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Aibu to wish teachers would actually be honest about ds?

(26 Posts)
Itsjustmeagain Tue 02-Sep-14 19:19:14

My ds has struggled at school since day1 he has fallen further and further behind with reading and writing . He now has an iep and gets lessons etc from a teacher who comes in from another school. The school have been great but I really want them to just be HONEST ! I keep asking if he will ever be able to read and write normally but they reply with "he's trying very hard" which I am pleased about but wasn't my question.

We have spent all summer doing practice phonics and words he was meant to learn. We have tried so hard and frankly failed to learn most. But I know the teacher will say "wow that's great" to me even though ds isn't in earshot and I am well aware it's not great it's pretty shit and pretending otherwise is not helping at all! How are we supposed to deal with problems if people keep denying them !

Aibu to just want a teacher to be really honest about ds and his progress ?

HappyAgainOneDay Tue 02-Sep-14 19:26:16

I would ask, "Will he ever be able to read and write normally?" If you don't get a proper reply like Yes or No or One Day just repeat: "Will he ever be able to read and write normally?" "Will he ever be able to read and write normally?" "Will he ever be able to read and write normally?" "Will he ever be able to read and write normally?" until you get a suitable reply.

Frankly, it sounds as if they don't answer the question because they don't know yet. They could say that though.

Bulbasaur Tue 02-Sep-14 19:29:00

Is he dyslexic? I know lots of dyslexic adults that read and write just fine now, or at least enough to get by.

It's hard to call at so young. As his brain develops, areas needed for reading and writing will might mature and make it easier for him. He might need a different approach to make it click.

I have an LD in math, and as I got older, my brain developed enough to make some things I was struggling with easier to understand. I'm still shit at it, but now I have apps I would say I know enough to get by.

There's so many factors that you can't tell, so it's best to go forward on the assumption that he will. It's important not to give up on him. He will never be the star reader or valedictorian if that's what you're asking. But I have a cousin who has SEN's and he now sends more grammatically correct text messages than I do.

Smartiepants79 Tue 02-Sep-14 19:32:03

How old is he?
Have you actually said this to his teachers.
Many parents don't really want to hear what you've got to say if its not good news. They are also not qualified to tell you if they think he has a specific problem (dyslexia etc.) he would need to be seen by specialists.
Have you been honest with them about your concerns?
Start pushing for some assessments.

Itsjustmeagain Tue 02-Sep-14 19:34:43

Happy - he has had loads of tests and he isn't dyslexic in fact they couldn't find anything wrong with him at all confused. His IQ came out as above as well as everything else he just can't seem to learn to read and write . That's the frustrating thing they have set the classes this year and of course he is bottom of the bottom class but no one can even begin to say why this is and the teachers keep brushing it off by saying he has tried hard (not really the point) !

Itsjustmeagain Tue 02-Sep-14 19:38:36

Smartie- I have tried to say this to the teachers but they seem to be terrified of upsetting me (I can't imagine why I am not a scary person grin) he has been for various tests but nothing has been found.

He is very nearly 8smile so just starting junior school. His reading level is the same as my younger dd who just finished reception. His writing is worse.

Roseformeplease Tue 02-Sep-14 19:39:39

I think it is way too early for anyone to make that judgement. People learn at very, very different paces and in different ways and I think you just have to keep trying, keep him motivated (don't show your frustration) and be positive.

Anecdotally, we have had several pupils who have arrived at secondary with poor or non-existent reading skills who make dramatic progress. This is not a problem with primary schools - ours are tiny and very well resourced with good teachers - but with development. One pupil has just left with the Scottish equivalent of GCSE English after arriving completely unable to read even a few letters of the alphabet. He also loved books! Do not despair. Try lots and lots of reading to him, lots of stories and word games and keep him motivated.

