Ask Susan: Intensive Help for ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia

Dear Susan

I want to purchase this program for my son. He was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD and struggles with reading and math.

He is going to 2nd grade in September and has been doing Orton Gillingham tutoring, which seems to have helped — but he is still not up to grade level and still labors when reading and writing.

I wanted to know the best way to implement an intensive program from now until school starts to get him to a good start for the school year.

Thank you in advance. I am so glad I came across this program. I wish I had found it sooner as we have been suffering and stressed out trying to help him.

Emma


Neuropsychological assessment report

Apart from this email, I received a comprehensive neuropsychological report of David. 

In January 2017, while in 1st grade, David was assessed by a neuropsychologist and diagnosed with ADHD, a Specific Learning Disability with Impairment in Reading (also called dyslexia), and a Developmental Coordination Disorder (also called dyspraxia).

According to the report, David had a difficulty learning to read and write in kindergarten, and his reading skills development have not adequately progressed, such that his reading level remained at a kindergarten level. He struggled to decode words fluently, skipped words when reading, frequently reversed his b’s and d’s when writing, and struggled to spell.

While his language milestones were met within the appropriate timeframes, and he crawled and walked on time, he has been described as a clumsy child who is prone to falling and sustaining minor injuries. His fine motor skills have been slow to develop, so that he continues to struggle with manipulating zippers and buttons.

In addition, there were concerns about David’s attention and behavioral regulation. He was described as inattentive, energetic and fidgety.

David has been receiving reading remediation twice weekly, support from a math specialist twice weekly, as well as occupational therapy.

Evaluation results

David attained a Full Scale IQ of 98. His adequately developed verbal comprehension, visual-spatial processing, nonverbal reasoning and problem solving, and working memory capabilities were contrasted by his well below expected information processing speed, for which he scored in the 3rd percentile.

If a child’s processing speed is in the 3rd percentile, it means that only 3 of 100 children his age would score the same or lower than he.

His performance on a speeded scanning and visual discrimination task was well below expectations (5th percentile), as he worked slowly and was prone to making errors. Similarly, his graphomotor speed when transcribing symbols according to a code was also in a very low range (5th percentile).

He scored in the 1st percentile for fine motor coordination on the Beery VMI test, which is the lowest possible. On the WIAT-III test he scored in the 14th percentile for word reading, pseudo word reading and spelling; in the 13th percentile for alphabet writing fluency and math fluency (subtraction); and in the 9th percentile for math fluency (addition).

The neuropsychologist made special mention of David’s tendency to reverse across writing tasks, such as the Y and J, and writing “ni” for in..

Edublox intervention

David started with Edublox Online Tutor (Reading Tutor) in the first week of August.

Reading Tutor aims at improving the cognitive skills that are foundational to reading and spelling, including focused and sustained attention; visual and auditory processing; visual, auditory, sequential, iconic, short-term and working memory; and reasoning ability. The program also comprises a comprehensive exercise aimed at teaching reading and spelling, and at expanding vocabulary.

After two weeks, and just before the school reopened on September 7, an opportunity arose for intensive work, and I compiled an easy-to-do program based on the neuropsychologist’s report. Training was presented via videos and a WhatsApp call.

For ten days, David and his mom followed the program below.

Lesson 1

Edublox Online Tutor (Reading Tutor) lesson

Arrows exercise Step 1 for 2 minutes *

Counting exercise for 5 minutes *

10 MINUTE BREAK

Lesson 2

Edublox reading/spelling exercise for 25-30 minutes *

bdpq exercise for 2 minutes *

Crumpling paper exercise *

20 MINUTE BREAK

Lesson 3

Edublox Online Tutor (Reading Tutor) lesson

Arrows exercise Step 1 for 2 minutes *

Counting exercise for 5 minutes *

10 MINUTE BREAK

Lesson 4

Edublox reading/spelling exercise for 25-30 minutes *

bdpq exercise for 2 minutes *

Crumpling paper exercise *.

Edublox intervention continued

After the intensive 10 days, I emailed a daily program which consists of two lessons, between which they now have to alternate. On Monday they had to do Lesson 1, on Tuesday Lesson 2, on Wednesday Lesson 1, etc.

Because Arrows Step 1 has been adequately mastered, I emailed Step 2. I added the Writing exercise, which teaches letter formation from scratch.

Lesson 1

Edublox Online Tutor (Reading Tutor) lesson

Arrows exercise Step 2 for 2 minutes *

Counting exercise for 5 minutes *

Crumping paper exercise *

Lesson 2

Edublox reading/spelling exercise for 25-30 minutes *

bdpq exercise for 2 minutes *

Writing exercise for 7 minutes *

In addition, I gave them access to an adding exercise*.
In.

Progress

Six weeks after starting with Edublox, a marked improvement in David’s handwriting was already noticeable (see sample before on the left and sample after six weeks on the right):


His cognitive skills, and reading and spelling have also improved, according to his Reading Tutor report:

Based on feedback from his mother it was clear that David was still struggling with visual synthesis, which involves joining the individual letters together to read a whole word. To assist David I offered him a total of 20 Skype lessons of 30 minutes each, spread over 5 weeks. On December 1 he could read 130 flashcards by sight (these included many difficult words like guess, brightbrilliant, excited, adventure, bicycle, etc.). He could also spell many of the words.

David no longer needs my personal assistance, but I’ll be ready to help, should he hit another bump in the road.

Regards,

Susan
.

* These are additional exercises and are not included in the Edublox Online Tutor product range.


Tips for sending questions

Send your questions to [email protected]. Type “Ask Susan” in the subject line.

Try to give as much detail as possible when sending your questions. Include your child’s age and grade and the specific problems that you have noticed, which concern you.

Sign your letter to Susan with your first name only, or a pseudonym if you prefer. Your identity remains private and we will not publish your contact details.

More about Susan

Susan is an educational specialist and published author in the field of learning problems and dyslexia and has a B.A. Honours in Psychology and B.D. degree from the University of Pretoria. Early in her professional career Susan was instrumental in training over 3000 teachers and tutors, providing them with the foundational and practical understanding to facilitate cognitive development amongst children who struggle to read and write. With over 25 years of research to her name Susan conceptualized the Edublox teaching and learning methods that have helped thousands of children who were struggling academically to read, learn and achieve. In 2007, Susan opened the first Edublox reading and learning clinic and now there are 25 Edublox clinics internationally. Her proudest moments are when she sees a child who had severe learning difficulties come top of their class after one or two years at Edublox. Susan always takes time to collect the ‘hero’ stories of learners whose self-esteem is lifted as their marks improve. Susan has written and coauthored a number of books on the subject of learning and learning disabilities. She has also written numerous articles on the subject of health, nutrition and well-being.