Where do I start? Too many qns - worried mum. Pls help

(32 Posts)
KrazzyMum Thu 27-Feb-14 09:41:22

Hi all,

I know this is a wonderful community, and I often browse through but this is my first post.

Having issues with my DS , aged 9 ,
- with spellings - ( vpoor sad scores good for spelling tests if prepared v recently, but just cannot reapply. Different spellings each time sometimes. )
- english grammar & structure (just cannot remain focussed. Sometimes sentences just dont make any sense at all. But very few instances, he just surprises you. )
-Maths - (better of the lot.. can do homeworks himself and but sometimes just forgets the very basisc.. very scary. )
- in general no organisation, tidyness, eating, forgetfulness and no concentration etc.

He is a lovely boy and very cheerful and liked by all, but I am nowadays showing my desperation on him so much bcos it is just not getting anywhere.. Not even sure how that is affecting him. Feeling like a horrible mum, but I really dont know what to do.. I am prepared to do anything but am worried if I am too late in attempting anything. I wish he was in Year 1 where we could start all over again, but unf we are in Year 4 !!! And so many exams around the corner sad

I really dont know what to do. He goes to a reputed school but feel am not getting much help from school. And feel his form teacher is a bit cold, and even otherwise they only love their high achievers.

Pls help someone. Do I need professional help for him? If so, where do I start? Or will he come out of all this himself.. do I just have to be patient and watch..

Thanks !!!

orangepudding Thu 27-Feb-14 09:50:12

Have you spoken to his class teacher about your concerns? Could you speak to the school SENCO?

KrazzyMum Thu 27-Feb-14 09:58:08

I have indicated but like I said.. the teacher didnt seem v approachable. And I am also scared tbh as to what deal they will make out of it. Last year I had a chat with SENCO who observed him for a day and she said he was fine. He just needs to concentrate a bit more..

If I were to get some professional help outside of school, where do I start?

MigGril Thu 27-Feb-14 10:00:55

From what you have written hear its shouting dyslexic at me. I'm not a professional just a mum who is dyslexic. it may not be that but something else but I'd certainly be pushing for an assessment. If the school isn't being helpful then try organisations like the dyslexic association they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Seeline Thu 27-Feb-14 10:03:01

Have the school acknowledged there is an actual problem? Is he behind his peers/average levels?
A lot of 9yo boys still find it hard to concentrate for longer periods. Similarly most 9yo boys are disorganised, untidy and forgetful.

wol1968 Thu 27-Feb-14 10:04:18

Another one worried about dyslexic type problems! I don't have too much constructive to say as I'm in the same position, my son is in Year 5 and is very similar to yours. Literacy is a big struggle, Maths is OK, not brilliant but OK, he loves tech, science and topic lessons (can give you some long speeches on the planets) and I used to have terrible trouble getting him to dress in the mornings. Still can't tie shoelaces.

He's getting extra booster sessions with literacy but I'm not really convinced it's enough. His reading isn't too bad (although still behind according to the school) but getting any writing out of him is painful. And yes, he spells like Nigel Molesworth (google him - How To Be Topp grin).

I'm trying to help him at home with some Letts Spelling & Grammar guides, and encouraging him to write at home, not worrying too much about the spelling to begin with but just getting the words on the page, and the content flowing. But I think we need something more structured and more external as I'm rubbish at imposing a routine about this beyond reading every night.

I need to get round to ringing Dyslexia Action dyslexiaaction.org.uk/ and seeing what they say, also some relevant pages on the British Dyslexia Association bdadyslexia.org.uk website about how to get the help they need. But I've heard it can be quite a hard fight and I'm not sure how much strength I have for it.

MigGril Thu 27-Feb-14 10:07:12

And you unfortunately May find you have to turn into pushy mum. I'm sad to. say nothing seems to have changed since I was at school it'sseems to be those that shout the most get the help.

orangepudding Thu 27-Feb-14 10:09:24

I would try again with the school.
Set up a meeting with his teacher and the senco together if you can. Ask to see how his levels have progressed. Ask how you can help him at home. Ask about the possibility of an Ed pysch assessment.

You son sounds very similar to mine but my son is in year 1. His class teacher has been very supportive but the senco took some convincing that he needs help. The senco did some assements on him and found he is a bright boy who with his results would be expected to be in the top half of the class, not at the very bottom. The school then arranged an ed pysch appointment which will be next month.

You need to be pushy if you want help for your child.

KrazzyMum Thu 27-Feb-14 10:16:59

I dont think he is dyslexic tbh.. Reading on various issues, I think it may be closer to ADHD?? Dyslexics have reading issues too right - but he reads very well ! What do you think?

So you are all saying to go to school again sad Dont like it, but will do if there arent any other options. Just dont trust the school.. sad

PastSellByDate Thu 27-Feb-14 10:17:59

Hi KrazzyMum:

Just a Mum, so not a huge expert - but a lot of what you say sounds just like my DD1 when she was 9.