Bulbasaur Tue 02-Sep-14 19:45:50

Careful, when I got tested for LD's I didn't come back with any either, I didn't get properly diagnosed until I was an adult. Testing environments are set up a certain way to make kids free from distractions and phrased in a way that most kids can understand. They're not set up to mimic the current school system.

Types of LD This might help give you an overview if something looks familiar.

Look at processing disorders. If he's doing well in a quiet testing environment with one on one attention and clear cut instructions, he might have a hard time in a noisy classroom with everything distracting him.

WitchWay Tue 02-Sep-14 19:48:10

Were the tests just done at school? Asl for a child psychology referral. They picked up DS's (admittedly mild) dyslexia after he passed the school tests but was still struggling.

MavisGrind Tue 02-Sep-14 19:51:09

My ds is the same (8 yrs old, just going in to Yr4). He's really struggled since day one with reading and writing (he has lovely handwriting but is still extremely emergent with his spelling). His IQ is also above average so it's hard to see what's wrong. I'm a teacher myself so I can see how far he's falling behind.

He has been assessed by an Ed Psych who, tbh, wasn't that helpful - DS has an uneven cognitive profile and his view was that ds is on the ASD spectrum, but not enough to be diagnosed as Autistic. Which leaves us precisely nowhere! School have been fantastic with him and we're trialling strategies to help with his attention - he finds the work so hard he tends to zone out which just makes the problem worse.

So, sorry, not much advice but you do have my sympathies. I'm really concentrating on praising him for the stuff he is good at in order to boost his self esteem. I hope your ds gets support but I'd agree with others, there's an element of wait and see with this and hopefully at some point it will all 'click'!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 02-Sep-14 19:56:50

I really feel for you op. We got this for a year and a half after moving schools. It took a really fantastic, experienced and confident teacher to speak out and say 'this isn't working for this child' before we could actually have an open and honest conversation. It is massively frustrating - and that was with a diagnosis and an iep too.

You have to keep pushing though. It's really hard.

Eve Tue 02-Sep-14 19:58:55

My son is what is best described as very severely 1/2 dyslexic. His visual measurements were fine but his phonics bottom of the scale.

The school knew something was wrong but their tests said all was ok. I ended up getting a private ed psychologist to work with him and school who had access to a more sophisticated range of tests and pinpointed the problem.

HappyAgainOneDay Tue 02-Sep-14 20:04:17

Are his hearing and sight 100%?

Itsjustmeagain Tue 02-Sep-14 20:13:45

Bulbasaur- auditory processing disorder has been mentioned but I'm not sure he has actually been tested for it - from that link though it DOES fit?

Witch- the tests were done at school but someone from outside school actually came in to do them we had a detailed report at the end which boiled down to him doing fine in all tests apart from the fact he can't read and write (which we already knew!)

Mavis- I have asked the school about other problems but apparently he has none he does well socially and his attention is apparently ok!

Sn00p4d Tue 02-Sep-14 20:17:43

It's fairly political. Teachers are not allowed to be honest for fear of 'upsetting' parents. They use a range of stock phrases and parents are expected to decode the teacher speak. Bane of my life. Most parents are well aware of their kids abilities and any issues, sugar coating helps no one. Little jimmy is 'enthusiastic'

littledrummergirl Tue 02-Sep-14 20:22:41

How is he learning to read/ understand words?
Our ds2 school taught using phonics. Ds2 was deaf for his first few years at primary and didnt pick up sounds. Phonics didnt work for him and this problem masked another.

We got him a tutor in yr5 who taught using word recognition. Start with 3 letter words and add to them, using a dictionary for meanings, checking they are real words etc.

Ds2 went up to 6 letter words. He is now much more confident although he had now been assessed as moderately dislexic.

littledrummergirl Tue 02-Sep-14 20:24:13

Dyslexic. Bloody phone.

WooWooOwl Tue 02-Sep-14 20:24:33

They probably don't know the answer to that question, so they can't tell you what they don't know, and are just trying to focus on the positive.

It sounds like they are doing everything they can which is good.

