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Any advantages to formal dyslexia assessment????

(24 Posts)
chasingtail Sat 24-Jan-15 11:01:43

DS (9 yo, yr 5) has Always struggled with reading, writing, organisation. As he was getting no help from his primary school, last Easter we moved him to an independent school where he also now receives 3xweekly 1:1 literacy lessons to support him.

His SEN thinks he is approx 18 months behind in his development but is making great progress.

However DS's confidence and self-esteem are still really low and he often comes home saying he feels 'stupid'.

I guess my question is, is there any mileage in having him formally assessed for dyslexia etc, given that he already has extra support? The SENCO has said it would make very little difference in terms of how he is supported at school, but it may be a useful exercise if we need to formally 'label' his difficulties.

I have contacted an Ed Psych at Dyslexia Action who is happy to Assess DS (and provide report) but at a cost of £475!! ��������. We already pay school fees plus £800 per term for 1:1 support so this is an extra cost we could definitely do without especially if ultimately it make very little real life difference.

Anyone have any similar experiences, or found the assessment useful (even where school support is already in place?)

Skiingmaniac Sat 24-Jan-15 11:09:06

My DS was assessed in yr3 and the report, although expensive, gave me and the school lots of ideas and tips for helping to support him. Also it will recommend if extra time is needed in exams......very important if you are thinking of senior schools requiring entrance exams. Hth grin

chasingtail Sat 24-Jan-15 11:13:47

Thanks Maniac! That was one of the questions I've been meaning to ask school, whether a diagnosis is needed to allow extra etc in exams, or if it's an informal, local decision.

Singleandproud Sat 24-Jan-15 11:20:36

I would get the screening done, we have lots of students starting at my sixth form who don't get their screening until they come to us when it could have helped in younger years' and yes if they get extra time in their exams I think they have to have a formal assessment. Without the formal screening would your DC still get the SEN help if he moved schools?

LIZS Sat 24-Jan-15 11:26:50

There are now very specific requirements to qualify for extra time in public exams , looking at processing speeds and working memory in particular. This is discretionary for school entrance tests and CE but it also means you will need at least one further assessment for Gcse/A levels as they have to be within 3 years of the exam sitting.

Palooza Sat 24-Jan-15 11:47:41

My DH wasn't assessed until he was at university after years of working around the issues.

Most significant benefits to him are he had more time for some (not all), uni exams and most importantly work knows. He's set up a customised spell check for emails and sometimes for very important documents will have them checked over for word order etc.

And I am less inclined to LTB over his complete inability to find anything, ever, even when it is right in front of his bloody face wink

chasingtail Sat 24-Jan-15 11:53:52

From responses I can see the benefits of getting him assessed, esp in terms of future exams.
And yes Palooza I may lay off DS a bit more when I've asked him to do a simple task 20 times in 2 minutes!

HumphreyCobbler Sat 24-Jan-15 11:56:29

I would to help with self esteem issues as well as all the other benefits.

chasingtail Sat 24-Jan-15 11:58:50

Think I was just a bit mortified by the cost!

HumphreyCobbler Sat 24-Jan-15 12:01:41

It is expensive, isn't it!

Anacoreta Sat 24-Jan-15 12:09:22

It is not only the exams, I talked to a friend who is a university dyslexia tutor who convinced me to pay the £500 of tge assessment with very few words: "by the time they get diagnosed at University, they have their self esteem destroyed, thinking they are stupid when they only needed to be taught in a different way. Most have struggled more than they should and opportunities for early intervention, that may have helped them, were missed.

Having said that, having a diagnose is not the solution to all problems, you still need to fight for extra help, increased test times and pray that their dyslexia related antics do not get them classed as problematic or lazy.

But having a full diagnose would be a good tool to fight your corner, help your child study (the recommendations really help) and convince your child that although he has to do things slightly differently, he is still a ver able abd intelligent child.

MothershipG Sat 24-Jan-15 12:20:56

My DS got his label grin in school, in yr 4, and it really, really helped his self esteem!! He was getting so fed up that all his friends were easily managing things he struggled with. Once he understood it was because he was dyslexic he felt much better.

He's year 10 now and is set to get the extra time he needs in exams.

TeriyakiStirfry Sat 24-Jan-15 12:25:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Poisonwoodlife Sat 24-Jan-15 13:31:01

I can second all the benefits outlined here. DD was first supported by an enlightened and proactive teacher in Year 2, had first assessment in Year 5, and then follow ups required for extra time in Year 10 and 12 (a particular form of assessment required for uni) Now she has over £3000 worth of equipment and support. She is quite severely affected, under the regulations now to get extra time you have to have working memory and processing scores that put you in the lowest 14% of the population, though bright but it has all helped her achieve her potential and she is now reading English at uni. It has been more than worth the money, not just to get the support she needed but because she knows exactly what her strengths and weaknesses are, and how much she has achieved to be where she is in spite of her Dyslexia / Dyspraxia.

chasingtail Sat 24-Jan-15 17:48:50

All sounds very reassuring and if nothing else am hoping we can come away with some strategies to help DS with self-esteem.

Caronaim Tue 27-Jan-15 14:30:22

As an adult, yes, my formal diagnosis is very helpful. It actually makes things far LESS of an issue, I just say I'm dyslexic and need x, y, z, and I normally get help, whether that is for job applications, reading a train time table, using a library, or anything. It is so much easier than trying to describe the problems I have reading. And if I am asked if I have a formal diagnosis, I just say yes, and that is normally the end of the conversation.

