Enquiry about my child … please help

Hi Dawn, my 6 year old boy has been diagonosed with dyspraxia, add, dyslexic and possibly asbergers. He started school last year and had a difficult year. After much debate I finally gave into my pediatrician and put him on ritalen, purely to help him focus and concentrate for longer to learn. This year he is in the reading recovery program, unfortunately in nsw dispraxics cannot get funding for a teachers aid. It is extremely frustrating for these kids because of the lack of support they receive. Kieren is about 2 years behind with writing and reading, he is already noticing and wondering why he is not writing and reading like the others. Could you give me some advice on how to help him. How much does it cost to go to your school, what are the fees per term?

Unfortunately we do not yet have a school we are trying very hard to get funding. We are in Perth Wa.
he cannot be dyslexia and asbergers. thy are 2 completely different ways of thinking. He ix also unlikely to be both dyslexic and dyspraxic but it is possible. If he is not catching up with his schooling on the drugs then he should not be on them.

i’m currently assessing kids to find out what actually they have and then showing parents how to teach them using my teaching materials which are soon to be published. I am doing this through the use of SKYPE although some are people are actually preferring to come vast distances to see me.

my “Dead easy phonics program” will be out soon and this is aimed at parents so that they will be able easily to teach their kids themselves. although you have to stop the ordinary school homework to find the time.
hope this helps

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

As a kid, I could read and write before starting scool and was writing poetry and reading adult novels at the age of eight. I also already had the start of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Despite my aptitude for English class, I had a lot of problems at school caused by my disorder and failed a lot of other classes because of it. I left school as soon as possible to work in a supermarket, where I stayed for 10 years, despite a supposedly high I.Q. and the occasionally published short-story or poem. I was not diagnosed with my disorder until I was 26, although I had diagnosed myself at seventeen and sought help. Unfortunately, the doctor that diagnosed me was rather scathing of the problem and basically, told me to toughen up and stop distressing my poor mother so much! (I had made the mistake of taking my Mum along with me to help explain my symptoms) Shortly after, I attempted suicide with an overdose of prescription medication, at work. After I recovered, ‘the incident’ was never discussed, and I still didn’t recieve any help, until I had an emotional breakdown at 26, and luckily found a sympathetic and informed doctor, who started me on an appropriate medication, which changed my life. Until then, I had only ever dared to go on two dates, out of fear that I would be rejected for having such a ‘wierd’ condition. I have now been with my husband for eleven years and am expecting my fourth child in 5 weeks. I always swore that if any of my children showed symptoms of a problem, that I would be straight onto it. O.C.D. was my biggest fear of course, but then my daughter started having trouble with reading and writing from kindergaten age. Since I had been trying flash cards since she was a toddler, I started requesting an assesment from primary school on. I was told throughout this time that she was a lovely, bright little girl who would ‘click’ with reading and writing ’soon’. Maddison had a year of reading recovery from midway through Grade 1, then consolidated with another year of Grade 1 and 12 more weeks of reading recovery, and was still often writing even her own name backwards. Now in Grade 2, I had to ring The Education Department of Vic, and every section of it, to finally get an assesment, only to fnd that the psychologist who saw her had no real knowledge of Dyslexia and thought the suggestion that she might have it ‘interesting’! I have since taken her to a behavioural Optometrist, who has done testing and does believe that she is dyslexic. And now I have found that there is no funding for the problem, and indeed, limited and expensive help to be found! My husband earns an average wage, and I am unable to work currently. When my baby is born, I will have 3 other children under 3 1/2, whilst my precious first born will be heading into Grade 3, still struggling with the same sort of ‘inferior’ feelings that I myself felt, and it breaks my heart. Of couse, we will scrimp and save, and somehow find the money for some sort of private tutoring, but I cannot believe with the advancement in education and knowledge, that there is still no funding to help our kids achieve their full potential! Please, anyone reading this, who can change this situation, please do your best, for the future of our incredible kids, who have so much to offer, if only given the chance!
- Kelly

What you say is very interesting and thank you for sharing this with us.
Children who find reading and writing very easy do tend to have compulsive obsessive disorders. They tend to be towards the autistic end of the spectrum.
It sounds as though your daughter, though, is different from you and probably more dyslexic. She is not likely to have the same problems as you and you will find it hard to teach her yourself because she will learn very differently from you.
There are many parents now using my teaching materials and their kids are doing fine. They are very easy to use. I hope to have my complete dead easy phonics course finished soon. So keep posted as this can be used to teach any kid, without a teacher.

