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I think my son has dyspraxia but how do I get the school to agree?

(6 Posts)
SoPo Thu 20-Dec-12 17:25:41

My son is 8 years old and was assessed by the schools educational psychologist at the beginning of year 2 who said he was 'sensitive'. He's now in year 4 and there appears to be no sign of improvement. He displays all the classic dyspraxic symptons and we're convinced that this is what he has. His school teacher is very unsympathic to him and thinks he doesn't try, concentrate, listen and is very disorganised. She singles him out in class, and as a consequence the children in his class are starting to bully him now calling him 'worm' and saying noone likes you. It breaks my heart as he finds things that other kids do difficult. He spends most of his time on the floor, can't ride a bike, is constantly tripping over things that don't exist, doesn't concentrate in class, struggles with writing, doesn't listen and as a consequence I can see any self esteem he has left slowly disintegrating before my eyes. We've signed him up for martial arts classes and other activities to try to encourage him to make friends and improve his balance skills. It is hugely frustrating because he is extremely bright and excels in maths and literacy. What can I do? I feel the school have given up on him and just not interested, labelling him as difficult. But I want to approach the school and ask for another assessment. Would be grateful for any advice anyone can give me. We just want to know how to help our son....

countydurhamlass Fri 21-Dec-12 11:05:47

have you thought about speaking to your gp and asking him to make a referral for assessments by occupational therapist, and/or clinical and educational psychologist. I think an occupational therapist would be the best person to give advice on what you and the school need to be doing.

i have found schools are reluctant to help unless they are forced into it, not always because they dont want to help but because they are given such little extra money. Also many teachers dont know how to help children with special needs so the best way to get people to help is by telling them exactly what they need to do.

make an appointment to speak to the head teacher to express your concerns and then follow it up to ensure he does what he/she says they will do. dont come away until you are satisfied with the results.

BertramBertram Fri 21-Dec-12 11:37:43

SoPo - we had similar issues with DS (6.8) but he strruggles with holding a pen so writing isdifficult and he was getting labelled as lazy and stupid so started acting up to divert attention. I made a list of examples of things DS does that appear to be dyspraxic so it was more real iyswim and not just a 'yes' to a tick sheet. I was lucky that my GP was supportive and has referred us on for assessment (down side is that 2 months later, we have just been accepted onto the waiting list for Occupational Therapy (up to 24 more weeks till appointment!).

I did have a chat with someone in the Occupational Therapy department and she made some suggestions and emailed me some info on things that can help. Let me know if you are interested int hem and I can post/PM them to you.

We have invested in a set of caring cutlery and a folding step stool for DS to rest his feet on whilst sat at the table and the upshot is that he can sit upright at a table for a bit (doesn't sound impressive but you'll know what I mean!) and the cutlery has helped reduce the mess when he eats.

The OT suggested backward chaining to imporve DS's confience. This is basically where you do a task such as shoelaces & let the child do the very last bit. Once they have mastered that, you then let them do the second to last and so on. The OT explained that this way they will get a sense of achievement rather than dfeeling like a failure if they manage 1, 2, &3 but can't do 4.

Hope the above makes some sense!!

mrslaughan Sun 23-Dec-12 23:42:40

Oh I like the backward chaining idea - I am going to use that.

His teacher needs a good slapping, why would you go into educating young children to victimize the most vulnerable..... Sorry it just makes my blood boil....as you can probably tell my DS has had all too similar experiences.

I think you need to get him assessed by an OT - either through the NHS , or if you can afford privately.

We did it privately and the key people were the OT, physio ( not your run of the mill physio, she assessed, fine and gross motor skills, dominance etc) and speech therapist for Ds ( he had a language delay - which after paying for years of SLT turns out to be because of his dyspraxia, but that was never picked up on) .

It was without a doubt the best money we have spent and We now understand DS and he is like a diff child. What I will say, though is getting the diagnosis is a small part, I am amazed and horrified about how poorly dyspraxia is understood in the teaching profession, so it becomes your ( and your DH/dp's if appropriate) to educate and advocate for your DS.
My DS's school have been amazing (he's year 3) and his teacher incredible - but even he will say things showing he doesn't understand dyspraxia - fortunately for DS he realizes that DS try's/works very hard.

I just found a fantastic book, which I am recommending everywhere I called "making inclusion work for children with dyspraxia" by gill Dixon and Louis addy..... It has the most accessible info on how dyspraxia effects children in the the learning environment .
HTH and I hope you manage to get you DS teacher on side

madwomanintheattic Mon 24-Dec-12 06:24:05

Not sure why you are focusing on school either, tbh. It's a medical issue, so go to gp and ask for referral for assessment. An ed psych isn't qualified to make that sort of dx. Not trained for it. Not trained to support it. Not really their bag at all.

Private OT if you can't be bothered to wait.

rickbird Wed 16-Jan-13 13:10:59

I had the exact same issues. In the end I told the GP I wanted referral to OT (they had said it was an educational issue) and got one. Went to school (secondary - primary was a waste of time as head was not interested) and asked them firmly to arrange an assessment with the relevant SN person (they have basic skills) and eventually got one. They threw up issues but that was nothing when compared with the OT report. My son has Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, dysgraphia, visual spacial disorder, visual perception disorder and visual coordination disorder. The OT was great and recommended Ed Psych referral through school and behavioural optometrist appointment through GP. Both are pending (had to chase school as it costs them money). In addition, laid down what we and the school needed to do. Five years after having started this process and eight months after ramping things up with this school, things are slowly changing. Now the strategies are in place and the job of getting the teachers to follow it has started. All I get is feedback about being kept in for not concentrating/doing enough work/getting distracted etc. The SENCO and I work closely with the Parent Support (LEA) and we are all trying to make the teaching staff do what they have been asked. Short of observing every lesson, it is a constant reel of nagging, writing firm emails, meetings etc. It is exhausting and very demoralising as all I want to do is to shake some of these teachers and get them to read the strategies and work to them. They are just skimming the basics. Next battle is to get the LSA he needs but finances are not available and SN funding has been cut. It seems such an easy excuse to say would like to do that but cant cos we have no money to provide that level of support.... This combination of issues is hard to manage as the strategies for one cause issues with another one of the disorders. One day at a time is my advice and get the parent support people from the LEA on board, they are so good and will be firm with the school, take you through the process etc. Get that OT referral done and see what comes up. Good luck

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