Dyslexia - achievable/doable IEP targets

(37 Posts)
auntevil Mon 31-Dec-12 17:54:46

DS1 in Y5 - has been on an IEP since pre-school, but for dyspraxia.
Dyslexia has been confirmed by a behavioural optometrist. There are plenty of ideas, but I need to be realistic as to what school are likely to keep up and do well.
DS is not statemented as he is above average academically, and no apparent social difficulties.
His class is huge and full of challenges for the 1 teacher and 1 TA.
The main area for concern is reading, secondary is spelling. His reading is the lowest level of all subjects. He has just been referred for glasses with coloured lenses as this had already been assessed and trialled in school.
What else can I realistically expect school to help with?
What could go in his IEP to progress his reading/spelling?
TIA

Inclusionist Mon 31-Dec-12 23:19:17

How's his working memory and auditory processing? Could you persuade them to put something into place to develop/ support these if they are a weakness?

auntevil Tue 01-Jan-13 12:17:10

School is patchy on these. I have been through symptoms of dyspraxia with teachers he has had, SENco etc. They talk the talk re his working memory, but they really just don't get it. They are still of the opinion that he just needs to listen better sad I think that they think dyspraxia just has physical manifestations. I can't wait to see what they make of dyslexia.
The school is good in putting practical solutions in place once they have been told and is practicable to do. They are good at putting in general interventions lower down the school for most aspects of developmental delay. They do not seem to be as good further up the school in putting specifics in place without clear instruction.

Inclusionist Tue 01-Jan-13 12:41:06

What sort of level is your DS reading and writing at? Is he struggling to decode in the first place or struggling to read for meaning because of the overload of information?

auntevil Tue 01-Jan-13 16:57:54

He is somewhere between 11-13 (it keeps changing dependent on what 'test' they give him) . His de-coding is fine. His problem is that he adds/misses words and whole lines and then gets confused by the meaning. Currently 5C for literacy as a whole.
Example recently, was homework using adverbs and adjectives. He had read that part - and went on to complete the homework. What he had missed out completely was that they were meant to use the list in the previous question. He hadn't even spotted that line.
He guesses at words and fits them to his context rather than the author's intention. If you go back over it with him, his decoding is fine.
We read lots at home. Not school books (we do those each day) but the factual books that he likes. Phenomenal long term memory, but short term memory in text is woeful.
He does well in writing and grammar (although spelling is still an issue). He knows writing rules and can write to order to achieve goals (similes, BOYS sentences, 2eds etc) - so far.
He tells me in comprehension, he just goes over and over the text, and uses as many words as he can from the original.

Inclusionist Tue 01-Jan-13 17:32:51

Maybe it would help him to learn some mind-mapping strategies? He could make a little mini mind-map for each paragraph of a text he is reading. It would take some practice and support to develop a strategy he liked but might be worth it long term.

Or, he could use highlighter pens in different colours and develop a personal 'code' to pick out relevant information. School could photocopy his texts for him so he can write on them/ cut them up/ fold them/ highlight them etc. Whatever helps to 'chunk' the information to reduce the load on his WM.

In terms of IEP he could have 'I can use 'x' strategy to support my processing of the information in a paragraph of text and use my understanding to answer comprehension questions about that paragraph accurately'.

Have they got the option for him to work in as distraction free a space as possible when necessary? Filtering out classroom noise, busy displays, the school field being mowed etc can all take up WM capacity. When your DS needs to process a text independently can he choose to work somewhere low arousal? If not, you could talk to the school about this and he could have an IEP target something like 'I can notice when I need to work in a low distratction space and ask to go to 'x space' while I read and answer questions'.

Also, does it help him if he walks while he reads?? I have known this be the case for some dyspraxics. If it does help school could arrange for him to be able to do that.

He sounds like he's doing fantastically!

auntevil Tue 01-Jan-13 18:25:45

Brilliant ideas - I'm going to cut and paste into my notes grin
Class has very little space. TA doesn't have a seat unless someone is off. There are some areas within the library that he could go for peace, but it is very visually distracting (he loves books - ironically).
You mentioning mind maps got me thinking. I think that he has worked out a version of that for remembering other things. Sometimes when he recalls information - or I ask him how he remembered something, he has quite fanciful ways of recollection. So if he already understands that kind of method, it might be worth working on.
Cutting up/folding is another trick we could use. He gets very disorientated after line 2 of text.
His preference for reading is lying down - supported by cushions/beanbags grin - can't see that happening. His real preference is for someone else to be reading it for him grin
Thank you - and yes I know I am lucky that he is doing so well. Usual worried mother in that I know there will be some jobs that are not best suited to dyspraxia, so he needs to make the most of his academic time. I would not be doing my job if I did not make sure that his reading supported him.
Thank you for your ideas Inclusionist thanks wine or brew

Inclusionist Tue 01-Jan-13 19:33:19

The best low distraction spaces are often not traditional workspaces. Corridors are often good (at times when they are empty) as they are less visually crowded, maybe your school can have a think about it. If not perhaps they could look into 'in class' measures such as letting your DS turn his desk away from the 'action' during independent work and/or letting him wear ear defenders.

