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Schools SENCo

(153 Posts)
LittleBooInABox Tue 13-Dec-16 18:13:31

I'm fully prepared to be told I'm being unreasonable here, but it's been an emotional weekend and I'm still feeling a little fragile so I'd like some fresh eyes to look over this and decide if I should make a complaint of if I'm just being precious.

On Friday I went into see DS class teacher, after a week of tantrums and meltdowns not proportionate to the event: like changing his mind on a sweet and being to late to change it. (Already paid, long que) turns out it was because they were doing practice tests for there sats. DS struggled and become distressed causing him to act out.

DS teacher said she had some concerns because DS is working about a year behind where he is (year 2, age 6) it was eventually settled that he may be strongly dyslexic. I asked for a referral to the schools SENCo, who wasn't in on Mondays.

We spent the whole weekend thinking and reading about how best to support DS. We made him a quite space in his room with some a small desk, chair and let h

So move forward with today.

SisterViktorine Tue 13-Dec-16 18:19:45

You went from not knowing there was a problem (other than the acting out) to working diagnosis of dyslexia in one meeting?

I think most small children are tried at this point in the term and this can frequently come out in overly emotional responses. Are you sure it is the right time of year to be assuming DS has SEN?

Perhaps it would be better to keep everything very low key for the rest of term and then go into school in January to discuss whether DS needs a literacy intervention?

SisterViktorine Tue 13-Dec-16 18:20:53

What is it that you would be complaining about?

LittleBooInABox Tue 13-Dec-16 18:21:18

EDIT: posted too soon, ignore last line.

We let him pick some office stuff. Notebooks, pens to try and give him a space to work. Which seems to be a positive step at the moment.

Moving onto today. Around 2:15 I called the school SENCo lady and asked about tests for DS to confirm. She said it can't be done before he's 7, which is a few weeks away so after Christmas.

I asked for an appointment, to come in with DS to sit the test. Because I want to be with him. She said she couldn't book an appointment because other parents may pop in and wish to speak to her. It'll be before the end of January.

I pressed the issue saying I'd rather the test done sooner to enable earlier support for DS. The SENCo then laughed! Laughed. I asked her what was funny. She replied "nothing I can do, if it's not good enough you'll have to pay"

Which I can't afford to, it's around 200-300 pound for private educational psychiatrist. NHS apparently don't diagnose on the NHS.

I said to her I'm appalled that she's laughing at my child at an incredibly difficult time for our family and would she laugh if it was a mother or a physically disabled boy asking for support.

I'm fully prepared to be told i am being unreasonable but I'm feeling pretty fragile and emotional right now, so am not trusting my judgement.

Does it appear offensive to you, or am I being a tad over sensitive?

monkeywithacowface Tue 13-Dec-16 18:22:29

I don't really understand? Who decided he was "strongly dyslexic"? What is your complaint against the SENCO?

SloanePeterson Tue 13-Dec-16 18:24:08

Honestly, yes you're being too sensitive. She will be dealing with a ridiculous workload and she's given you reassurance that he'll have the test in a month. There's really no hurry to do it before then.

icy121 Tue 13-Dec-16 18:24:21

Doesn't sound at all like she was laughing at your kid - more like out of frustration - - you were asking her to do something she's not able to.

monkeywithacowface Tue 13-Dec-16 18:25:51

I actually think before the end of January isn't an unreasonable length of time to wait TBH. Actually most schools drag their heels for years when it comes to diagnosing dyslexia let alone supporting a child with it.

ilovesooty Tue 13-Dec-16 18:25:57

I don't think it sounds as though she was laughing at your son either. Offering the test by the end of January doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

JT05 Tue 13-Dec-16 18:26:04

Hi, a bit confused about your last sentence. However, assessment for Dyslexia is unrelable In a child under 8 years, as all children develop literacy skill at a differing rate, up to a certain point.
Have you had his hearing tested? Even a slight loss of hearing can impact on a child's literacy.
It is important to be very supportive of your child and build up his confidence by praising achievement .I would not discuss your concerns in front of him, as this could negatively impact his confidence.

CocktailQueen Tue 13-Dec-16 18:27:37

How long has the school known he's working a year behind expectations?
What have they done about it?
What have they put in place to help? (extra literacy, etc.)
Is it all across the board, or one subject?
Has the SENCo been involved with him before this?
How can you go to a diagnosis of 'strongly dyslexic' in one meeting? hmm
When you read with him, how is his reading? And writing? Can he do his homework easily? Does he struggle to pay attention/keep focused?

I'd probably try to keep the SENCo on side. And why not do some googling, once you have pinned down what the problem seems to be, to see if it sounds like dyslexia?

Am sure some other more knowledgeable people will be along soon, but I think your first port of call is the teacher. Ask what she recommends.

Then take it from there and see how ds is after the Christmas holidays when he's rested and not knackered - being too tired plays havoc with behaviour, attention, etc.

ilovesooty Tue 13-Dec-16 18:27:46

I'm also unsure how you and his teacher came to this conclusion in one session.

bigredfireengine Tue 13-Dec-16 18:28:05

The school will have a waiting list of pupils. The testing will need to be done by a external person. Why should the jump the queue.

January is really quick. You would wait a year here.

Dont place all your hopes on him having dyslexia. He may well not. What you describe doesn't leap out as dyslexia.

MrsGsnow18 Tue 13-Dec-16 18:29:03

A SENCO can't diagnose your child as dyslexic either (legally thy are not allowed to)
She can do the tests which will look for patterns to see if he has dyslexic tendencies and then as far as I understand he can be referred for peri support and to an educational psychologist for diagnose.
If his class teacher has concerns then he should already be on an I.E.P and getting some support in class, is this in place already?

