go back to the beginning and try and actually blend the word, he just adds letters that aren't there... For example, he'll sound out M-A-P, but then when blending it comes out mat or man... 

Not to point out the obvious, but his working memory is low. That's a solvable problem. 

Did you do that Barton screening test yet? That's part of what it's checking is working memory, and that's why, because if it's too low they can't hold the sounds and process to get them together. You're going to need to work on his working memory in a variety of ways and you should probably work on RAN/RAS while you're at it. The CTOPP will get you a RAN/RAS score as well. I would do that CTOPP as a baseline *before* working on RAN/RAS just to get that diagnosis nailed. 

Edited by PeterPan
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https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4rcl6f0uo70esmv/AAAaGAHw3_YTMEQZSw_WI-t_a?dl=0  Here's my RAN/RAS file. Print, put in page protectors, read multiple ways by rotating the page. You can also make them with numbers, anything you want. Poor RAN/RAS is considered a lagging indicator of dyslexia even after intervention because they don't necessarily work on it. Strong RAN/RAS is highly correlated to strong readers.

Super easy to work on. We read one page three ways each day. So read one way, play a working memory game, do some whole body movements (gross motor, midline, etc.). Repeat 3 times during the day. For working memory, I tried to do one session auditory (digit spans, etc.), one visual (games, etc), one with kinesthetic and language (I say the command, you repeat and do it). So you're hitting all the types. 

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On the ADHD if you want something you can do for *free* look into metronome work. We have heathermomster's interactive metronome instructions if you want to hack it with a free app. You can also pay to have it done. You're using the metronome to tap the EF portion of the brain, and you can bring in anything else that is weak you want to work on. 

So with my dd she needed to expand her ability to use her language with distractions, hold her thoughts, and type. So I wanted language, distractions, working memory, and motor planning. That's metronome plus movements (clapping, tapping, bouncing a ball, etc.) plus digit spans plus the radio or a child running around. And it actually worked. Her ability to type and hold her thoughts and get language out (functional, typing papers) blossomed.

You can try clapping with a metronome app set to 54 bpm and see how it is for your kids. For my dd it was a little challenging, but for my ds it has always been quite hard, like hand over hand, overwhelming, struggles to do it. I guess we should go back and try again, lol.

For reflexes, you can find the tests online (youtube) and then get the Pyramid of Potential video ($35) to learn how to integrate them. The PoP exercises are what our PT used with my dc and they worked GREAT. If you do the tests and your kids have reflexes retained, then that's a definite do and something you can do yourself.

Edited by PeterPan
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On 10/31/2020 at 9:24 AM, Penny_P said:

What do you all suggest?

I'd assume he had dyslexia and teach accordingly.

What that looked like here was 2-3 short phonics lessons/reading practice sessions throughout the day every single day including weekends and holidays.  Handwriting practice was short and sweet (5 minutes max).  We did no other writing or grammar or spelling until reading was in place.  I read everything aloud.  

Once he was reading reasonable fluently on a first grade level (and decoding at maybe a 3rd grade level), I had him do fluency readings, meaning he read aloud every single day from a book that he was able to read easily--quickly and accurately.  I then, over a period of a few years, upped the reading level until it was in line with his cognitive level.

Edited by EKS
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The other posters are way better at giving the best advice and paths to consider but I've got a question -- your child has only begun Kindergarten this fall?  You said he turned 6 in June and you decided to homeschool.  When did you start the 100 lessons? Unfortunately, just because that program may have worked for your other children, it just might not be a fit for your ds' learning style.  I remember that book and it was not a good fit for my dyslexic child.  They need a lot of review and various approaches/interactions with the letters and sounds which I don't believe that program does.  I know many recommend Barton albeit effective but it is costly.  There are other options out there that might produce better results - especially if you have to/are waiting for any special testing.  I have had great success with All About Reading and many like Logic of English.  I actually think the new program Sonlight released this year looks like a great program, too.

I have 4 kids and all 4 have issues - some better than others - and not a genetic link to be found anywhere.  In our case, my dh is a Desert Storm veteran and they are finally listening to us that these kids have been affected by something their veteran Dad/Mom was exposed to or vaccinated against. It is hard.  Some days are better than others.  I truly understand those frustrations.  ((hugs))

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22 hours ago, PeterPan said:

heathermomster's interactive metronome instructions if you want to hack it with a free app

DS10. So.... this really opened up some interesting exploration. How do I find heathermomster's instructions? When looking at the IM stuff, prices are never listed- which leads me to believe it is NOT cheap. I did find one video of bouncing a ball to the rhythm of a metronome. He doesn't have sensory issues. I was hoping the OT would help me to help him as well. 