Of course all things are a balancing act between arrangements that help your DS to overcome his dyslexia and how much your DS is bothered by feeling 'different' to his classmates.

Good luck at your meeting!

maizieD Wed 02-Jan-13 19:53:35

Currently 5C for literacy as a whole

He's only 1 term into Y5 and is already 5c for Literacy? The expectation is that a child will be L4 at the end of Y6. Are you thinking that he is a genius being held back by the dyspraxia?

His problem is that he adds/misses words and whole lines and then gets confused by the meaning.
He guesses at words and fits them to his context rather than the author's intention. If you go back over it with him, his decoding is fine.

And why do you think he does this?

I could tell you why I think he does this and it has nothing to do with 'dyslexia'.
But I'd be interested to know what your understanding is of why he reads like this.

(and why on earth is a behavioural optometrist diagnosing 'dyslexia'? It is not their area of expertise)

Inclusionist Wed 02-Jan-13 20:29:50

maizie there is no reason why a dyslexic child can't be a very high achiever with the right, and intensive, support.

mrz Thu 03-Jan-13 09:06:56

That isn't what maizieD is saying Inclusionist, she's simply pointing out that he is already working at the expected level for 14 year olds (end of KS3) and that a behavioural optometrist isn't qualified to diagnose dyslexia only to identify vision problems that may or may not be related. Current thinking is that vision difficulties are a co morbidity rather than an indication of dyslexia

Inclusionist Thu 03-Jan-13 10:21:14

The OP only said the optometrist 'confirmed' dyslexia, not diagnosed it. Anyway, the DC in question has a longstanding dyspraxia diagnosis which may well manifest in some literacy difficulties of the type the OP describes.

I asked questions about underlying difficulties (memory, processing etc) because I think these have more meaning in terms of difficulties experienced in the classroom than the 'labels' which are often a case of sematics.

maizieD Thu 03-Jan-13 10:27:10

I'll repeat my post with just the bits that I really want to find out!

"^His problem is that he adds/misses words and whole lines and then gets confused by the meaning.^
He guesses at words and fits them to his context rather than the author's intention. If you go back over it with him, his decoding is fine.

And why do you think he does this?

I could tell you why I think he does this and it has nothing to do with 'dyslexia'.
But I'd be interested to know what your understanding is of why he reads like this."

I am asking because I don't think that either of these reading 'behaviours' are likely to be neurological in origin.

mrz Thu 03-Jan-13 10:27:30

Anyway, the DC in question has a longstanding dyspraxia diagnosis which may well manifest in some literacy difficulties of the type the OP describes. exactly! the difficulties described are quite possibly related to dyspraxia but can a child working 4-5 years ahead really be described as having literacy difficulties?

maizieD Thu 03-Jan-13 10:31:05

I think he can be described as having 'literacy difficulties' when you consider what the OP describes as his reading strategies! Missing out words and lines and guessing words isn't going to get him very much further than he is already...

auntevil Thu 03-Jan-13 11:34:14

Which is my point maizieD
DS is bright - it is quite evident - school has said this. This is not a stealth boast as for all his academic abilities, he cannot do up buttons, use a knife and fork etc. He will have enough to contend with in life that as an adult, he will need to have developed as many other skills to compensate.
His literacy level is based on all aspects of literacy. He understands what is expected of him - his LOs and SCs. If he is told that he has to write on subject x and include 2 examples of 5 of the following in no less than 100 words, he will do this (has to work through break to complete - although this has been agreed with all parties) - and no more. His long term memory is phenomenal. If he heard a simile in Y2, he will re-use in Y5.
As I mentioned, his reading level is only classed as 11-13 - keeps changing back and forth. This is not particularly high.
My worry is as you say - that he's not going to get much further if we can't get to the bottom of this.
mrz - your point is also a concern for me.
Support can be very thin on the ground if academically a DC is achieving and only few social issues. I have seen this from the other side too.
When the same DS was at a previous school, and disputed dx of dyspraxia, sat him at the back of the classroom and told me at the end of reception that they couldn't score him properly as he hadn't 'mark-maked' all year, I had the opposite situation. I had been in for monthly meetings with SENco, OT had been in to show them what to do, what programmes, but I was consistently lied to that they were doing all of this.
I was advised by an independent organisation I could go 1 of 2 ways. I could fight and make changes happen, or I could leave it and it wouldn't be long before he would have to be statemented. I am not the sort of parent that could do the latter - so I made changes happen.
What worries me is that if there is this discrepancy between his reading and his academic ability - at what point might it hold him back - again. At what point will it have to get to until support has to be given?
I listen to him read, I know how much he misses out. I ask comprehension questions at the end, I know how much he hasn't picked up.
Apologies for long reply

Inclusionist Thu 03-Jan-13 11:49:43

I would say the DC has some 'literacy difficulties' when viewed in the context of his own academic potential, yes.