We could prep for a spelling exam (practicing all week) - she'd ace it or maybe miss 1 or 2, but 2 weeks later - all that work was lost - she'd make lots of mistakes.

At age 7 (end of Y2) she could barely sound out words (very slowly, hugely uncertain of pronunciation), could only add numbers to 20 (because she could count on fingers & toes) and couldn't subtract at all.

Our solution was this:

We determined that for us it was important DD1 could read, could add/ subtract/ multiply/ divide & could reasonably express herself on paper.

We joined an on-line maths tutorial (there's lots out there - just try a search engine) & regularly used it each week

We exchanged books with friends, encouraged all relatives to give books at Birthday/ Christmas & regularly checked out books (because from KS2 guided reading books don't come home & the library at the school had 'issues' with their system so months would go by before they could check out books).

We had DD1 write thank you cards, post cards, old fashioned letters to enter competitions or to tv shows/ characters she liked.

And we chose our battles.

I spent most of Year 3 trying to teach her that with was not spelled whith (she'd grouped it mentally with words like who, what, where, why - which I call question words).

CGP literacy workbooks for Years 3/4/5 are an easy solution (link on amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/KS2-English-Literacy-Workbook-Year/dp/184146158X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393495968&sr=8-1&keywords=cgp+literacy+year+4 - they were a great help - teaching grammar but also teaching spelling tricks - like 'y' becomes 'i' with endings - so happy becomes happiness or why letters double with endings - so hop becomes hopping to indicate that the 'o' is a short 'o' sound and not the long 'o' in hope - which becomes hoping.

It hasn't totally solved her spelling issues but it really has helped. They were easy to do sort of 10 minutes a week (usually whilst waiting for her sister to finish a ballet lesson) - and gradually seemed to get that message through.

I know it's frustrating for you - and you are ambitious for your DC to do well and thrive - but learning is complicated - some kids learn best through humour/ funny stories/ funny images and others learn through doing. Some teachers explain things really well and others don't. Some classes are quiet and get down to work, and others are full of little whispers and giggles. It's not just down to him, you or the teacher. It really is a complicated mixture of factors - but my advice is doing a bit at home (not heavily but on a sort of scale of 10 minutes here and there - which adds up across a week) - you will slowly start putting some pennies into the bank of learning and gradually see improvements.

HTH

PastSellByDate Thu 27-Feb-14 10:22:39

Forgot to say with reading we just made it a regular routine. During school week DD1 reads to me or DH whilst DD2 is doing her mermaid thing in the bath. At weekends DH reads his childhood favourites (The Hobbit at the moment) and I read from series like Harry Potter or currently Lemony Snicket.

We also do a lot of chasing on meaning. So when there is a tricky word we don't let them get away with just reading it - we ask them what they think it means.

We discuss word play in Harry Potter a lot - like Diagon Alley - said quickly it's diagonally. Or Pensive (meaning thoughtful) - which seems clever given the magic bowl of liquid let's you see an event from the view of someone's memories.

MigGril Thu 27-Feb-14 10:28:05

I think a lot of people make that mistake with dyslexia, it's actually classed as a sort term memory problem and as schools now teach reading with phonics its perfectly possible he's learned to read but still have other associated problems. I think if I'd been taught to read with phonics they never would have picked up my dyslexia as I was brought in other areas, as it was it took a teacher who'd worked with lots of SN kids already too pick it up.

But he needs a full assessment to pin it down. please do push extra help made such a difference to my education.

KrazzyMum Thu 27-Feb-14 10:32:16

PastSellByDate, I really admire you for what you are doing with your DD. I dont have the energy for that.. I end up shouting the hell off him.. Hate myself for that. With a full time job, I am exhausted as well, but make an effort to sit with him through HWs.. but that's about all I can do.

But I can see what you are saying. Only me or DH can help him isnt it.. Or an external help who wouldnt shout at him.. Gosh I say all this and forget it when he makes the most careless of mistakes.

Dyslexic/ ADHD - Diagnosing this, does it really help? Other than the fact that we know he has it? Are there any structured programmes to help come out of it?

How has anyone found Kumon English? Does that help with spellings and btringing in a structure etc? I would prefer if there is something structired externally rather than me having to invent. I know I wont sustain.

MigGril Thu 27-Feb-14 10:47:18

A diagnosis helps in los of ways, it helps you know what help he needs. Gives funding for school to provided additional help. And probably one of the most important aspects is when recognised by exam boards give possible access to things like extra time in exams. Which needs to be in place for a number of years before GCSE's to access this. Which could effect exam results.

LowCloudsForming Thu 27-Feb-14 11:13:29

Hi

It would be considerably quicker for you to appoint an Educational Psychologist to do an assessment than to wait for the school to identify an issue. Indeed, funding is now so hard to get that you may never get an assessment via school if your child is within tolerable norms.