Sirzy Tue 13-Dec-16 18:29:16

Non of this makes sense.

You have gone from not having any concerns to wanting a dyslexia diagnosis based on what is probably normal Christmas tiredness?

A Senco can't diagnose anything. That isn't their job.

If you have concerns then make an appointment to see the Senco early in the new term and discuss things properly.

viques Tue 13-Dec-16 18:29:49

I think your first question should be why is the school doing 'practice tests for sats ' the week before Christmas?

bigredfireengine Tue 13-Dec-16 18:30:13

Actually most schools drag their heels for years when it comes to diagnosing dyslexia let alone supporting a child with it.

What tosh. Most schools do not drag their heels. Some schools do not have access to the resources needed as Ed Pyscologist time is limited. They don't drag their heels, sometime they are constrained by the system.

justkeepongoing Tue 13-Dec-16 18:31:36

Can the Senco really diagnose?! She may be able to highlight dyslexic traits but I think that you will need to see an Educational Psychologist for a full diagnosis. The Senco may be able to test for Exam Access Arrangements once your son gets to secondary school but for now you might just want to explore ways in which you can support your DS learning.

spanieleyes Tue 13-Dec-16 18:32:40

She is probably laughing to ensure she doesn't burst into tears!
In my county a dyslexia assessment must be carried out by an Educational Psychologist ( although many SENCOs can conduct initial screenings) and they are as rare as hens teeth. Most schools have their yearly allocations committed well in advance ( the ED Psychs do rather more than just dyslexia screenings!) and adding an additional assessment into their schedule can be almost impossible. If your child is assessed, it means someone else may well miss out/be delayed. So a dyslexia assessment will rarely happen immediately a child is seven, they will be probably put on a list with several other children all with pressing needs. Schools are crying out for additional Ed Psych support, it is very rarely available.

JT05 Tue 13-Dec-16 18:32:51

Cross posted with others! A word of warning about private Dyslexia assessments, they are a bit like house surveyors, the report may contain caveats, as you son is still very young.

I'm sure the SENCO will have come across your situation before and will have strategies in place for support. Try not to worry over Christmas, many people with Dylexic tendencies go on to achieve great things in their lives.

SisterViktorine Tue 13-Dec-16 18:33:34

You are being very over sensitive. It is a 'difficult time for your family' because your 6 year old needs a bit of educational support at school? I'm afraid you have it totally out of perspective.

Diagnosis doesn't matter- the interventions are the same whatever comes out on the assessments.

My DS is also in Y2 but August born. We realised he was having massive difficulties learning to spell towards the end of Y1. We bought Apples and Pears by Sound Foundations and have worked consistently with that for the last 6 months and the improvement has been incredible.

We have now had various assessments done, the results were interesting but made absolutely no difference to the intervention he needed, which we have in place anyway. We are working closely with his school, but I certainly do not expect them to drop everything. It takes time to book in assessments and meetings for feedback etc. YABU regarding timescales.

I have no idea why you are so angry with the school.

LittleBooInABox Tue 13-Dec-16 18:38:32

Thanks for all the replies.

Here the SENCo does the first test, then he will be referred to the LEA for subsequent tests.

Class teacher, has said he's really behind with all his classes. He's better in maths, but he is unable to test well except orally. English is a no. Handwriting is illegible next to the rest of class. And he's still reading reception level books, and still struggling. She has voiced concerns before but I asked outright on Friday if he was on the spectrum somewhere or just a little slow. Because she knows what to look for. That's when words like dyslexic came about because socially he is fine.

He's been in speech therapy for three years, eyes and ears are tested perfectly fine. No issues. Behavioural I have no concerns and last week has been due to distress from the tests. Things have settled since the weekend again now he knows there's no more for a while.

So it's been a long time coming, I've wondered for the last year, but always convinced myself he'll get there when he gets there. But it's effecting his confidence, he comes home saying he's stupid, and I don't want him to disengage completely with school. That's why I want the support.

School is new, so fairly low class numbers at the moment. So DS gets more 1:1 time throughout the week so they pick up on things.

SENCo has said that she has three other children to access. All I asked was for an appointment to come with my child too, i don't understand why she couldn't just give me a date. I wasn't asking to jump the line. But knowing that there's a date and I can make arrangements with work around it, is better than a call the day before.

I don't think I was asking too much for an appointment for the test.

Sirzy Tue 13-Dec-16 18:39:56

Why would you be there for the rest though? Surely she will just do it with him in school time when she has time in her very busy schedule?

bigredfireengine Tue 13-Dec-16 18:40:19

Most schools have their yearly allocations committed well in advance ( the ED Psychs do rather more than just dyslexia screenings!) and adding an additional assessment into their schedule can be almost impossible

same here. One of my schools gets say 8 sessions a year- it is leafy lane and actually the waiting list is quite short- so a couple of months probably.
The other gets say 15 sessions- it is high deprivation and the waiting list is very long- we have to prioritise really carefully which children go forward- mostly those on the clear path to an EHCP and specialist provision. We have the sessions mapped out for the whole year at the moment but will have to jiggle if children with more need join us.

justkeepongoing Tue 13-Dec-16 18:41:36

As an Educational Specialist Assessor I do see this all the time but I'm sure that it must be very unsettling for parents when their DS or DD need support and intervention. As others have said concentrate on ways to support him and in the future think about an assessment if you believe it will help. The outcome should be the same.

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