It's neither here nor there whether he has difficulties in comparison to other DC. (Not to me, anyway). It's not like the OP is fighting for 1-1 support, or any other 'drain' on SEN resources. Just looking for some decent IEP targets to help him overcome his own barriers!

mrz Thu 03-Jan-13 11:55:28

auntevil I am not saying your son doesn't need support, as he clearly does, what I am saying is your description is of a child achieving considerably beyond age expectations.
His dyspraxia (DCD is the now term used in my LEA) is a more likely reason for his difficulties and this is where I would be providing support/strategies.

auntevil Thu 03-Jan-13 13:27:23

The strategies for the dyspraxia are 15 min sessions each day improving fine motor hand skills.
There were other items on the IEP - that were provided by external sources. These have now finished. Until I re-refer to physio and OT for more services, where I have to justify why he needs re-referral (doh, like the dyspraxia is miraculously going to disappear after 3 months of physio and 5 weeks of OT) and wait 6-8 months for him to get back top the top of the list.
We do exercises and work at home, to continue the work of the OT and physio.
What I'm looking for is more than 1 item on his IEP and ones that address his reading and as inclusionist also mentioned, working/short term memory. The 2 are quite possibly linked.
I agree with the co-morbidity issues. The problem that I have found with the perception of dyspraxia is that some (not all) educationalists see the physical issues and not the social, emotional and other issues.
If you look at the criteria for dyspraxia, it looks like DS's CV. If you look at the criteria for dyslexia, it looks like DS's CV. There are so many crossovers.
It is easy to have divided opinions on this. He is also hypermobile. Does the poor handwriting stem from dyspraxia, hypermobility, or is there a visual aspect to this?
Realistically, getting the school to arrange an EP visit is highly unlikely. This is why I'm looking for suggestions that might have worked for others to build in to the IEP. If the targets are SMART, anything that does not achieve can be removed/reviewed.
SENco and CT are both OK at trying new ideas - when handed to them on a plate. Neither are particularly pro-active (also extremely busy and pushed to the limit work wise)
I still use dyspraxia as that, in the dim and distant days when he was dx, was what it was called grin DS3 is shortly to be assessed for the same. I'm expecting DCD for him!

mrz Thu 03-Jan-13 13:48:25

Does your son attend Occupational therapy for his dyspraxia?
I would expect an exercise programme to include gross motor skills and visual tracking rather than just fine motor hand skills given the difficulties you describe.
A basic strategy would be to use a cursor to reveal text word by word and line by line (or syllable by syllable for more difficult words)

auntevil Thu 03-Jan-13 14:09:13

OT asked for the referral to optometry following a SIPT
Gross motor skills we do at home (I still have your list of activities saved mrz - and sometimes use to supplement when he gets bored smile )
SIPT noticed Post Rotary Nystagmus, but optometry say tracking is OK. They are currently going down Irlens route and using line guides, coloured background etc. I have provided writing slope and suitable pens.
For cursor - are we talking work based on laptop? How easy is it to get work onto this format?

maizieD Thu 03-Jan-13 14:10:50

We're not getting very far with his literacy difficulties, are we?

auntevil, is there any chance that you could answer my query?

I'll repeat my post with just the bits that I really want to find out!

His problem is that he adds/misses words and whole lines and then gets confused by the meaning.
He guesses at words and fits them to his context rather than the author's intention. If you go back over it with him, his decoding is fine.

And why do you think he does this?

mrz Thu 03-Jan-13 14:17:47

No I'm talking about paper based text. A simple cursor would be a card (bookmark) with a square cut from one corner. Use the square to reveal a word at a time while the rest of the text is screened by the card.

Inclusionist Thu 03-Jan-13 14:31:06

I like the method mrz describes for straight dyslexia. Problem with severe dyspraxia is that throwing in a fine motor activity like sliding the card word by word can actually add to the problem, especially if there are tracking issues.

Might be easier/ enough to have two blank cards and cover the paragraph above and below- then they only have to be moved at the end of each 'chunk' of text.

mrz Thu 03-Jan-13 14:35:37

I'm not sure that is going to help a child who misses words and lines?

Can he read the words he misses when you draw his attention to them or is he missing them because he hasn't got a strategy to tackle unfamiliar words?

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