Is this a fair comment on school report of dyslexic?

(40 Posts)
shelsco Thu 10-Jul-14 22:13:23

Ds2 (in year 7) got his report today and there were several comments about improving spelling, learming to spell key words etc in order to improve. He was diagnosed dyslexic this year and does work incredibly hard but just can't retain spellings. School have given him no support at all with regard to dyslexia. I do appreciate that overall he is doing well and there are many other children who need the school resources more than him. Even so, I felt that the references to improving spelling, given that they have put no input into helping his spelling at all, seems a bit rich. I've put loads of work in at home supporting his spelling but it's still weak. AIBU to think that if school want him to improve spelling they should actually help him?

CustardOmlet Thu 10-Jul-14 22:18:53

Things clearly haven't changed since I was in yr7 (17yrs ago!!!) if I dug out my old school reports it would have said exactly the same. As I was doing fine in all other areas of school, they didn't provide the additional support I needed either, it was down to my mum to spend hours a week doing spelling tests. All I can say is thank goodness for spell checkers!

shelsco Thu 10-Jul-14 22:48:40

So frustrating! What do they want him to do, turn into a fantastically good speller? It's not going to happen but if it's such a big deal, why don't they make an effort to address it in stead of just saying it isn't good enough. They are supposed to 'teach' after all!

deakymom Thu 10-Jul-14 22:49:24

well now they have put it in writing write back (nicely) requesting support with spellings due to to ds dyslexia include phrases such as "im sure you are aware of his diagnosis and are just as keen as me to help him get over this difficulty" (sort of like that but better im on massive painkillers so not good with words) then copy the email to the pta /headteacher /lea etc anyone else you can think of you might find some movement on this then because asking when no one is around is easy to ignore ask while the whole world watches is difficult to ignore

deakymom Thu 10-Jul-14 22:50:14
BananaBumps Thu 10-Jul-14 22:53:02

Repeated feedback of "check your spellings" drove my daughter mad - she is highly likely to spell a word more than one way in the same piece of writing and has no idea which is correct. Toe-by-toe is an excellent book to improve reading, which helps spellings, and the spelling book Hornet is also good.

shelsco Thu 10-Jul-14 23:32:30

Thanks, will have a look at the resources. Have done a lot at home already and read quite a lot to try and support. His reading comprehension is good but phonics and spelling are terrible.
What is frustrating is (a) they are implying it is carelessness, despite his diagnosis and hard work and (b) no matter what support I give ( and I have worked hard with him at home since he was little) he is unlikely to ever be a good speller. As for copying in everyone, I'm already involved in a battle for my older son ( also dyslexic) as school won't record the evidence that he needs extra time, even though LEA have told them they should(after my complaint) so I'm wary of complaining about everything and being seen as an unreasonable parent.I sort of need to pick my battles, but find it hard to let it pass without saying anything at all.

What is wrong with these people? I'm a teacher and I would never dream of criticising the spelling of a dyslexic child, especially if I hadn't provided them with any support! If I knew it was a difficulty, I would try and suggest strategies or services to help to parents at parents evening.

APlaceOnTheCouch Thu 10-Jul-14 23:32:37

It's not a fair comment at all. I'd write back, as a PP suggested, and ask how they plan to support ds in light of their comments and ds' diagnosis.

I'm not sure where you are but most areas have a dyslexia group or branch of a Dyslexia Association. They're great at providing support for parents and children both with resources, and providing a place to chat. You might find it helpful to get in touch with them too.

Runesigil Fri 11-Jul-14 00:26:26

Agree with deakymom continue a paper trail and ask what steps they intend to put into place to help him.
A friend's son is dx ADHD and his reports are always full of 'if he sat still and focused he would improve' type comments shock

ICanSeeTheSun Fri 11-Jul-14 02:37:30

Is your child on the sen register. If not then push for him to go on there.