An assessment will probably be done in your home during a morning. You do not need your school's permission but it would be wise to keep them informed and the Ed Psych will want to approach the school to provide evidence of learning behaviour within that environment.

The first stage of the process involves information and evidence gathering and then there is a one-to-one assessment, usually in your home, taking a couple of hours. The process is very gentle and should give you useful pointers as to how to help your child overcome barriers to learning whatever the outcome of the assessment. Approach a couple of them, check prices etc. Here is the place to look for accredited professionals: www.bps.org.uk/bpslegacy/dcp

Above all, do not hesitate - handled properly, there are no downsides (other than financial!), you will gain huge insight into your child and will be able to support him constructively. There is no reason to delay either. The sooner you can help him, the better. Bon voyage!

Viviennemary Thu 27-Feb-14 11:20:41

If you can afford it I'd certainly consider getting him a tutor. But the assessment sounds like an excellent idea and then that might bring any problems to light.

KrazzyMum Thu 27-Feb-14 11:38:18

LowCloudsForming, are these assessments very expensive? Do you know if private medical insurance will cover them? Probably not..

LowCloudsForming Thu 27-Feb-14 11:55:13

KrazzyMum I do not know if PMI will cover it - you'd have to check your policy. Budget about £500.

LowCloudsForming Thu 27-Feb-14 12:07:20

By the way - in the meantime, as a tip to how you might support your son without losing the plot on the way grin, may I suggest that he might need a lot more time to embed his learning (just reading your OP). I get the impression that he finds learning new things exhausting, so short repetitive bursts with lots of carrot and no stick will be the most productive! Make your homework sessions fun and light, with plenty of small breaks and ensure that you are doing it when he has had food/drink (of the non-sugar variety as sugar will make his energy levels spike and dip!). Praise each small success, reward with a small break, then come back to it. Try and find time to read to him each night if you can as it will increase his comprehension skills and give you the chance to have positive time with him - read him stuff he would find inaccessible himself. Give him really fun quick stuff to read by himself e.g. magazines, Asterix, TinTin. Give him 3-dimensional puzzles to solve and find areas where you can admire his brilliance! Confidence is a big motivator so any area where he can demonstrate his stronger skills to you should be encouraged.

Hope I haven't gone on too much!

rajvilas Thu 27-Feb-14 17:49:35

sounds a lot like my DC. Demand that the SENCO reassesses him and specifically looks at visually processing speed and tracking. Turns out that DC has a visual processing disorder that has arisen from eye convergence issues. DC has been getting therapy from behavioural opthamologist and we have seen a marked improvement in concentration, reading, writing, organisation and comprehension. PM me if you want more details. This is common and very easily treatable but many, even SENCOs, don't even know this is a thing.

LowCloudsForming Thu 27-Feb-14 20:01:48

rajvilas - I told our SENCO about exactly this a month ago with ref to a pupil. She'd never heard of it before. I think the US is much more up on it. I think the OP may need to be realistic about the knowledge base and resources that SENCOs have at their disposal. Trying to go via the school may well delay things considerably.

gingerbeard Fri 28-Feb-14 06:57:46

If you can afford it, I would also urge you to get your DS assessed by and educational psychologist. If there are problems, this may help him in the future with extra time etc in exams, but it will also help in the short term as you can discuss the results with his school and ask for specific help, or even simple things like where he sits in class. If there aren't issues, then at least you know you have been thorough.

wheresthebeach Fri 28-Feb-14 10:49:26

Another vote to getting it checked out asap. We worried for years' about SS. School constantly told us 'all fine'.

Finally in secondary school (yr 8) his English teacher said 'his verbal contribution is much better than his written contribution. Please ask all his teachers if this is the same in their class and come back to me'. Well...they all looked a bit startled and said 'well now you mention it...'.

Fast forward and he's been diagnosed with a processing disorder. Has a laptop (writing/spelling were terrible) and extra time in exams. Dread to think what his GCSE's would have been like without the extra time.

Our only wish is that we'd listened to ourselves and done something earlier. He's a bright, well behaved kid that contributes verbally to class so our concerns were just dismissed as pushy parents...

LowCloudsForming Fri 28-Feb-14 22:59:46

WTB - we have an identical story! Our sons must be twins...

maree1 Sun 02-Mar-14 21:03:33

Put in writing to the school that a SENCO should run some tests. For your peace of mind just to be sure - they may find nothing to worry about, and their tests are quite good. Regarding English and Maths, they always benefit from regular practice. For English tips have a look at londonmumsmagazine.com/2013/creative-writing-magic-money-cards and downloads.bbc.co.uk/radio2/500words/learning-resource-pack-2014.pdf. And for maths, although you are understandably short of time and energy at times, just sit down and go over the stage and examples he is at in his text book.

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