Would I be unreasonable to ask my DS's school to do an assessment for dyspraxia?
My DS is 14 and in year 10. We have been to see his tutor tonight for target setting evening. She said that he appears to be incapable of organising himself effectively and that this has been the case from year 7. She said that the severity of his poor organisation is hampering his performance as school. He is constantly forgetting stuff apparently. He frequently gets detentions as he is unable to remember deadlines. His tutor said that he often has done the homework but has forgotten to bring it in. His locker is apparently full of C***p and a total mess.
She seemed to be describing a child where poor organisational skills is way beyond what is usual for a boy of his age.
Does it seem a good idea to ask for some kind of assessment as maybe he could benefit from additional support at school?
I don't want to look like I am being overly fussy, but the tutor made it sound so bad. Perhaps we as parents should be doing more to help, but I am not quite sure exactly what help to give him.
As a parent of a 15 year old with dyspraxia I would say yes! It can be a very frustrating condition to deal with as a parent but having the school on board , particularly coming up to exams is really important.
Help him put together a checklist of the stuff he needs in his bag each day for school - which books etc.
I presume that the school have provided him with a homework diary - is he using it? Does he show it to you?
Also - does he have 2 homes? I know a lot of kids find it difficult to stay organised when they stay with their NRP for a night mid-week.
Does he find any other things difficult? - Can he tie his shoe laces OK, or was he slow to learn? Can he ride a bike? (I guess these questions are more out of curiosity as a person can be able to tie their laces and bicycle and still have dyspraxia)
This site is informative:
My DH has dyspraxia. He is one of the messiest, disorganised and forgetful people I know. Apparently never had any problems tying his laces or riding bikes, but he does constantly stub his toes on random objects and is generally very clumsy.
He didn't find out until he was 18, by which point he had already been through hundreds of detentions and various other issues at school which did effect his work greatly as he didn't have the right support. He redid his exams at college after the diagnosis and, with the right support in place, walked away with excellent grades.
So I would say if you suspect it then definitely get him assessed as the earlier you find out the sooner the correct support can be put in place.
If you think there is problem beyond regular teen flakiness then speak to senco at his school ask for a referral 17yr dd is dydpraxic (its not called that now) and needed help at school especially at exam time and tests,giving himlists short ones will help him organise himself a bit better.
Dyspraxia is something that you need to see the gp about, not the school.
Oh, I didn't know that. Things must have changed from when I trained as a senco.
Yes definitely, unfortunately there have been huge cutbacks in the number of educational psychologists available in schools but worth gaining as much practical support as possible. As someone with dyspraxia I'm unsure about why littlefishbigocean thinks it's nothing to do with schools, I don't think the gp was ever involved in my diagnosis.
School can refer to OT who can help with strategies. DS1 is 7 and dyspraxic and there are lots of things which can help.
And CheeseBaguette a positive note, I was the most disorganised kid ever and teachers frequently worried my parents on report day but at 16 I found I was very interested in chemistry and philosophy so managed to pull together to get to a top university so there is light at the end of the tunnel, albeit what feels like a long tunnel at the time.
I didn't say it was 'nothing to do with schools' but in my experience it's been the gp that has got the ball rolling and made a referral and then OT has come into school to work with the child and offer advice/strategies etc.
In both of the schools I've worked in recently if we suspect dyspraxia we discuss this with the parent and then suggest they go to gp.
You learn something new on mumsnet every day.
Schools may be able to do a basic screening, although this is more common in primary than secondary. In order to get a proper diagnosis (from which he will get more support in school and possibly adjustments for exams) he will need to be seen by a health professional. Diagnosis is usually made via a Physio or OT but it depends on where you live as to who does this. He will need to complete an assessment of gross and fine motor skills and fall in the lowest 5th percentile (ie 95% of young people of his age would perform better than him) in order to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of developmental coordination disorder (the newer umbrella term encompassing dyspraxia). Waiting lists can be long, some people see an OT privately. Certainly if he's in Y10 then it would be advisable to get him at least on a waiting list ASAP. Go to your GP and request a referral. It does sound as though he has some significant organisational difficulties. What is his handwriting like? Does he struggle with sports? Did he struggle to master life skills such as dressing, buttons, zips, shoelaces when younger?
There are lots of strategies to help teenagers to become more organised
DD1 is dyspraxic (formally diagnosed y11 via GP referral to OT)
Is it just organising himself, or other stuff too?
Have you tried loads of strategies already?
DD has poor motor skills, organisational skills, processing skills. Some issues with texture, taste and crowds.
But stayed organised enough in secondary because we put strategies in place to help.
Thank you all so much for your responses. I am really grateful for your input.