 

22 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Back up, what is going on with his speech? 

Some lisping. Difficulty pronouncing the "L". He does have a mild tongue thrust. I am primarily taking DS10 for myotherapy- as his tongue thrust is pushing out his front teeth at this point. The ps ST thought that the myotherapy would help DS6 as well

DS19, dyslexia, really presented differently at this age- difficulty putting sounds to letters. He was a really late talker. He's a fantastic reader now, but his writing and spelling are still not good. Run on sentences and improper punctuation. I cringe when I edit his college papers. 

 

1 hour ago, 1shortmomto4 said:

When did you start the 100 lessons?

I started it over the summer. I didn't teach my other kiddos to read- they were in school. It just came with high recommendations and seemed easy to implement... I've hesitated with AAR. AAS didn't work well with DS19 and we ended up scrapping it. I didn't like all the pieces. But it looks like both Barton and Logic of English have a lot of pieces, too.  DD8, who I am waiting on test results for, used Spaulding in her charter school. She had a difficult time applying the phonograms, which it looks like both of those systems use.... I like the Explode the Code workbook, but I understand that it is not a complete system. Hhhhmmmm....

 

23 hours ago, PeterPan said:

And fwiw, all I was suggesting was an annual vision exam but getting it done with the developmental optometrist so they can *screen* for the developmental vision issues. 

Made an appointment, but it's not until late November. Thank you. I will try to do the Barton screening later. 

 

23 hours ago, EKS said:

What that looked like here was 2-3 short phonics lessons/reading practice sessions throughout the day every single day including weekends and holidays. 

This looks like a good idea. Not sure about holidays. Haha. But his attention/frustration levels are definitely better for short periods of time. 

 

 

I had to pull out a notebook and start taking notes. Thanks again one and all!

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Trivia for you--google board search using the term plus site:welltrainedmind.com

So "heathermomster metronome site:welltrainedmind.com" will pop up hits. 

Now you can find anything from the past that still shows up and aren't limited to present posters. You can use it to read across topics or things people have written. Like if you find jentrovert's posts useful and wonder what she did for math or spelling, you could try "jentrovert spelling site:welltrainedmind.com" and get hits. Usually works better than board searches. Things have been disappearing, but if it's still around to be found it will show up.

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1 hour ago, Penny_P said:

DD8, who I am waiting on test results for, used Spaulding in her charter school. She had a difficult time applying the phonograms, which it looks like both of those systems use....

Yes, Spalding studied with O or G of OG, probably O. So it's solid stuff, but Spalding streamlined it to make it fit a more mainstream audience. When you get dyslexia going, there are too many assumptions, too much leaping. Barton is your big kahuna, the canon, walk in and BANG, fully scripted, leaves nothing to chance.

1 hour ago, Penny_P said:

When looking at the IM stuff, prices are never listed- which leads me to believe it is NOT cheap.

Yeah, some people buy the equipment, and they have some deals. But if your pricepoint is zero, then a free app and the instructions will get you somewhere. I'm not saying doing it with a really thoughtful therapist isn't better or that having the feedback isn't better. I'm just saying for the pricepoint, it's worth the effort. Some studies I've seen (I think? me and my memory) showed that on some of this stuff the EFFORT actually makes the brain changes, not the accuracy. So just TRYING to get closer will get you there. You can also do a similar thing with music like the prodigies videos where they keep rhythm as the beats appear. Once you get the concept, you'll find lots of ways to work it. 

Or just pay and get the therapy. LOL 

Just reading your list, it seems like you need some screenings, some evals/diagnoses, some free things that are lower priority that you can do yourself (reflexes, metronome work, working memory and RAN/RAS), some stuff that needs paid therapy (SLP for the speech), and some issues that need intervention level materials. If AAS wasn't a fit, then I wouldn't bother with AAR. You can move up to Barton and be there, boom. Anything that is recognized as tier 3 intervention, which Barton is. AAR, well they make some vague claims on their website but it's not tier 3. 

If the dc fails the Barton screening, you'll start with the foundational work before going into an OG based program. 

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