Is the teachers attitude to my sons dyslexia Norma?

(50 Posts)
Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 15:50:51

Ds in year 6 has a lot of Sen problems and was also diagnosed privately with dyslexia earlier this year. It's really helped me and him getting this diagnosis. However I'm having problems with the school. His spelling is very bad, it always has been and he spells phonetically. His hand writing is also very poor. At parents evening last week I asked if there was any help he could get with his spelling (or anything I could do) because it's affecting his attitude to school because they have spelling tests every Friday of which he gets most wrong. He can't spell words such as 'those' or ' people' words he should've learnt in ks1. The teachers words were 'it will come'. I said I'm concerned as he's obviously at secondary next year. The head said 'they don't have spelling tests at secondary and they use spell check anyway'. Yes this is probably true re spell check. But for them to say 'it will come' just appalled me. If he's at 10 and can not spell even simple words, how on earth will he suddenly just be able to spell when he's older?!

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Balletgirlmum Fri 28-Oct-16 15:56:53

They might not get spelling tests but they can't rely on spell check. Even children like my DS who use a laptop for exams have to have spellcheck disabled.

I suspect they don't know how to help your DS.

If his handwriting is very poor then he can be assessed for use of a laptop. This May help as he wont be using up all his brain power trying to physically write (my DS has slow processing speed but you need a proper full assessment to determine your sons needs.

noblegiraffe Fri 28-Oct-16 15:59:19

Spelling now forms part of the assessment criteria for several GCSEs so the head is incorrect to dismiss spelling at secondary.

www.aqa.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/policy/gcse-and-a-level-changes/spelling,-punctuation-and-grammar

I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions to help though.

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 16:01:36

Do you mean assessment via educational physiologist? They won't do anything, there's no money there. I know all schools (particularly our area according to the news) have had massive cuts but why should ds have to suffer because of that? As I said he has various other ASD related issues, they just expect us to get on with it. They won't help him. Won't do any assessments of any sort. He missed half of year 5 due to refusing school. He's doing a bit better this year but will often come home crying and shouting about school.

Yankeetarts Fri 28-Oct-16 16:03:01

My ds was the same as yours in year six,he is now in year 11 and his spelling has improved a lot,his school has spelling tests,he also gets extra help in exams reader,writer and extra time

pieceofpurplesky Fri 28-Oct-16 16:03:01

They do have spelling tests in some secondary schools and new rulings mean that spell check does not have to be turned off in all cases.

Did school ever put him forward for dyslexia testing? As a teacher who deals with dyslexia and reading in my school I (and many others) are always wary of private dyslexia assessments as they are paid to tell you what you want to hear.
It could be that your DS's school were crap at picking it up and dealing with it .... I would ask to see the SENCO at his primary

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 16:04:13

He has always been in an extra group for handwriting, he has a weakness in that hand, has problem with holding a pen etc, gets pain. I asked about laptop and was always told that won't help him to write better. My argument was well I'd rather he used a computer then not do the work. Interesting last week they allowed him to use the laptop and they were going on about how well he did hmm

There are 3 other boys in his class wih dyslexia that don't have many issues so I think they just expect him to get on with it. He manages with his reading.

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 16:05:07

Sorry cross posts. This September there is a new senco who doesn't even know ds and Iv never even met her.

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 16:06:18

I brought dyslexia up on December 2015 and head said 'yes he will definitely register on it'. I requested him being assessed, he then was refusing school and when he went back I had the assessment done as they weren't prepared to do it despite saying they would.

needsahalo Fri 28-Oct-16 16:15:50

As a teacher and the parent of a very dyslexic child, I would say pick your high school carefully. You need a good SEN department who will take the diagnosis seriously and who will provide on going support. Push for an appointment with the SENCO in your current school. As what they are going to do for SATS.

NicknameUsed Fri 28-Oct-16 16:20:07

I agree with needs. DD goes to a good school but the SEN department is rubbish. I have a couple of friends with children who have extra needs and they just aren't getting the support they need.

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 16:34:02

There is only one in out area, the feeder one. That's where he will start as we are quite rural and any others are minimum of 15 minutes out of the way and still have another DC to get to primary and then work etc..... He wants to go there also.