HumblePieMonster Tue 02-Sep-14 20:26:08

Teachers are not allowed to be honest - management/leadership don't like it. Everything has to be positive, everything has to enhance the school's reputation. Leaders like teachers have to jump through government hoops.

Learn to decode. 'Enthusiastic' Jimmy can't stay in his seat and won't take instruction. 'Thoughtful' Clarissa is what teachers would never call a 'space cadet'.

OP, as you're talking about tests your child has had, I presume you chat with the SENCO (Or whatever the current designation is. I retired on Sunday, things might have changed). That's your best place to start looking for the truth.

ItsDinah Tue 02-Sep-14 20:27:21

I second what HappyAgainOneDay says. I am familiar with one horribly embarrassing case where no one noticed that the child was so short sighted they could not see letters unless they held the book up to their nose. Took two years to spot that one.

Elisheva Tue 02-Sep-14 21:07:06

That sounds so frustrating for you all. Would it be worth asking for repeat/different assessments? I don't know who did the last set (EP?) but don't assume that they are right - not everyone is competent at their job. Has he had a speech and language assessment? That would pick up any difficulties with processing, comprehension or memory. You could refer him yourself.

pinksquash13 Tue 02-Sep-14 21:26:01

Will he ever be able to read and write normally is an impossible question to answer. Ask questions with specific answers. E.g. how can I support him at home. What resources would you recommend. What sounds has he been focusing on this week. Is he working towards achieving his iep targets.

I agree with speaking with the senco regularly. It's very difficult to say more if a child is working hard, getting appropriate support but not achieveing well if his tests are clear.

teacherlikesapples Wed 03-Sep-14 09:06:57

Itsjustmeagain- I agree with pinksquash, you are asking a pretty difficult question. It may be that it is too early to answer that question, they are still collecting information & making assessments. If he doesn't have an official diagnosis of a difficulty yet, then they almost certainly won't be able to answer.
It may also be to do with where you are when you ask these questions- are you in the class or at an official meeting. I know I would avoid emotionally charged conversations if it is at pickup/drop off or anywhere near the children. The last thing any teacher needs to deal with is an escalated emotional situation in front of their class, so we tend to avoid anything like that & ask for a meeting at an appropriate time/place.

I would ensure that you are asking any questions like this in an appropriate setting, and ask more specific questions as pinksquash has mentioned.

If it is a well written IEP then it should have S.M.A.R.T targets (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timebound) So your IEP meetings should be able to give you all the info you need. e.g Bobby with learn 3 CVC words from his list each week.

The IEP should have success criteria, so that you know whether he is working towards those goals or not. If he is not achieving those, and that lack of progress is consistent, then they need to bring in more professional help. The IEP should also include spcific things for you to be doing at home, so you can see for yourself the progress he is making (or not)

Balaboosta Wed 03-Sep-14 10:10:38

I get what you mean about feeling they're not being honest but I think that you may be asking a question that the school is unable to answer. The fact is, given that your child is still developing, nobody can say whether he will ever learn to read or write. Also, you are doing loads to help him, which has the potential to massively increase his chances of learning. But, from the schools point of view: If they say yes he will, and he doesn't learn, they will have given you false hope. If they say no, and he does, they will have put a label of low expectations on him.

MiaowTheCat Wed 03-Sep-14 11:16:02

Little bit of hope for you - I took on a lad tutoring about the age your DS is at now... again, like you describe - he was at the level of a weaker reception age child in terms of writing and reading-wise he got by with guessing to fill in the blanks and getting stuff from context a heck of a lot of the time.

He suddenly just hit a point where it all did finally click into place and he got up to a level pretty much with his peers by the end of year 6 - not top of the class in literacy by any stretch of the imagination - but enough to be in with a decent chance at a level 4 on a good day.

They can't give you any concrete answers as some kids DO just rally like that, especially when they have a burst of maturity which they can channel into getting down to focusing on their work.

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