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Can my student be dyslexic?

I am a fourth grade teacher with a student who tries very hard. He and his mother work on 10 spelling words for a week. He may get 8 out of the 10 right. He usually will have all the letters for a particular word, but they will not be in the right order (example ‘teer’ for ‘tree’). He has been tested and it indicated a learning disability. The test facilitator felt as if he was guessing and stopped the testing. She said he possibly could be dyslexic. He reads on a 1st grade level. He can do math, but struggles with word problems. He is also having difficulty with multiplication. I want to help him and his family find an answer to the reasons for his disability. Do you feel that he could be dyslexic? (R.R., USA
>>> His difficulties with ‘jumbled’ spellings, word problems and the sequencing skills involved in multiplication are strong indicators that he could be dyslexic. Maybe an independent psychologist could see him.(John Bradford)

Megan from the USA

I was diagnosed as dyslexic in the first grade after I scored 180 on an IQ test and could not read. I spent the remaining years of school in special ed, learning to learn. I was told I was “special” but at age 9 you want to be just like everyone else and not be “special” – I still hate that word today. I was one of those kids who never followed directions, not because I was not listening but because I did not understand what was being asked.
It took me years to learn to tie my shoes and my mother put a left on my left shoe so I would know my right from my left. I went to the bathroom every day when it was time to read out loud in class, I took oral spelling tests, and had someone always read me my tests.
I excelled in math but could not get a word problem right to safe my life.
Today at age 26 I still read at a 5th grade reading level. I went to college only because I was offered a soccer scholarship. It was there I got my first “A” ever in (what else?) Logic. Soon I learned my studying style and I graduated from College a semester early.
I went to grad school, failed out after a teacher would not provide me with a reader while taking tests She was fired and I returned to grad school and graduated only a semester later. My mother thought I would make a great special ed teacher since I went through the system, but to be honest I think it would be better to have a teacher who could spell and read correctly.
I currenctly am a social worker, and love helping people out like my teachers did for me. Life is much easior now that I’m no longer in school. I still transpose letters, and my speech is still terrrible but I learned to tie my shoes, I no longer need the ‘L’ on my shoe to know what is my left, and I don’t mind reading out loud just as long as no one is listening. (spelling corrected)

Maria from Ireland

I am 17 years and at the age of seven I found out I had dyslexia. I didn’t know what it meant only that I was “different” from everyone else. At present I am in 5th year in school and my biggest fear is reading in class. I am not a bad reader “now” but still afraid of being laughed at. I have one more year of school after this year, and I’m worried because I know I won’t have enough points for ANYTHING.

Jenna from Canada

My daughter spend two years in grade one. She could not learn to read. I brought her to see an eye doctor, a hearing doctor and we had some child specialists meet with her. We could not understand what the problem was. Finally, after discovering there were others in my family with learning disabilities, I had her tested for dyslexia. As it turns out, she is dyslexic.
Together with the help of a few caring teachers and myself, she is learning through SMT dyslexia therapy. I have to tell you this therapy has been amazing: my little girl is reading after only one year and going into grade three on her own. She is still behind the other students, and I understand it will always be harder for her, but she can do it if she wants too. Thanks to the Canadian Dyslexia Association and some very caring teachers who have taken their own extra time to be there for Jenna. (contributed by Colleen, Canada)


Robert – age 11 – was studying slavery for his history project. He is a severely dyslexic learner and as well as his considerable writing difficulties, he finds reading a real chore. He had enjoyed discussions in class and the videos he had seen. When he went to the library, he quickly became discouraged, as most of the books required good reading skills.

He found it particularly hard to use an index since, by the time he had worked through the alphabet, found the heading, noted the page number and started looking for the entry, he had forgotten what he wanted to know! His teacher showed him how to use the multi-media CD-ROM Africana. He had a go with the virtual tour of the slave port and then found articles he wanted. He highlighted them and copied them into his word-processing program. He listened to the information and hen decided what he wanted to keep and what could be deleted. He spent a long time editing the document and produced a long and detailed piece of work that showed his enthusiasm and considerable knowledge. (from ‘Dyslexia and ICT’, published by BECTA).


Liz had not really started reading when she first came to me. Her body language was of a depressed seven-year old, and she had begun to wander around the classroom instead of getting on with her work. Her parents could not understand what was the matter. The rest of her family were of normal intelligence, but Liz seemed never able to keep still.

When I spoke to her she said that she liked art and drawing and physical education, but she always seemed to be getting into trouble at school. She hated Fridays when there was a spelling test.

After she had been to me a couple of times I noticed how fidgety she was, and asked what she had just eaten. “Nothing”, she said, “just a drink of orange juice and an apple”. I spoke to her mother about Liz’s diet. Her mother was quite aware of allergic ADHD reactions to diet and had been very careful about what Liz ate and drank. “What about the orange juice?” I said.

“Surely something as pure as orange juice couldn’t affect her” said her mother.

After Liz had changed to an alternative drink, the difference was amazing! At last she was able to calmly get on with her work in school, and she learned to read quite satisfactorily for her age within about four months. In fact, she is not dyslexic at all, but is a bright girl who just happens to suffer from allergic reactions to certain foods and drinks. I wonder how many more there are like her? (P.L., Norfolk, UK)

My daughter

My daughter has dyslexia. She will graduate on June 1, 2001. She has struggled all through school. Sometimes she wants to quit, but I let her know she has come a long way to give up now. She is going through O.V.R.to find a job or go to a trade school. She is determined to succeed no matter what she decides to do. do.reading (G.M.K., USA)

Daughter with dyslexia

I am not a teacher, but a parent of a daughter with learning disabilities. I also had learning disabilities. I am here to tell you if you believe you can do it, you can. I had learning disabilities in math. I now do accounting every day at work. I flunked out of college and could not understand accounting. However, I am a hands-on learner. I think the schools need to teach dyslexic children hands-on and prepare them for a career just like a trade school would do. (Linette, USA)