What do I say to the senco? Iv never met her and neither has ds as Iv asked him. The 'real' senco is actually the head. I think the senco is the inclusion manager. All very complicated, I don't have a great relationship with the head, as Iv pulled the school up on a few things related to him?

I just don't know what a school is 'supposed' to do in these circumstances.... What the actual law is etc ...

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 16:44:26

With regards to Sats, I've been told they will apply for a scribe for him.

Iv been told every year by every teacher 'the ideas are all there in his head, he just can't get it on paper' and I'm fed up of this obvious observation and no help with that? Or am I stupid to think there is a way of helping with that?

Balletgirlmum Fri 28-Oct-16 18:05:24

In junior school & the first half of year 7 DS used to present totally blank sheets of paper in many lessons especially English. Since being diagnosed with asd & slow processing speed & dysfluent handwriting & being allowed to use a laptop he got 80% in his most recent creative writing English exam.

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 18:18:53

Ballet how did you get this diagnosis of the slow processing speed and dysfluent handwriting?

Balletgirlmum Fri 28-Oct-16 18:23:13

There was an 18 month waiting list at camhs/asd unit so we went to a private ed psych - one who works at dds school in a different county to ds's

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 18:28:25

Why is it then that my private diagnosis doesn't get him any help then but yours is accepted? Not that I'm having a go at all, I'm really pleased your DC has the help. I just can't see where I'm going wrong? I applied for ehcp earlier this year after the head told me he wouldn't get on in the secondary school..... It was refused due to his non attendance which wAs fair enough as they couldn't go in and access him if he wasn't there.... School has 'school action plus' in place. That's it. They say he is 'fine' and that he 'is focused' and that his friendship groups have improved..... Yet the last day of term we were walking home from school and about 8 kids from his class were just ahead of us and he asked me if he could walk with them and I said of course. Not one of them spoke to him. He was more or less jumping up and down trying to talk and they just ignored him like he wasn't there! So I can't see how he has good friendships. He is kept in the ASD unit every lunch time as he cant xope with the playground. He gets aggressive and agrees, says it's too loud etc. He only gets first break outside.

Balletgirlmum Fri 28-Oct-16 18:36:36

It wasn't totally accepted at first. Ds's secondary school screen for dyslexia themselves in the first few weeks. not an issue for DS)

The ed psych we saw made a very comprehensive report with very specific reccomendations but none of them cost money to implement. The help in exams/use of laptop etc was because his scores in some very specific tests were below a certain centile & they met exam board criteria.

The asd/behaviour/strategy reccomendations have not been fully implemented but we finally saw camhs who looked at the report we had, consulted with the asd unit etc etc & wrote a report to school saying that our original private report was a diagnoses & its reccomendations should he implemented.

We await anothe meeting with school.

chattygranny Fri 28-Oct-16 18:43:22

I agree passionately with needshalo - choose secondary school carefully - if you have a choice. My son was written off. The words that ring in my brain are "you have to accept he is just not very able" (age 6!) I'm truly depressed that this situation still exists!

Have faith, keep fighting, my son is now in his 30s a qualified professional with a fantastic job. If you'd like to chat, do PM me as anything else I say will reveal too much.

BetweenTwoLungs Fri 28-Oct-16 18:52:39

If your son now has a dyslexia diagnosis and other SEN issues he should have some form of SEN plan which sets out termly targets and states what the school will do. Does he have anything like that?

Be wary of asking for a laptop - this is not a recommended approach anymore for children with dyslexia and the school simply might not have one to give him. Youd be much better pushing the school to invest in a programme or intervention to suit his needs - we use Beat Dyslexia but there are others.

Spelling is such a difficult thing to teach but should focus on use of phonics. Does the school explicitly teach spelling? They should be doing this, prefereably using a phonics style approach. A child with dyslexia would also benefit from reviewing and revising phonics sounds regularly.

Children with dyslexia have always had fewer spellings in our school, limited to about 5-6 and building from there. It depends whether this would help or make him feel 'different' to the others.

I'm a y6 teacher and I know how hard it is to get support for children at the minute. There's no money - that's not the school's fault. However they should be doing SOMETHING - and your son should have targets to be working towards.