I have noticed that many families do seem to have both dyslexia and asperges. I do not know if any study has been done on this but I find it interesting. My own brother is asperges. He found school very easy but life very hard whereas I was the opposite.

keep in touch

Need to know what’s best for my child

Thanks for all your info Dawn & time.
When you have a child that never gives up, you want to keep pushing on.
Our daughter Sarah, is an anxious child, loves being at home with her family, home body, and loves the water, beach. Sarah has ADD/ADHD, expressive language difficulties, learning difficulties, however very visual, and learns visually, Sarah is 9yrs old.
I did the Tick box assessment / for the 8-13yrs for Dyspraxia, Sarah’s score was 19.
I also did the Dyslexia late infant or early primary screening sheet Sarah’s score was 12.
I am a little dyslexic myself, so probably from my side of the family.
Sarah has had expressive speech difficulties since she started to talk, Sarah did speech therapy for 6yrs. Sarah is reading well, Sarah is doing tennis lessons at the moment and has really improved, plus we bought a trampoline, as she takes a while to try new things, and the trampoline takes her out of her comfort zone which is good, Dawn suggests the wobble board which is brilliant for balance also. Sarah is learning to surf on a surfboard, we are seeing big improvements in all area’s of her gross motor skills, all these things help her confidence, In the past I have tried Sarah on
Omega fish oil since little, taken her to occupational behavioural optometry, speech therapy, neuro psychologist, you name it.
I would like to say Dawn has up to date research and provides practical resources for children like Sarah who don’t learn the mainstream way.
I wished all states in Australia would adopt Dawn’s methods of teaching children that learn differently, our daughter is very visual and Dawn’s resources are fantastic.
Thanks again
[name withheld, Sydney Australia]

instead of doing the fast forward you can buy earobics DVD at a fraction of the cost and i have found it to be as god.

We did look into fast forward, got all the info DVD etc, we were already doing
with our daughter education DVD on the computer Maths and English, fun type learning computer games, from Tandy, Dick Smith etc, our speech therapist
looked into fast forward and said what you are already doing is very similar, our daughter Sarah is very visual, learns visually, Sarah is a whiz on the computer, plus fast forward was big $$$$, also looked into Cell field again big$$$$ and no studies to back up what they say it does, have looked at so many things and tried so much. Thanks again

I do not sell earobics but will try to work out how we can do that. I got hold of them by going to www.earobics.com. Our local SPELD sell them also. You can phone them on 0894743494.

I sell a downloadable dyspraxic pack which contains a book on dyspraxia and a phonics course and lots of other teaching aids. for $39 i think.(!) Get it from www.dyslexia-testing.com.au and type dyspraxia in the store search engine. The book I sell on dyspraxia is only at present available downloadable.

All the things you are doing are good. Skate boarding is very good also or a wobble board, I tell you how to build one in the book,

If your child is dyspraxic i would expect her to score as positive in both the dyslexia and he dyspraxia tick tests.

There are no schools which properly cater for these kids in Australia, unfortunately, so try not to worry too much if she does not keep up. Just remember that primary education is only actually meant to prepare your kid for secondary and high school is only intended to prepare her for life, so concentrate on life skills.

It is so important to find her strengths and concentrate on them rather than just correcting things that she is not doing well at.
And yes if she is dyspraxic she can improve greatly and live a more or less normal life. My step mum is dyspraxic and she was a maths teacher in a top private school.
I am beginning a maths program for these kids but as you might imagine I am quite busy!

I do offer skype assessments now.
Good luck you are doing very well and are obviously a really good mum.


Dyspraxia Book

Hi Dawn I am having a little trouble logging in, so thought I would go this way. I can not say how greatful I am for your help. Although my 11 year old daughter was diagnosed with dyspraxia several years ago, I really didn’t understand how she saw the world or some of the funny little routines she has like being terrified of the dark. After reading your book, I now have a much better understanding. I read over some of the points in the book with my daughter and she said “That’s me, I’m not weird”. We are now using some of your strategies and things are running much smoother, particularly like giving her a little more time to do things ans say things. Hey the whole family is better organised, as we have just started a new daily routine.

Hi Raewyn.
I am so pleased that I have been able to help. She’s a great kid. keep believing in her.

What tests are used to diagnose?

