Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Letter/sound reversal

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Joined: Dec 07, 2008
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Posted Dec 07, 2008 at 11:12:03 AM
Subject: Letter/sound reversal

My 7 year-old daughter has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. She has started seeing a speech therapist once a week.
Last week the therapist told me that she has problems reading letter combinations such as "el" and "ec" and reverses them into "le" and "ce". She gave me a paper with four letter combinations written on and an example word for each.
We are supposed to "practise" these with our daughter.

My problem is that I really can't see how reading and rereading these combinations with her is going to help. She just doesn't seem to be "getting" the blends, she sees "el" and reads "le". Just reading them with us, mistaking them and being corrected doesn't seem to be improving anything. I had hoped for some coping techniques/suggestions from the therapist not being told to do yet more reading with her.

So does anyone here have any suggestions as to how I can help her do her speech therapy "homework" ?

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Rod Everson
Joined May 20, 2007
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Posted:Dec 07, 2008 2:01:14 PM

So, does your daughter have a speech problem? What you're describing is more characteristic of a visual issue than a speech issue (assuming your daughter can say "el" and "ek" when asked orally--no visuals.)

What I've found is that speech therapy can be integrated with reading/phonics instruction profitably when the child actually has trouble articulating various blends, but that doesn't sound like what you're describing.

A lot of dyslexics have vision problems that are addressed by vision therapy. In fact, I believe that anyone diagnosed as dyslexic should be sure to see a developmental optometrist for an evaluation of their visual skills.

There's a lot more on this on my website at ontrackreading.com.

Rod Everson
OnTrack Reading-The Vision Piece

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Joined May 13, 2008
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Posted:Dec 09, 2008 8:51:32 AM

The working definition of Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. It does not mean seeing things upside down or backwards. That is probably a vision problem.

My son has vision therapy for convergence insufficiency. If you take a pencil and hold it close to the nose, one eye does not go inward like the other eye. This means that reading across the page is off. So, the left eye is 20/20 and the right eye is 20/20. What is not tested is both eyes working in sync to read across the page. A good book to read is "When a child struggles; the myth of 20/20 vision" by Dr. David Cook.

There is a vision processing test which is different than a regular eye exam. It checks convergence problems and visual motor intergration like copying from the blackboard.

The vision therapy has helped my son in school. Now, my daughter is next. Insurance covers half of 32 sessions, since the other half is educational. Anything educational is not covered by insurance.
Let us us know how things are going.


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Rod Everson
Joined May 20, 2007
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Posted:Dec 09, 2008 1:02:52 PM

Quote annette10dance:

Quote annette10dance:

My son has vision therapy for convergence insufficiency. If you take a pencil and hold it close to the nose, one eye does not go inward like the other eye. This means that reading across the page is off. So, the left eye is 20/20 and the right eye is 20/20. What is not tested is both eyes working in sync to read across the page.

Hi Annette,

I agree with you on the need to be evaluated for vision issues. I just want to point out that the problem is usually more subtle than you describe and that often a child can converge both eyes if you bring an object close to his face, so the parent can't really easily tell if it's an issue (unless it's a pretty severe case.)

The more typical problem is that they can converge for a while, but can't sustain the effort for very long so they start to experience difficulty reading after just a few minutes. The family optometrist will usually not pick up on this, so a visit to a developmental optometrist is the way to go.

That said, I second your recommendation. Any child experiencing the sort of difficulties described in the original post should be evaluated by a developmental optometrist.

Rod Everson

[Modified by: Rod Everson on December 09, 2008 01:17 PM]

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Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Dec 10, 2008 8:24:21 PM

I am dyslexic. In many ways alot like your daughter. Today i am an epigrapher. I read the ancient texts from Egypt. They used to say i would never be able to read or write my own first name.

I know it is frusterating. Believe me i know. I know youa re hurting for her hurt, but you gotta understand that for all your agony hers is 100 times more extreme. You can never understand what she is going through or likely how hard she is trying. Because simply put, you don't have the issue that she does. I am sorry it is causing you frusteration. I am sure she is alot more sorry that it causes you frusteration than i am. I am fluent in over 6 languages plus several ancient ones today. When i was your daughter's age, i could not write my own first name. Dyslexics, tend to be highly intelligent. Extremely so, but their brains wrap around some things differently.

She has a difficult task, she must relearn a way of seeing something and interpreting it visually and attaching a sound to it. It isn't as easy as you may think it is. If you are right handed, try writing with your left hand as deftly as you write with your right hand. That may give you some small idea of how hard she tries and what this is like for her. Trying to do what her brain isn't wired for. She has to create new pathways in the brain or something to interpret these things correctly. It will happen. Unfortunately it will take quite some time and it will be a slow arduous process, then, it will click.... And it will be like a light turned on and her world and your world will never be the same again. I know, because i have been there.

May i suggest trying to draw the combinations with her in sand and connecting the phonetic sounds to them while you do this. Maybe it helps? Maybe you already do something similar. It helps alot of people though.

As a dyslexic i also read and write both music in ancient greek notation as well as the modern music we are familiar with. Don't write your child off and don't get frusterated. She can do this and she will. She just needs time support and to find a method that helps. I still read and spell everything phonetically. I still sound out every word. But it is so second nature it goes super quick. Many dysleic people i think are similar. Your daughter will be just fine.

Best of luck.

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Joined Jan 01, 2008
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Posted:Jan 20, 2009 12:58:10 AM

Reading requires several processes which includes decoding, fluency and comprehension. Your working at the level of decoding and that requires phonological processes for sounding out the words, visual memory to recall the image of the word, visual perception to discern the differences between two very similar word (i.e. united vs. untied), attention to focus on the details of reading and word retrieval to place the auditory label to the visual image. The reversals of these pairs of letters may be due to visual perception, word retrieval, attention or lack of exposure to the content (in other words, no one may ever have explained why these combinations of letters occur and why). Simply reading the combinations will not address the whole problem.
You need to start by analyzing when and where the errors occur. Does it occur when she reads a list of individual words containing those letter pairs? Does it happen all of the time? Does it happen with specific types of words? What words does she read wrong and what are her errors. You need to start by finding the pattern and then you will understand the root cause.
For example, does she has difficulty reading the word "fuel" vs. the word "camel"? They are very different words with very different rules for decoding them. Does she engage in any kind of decoding behavior before producing the word or does she just guess at the word based on the letter configuration. Are the words within her spoken vocabulary?

The speech therapist is missing the boat sending home a list of four words. You need an assorted list of 20-40 words and a variety of activities from reading them aloud, to sorting them by spelling, to identifying the correct spelling, etc.

If the speech language pathologist is not trained in multisensory reading instruction (i.e. Slingerland, Wilson, Orton Gillingham, etc.) then she may no know how to teach her to read based on her brain wiring.

I think you have more work to do in determining the source of reading errors before investigating other therapies. Know why the problem is occurring and then find the correct therapy to address her needs.

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