BetweenTwoLungs Fri 28-Oct-16 18:54:43

Also the fact that you've not seen the senco is not good - a diagnosis would trigger a meeting immediately at our school, followed up by a review meeting every 12 months (on top of any other meeting with the senco).

That said, I agree with the point about private diagnosis. They can say what people want to hear - however if the school disagrees they should be carrying out their own assessments.

Balletgirlmum Fri 28-Oct-16 19:07:43

At ds's school dyslexic children are not generally allowed use of laptops. only those with specific other difficulties.

Anothernamechanger1 Fri 28-Oct-16 21:00:10

I just don't know what to do. Before the change of how they were assessed he was a year above level in most subjects apart from English. He is very able, very intelligent. On the dyslexia testing he was in the top 95th so that proved how intelligent he is. He's like a walking encyclopaedia. He amazes a lot of people, even strangers with random pieces of knowledge. He has very very low self esteem. This means he thinks he HAS to be good at everything or he's stupid. This has not come from me, im not a 'pushy' parent in that sense although my posts may come across as that. between he has school action plus, that is all I have in writing from them. They say he's been on that since he started but there was no proof of this, I have never signed anything. Since he went back to school, they agreed to put it all in writing and he was supposed to have 3 lots of 6 week cycles, so a target set and then assessed end of each 6 weeks. This started back in June and Iv had one meeting about it. The senco left (although ahe wasn't the official senco she was inclusion manager) so the head was supposed to do it and hasn't. I chased it up and it hasn't happened. between I'm not sure what you mean about the spellings, sorry? He spells phonetically and just can't get his head around it. It's so so stressful at home so I don't practise with him as it just ends in tears. They have tests each week, the teacher said he only has to do 5 and they can chose them from a big list or thought their English writing books, words they have got wrong in the past. Trouble is he always gets it wrong.....

He sees Camhs weekly. Was supposed to go today, he wouldn't see her. Spoke to her but wouldn't go in. He usually sees her when it was spelling test time.... (Co incidence) now she has changed her times to see him. He was complaining to her, she isn't happy about how this has gone and what Iv told her about the spellings. She reckons she going to ring the school next week although it will do no good as she thinks that as they are OK him missing the spelling tests every week since year 6 that he shouldn't be made to do it..... Don't think the school will like that!

Sorry Iv probably missed a few points you all may have said. So next week, I ask for an appointment with the senco.... And then what? What do I say or ask? There is no help available for him, the head has told me this herself...... ?

BetweenTwoLungs Fri 28-Oct-16 23:19:03

Okay, school action plus is quite a dated term but if that's what the school are going with he should definitely be receiving something 'more' and should have some form of plan. It sounds as if no one is really doing the SENCO job at all - there should absolutely be a paper trail here and the school are really letting him down in this case (and I'm not quick to say that as I know how difficult the situation is for schools at the moment!)

In terms of the spellings I mean that your DS should continue to have high quality phonics instruction - revisiting the sounds and representations of each sound. For example, children with dyslexia have three phonics sessions a week at our school recapping the sounds which is then mirrored in their spellings e.g. The sounds they've been working on come up in those words. It's no use for him to have 5 random words he's got wrong that week as their spelling patterns won't be linked. So for example he might do /ai/ to for an 'ay' sound in his phonics sessions, and spellings would be words using that sound e.g. Faint, paint, rain etc. Then gradually look at different letter combinations for the same sound and working out which sound it is eg say, ray vs rain

TBH as grim as it is for me to say, if he's in year 6 I wouldn't be fighting that battle now, I'd put all my effort into finding a good secondary that will support him properly. I don't agree that he shouldn't do spelling tests but it sounds like the style of the ones he's doing aren't working for him - they should be based on one or two sounds he's been working on that week.

BetweenTwoLungs Fri 28-Oct-16 23:21:57

Sorry to answer your last question - appointment with senco and ask to see what target your son has and what the school is putting in place to help him reach this target.

Push for phonics support for him and phonics based spellings. All schools have to have a 'sen offer' on their website, which is what they pledge to offer all children needing any additional support. Find this (or if you PM me the school I will find it for you, it has to be published on their website) and ask which of this they're providing for your son.

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