Dyslexia diagnosis: A lesson is following your gut feeling...

(13 Posts)
minko Wed 05-Feb-14 19:01:30

I first raised the subject of my dyslexia worries with DD's teacher when she was in Year 1 - she is now 10 and in year 6. In all those years I was constantly told by her teachers that she was achieving what she needed to be, and that the schools (she has attended two 'outstanding' schools in her time) had no concerns about her. She bumped along just about average, sometimes just below.

However, reading and writing have always been a struggle and homework - as it has mounted up over the years - has been increasingly stressful to the point of overshadowing every weekend. So I've always felt something wasn't right and that she wasn't achieving her potential. And I could tell that DD was getting very dispirited with school and that her confidence was being seriously undermined.

At one point the SENCO at school told me that whatever problems she had were relatively mild and that there were several other children with much worse problems in the school and I should be 'grateful' that she wasn't one of them. So I felt guilted into doing nothing.

Today, finally, my DD was seen by an Educational Psychologist and diagnosed with dyslexia - all be it 'mild'. She said that as she was 'so bright' she has been able to mask a lot of her symptoms. I was rather embarrassed to realise that even I had started to right her off as just not that academic and simply not that bright... And I'm her mother!

Despite that, I finally feel vindicated. Maybe mother does know best. I hope this gives hope to all those mums being fobbed off by SENCOs or having doubts that the school tries to quash. I was lucky that my dad gave me the money to get DD tested privately, but it was money well spent. I hope that now we can recognise the problems we can move on and get her the help she needs.

lambethma Thu 06-Feb-14 17:50:00

thanks for this have just posted about DD who is in year 1 and absolutely hates school. I think she might be dyslexic. She's been referred to psychologist for another reason, but maybe they will be able to make sense of it for us.

Goes for any subject too. Trust instinct. Push all u can.

Congrats, is that appropriate?! Unsure...

Dollybird86 Thu 06-Feb-14 17:57:23

Thank you so much for posting this was having a chat today about my nephew who I think is dyslexic as am I and so is his dad he shows a lot of the signs but his teachers seem quite blasé about his spelling and reading levels. I'm going to encourage his mum to have him tested!

Shamoy Thu 06-Feb-14 18:16:26

How do they test? Is it fairly conclusive?

minko Fri 07-Feb-14 11:01:47

I think congrats are entirely appropriate! It feels like a relief to finally know the truth!

DD had about 2 and a half hours of test with the Educational Psychologist in all aspects of reading, writing and maths. They also discussed things to test her general knowledge and vocabulary. At the end the psychologist had a huge range of scores on graphs scored in percentiles, which made obvious the weaknesses she had. She is now writing a report, which I hope the school will read and take some notice of, though their approach seems to be that they can only do what they already do (a bit of extra support in little groups).

The Ed Psych also says she's going to recommend that DD has extra time for her SATs as her writing and reading speeds are half what they should be - but says that we should expect the school to reject that idea...

KT12 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:22:01

This illustrates so well the issues with our education system - Average is adequate for bright children...it is for this reason (and we can barely afford it and have made many financial compromises) we send our DC to a super little private school which is fortunately only a mile down the road. Our DC is bright but very reserved and would simply just get lost and ignored in a big class of 30...whereas now she gets noticed and her talents are recognised and encouraged and parents have a voice. I appreciate that this is a privilege and pleased Michael Gove wants to up standards in state schools to the same level at private ones - will be interesting to see how he is going to achieve this.

Well done for persevering...

Shootingatpigeons Sat 08-Feb-14 12:42:39

It is a very common story. I am afraid though that you will continue to encounter these attitudes, and even downright ignorance but an Ed Psych report gives you evidence.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 10-Feb-14 21:34:16

DD1 seems exceptionally bright but I know very well from my experience in schools and teaching children to read that whilst she was an early and good reader something doesn't add up and I am sure she is at least mildly dyslexic. fighting a difficult battle though, she has other issues too and waiting lists for appointments and so on take SO LONG that she will probably have wasted 3 years in school before we get to any sort of progress situation.

BabyMummy29 Mon 10-Feb-14 21:37:26

minko I am interested to know what the Ed Psych used to come to their diagnosis.

At our school, it is virtually impossible to get EP to come and see pupils and they will not commit to a definite diagnosis. All they will say is that a child may display dyslexic tendencies which tells the parents very little

Shootingatpigeons Tue 11-Feb-14 15:04:20

Babymummy Our DDs are assessed via a local charity. We can pay but I think they do help those not in a position to pay.

As Minko says they spend a couple of hours doing a battery of tests based on the feedback that the Ed Psych has from you, the schools and your DC. They will want to know about everything from birth, milestones injuries etc. eg children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs) are often bum shufflers for instance, as well as school. At the end of it you will have the results of tests of ability and reasoning, and of areas in which your DC may have a difficulty, different aspects of working memory eg visual v auditory (one of my DD's masked her difficulties because she had a photographic memory so learnt to read via look / see very quickly but that starts to be less and less of an advantage when they start to encounter exams that test thinking not just knowledge), processing skills, reading and writing speeds, attainment in reading and spelling etc. The results of all those tests are expressed in terms of where they have performed in relation to the rest of the population so, for instance, for verbal reasoning they have performed at the 95th precentile ie better than 95% of the population. Based on the tests of ability they will have measures that predict what percentile they should be at for the tests of working memory processing and attainment and if your child's scores are falling far short in a particular area then it is a basis for diagnosing a learning difficulty (Dyslexia is now the label given to those SpLDs that reduce in difficulties with literacy skills, but there can be other issues such as difficulty with organisation, sensory overload etc. that might fall under the label of Dyspraxia but not every child with a SpLD has read the labels and conforms exactly wink)

The trouble is teachers may only ever have been exposed to a minimum of training on SpLDs and so there often seem to be misconsceptions that link SpLDs with low ability (not true, 10% affected at every level of ability) or that if they read and write quickly they can't be affected (not true, many clever DCs with SpLDs develop their own coping strategies and only start to struggle when faced with the greater demands of timed exams etc). I have even been told my DD was cured (it is an issue of neurological development, your brain will always work that way, it is in fact a strength as well as a weakness since it tends to go hand in hand with strengths in creativity, lateral thinking, holstic thinking, problem solving etc.) In state schools you have the further issue of budgetary rationing and targets.

Even bloody Gove suffers the misconception since the latest changes to the regulations governing extra time in exams are based on having working memory and processing scores in the below average range, regardless of ability, though obviously people who are of below average ability would predictably also have below average scores, but they are not as much of a disability as for those who have higher ability scores In fact may not be as much of a disability as average scores would be for those with very high ability angry.

BabyMummy29 Tue 11-Feb-14 17:26:30

thanks Shooting it's very interesting to see the differences between different regions

nataliabuckler Fri 28-Mar-14 06:50:12

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