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Help to diagnose potential problem

(17 Posts)
louisea Mon 03-Oct-11 22:32:03

Please excuse me if this isn't the right forum.

It has been suggested to me that one or both of my 12 year old boys could be dyslexic. Does anyone know how we can go about getting them tested or is this something we should discuss with their school first?


Sam100 Mon 03-Oct-11 22:58:15

I would discuss with school and ask for their input. Also look at dyslexia action - sorry can't work out how to paste a link on the mobile!

IndigoBell Tue 04-Oct-11 11:55:17

You can pay hundreds of pounds and get an EP to diagnose it.

Or you can discuss it with school who won't diagnose it.

But why do you want a diagnosis? Do you want school to give them extra help? Or extra time in their exams? Or to teach them in a different way?

You need to discuss with school what you want, which they should be able to provide with or without an expensive EP report.

A diagnosis won't bring you anything. School can even get them extra time in exams etc without a diagnosis - nor does a diagnosis mean they automatically get extra time.

startail Tue 04-Oct-11 12:46:34

Indigo I know schools want to move away from labels, but saying she's dyslexic gives DD1 a quick way of explaining her difficulties to herself and to others.
In theory school should give you help and support with or without a formal diagnosis, but in practice they are pretty useless even with one.
I'm afraid OP, unless your school is a great deal better than ours, the only way you find out what is going on is if you chase them.
I have no idea if DD has a IEP, whether she is on SA, is eligible for extra time in exams or getting taken out of lessons this year. I have heard nothing from the SN department not even one line in her report, nothing!
I'm going to have to chase them, but we've got yet a new SENCO and they've had CAT tests so I wanted to wait till they were marked.
It shouldn't be up to the parents to help these children, but sadly it is.

mummytime Tue 04-Oct-11 12:57:25

I choose my kids school partly because of the fab SENCo. But the best advice is still to keep a diary recording things you ask the school and things they say they will do. Aim for specific and measurable things. I have read an IEP in which most targets were "carried over" because they hadn't been achieved in a year, that is useless.
A diagnosis should be obtainable from the school, but what you really need in the right assessments and interventions to help. For GCSEs the crucial thing is not a diagnosis but what accommodations are made in school (eg. use of a computer to access the curriculum).

There is no reason you can't say I'm dyslexic without an official diagnosis, or I have symptoms of dyslexia.

IndigoBell Tue 04-Oct-11 14:25:12

Here's a definition of dyslexia:

Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual's cognitive abilities and may not be typical of performance in other areas.

Essentially, you are dyslexic if you haven't learnt to read and / or spell despite being adequately taught.

Therefore diagnose yourself smile And feel quite comfortable telling people you have dyslexia without paying hundreds of pounds to an EP.

startail Tue 04-Oct-11 16:23:38

OP you didn't say who suggested your DS might be dyslexic. If it was school then indigo is right absolutely no need, in the first instance to spend money. Given your DS age and the time of year, I'm guessing they are y7 and quite possibly will have just done CATs or some similar assessment. Therefore school should know enough about your DS for a meaningful discussion.
We felt complained to get an EP report because we were banging our heads against a brick wall with our primary.
To be fair DDs secondary might well have been ok without, they are a lot more clued up. The trouble i have is getting understanding turned into action.

startail Tue 04-Oct-11 16:27:22

Sorry compelled (I would also label myself as mildly dyslexic, but I'm far too old for anyone to have noticedgrin)

louisea Tue 04-Oct-11 22:10:15

Long story short.

The boys are just 12 and are in Year 8. Neither has problems reading. In fact they are advanced readers. Their handwriting on the other hand is awful. One of them has and could improve his handwriting more is he just tried. The other one's writing is almost illegible. So much so that he can't read it himself much of the time. The whole way through primary teachers have commented on writing, given them practice books for home but never pushed any harder than that.

Years 5-7 were spent overseas (including their secondary transfer). One of the boys manged the transfer okay, the other was placed in lower sets than we would have hoped for and then wasn't pushed much by the school to improve on his work. We hadn't realised how bad his English work is until we came back to the UK. Now they are in a new school, the work load is huge and one of the boys is falling apart. He can't organise himself to do the work, can't concentrate on the work, can't research projects properly etc. He is frustrated with the whole situation.

