school stalling on dyslexia assessment, any advice welcome

(11 Posts)
sixinabed Wed 11-May-16 20:54:40

I hope this is the right place to post this.

Ds is 8, he struggles with reading, writing and spelling (well below age expected level), but good at maths, science and art.

I have been concerned for some time that he may have dyslexia, as he fits a lot of the patterns or signs to look out for.

I raised this with his class teacher last year (y2), twice and both times she said that he was too young to be assessed. I raised it again with his CT earlier this year and she said she'd talk to the SENCO about it and I stupidly waited, thinking that the SENCO must have checked him and not share my concerns since I didn't hear anything back.
CT left mid year, and before Easter it emerged that DS had been being bullied by another boy for some considerable time (possibly years sad this is relevant). We met with the SENCO who also deals with behaviour to talk about the bullying, and I also mentioned my dyslexia concerns. The CT had not talked to him about this at all, so he said he'd talk to the Ed Psych, but saying it would depend on budget as it was late in the year and they only buy in so much EP time a year - when it's gone it's gone.

He spoke to the new CT and the EP today and has said basically that since bully has left the school Ds had been so much happier and more motivated in class (he has), that they hope he will catch up this year - apparently new CT thinks that he is progressing better already. They say he will be assessed by the EP in September.

The problem with this is a) if he does have a problem surely the sooner it's identified the better, and b) we have to move house this year and so we may not be in the same school in the autumn. Am I being cynical in thinking that it's all about money - and that's the real reason they want to wait til Sept? And if so is there anything I can do about it?

lizzytee Thu 12-May-16 19:46:17

We had a very similar experience with DD in y3. In the end we paid for a private assessment which was very thorough and worth every penny. Showed it to the school (June) and basically said why haven't you had her assessed- to their credit they apologised and got the council specialists out before the end of the year. If my understanding is correct, saying they haven't got the money is not acceptable - they have an obligation to meet your son's needs.

murmeli Thu 12-May-16 22:06:16

Trouble with reading, writing and spelling doesn't equal dyslexia necessarily (am a SENCo); dyslexia diagnosis doesn't often do an awful lot and is something that generally schools (particularly primaries) don't have the staff qualified to do the testing. Unless there is a problem with processing speed of information, it is not necessarily something to pursue... if it is a question of needing overlays /special glasses to stop letters jumping around, this is something that the optician can sort for you. What is it that you are hoping for from a diagnosis? Some counties do not pay for dyslexia testing necessarily because it is interpreted by SEN code of practice that child's needs should be accommodated by high quality teaching ... I would also suggest that you do lots of reading with your child at home :-)

AugustaFinkNottle Thu 12-May-16 23:48:55

If possible, I'd suggest getting your own assessment from an educational psychologist or specialist dyslexia teacher. Contact your local branch of the Dyslexia Association for names.

sixinabed Fri 13-May-16 18:40:57

Thanks all. Sadly I can't afford a private assessment.

I do as much reading at home with him as he can stand, which is not a huge amount, but I do insist on a little every day. I know that his problems are not necessarily dyslexia, but if they are, then as I understand it, it is important to get it diagnosed so that the appropriate help can be given as early as possible.

I would rather, if he does have a specific learning difficulty, that it is recognised rather than him be labelled lazy or stupid - I don't believe he is either. He works extremely hard at home on drawing and building massive and complicated Lego structures. He can concentrate for hours on those things but cannot last for more than 5 mins reading before he gets edgy and starts trying avoidance tactics. I won't list all his symptoms here but there are a lot that match the signs given to indicate possible dyslexia.

I am having him assessed at the opticians to see if coloured overlays/glasses will help next week. That only costs £35 so I can afford that.

I find your post a bit depressing murmeli - is there no point in testing in your opinion? Do you think that the school will meet his needs come what may - because thus far this is not our experience.

QueenofLouisiana Fri 13-May-16 19:26:23

Can you get a GP referral to a vision training clinic- if there is one in your area? This is available on the NHS and might help identify issues with vision or auditory processing, which are linked to dyslexia. We had to pay for overlays, but everything else was available for free.

We have visited one recently and now have exercises and overlays to help DS. It won't cure his phonological dyslexia, but will help with a few of the other difficulties. It was a really helpful appointment- DS already feels more confident when reading with his overlays and his teacher puts stuff that he needs to copy next to him, instead of telling him to copy from the board.

sixinabed Fri 13-May-16 19:46:27

Thanks queen I'll try that. smile

QueenofLouisiana Fri 13-May-16 22:03:12

Good luck- I found it a revelation (and cried through a lot of it as the Dr just "got" DS).

AugustaFinkNottle Thu 19-May-16 18:02:17

Assessments by specialist teachers are relatively cheap. Try phoning your local branch of the Dyslexia Association to see if they have any names.

Kittyrobin Thu 19-May-16 18:10:09

its £500 for a dyslexia assessment my area. It's done by an ed psych who should also do a really good strengths and weaknesses and recommendations for the school. My ds was cleared of dyslexia but she highlighted a couple of problems which we are now having him assessed for through the school.
Getting a diagnosis, if there is one, is in my opinion very valuable for a child's self esteem.
If the school won't do one, could you save up. I think 8 is quite young for a diagnosis.

Spottytop1 Sat 02-Jul-16 08:23:57

I'm not sure it is funding linked if they want to wait until September as funding goes April to April...

The reality is that in primary school an identification of Dyslexia will not make a huge difference in the support a child gets IF the child is already getting good support with their word level skills.

Is your child already on the Sen register? Does he have a support plan? How much progress is he making in his English skills? The definition of dyslexia is a 'severe & persistent difficulty' in that the word level skills ( single word reading & spelling) is significantly below expected level & continued with limited progress despite lots of good quality teaching and focus on these areas.

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