CoolCat2014 Fri 11-Jul-14 02:53:24

Not fair and totally frustrating, and exactly what I had to live through at school as dyslexic. I had specialist training from s dyslexia teacher, learning how to spell sounds by rote, learning how to spell words by using acronyms etc. and whilst it will have a price tag attached to it, and I loathed it at the time, I'd highly recommend it. My brother never had the same training and it still shows really badly. Also using a computer more recently has made a huge difference, as it highlights my mistakes and shows me how to spell correctly without the judgement! I've re-learnt a lot of words now.

You should ask the school to provide extra support - all the schools I went to offered at least an hour a weeks one to one tuition. Teachers writing reports might just not realise how hard spelling is for dyslexics.

sashh Fri 11-Jul-14 08:02:03

Other children needing resources is irrelevant.

I would write

Thank you for pointing out my son has difficulty spelling, this is probably due to his dyslexia. Also thank you for pointing out that this needs improvement, I agree. Please could you, as an education provider, provide my son with the appropriate support to over come his dyslexia, you have obviously noticed how it is impacting on his studies and have the paperwork to put extra support in place.

BarbarianMum Fri 11-Jul-14 08:07:37

Fine for them to write it as a statement of fact ( not a criticism), in fact helpful because this should now be followed up by a plan of action to support him in improving.

fairyfuckwings Fri 11-Jul-14 08:10:35

As the mother of a dyslexic daughter I would advise to expect NOTHING from the school at all. If you can, get a private tutor and help at home by doing "toe by toe" and help with reading practice.

It shouldn't be this way, but after experiencing 3 schools who have all done very little/nothing I have lowered my expectations and now see anything they do at all as a bonus.

LeBearPolar Fri 11-Jul-14 08:19:49

I never write this on the report of a dyslexic child. How is it helpful? I always try to find a target that I know they could address. It suggests to me that those teachers haven't bothered to make themselves aware of your son's diagnosis, TBH.

shelsco Fri 11-Jul-14 08:31:56

The teachers are aware of his diagnosis as I told them about it at Parents' Evening. Doesn't seem as if they've remembered though. Also, his Science mark is down (although he's brilliant at Science) because he didn't have time to finish any of the papers. I did bring this up earlier in the year but got a very woolly reply. Should Year 7 dyslexic children be given extra time in assessments? The reply I got seemed to imply that it would only be in external assessments but then this means anyone with dyslexia is not having their disadvantage removed in assessments on a continual basis. Would be interested to know if this is also common in all schools.

whois Fri 11-Jul-14 08:41:10

Repeated feedback of "check your spellings" drove my daughter mad

+1 but it's not just school.

My work involves wrighting reports. 'Check your spellings' IF I COULD TELL WHICH WAS CORRECT ID HAVE BLOODY USED THAT SPELLING ARGHHHHHH Spell checkers don't help for word substitution eg from form and a whole host of words I can't even begin to get close enough for spell check to pick up.

When I joined my company 6 years ago they paid for an updated educational psychologists report so I would be elligable for extra time in my professional exams. So it's not like they aren't aware.

whois Fri 11-Jul-14 08:44:35

Should Year 7 dyslexic children be given extra time in assessments? The reply I got seemed to imply that it would only be in external assessments but then this means anyone with dyslexia is not having their disadvantage removed in assessments on a continual basis.

I don't think I got extra time for internal assessments - it would be hard to manage as often end of year tests are just as long as the lesson. I did for all SATS, GCSES, A Levels and degree exams. And my professional exams. Extra time on a three and a half hour exam makes for a long morning!

It would obviously be better if your DS could have extra time in the internal exams and might be worth pushing for

shelsco Fri 11-Jul-14 16:17:10

Yeah, I know it might be hard to organise but just seems unfair if they see him as less able and therefore expect less of him just because he can't finish the paper. Think I will push for it. If they say no, he won't be any worse off.
I did ring the learning mentor today to ask about it and she said she would find out what had happened as she thought he probably should have had extra time but the Science teacher is new and didn't know. Communication issues there if that's the case but at least next year it might mean someone is aware!!