BIL was the one to suggest getting him assessed. He and my sister have 3 dyslexic girls and Sis is trained in special needs (haven't spoken to her yet). DH is also dyslexic as is his cousin. We are currently debating whether it is worth the effort of getting the boys assessed or just trying to find a tutor who can help get DT1 over his organizational/study skills issues.

There are other issues at school, namely the lack of discipline in the lower sets. The boys have been placed in lower sets for subjects that they have never studied before with the hope that with some support they will be able to move to a higher set later in the year.

Lots to discuss with the school, at least as a starting point.

Hope all of the above makes sense. There is a lot to tackle with the addition of some bullying going on as well. We found out about that just last night and it has already been dealt with.

IndigoBell Tue 04-Oct-11 22:42:53

Could be something like dyspraxia rather than dyslexia....

If their reading and spelling are fine, then I wouldn't be investigating dyslexia.

Poor handwriting can be caused by a number of issues - poor fine or gross motor skills, or visual perception problems.

Or indeed there is a whole label just for people who have terrible handwriting - dysgraphia smile

How's their co-ordination? Are they good at sports, swimming, biking etc? Are they clumsy?

Difficulties with organising themselves go with a loads of diagnoses. (Dyslexia, dyspraxia, ASD, ADHD.....)

So I think you're right to talk to school, but I wouldn't use the word dyslexia. I would instead describe the symptoms as you have here and hear what school think......

louisea Wed 05-Oct-11 22:20:23

Thanks everyone. I wrote an answer this morning but I lost it.

I'm not specifically looking for labels, just some help to get us through our current issues. We're trying to work out if there is an problem or if what we are experiencing is normal teenage behavior. I'm still waiting for someone from the school to get back to me.

Today DT2 was complaining yet again about the discipline in his classes. He wants to go to school to learn, not to spend most of the lesson listening to others disturbing the class. That's a whole other issue to tackle with the school.

mummytime Wed 05-Oct-11 22:47:49

You need to request a meeting with the SENCo to discuss both boys. From your description you could request they are put on the SEN register, and you can ask what strategies you and the school can use to help them.

2marys Wed 05-Oct-11 23:05:26


Lack of organisational skills and other issues on top of the reading and writing issues can be a feature of dyslexia as well as of normal boy, dyspraxia or other things and in our case we wanted to find out what was going on. I'd been concerned but until secondary it had been brushed under the carpet; the school suggested we pursue and for us spending the money was worth its weight in gold. DS suddenly understood why he is articulate and apparently intelligent but writing and reading, organising, sense of direction etc is hard. He now has support and IMO even more importantly realises he is not stupid nor idle (or not more than the norm). He walked tall out of the assessment. And I have photocopied the report for every form teacher since. HTH

louisea Wed 05-Oct-11 23:15:53

Thanks 2marys. Will start with the school but will definietly pursue an assessment if we feel it is necessary.

DoNotPressTheRedButton Wed 05-Oct-11 23:22:04

Later on they might need labels- I know our uni specialises in Sn courses and yet still insists on a formal DX to provide help (IIRC they can refer to someone who charges £500)

It does not seem to be something schools offer any more, if I decided to follow a dx path for ds2 I would go via The Dyscovery Centre as I know some of the staff (and am studying on a lonked course) and it might suit you. But nothing is cheap.

louisea Tue 11-Oct-11 14:58:41

A little update. We've spoken to the school about our concerns and they've promised to look into the issues. They've also given us some strategies to help with DT1.

DSis is a teacher with special needs experience and she reckons that it will take at least a whole term for the kids to settle in to a new school. She can also help us finding someone to do an assessment should we choose to go down that route.

At the moment we are not getting any assessment done. We've agreed with the school to wait, see if the boys need to be moved around in their sets. They weren't worried at the moment as their CAT scores are reasonable. One of the boys has a 137 in non-verbal. So, who knows, he may be a rocket scientist in the future, lol.

I felt more positive once we had spoken to the school and will try and re-assure the boys that things will work out well in the end.

IndigoBell Wed 12-Oct-11 09:50:17

137 in non-verbal is a very good score. What was his verbal score?

A big discrepancy between non-verbal and verbal is a sure sign of dyslexia type problems.

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