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Would changing to private school help my dyspraxic son with very high IQ?

(18 Posts)
Ladybird2004 Sat 02-Jun-12 08:38:37

I haven't posted anything on here before but am hoping for some advice.
My son (aged 8) was diagnosed with severe dyspraxia and possible ADD a few months ago. The educational psychologist has completed all her tests and he is very intelligent particularly at maths and verbal reasoning with an IQ in the gifted and talented range. The problem I now have is with the school. They have labelled him as severely behind academically and placed him in the bottom set for everything including maths. He has an official reading age of 11,spelling of 10 and maths of 14 from the psychologist but they will not accept this and claim he does not have any ability. He has begun to think he is not clever and although he is very happy at the school I think I have no choice but to move him as this stigma does not seem to be able to be changed. I have managed to get him a full bursary to a small independent school with a class size of 11 because of his huge academic potential but just need some help to make that final decision. I am a single parent so any advice would be appreciated, I am not sure how he will cope with a change of school. I have a four year old as well who would have to move also.
Hope you can help

robotcornysilk Sat 02-Jun-12 23:23:39

The private school may or may not be better than your ds's current school with regard to being able to cater for your child's needs. Meet the SENCO, tell him/her what support your child needs and gauge their reaction.

MsDrinkwater Thu 07-Jun-12 09:07:13

Robot is right. Your son will still be dyspraxic in the new school. Take the report and explain what it is your child needs and ask them what they will do about it. Sometimes private schools are just interested in results and they can ask you to leave if he is not fulfilling his potential. They need to understand what the issues are and give him the correct support. It doesn't seem that the current school care about him but it would be terrible if the new school asked him to leave because they couldn't give him the support he needs.

SOTIRIA Fri 08-Jun-12 21:44:45

Hi Ladybird, I don't know whether your son will be better off in the new school but I know another child (not mine) who has dyspraxia and the move to independent school has been a success. There are still some issues but things have improved a lot. It is very hard to make the decision - best wishes.

madwomanintheattic Fri 08-Jun-12 22:08:25

No. Your child would be better off getting ot and physio input for his dyspraxia (did they not test for add/ ADHD when they did the iq testing?) so that he is able to record his knowledge and ability and have it recognised.

A private school would possibly be the worst place for him until he has the basics of recording figured out one way or another, either via ot support for pen,a ship, including the use of writing slope/ seating wedge/ pencil grips as required, handwriting course (write from the start or similar).

Private schools generally are not enormously supportive of sn that requires intervention, unless the parents are going to pay for it. In which case move schools and pay for the ot and physio support.

If he has a bursary, then you may be ale to pay for the therapy support that will help him - if not, I would probably suggest getting the therapy in first, letting him work out a method of recording (even if it is laptop) and then moving him.

I am all for extension and challenge for more able pupils, but for some reason your child is not performing academically. I suspect this is due to dyspraxia and recording issues, but you will need to be entirely upfront that he is not currently performing academically, and ask how the new school would deal. Otherwise you run the risk of them withdrawing the bursary when the promised genius doesn't deliver, and having to move him back.

Have you been upfront with the new school that he is currently performing well below average? Presumably because of his disability?

<I have two 2e kids. Dd2 is easily bursary material, but I can't afford to pay for therapy or TA support in a private school, and none of them will touch her because she has some motor skills issues (that are these days not dissimilar to dyspraxia)>

If the new school say they are prepared to pay for and provide all ongoing occupational therapy and physio needs, and work to improve his academics, then go for it. If they are expecting him to turn up, slot into the class, and be brilliant, I would be very very careful about taking the bursary.

madwomanintheattic Fri 08-Jun-12 22:13:14

Actually, rereading, he sounds v similar to Ds. Ds is above 99.9th centile for math and verbal reasoning, and as a result, iq is well into the gifted range. He has ADHD, some aspergers traits, and anxieties. I think he would thrive in a private school, largely because he has no motor issues or difficulties with recording, and would suck up the academic challenge in an instant.

I wouldn't do it to dd2. She's 99.9 across the board, pretty much, but her challenges with recording and movement mean she is much better off with state access to meet her needs. Her iq is a full 20 points higher than ds's, even though he too meets the 'gifted' criteria.

Horses for courses. A high iq is not the only measure you should be looking at to find a suitable setting.

HandMadeTail Fri 08-Jun-12 22:16:44

DS has been diagnosed as dyspraxic. A couple of days later he sat and passed the test for the private school that he now attends.

When we were offered the place, I sent a copy of the Ed Psych report with my acceptance.

I had a meeting with his teacher and the SENCO within a week of his starting there. He has one to one sessions with a specialist teacher once a week to help with his handwriting. They have told me he will be allowed to use a computer for almost all tasks once his typing speed is 14 wpm. (We are working on this.)

In other words, they have been fantastic and supportive.

His previous school was also a private school, and they told me he was bumbling along in the middle of the class (despite a high IQ) because he is lazy.