Icimoi Fri 11-Jul-14 17:56:05

Never rely on teachers remembering what you tell them at parents' evenings. I went right through ds' secondary school careers hearing teachers whinging about his spelling and organisation and saying to them "You do know he's dyslexic, don't you?" only to be met with looks of blank incomprehension. I obviously never succeeded in getting it through their heads, but maybe you could write to the SENCO at the beginning of each year asking her to ensure that all ds' teachers know he is dyslexic and what they are supposed to do to help him, and that she checks again regularly.

Nomama Fri 11-Jul-14 18:14:41

Has he got a J8 assessment?

He won't get anything unless the appropriate person, usually SENCO, assesses him and writes a J8, exam boards won't accept anything else, though up to 25% extra time only needs a Normal Way of Working report.

THAT is why he needs to have extra time in all tests. The usual trick is to ask him to write in a different colour at the end of normal time, so this can be used to show he not only needs it but uses it. All teachers should know to make any test shorter than the lesson length to allow for extra time.

Keep on at them. Ask for a meeting with Head of Year or Head of School and ask them why he is being unnecessarily disadvantaged by their staff?

maddening Fri 11-Jul-14 21:27:01

If they have identified a need in his education then they need to explain to you how they will fulfil their obligation to provide the correct educational support in order to tackle the issue that they have identified and especially as he has been diagnosed as dyslexic - book an appointment and tell them you expect an educational plan for him and ask for timescales for this to be provided.

maddening Fri 11-Jul-14 21:31:09

Ps there are exercises that can help - I was 15 when diagnosed so learnt mind mapping techniques for gcse etc and got extra time in exams but it was all exam based then so I don't know about other extensions. My parents took me to an educational psychologist who diagnosed me then they paid for some sessions with him for learning techniques.

Mylittlepotofjoy Fri 11-Jul-14 22:37:55

To get extra time in exams the school now have to prove that extra time is necessary in normal school time ! 2 of my ds's and myself are dyslexic and getting help in school still seems like an up hill battle. Eldest sd got no help at all but got in uni and has a degree mainly due to him having a Mensa iq ....he only received help on reaching uni because as an adult of over 18 he suddenly could not be discriminated against !!! Youngest sd has received some help with his gcse's but we have had to fight of it since year 7 toe by toe is a good system to start with and our youngest has used a computer all through school. Luckily he was assessed in primary school so that has helped a bit. Don't let the school knock his confidence and keep pushing them .

shelsco Fri 11-Jul-14 22:55:45

Thanks. I have started to find some of this out as ds1 is in Year 10 and we have been battling with the school to get him extra time. Eventually had to involve MP and LEA who found we were right in that he did qualify and should be having extra time trialled. Still don't know whether it will happen but when I rang equality helpline I found that apparently he can still be discriminated against at school and school can be brought to account via tribunal (theoretically). It was quoting the guidance to the 2010 Equality Act that eventually made the LEA sit up and listen.
I was told that DS2 would have extra time given at the end of each year as he was younger and had been diagnosed earlier but I obviously need to keep a check on this. They can't fill in the form 8 for GCSE exams until after Year 9 (change to regulations as from this year) but he should still be getting it to prove normal way of working.

You are right mylittle It is such an uphill battle. I'm exhausted with it all. It shouldn't be this hard. Teacher should receive a decent amount of training in dyslexia and, at the moment, most don't. I am a teacher (primary) and I know relatively little, but still substantially more than my colleagues who all think they know quite a lot until you actually ask any direct questions when they actually say they don't exactly know!! Of course, they wouldn't say that to a parent. Many teachers sort of assume a certain amount of knowledge based on their experience of kids. Unfortunately, this means they only spot the most severe and stereotypical symptoms of dyslexia and, even then, don't know how to address it really! sad

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