Thank you very much for your response. I heard you on Richard Glover’s Drive programme on 2BL yesterday. If we were to come to you in WA at some stage, what tests would you use to diagnose dyslexia? My son had a diagnosis of dyscalculia but I believe he is actually dyslexic even though his reading is satisfactory. His handwriting and spelling is extremely problematic and always has been (he is 10). If he is to undergo more testing, I would prefer it be with someone who knows what they are doing.
Thanks & regards


I developed my test for SPELD here when I wrote the course for TAFE. You have to be dyslexic to do the course since it is targeted for dyslexics. I use that but much more comprehensive. Its not just about diagnosis, its about learning how your kid learns and perceives the world. Once we know how he thinks then we know how to teach him. Unfortunately most testing focuses on the problem and merely identifies that. My testing is solution based. I am looking for the solution not the problem.

Dyslexia is a learning difference so once we can establish his strengths and weaknesses we can develop a teaching program around this.

Dyscalculia merely means that the kid has problems with numbers, its actually Greek for “difficulty with numbers” and as such is not a true diagnosis, in my terms. what you need to know is why he has difficulty with numbers. It could be due to a number of things, including, dyslexia, dyspraxia, Asperger’s Syndrome and other things. All these learning differences need to be taught in a different way from each other.

I am posting details of my assessment on the site soon.

hope this helps

Dyslexia / Dyspraxia

From a parent

Hi Dawn, I think I love you!! Thank you so much for putting in all the effort to make this possible. I am a mother of a very intelligent 6 year old boy. He should be in year one but because he was born in May of 2003 I was able to keep him down so that he could keep up with the other students. I sent him to a brand new public school last year, his kindy teacher was more concerned with him sitting still and listening to her then to take notice of his school work. I asked for a meeting with the school psychologist, in walks this guy that had no idea where he was, it looked like he had just had a hit of cocaine, he showed no interest in mine or my partners concerns or the problems of my child. It was a wasted 1 hour of my life. I would ask his teacher how he was going and I would get feed back on his behaviour, not on his school work. I was told once that his fine motor skills were poor but that was it. By the end of last year she had manage to get him to behave the way she wanted and wasn’t bothered with him any more. I tried one time to talk to her about my concerns and was promptly told that he was good for her maybe parenting classes is what I needed. Well this year I enrolled him in a different public school and from the beginning it has been handled a totally different way. The teacher has recommended that he has occupational therapy, speech therapy and that he sees a physiotherapist. I was contacted by his school last week in regards to a interview with the school psychologist so on Monday morning my partner and I go to the school to meet with the deputy principal, his teacher and the school psychologist. We were informed that they would be doing an IQ test on him and they asked what kind of problems he seemed to be showing. During the interview, both the deputy principal and psychologist said that it sounds like Dyspraxia; there is a history of Dyslexia in the family. A lot of people have said that they think he is ADD, but it never fitted him. I did the checklist for Dyspraxia and I ticked all but two boxes. The psychologist informed us that the test results will come back with a result of average to above average intelligence. Now is where my confusing comes into it. If his IQ is normal to above normal would that not mean, that he is fine? I really can’t see how you can be intelligent even above normal intelligent and still be told that you have a disability? I am beyond angry about this problem. I am now thinking that I might sue the government in regards to them refusing to see that these children have no form of disability that they learn differently, that it is the government letting these children down. I would never ever want another child, he is so fun, loving, exciting and just beautiful. Why are they so intent on putting the blame on him? Could you recommend in regards to the current education system where I should send him? I could end up in jail if I don’t send him somewhere. I will NOT send him public and have him told that he is stupid which is basically what they are doing. Thanks and regards

The question you are asking is one that most school do not seem to understand her.
If your son has an average or above IQ and is not learning at school it is because your son has specific learning difficulty or what I call a specific learning difference. That means that her learns differently from other kids and therefore needs to be taught differently. it is really simple but not understood here.
i show parents and teacher how to teach these kids in my books. it is not hard but apparently getting education to change is hard.

In the Uk and Victoria people are suing and winning because in fact it is against the law not teach your on properly.

Unfortunately I am not able, and nor are Dyslexia SPELD, to recommend any schools in WA and I have asked for anyone who knows of one that teaches these kids properly to tell me . Nobody has. I am trying to set up a school but it takes time and fund raising.
In the mean time many parents are homeschooling their dyslexic and dyspraxic kids. One home schoolin g organizer told me that most kids being home schooled in the Perth area have these problems.