In answer to some of your questions, he did find difficulty learning to ride a bike and tying shoe laces. He eventually managed both, but has had to switch to slip on shoes to reduce struggling in the mornings. He doesn't have to move between two homes thankfully, so he doesn't have that organisational challenge to deal with.
As a young child, his gross motor skills were poor. He could barely run for falling over. However, his fine motor skills were good and he used to have the neatest handwriting in his class (not now sadly).
ItchyArmpits, thank you for giving me that link. I am going to go to that website and closely examine the information.
In answer to Lizs's question, I hadn't thought that he had got any major problems at home. However, now I think about it further, is it really normal to have to remind a 15 year old every single day to clean their teeth? I also have to prompt him to have a shower; otherwise he would be rank. The fact that he needs prompting to carry out such basic activities of daily living makes me wonder. He is also very frightened of trying new foods and probably only eats about twenty things in total. Could this be related?
Anyway, in view of what you have all said, I am going to try and get him an assessment. As he has already started his GCSEs, I feel that time is of the essence. I am worried that he will have finished his GCSEs before he comes to the top of the waiting list for an assessment if we go through the usual channels. I think that the only way is to bite the bullet and try and pay for an assessment. I am about to go off and Google how to go about this. If anyone has any information I would be eternally grateful. We live in Shropshire.
School may not be willing to accept a private assessment and thus may not be willing to provide help / apply for exam concessions on the back of one.
We went to the GP summer term of y10.
I took in the best tick list I could find online where I had ticked all the 'symptoms' DD1 displayed.
Doctor asked school to send a referral letter also (done within 2 weeks) and referred us to OT.
OT assessment came through within 6 months, by Christmas of y11.
It contained a really useful list of related things and ways to work around, which highlighted some things I hadn't realised were linked.
On the back of this DD got
- extra time for exams (only in time for exams, not for Jan mocks)
- some exams printed on blue paper
- permission to stand and stretch during longer exams
(she already had use of laptop)
- a lot more understanding from some teachers
She needs way more support in every day life than the average MN teen seems to need. I had to be heavily involved in organisation, making sure she prioritised work correctly, stayed aware of what CAs were coming up etc. Also I had to help make her revision timetable and help her stay focussed. (Luckily she accepts help).
Teens have to learn to manage their dyspraxia. It is not acceptable to just blame dyspraxia, they need to take ownership and put in coping strategies. e.g To ensure DD wears her retainer frequently enough she has a tick list in the bathroom. School stuff always kept in same place. 2 pencil cases, one in school bag, one on desk at home.
(Come over to the SN board as there are other parents managing dyspraxia there).
Gosh I could have written your OP, except I have a DD in this situation.
I'm caught between wanting to have clarification as to whether it is dyspraxia (and possibly ADD) or not, and worrying that if she does get a diagnosis she will give up trying, and blame everything on the dyspraxia.
Every day is a contstant round of reminding her to do things and discovering things that have been forgotten, broken or lost. She has lost four pairs of glasses in the last year
My sons schools mentioned dyspraxia to me. They said referring my son via the school would take 18 months and advised going to the GP. I decided to get a private assessment, it cost £350. The school accepted the private diagnosis as did the county council. The recommendations were written into his EHCP.
I took the private report the the gp, ds was then referred to to a community paed who the referred to nhs OT. His private report is still the basis for his recommendations.
He also had a private ASD and ADHD assessment which had been accepted by the school, county and NHS.
Although we had suspected dyspraxia for DD for a long time (growing realisation throughout secondary) it has massively helped DD to actually have a 'label' for it.
She knows she's not being 'stupid' or 'careless'. She can label her difficulties to adults or peers to get extra consideration.
But (see above) I do insist she takes ownership and does not blame things on it. She needs to use strategies to overcome not just say 'I can't remember' . e.g. Checklists, notes in planner, phone reminders, places for everything, asking for help etc.
I'd say a diagnosis is always worth it. Then you can get some precise strategies to help with it.
Having looked at what you have all said about your experiences, would it be a good idea to ask his tutor whether or not it is a good idea for school to refer for an assessment or for us to pay for one? It would be disastrous if we got a private assessment done and the school disregarded it.
In our case I would say that a diagnosis is worth it. DS1 is only 7 but he has now been given a laptop to use in school, as one of his main issues is his handwriting. I also think that this will improve his self confidence, he is of average ability but appears worse because of his inability to get things down on paper.
He has neurofibromatosis type 1 and dyspraxia is linked to this.
Definitely worth getting checked out. Speaking as a 26 year old dyslexic who's been living in her flat for 4 years, you'd think I'd remember where the door frame is by now!
I am more than willing to admit I have a reminder on my phone for teeth brushing and putting deodorant on, otherwise I walk out in the morning having forgotten.
Dyspraxia is manageable, with a bit of work. Trying to get by without my strategies is disastrous though!
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