Having said that, a diagnosis in itself means very little, as the definition has stretched, bent and twisted an awful lot in recent years!

Poisonwoodlife Wed 28-Jan-15 19:41:32

Coronaim as the definition has stretched, bent and twisted an awful lot in recent years! Not sure what you mean by recent years but as someone whose brother was diagnosed in the 70s and has two DDs diagnosed 10 years ago this is our experience.

Ten years ago my DDs were given a straightforward diagnosis of Dyslexia, we had scores for ability that showed they were indeed very bright and scores for the areas in which they were weak and that has been invaluable to them and us in developing coping strategies, making sure they could learn in ways that work for them etc. Subsequent assessments were less willing to place a diagnosis of "Dyslexia" on them because with targeted intervention they had brought their literacy skills up to the average range (though that is still far short of what you would expect for their ability) . The definition of "Dyslexia" now focuses on problems with literacy skills. However their underlying problems with working memory and processing remain. Increasingly Ed Psychs focus on individual profiles of difficulties under the umbrella term of "Specific Learning Difficulties" and reserve the "Dyslexia" and "Dyspraxia" labels for those whose difficulties within that umbrella are more closely defined. Makes sense because everyone's difficulties manifest themselves differently. That is actually what the Durham man is on about, not that Dyslexia "doesn't exist" but that as a label it is limited. However for parents it is a useful shorthand sometimes. But to say the diagnosis means very little is rubbish. It gives you a very thorough understanding of how these different brains work.

The D of E though have set off into new territory of their own defining Dyslexia that justifies support in terms of extra time as those scoring below an arbitary cut off. Which completely ignores all those bright dyslexics for whom higher scores are still a considerable disability and granting extra time to those of low ability for whom it is not. This has no basis in Science.......

Lagoonablue Wed 28-Jan-15 19:44:10

Paloma, re your DH and losing things. I feel your pain. DH is Dyslexic and constantly loses stuff and can't see anything if right in front of his face too.

It is hard work......

Lagoonablue Wed 28-Jan-15 19:44:34

Palooza not Paloma.

Anacoreta Thu 29-Jan-15 08:25:58

"The D of E though have set off into new territory of their own defining Dyslexia that justifies support in terms of extra time as those scoring below an arbitary cut off. Which completely ignores all those bright dyslexics for whom higher scores are still a considerable disability and granting extra time to those of low ability for whom it is not. This has no basis in Science......."

That is exactly my problem, DS dyslexia is often dismissed as he is reaching the (very low) targets set up by D of E, therefore ignoring all the stress, anxiety and frustration he gets because he knows he could do a much better job as long as he is not asked to write or given more time to do it. Ie. He was 2 levels up for mental maths, as soon as they asked him to write down the method he used to get to the result, he was catapulted to the below average set.

They also don't seem to understand that despite his capacity to store facts, he cannot remember the order of a set of instructions you gave him a minute before. This part of his dyslexia is often perceived as carelessness, being rebellious or lazy, which leaves DS bewildered as he had been trying his hardest.

Poisonwoodlife Thu 29-Jan-15 11:14:27

Anacoreta There was a typical dyslexic error of omission there in that I was referring to the arbitrary cut off for Working Memory and Processing scores having to be in the below average range (bottom 14% of the population) for extra time to be granted.

However you are right, often Dyslexics who achieve average or above average levels at school are not properly supported in spite of the psychological consequences and the fact that they have greater potential.

GentlyBenevolent Thu 29-Jan-15 13:00:11

Anacoreta My dyslexic - but very bright (according to the battery of tests he has had to undergo) - DS has exactly the same issue in maths - he finds writing down his workings in the manner required by his teacher excruciatingly difficult. He doesn't have a problem making such notes/annotations as he needs to keep track of where he is in longer questions (he is in Y10) but apparently this does not meet the requirements of the teacher since it is 'indecipherable'. He never gets anything wrong (he is a whizz at maths) but is never/rarely awarded method marks. It's extremely frustrating and actively discriminatory against pupils who are excellent at maths but have difficulty writing. His current teacher 'doesn't believe in' dyslexia (or at least, he thinks its a synonym for stupid which DS clearly isn't therefore in his teacher's view he must be lazy). sad

elastamum Thu 29-Jan-15 19:41:29

We had DS1 assessed and it marked a turning point in his education. He is very bright (99th percentile verbal) and the prof that assessed him said it was really important he understood his dyslexia as despite being so clever he struggled to do writing tasks that less able pupils could do. His assessment and our subsequent choices regarding extra support and dropping things like latin that he had no hope of learning, made a massive difference to his confidence.

He has recently lost his entitlement to extra time in exams because the new rules discriminate against bright children, but despite this he recently got an A grade for English at GCSE. smile

Anacoreta Thu 29-Jan-15 22:52:14

I think for us that is the main struggle, for him not to be classed as lazy or uncooperative. There are things he simply can't remember.

Elastamum, the ed psych assessed DS said something similar, that he would struggle to get help with his dyslexia as his IQ (98%) would hide it. He managed to finish primary with a level 6 in Maths and English despite being only a level 3, 18 months before (when he was attending another school where the headteacher was adamant that Dyslexia belonged to the realms of parents imagination). We were lucky to find another school that treated him as an individual and understood about dyslexia but now that he is in secondary school, he has so many teachers, and substitute teachers, things are starting to go pear shaped again.

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