Monday, 7 May 2012

Where do you go after a diagnosis of Dyslexia and Dysgraphia?

I knew my son was dyslexic, despite never having a formal assessment in the UK. He went to Private School and the government wouldn't provide funding for support in school. So we paid the additional support fees until Grade 6.

He moved into state secondary in grade 7 and we started the formal procedure for testing. The school accepted he was dyslexic and provided the necessary support.

However within 3 months we moved to South Africa and with his school records having been passed on from the UK, we assumed the support continued, we were and still are getting invoices for additonal support.

Yes I know I said 'assumed' but he was happy, passed grade 6 to move into Junior Prep, but to be honest, having moved to the bottom of the earth, there were so many other things we were focused on.

At the start of grade 7 in January, it became obvious within a couple of weeks that my son was having problems, he was labelled a bully, a manipulator and generally an uncooperative child. We'd not had any of this mentioned to us in grade 6. After inital contact with the school it appeared our son was being discriminated about (I've written many blog posts about how our Englishness has caused issues here)

In February I contacted an Ed Psych who tested my son and asked questions about his early development, she was in total agreence that he is indeed dyslexic.

I attended the feed back session today and was informed that he also has Dysgraphia, an inability to write. His other fine motor skills are good, his verbal reasoning is that of a 16 year old, but his reading and spelling are that of a child half his age and his written words per minute is 9.

He will now qualify for additional support and a reader for his exams when he is older and he will be allowed to type all his class work.

However it appears it is my job to ensure the school follow the plans to support his education that were written by the Ed Psych and myself this morning. (I lecture in Special Education Needs).

The reason for this discussion is that I have little knowledge of Dysgraphia, other than his inability to write and it does explain some of the emotional issues we've been faced with over the years.

Is there anyone out there qualified in this field or is or has a child who has dysgraphia? I would love to hear from you.


  1. I've just read this and i think you may have helped me find out what is wrong with my son. He is 9 and has always struggled since nursery to complete any written work given to him.

    Each week he is given his 'big write' which is a 40 minute slot at school to write a page about that weeks topic in whichever format is required i.e diary entry, script. I sometimes struggle to get him to school on big write days, as he gets very distressed about the thought of what is asked of him. His teacher says he hasn't progressed since starting year 4 because he simply doesn't produce enough written evidence to prove he can actually use the correct spelling, grammar, punctuation etc (which he also struggles with). I discussed this with his teacher and she suggested we do a big write at home on a topic he is passionate about, which hasn't helped at all because when we did sit down and chat about what he was going to write his ideas were great and he could tell me exactly what he wanted to write, but as soon as he put his pencil to the paper it all went pear shaped. I get so frustrated with the amount of homework given as we can sometimes spend up to an hour a night just copying out text from a book. No life for a 9 year old.

    He can read ok but cannot for the life of him write legibly or draw a picture to the standard of a 9 year old. I've just read a few articles about dysgraphia and i was nodding my head in agreement to alot of the signs and symptoms, although i think Lee is more a motor dysgraphia child than any other.

    He is very emotional, has low self esteem although can come across quite confident in certain things which he is knowledgeable about and for a while his teacher has spoken to me at the end of each day to tell me Lee is not a happy boy at school, with friends or work!

    I have an appointment with her on Monday, so i will be taking some of this information along with me and see what she thinks.

    Thank you so much for writing this blog post i think you might have just made my son's life a little bit easier, that's of course if school will acknowledge it may be why he struggles so much!

    I hope the support your son is now getting does help him achieve his potential.

    I'm going to go and see what is involved in a dysgraphia assessment.


    1. As Alex was in private school we never had a formal diagnosis of Dyslexia as the government wouldn't provide additional support and we had to pay extra anyway. Since moving to South Africa it became appartant that his problems in junior school were far worse in senior school. He was constantly in trouble and no one had anything positive to say about him. he is a very bright child (of course all mothers say that) and this was confirmed by the ed psych with some of the verbal reasoning she carried out with him.
      The dysgraphia was a total surprise to me and I'm a special needs teacher.
      Your first step is to ask the SENCO at your sons school for an Ed Psych assessment, you may have to go through your doctors for a referral. I find it helps to be completly honest about every aspect of your childs life and family situation, so they obtain a full picture. Let me know how you get on.