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Feeling useless on how to support my DS(9 Posts)
My DS is 6 and waiting for asd assessment. We manage pretty well at home but he is starting to struggle at school and I really don't know what to do. His teacher is lovely with him, and very understanding but it seems to me that the work is just getting beyond him. I was told at his last iep review that he has not progressed through the levels at all since his last review, and today we got a slip saying they had done a practice spag test and he got 0/10 right. He struggles to express himself verbally, so expressing himself in writing is even harder. He also seems to have difficulty retaining information, so no matter how many times we practice a set of spellings, he still just spells everything phonetically. Chances of him identifying nouns and adjectives are a million miles away as far as I can tell. He has increasingly been refusing to do his work, and I think it is because he is finding it too hard and therefore losing interest. He's in year 2, but in a mixed year 1/2 class so I think a lot of the time he benefits from the work which is aimed at the year 1 children. In September he will move into a mixed year 3/4 class and I think he will be so far behind academically. He is also facing sats in a few weeks.
I feel like I'm letting him down because I don't know who to approach for help, or what I should be asking for. His teacher keeps saying she isn't giving up, and to persevere but it's not working for him. We don't even have a diagnosis yet to point us in the right direction. I've been on several Facebook parents groups and everyone seems so knowledgeable about the whole system and I'm just lost. Not helped that people keep telling me "you have to push for support" but push who? for what? How do you get to know who to contact for what, who should be getting involved, when is it appropriate to look at ehcp?
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Don't feel useless, you're really not
Any mum who can identify the problems her child is having and wants to fix them is not a useless mum!
I think I would start by asking school to seek advice from an educational psychologist, whilst waiting they could, at a minimum, carry out a dyslexia screening themselves to measure things like processing speeds.
Do not worry about SATs, they are not important.
Do lots of reading, talking and having fun at home, take the pressure off and find creative and fun ways to engage him and get him thinking.
If you want to look at EHCP the SOSSEN and IPSEA websites are a good starting place.
Is there a way to remove him from from the formal tests on SPAG etc?
Might the school be willing to give him more of the year 1 work for now, and worry about next year later?
Spelling everything phonetically means he's properly got the hang of phonics, which is what really matters for reading. And reading is by far the most important academic skill for all of primary school.
Plenty of older kids and adults can't spell & often do ok in general terms, but without reading you end up missing out in all subjects.
I used to scribe ds1 homework for him- he spoke, I typed- because the 'writing it down' bit was too hard.
It meant he got it done, and, more importantly, that he learned the underlying skills being taught, without getting het up about the impossibility of accurate writing.
There is hope.
DS has ASD. Last year, age 5, his school report was not good - he was struggling with most things. He was diagnosed while he was 5. He was getting no extra help at age 5 so no wonder he was struggling.
Now he is 6 and has had the benefit of intervention which has made a big difference to him. We recently had his parent teacher meeting and it is a vast improvement on last years meeting. He is doing quite well in all subjects - I was surprised!
These things have helped DS
- he is getting resource hours in school due to his diagnosis. They have been working a lot on his handwriting and motor skills and social skills. He is taken out of the class for about 45 mins or an hour a day for this.
-- the Physio who was part of the team that diagnosed him said he had a very weak core and low muscle tone. I'd never noticed this myself but it is common with ASD. This was having a big effect on his ability to concentrate and to function day to day. We did a lot of Physio at home - and strengthened his core. The Physio reviewed him recently and noted that as a result of all the work, he is able to plan things out better and follow instructions better etc. This means he can focus better in school. Before all his energy was going in to staying sitting up at the table etc.
-- an occupational therapist went in to the school and made recommendations like movement breaks to help DS's alertness.
-- I also did a lot of work at home on phonics and sight words. So now DS is very capable at reading - so at least that's one less thing to worry about. I'm focusing on maths at the moment. I do a bit everyday and reward DS with a cartoon.
Thank you for all the suggestions.
I really do think he needs some extra help at school but am unsure of the best way to make that happen. His teacher is great but I do think he needs some outside help too.
His phonics knowledge is really good, but he gets really cross when spellings are wrong, when they look right to him. Maths is ok because the rules stay the same, but the English language was not designed for an asd mind
Ask for SALT referral from GP? They don't just deal with speech impediments - it has taken me YEARS to discover that a fluent talker can have SALT issues.
"Toe by Toe" is meant to be a very good way of imbedding spelling for dyslexic children.
"Write from the Start" is a good writing programme
"Out of Synch Child has Fun" has all sorts of ways to strengthen children's fine motor skills, balance, core strength, before you even get a referral to an OT.
Drama groups are often excellent way of helping young children express themselves, get balance and confidence - I know that Stagecoach do classes for younger children if there is one in your area, not just for people who want to go on stage ifysim!
The spelling may be aimed too high. By 10 I found that ds still couldn't spell quite simple words - they had moved onto too swiftly when he was in Year 2. Dictation is a really good idea, so that they get used to expressing themselves with lots of vocab without worrying that they cannot spell those words.
Lots of handstrengthening in other ways than writing, will eventually make writing easier, whereas practising letters when you have no handstrength or control is just wasted energy and SOO frustrating. Clay, sand, swimming, painting all help. I really wish that ds2 hadn't spent so many hours and hours writing sentences he couldn't write ifysim, and practising handwriting, which made no difference, and had used that time to do bead threading, modelling, craft, painting, structured exercises and sports.
Thank you for the fantastic info, that all makes a lot of sense! I don't force a lot of spelling, writing etc at home, when I can drag him away from Skylanders (current obsession) we bake and do crafts and things like that as it's less pressure on him. You've inspired me to crack the Hama beads out tonight
Some of his spellings are definitely aimed too high, and they seem to move on whether he's got them right or not.
I've wondered about salt before, his vocabulary is ok but well below an average 6 year old I would think (he couldn't think of the word for his chest yesterday and called it his top belly ). He definitely struggles to take language in though and if there are too many words, he just shuts down. Makes it very hard to explain complicated ideas to him. Would salt help with this kind of thing?
I was thinking I might ask to see his teacher next week, and ask what needs to be put in place ready for moving up to year 3, in case we have to wait for any referrals.
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