I live in Rockingham so if you want a proper assessment or , tutoring or help home schooling I do offer all of these. I also help parents work out personal teaching programs if they are taken out of school.

I change $200, through my new organization, Dyslexic Centre Australia and that includes a 2 hours session of working out a personal teaching program, a report and free soft ware.

Work Experience

To whom it may concern,

My name is Sophie and I am currently living in Sydney, but will be moving to Perth in the middle of October after a trip back to England. I am currently on a 12 month working visa, which will expire April 2010, but I will then hopefully be able to appy for defacto, in order to allow me to stay for a few more years. I am 24 years old and completed a BA psychology degree in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, in 2005, in which my dissertation was about dyspraxia and the difficulties children have with it. I was tested for dyspraxia at school when I was 17, and undertook a year of exercises to help reduce the problems I suffered from it. The exercises made a huge difference to my life and made me a much more confident person.
This personal experience, as well as my dissertation, has increased my knowledge and interest in the area and I would now love to see what work I could be involved in to help other individuals. I came across your website on the internet and would like to make contact. I know October seems a long way, but I wondered whether it would be possible for me to meet you when I move to Perth, and possibly, at your convenience, do some work experience.
I am leaving to go back to the UK and then onto India on the 25th July, until the 13th October, so it would be best for you to contact me via email. I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely, Sophie Thwaite

Motor Dyspraxia

My son is 6 and a half years old and recently his teacher expressed her concerns about him in class. He was assessed by her earlier in the year, showing a high level of intelligence. His reading level is 28. His maths testing was very good. He is a very sociable child. However his writing is very poor and is not a good reflection of his intelligence. By her suggestion he has visited an occupational therapist who assessed him at below average and mentioned he shows traits of motor dyspraxia. I completed the tick test on this site and ticked 17 out of the 35. I am wondering if you can offer any advice on what I should be doing next, many thanks

It seems very odd that your son has been assessed by his teacher as highly intelligent but then as below average. He is either bright or below average. He cannot be both.
Correct diagnosis is so important. He has problems with writing so he could be either dyslexic or dyspraxic or have some problem within the autistic spectrum.

If he finds making friends easy then we can probably rule out the autistic spectrum, but you say his maths is good and children with motor dyspraxia usually have problems with maths.

If you read the book I have written on Dyspraxia I think you would be able to tell if he had that. It only costs $8.

If he is dyslexic he will have problems recalling the look of words and you will notice that he has most problems with the small irregularly spelt words. If he is all the time trying to sound out words and spelling them as they sound rather than as they look then he should be taught by phonics. Then use my Phonics program.

If the writing problem is due to motor dyspraxia he will also have problems with drawing. If his drawing is fine but his writing bad then his problems are not likely to be due to dyspraxia
There is a SPELD organization in Melbourne who may be able to help you.

get back to me if you have more questions.

My Daughter …

My daughter aged 10 has just be diagnosed with global learning difficulties can you please tell me what is the difference between that and dyslexia?

Learning difficulties fall into 2 types, specific learning difficulties and global learning difficulties.

Specific learning difficulties, include dyslexia, dyspraxia autism etc where the child has specific strengths and weaknesses. This means that the child is basically bright but has weaknesses in some abilities. Their WISC test profile has high and low scores.

Global learning difficulties is where the child is low right across the spectrum. The chid has tested as having no specific strengths.

However many, many kids are being misdiagnoses all the time. i have worked with scores of dyslexic kids who have been labelled incorrectly as having global learning difficulties.

I assume that your daughter must have been given the WISC test. If you consider this to be incorrect in your daughters case, get hold of the WISC subtest scores and send them to me or have them evaluated again at a Dyslexia Centre.

I will be pleased to help.

New kids blog soon to be launched …

Heyy everyone, im jessie im 13 soon to be 14, i’ve recently found out I’am dyslexic and one of dawn matthews many studnets.
We’re soon to be setting up a kids blog and I will be the one running it.
Any kids out there with dyslexia or hey just need to talk someone feel free to e-mail.
I will try my best to answer all your questions and give advice to the best of my abbility, and any of the tequnical questions im not able to answer dawn will be sure to assist.

And to tell a bit more about myself; I live near perth with family and currently being home tutored because my previous school weren’t teaching me right and i felt as though teachers were picking on me constantly, I was so angry I thought that one day I would throw a chair at one of the teachers so it got to the point that I wasnt ready to take any responsibility and decided to just skip school.

Thats all for now