Dyslexia & Dysgraphia

Updated on April 01, 2010
D.S. asks from Fort Worth, TX
6 answers

My soon to be 8 year old (March 20) daughter has always written things backwards. She used to write her name in mirror image all of the time. So not only were the letters backwards they were written from right to left. In kindergarten I asked her teacher about it, and the teacher said it was still quite common at that age. In first grade I asked the teacher about it, and she said that since my daughter was not failing that the school would do no testing on her. Finally, I found out I could pay for testing through the Child Studies Center. Well, it took almost a year for us to get in due to the waiting list.

She has now been diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia (writing disorder that oftentimes accompanies dyslexia). The thing that really troubles me is that the doctor explained how my daughter has inaccurately encoded many of her letters. In other words, she learned them the wrong way and now she needs to "unlearn" them. She is now in the 2nd half of the 2nd grade and she has to re-learn everything she has learned up until now. I am very concerned for her. I don't want her to get frustrated, and I certainly don't want her to get behind.

I have asked to have a meeting with the school to go over her results and reccomendations. As it is a small charter school, I do not even know if they have the resources to provide her with the assistance she needs. I am just looking for any guidance on how best to tackle the issue. Should I find her an Occupational Therapist? Do I need to get a referral 1st so that we don't have to waste another 6 months to get started? Do I need to find her a psychologist to help her with the dyslexia or do I just get her a tutor? Do I demand she get extra time to finish her projects and tests at school? What do I do to best help her?

Thanks to anyone who can offer us some advice.

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answers from Denver on

You should request an IEP evaluation immediately, in writing. This starts a clock for the school district to determine if your child is eligible for special education services. Most charter schools do not have a full range of special ed services, but may contract with your public school district to provide some services. You will have to work with the school around that.

You will find lots of info on both of these disorders at www.ldonline.com and you will find info on the IEP and special ed process at www.wrightslaw.com .

I'm an educational advocate in Denver, CO - I help families negotiate the IEP process. You can write to me directly if you have questions. I also have a daughter with learning disabilities and dysgraphia.

take care, S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My son was dx with Dyslexia about the same age as your daughter. Charter schools do not have the classes needed for your child. Mesquite uses the MTA program. It is very detailed and the child goes for 45 mins every school day. I did not see any progress at first, but all of a sudden my son took off. He is now in 7th grade and doing very well. He still has to work harder then most of the other kids, but he has learned great study skills that will help in in High School and College.
His work was modified so he did not have as many spelling words, math questions etc. Every year of grade school, I had a confrence with the teacher about 2 weeks into the year. This gives them a chance to get to know the kids a little.
I am also Dyslexic, so my son knows it is not an excuse for not doing well.
Henry Winkler hs a great set of books called Hank Zipzer about a boy with learning differences.

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answers from Dallas on

Read this today: make a copy...keep it forever. From now on, consider it your "dyslexia law bible"....


It will help you understand the Texas Dyslexia Law. Your school will provide resources. Period.
You and your school will work together to establish a plan for your daughter. You are just as important in these decisions. Together, you will decide on any accomodations. It's important you request an ARD meeting now, before the summer. It's also very important you maintain communication with your daughter's teachers. You guys have to work together.

btw...no psychologist necessary...your daughter just learns differently. She will always be dyslexic. It's not a psychological problem. Dyslexia is not a bad thing. Actually, dyslexic kids are pretty amazing...Seriously. (ever heard of Leonardo DaVinci, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein? Yep...all dyslexic:) The way you approach it with her has everything to do with how she will accept it. We gave my son a "Suprise! You're like Albert Einstein party..and then explained dyslexia to him...(ok...maybe just made a cake...but, it did help him understand that there was nothing wrong with him)

My son goes to Mesquite ISD. Their program is amazing! They have gone above and beyond to help my son....I'm sure your district will be just as helpful. I sent you my contact info, feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions.


answers from Jacksonville on

Hi. I am familiar with the dysgraphia condition you mentioned and there is a web/mail group thru Yahoo specifically for people (or parents) with dysgraphia. It is a huge challenge and I wish you all the best in finding appropriate help for your daughter. Everything I have read on the subject leads me to conclude that you need to look into teaching your daughter to use technology as soon as you are able (keyboarding skills/laptop/etc).

All the people on the site are wonderful and many have "been there and done that" and have tons of ideas/suggestions/information. Feel free to introduce yourself as the parent of a child newly diagnosed and ask away. There are archives full of information already, as well. Here is a link so you can check it out:

[email protected]____.com

Best wishes to you and your daughter.



answers from Dallas on

Being a first grade teacher, it is true that it is developmentally appropriate for all children. The school wasn't lying. Since your child has been diagnosed you have the right to have a meeting. Your child will probably be placed in 504 and will be able to receive modifications and/or accomodations so her academic needs can be met. You need to get the school rolling because it does start the clock for days to get stuff completed. Since it's a charter school, I'm not sure what will happen. Just know that the school has a responsibility to give your child the best instruction possible. Hang in there mom.


answers from Tyler on

We went through the EXACT same thing with my daughter, we even considered holding her back in first grade due to her inablity to spell words without all the letters flipping all over the place. We are in public school and her reading recovery tutor urged us to promote to 2nd grade because they could begin the MTA intervention only once they begin 2nd. She is now in 5th grade and has graduated out of MTA, received a commended grade on her 4th grade writing TAKS and LOVES to read! She still qualifies for alternative spelling tests (she gets multiple choice) but her math skills are slightly above grade average.
This diagnosis doesn't mean your child will always be behind other students, she just has work harder. It isn't too late to begin intervention and frankly, I would avoid any clinic or diagnostician who said that to my daughter. Find out what your school can provide, and if the help isn't there it wouldn't hurt to contact your local public school and ask if she can receive assistance even if she is not enrolled. Ask what is available before you sign up for an expensive program because someone is trying to rush you or scare you. Good luck to you both, your encouragement and working with her will be all the help she needs.

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