So, it may not be that a private school is best. You need to pick the best school for him, whether that be a private or a state school.

karobar Wed 13-Jun-12 23:25:53

Hi handmade tail, how old is your son please and which typing course is he doing? My son is dyspraxic and his handwriting is poor but his prep school is not wanting him to move onto a computer despite his EPA recommending this... My son is 10 so young for his year 6 but with a high 148 verbal iq and some behavioural difficulties.

karobar Wed 13-Jun-12 23:32:16

Ladybird, my son was in the state system and we didn't know how intelligent he was then. He was on school action and school action plus but was put in with the slow writers etc rather than the g and t group which meant that he became convinced that he couldn't be intelligent. Make sure that the school is teaching to his intelligence, not just putting him with their less able children as he will become disillusioned and may work much better if he is challenged and not so bored.... Private schools are not all fantastic for sen and some state schools are excellent. Good luck with it and I hope your sen teacher is helpful when she has the full picture.

Ladybird2004 Thu 14-Jun-12 14:07:42

Thank you so much Karobar, that is exactly what is happening with my son. They have put him in the struggling group needing extra help when his verbal IQ is 139. I despair! He has just started the Mavis beacon touch typing course, recommended by his consultant and is up to 16wpm. School have begrudgingly said he can take it to school when he reaches over 20wpm.

karobar Fri 15-Jun-12 20:20:21

Hi Ladybird, What exactly has the school's SEN teacher said, and more importantly done, now she has this information about his high verbal IQ? Does he have a huge gap between verbal iq and working memory? What is his Full Scale IQ? ADD and behavioural problems can stem from the way the school is dealing with your son. I would request that he is given a chance to shine in the g and t groups, particularly in Maths and suggest that his behaviour is likely to improve if he is being inspired by the lesson content. A great deal of his ADD is quite possibly caused by the boredom element, he is trying to make his schooling more exciting!

3rdnparty Wed 18-Jul-12 19:52:13

Handmaid, how did you go about finding the private school? we were thinking of private for ds for secondary (yr 3 now) anyway but may move earlier if we can find the right one... around here they are all super selective and I assumed would not be interested in ds because of the dyspraxia and he would also find the hot house environment too stressfull ....I am just not sure what to look for ....thanks

ICwhatUmean Tue 31-Jul-12 13:51:02

We're in West London. Alison Townsend is a fantastic typing teacher. She's also brilliant with SEN. (Degree from Cambridge and a Masters in Education from Harvard). She's a genius at enabling kids. Regarding Private School - I agree with other comments saying it is the school itself not whether it is state or private that is the issue. Our experience (private) at King's College School Wimbledon is beyond outstanding. The best learning support team with subject teacher coordination and an enlightened attitude across the school. It is the attitude of the people which should guide your decision. Both Alison Townsend and KCS look to the horizon of what is possible - for DS not a hothouse but a school that was inspiring.

Ladybird2004 Sun 23-Sep-12 19:59:52

Well I did move him to private school and so far three weeks in, this appears to be the best decision I have ever made. He is so happy, loves every class, is supported and encouraged and doing well. It appears to be not just the academic side of things but pastoral that has made the difference. Thank you for all your comments, it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make!

sueathe Fri 05-Oct-12 10:02:30

Hi there, I have a 14 year old with dyspraxia and we had the same issues as you. He is extremely bright and has just recently been predicted all A/A* grades in his GCSES. We decided to put our son through independent education and the school have been great. You have to be careful where you send your child. Our son's school don't have an entrance exam whereby you have to reach a certain level to get in. They do have an entrance exam but it is only there in order for them to place them in the correct class. Although in English our son wasn't able to get a lot down on paper, he is a slow writer, they could see from what he did get down that he obviously had the ability. He currently uses a laptop in all lessons bar maths and this seems to be working well. They have just applied for him to have an extra 25% time in all his written exams which will help him to achieve his predicted grades. Have you heard of Stanbridge Earls, this is a fantastic school but very expensive. Hope this helps

mrslaughan Wed 07-Nov-12 22:19:38

My son has moderate dyspraxia, and his independent school is quite supportive, but really they do not understand it that well, and that is frustrating. So I am not sure he would be better off.
However if you have deepish pockets there are schools that specialize in dyspraxia. We looked at one called Egerton Rothesay in berkhamstead that I thought was amazing. We chose not to move DS because of his age his peer group would be tiny, but as you move further up the the roll expands. It is by no means the only school like it.
I think private schools can be better, but you need to be very careful and look at schools that understand and have support for your DS's needs.

mrslaughan Thu 08-Nov-12 09:35:51

Ladybird and handmaid - would you let me know what school yours sons are at and what age? My sister is about to move back to the UK and her son is severely/moderately dyspraxic and they ate looking for a private school . I would love to be able to point her in the direction of schools that have a can do attitude and similar children have had a positive experience. MTIA
PS - even if you pm me smile

mrslaughan Thu 08-Nov-12 09:43:12

Also how do I find Alison Townsend? I have googled her and only found ref to her on threads

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