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Dyspraxic son

(7 Posts)
Moominmammacat Tue 11-Oct-11 17:35:18

Does anyone have any idea of where I can find help with essay writing for dyspraxic 17 year old son. He has ABBB at AS but wants to improve on them with resits. Essays seem to be the weak point (English and history) and orals (French and Italian) the strengths. Nothing doing with SN department at school although individual teachers are helpful. Grateful thanks.

EllaDee Wed 12-Oct-11 10:00:36

Without knowing what he struggles with, I am not sure what to say (he must be proud of those grades in those subjects with dyspraxia btw!). Is his problem to do with writing under time conditions or does it apply when he writes an essay for homework too? Does his statement allow him a computer or an amanuensis? I'm trying to understand whether the problem is mainly mechanical (difficulty physically writing for so long, tripping himself up when he writes so it ends up nonsense, running out of time because he writes slowly, etc.), or mainly to do with organizing his thoughts on paper. By the sound, if he gets good oral marks, perhaps it is the organisation?

I can do simple basic tips, but he may already have heard them (in which case, it may be practice he needs most, and someone to read essays with him that he does under time pressure and to tell him what's wrong - unless he gets a lot of this at school, it'll be hard for him to know where he had the problem, because he won't have seen the exam paper in its marked state).

Basic tips:

- Get into the habit of wasting paper! If you can get into the habit of writing on every other line, it is good, because you can come back and add material more easily.

- Take time to read the question, note its key point(s), and draw out a plan. Mention the key points in your introduction - this way, you show the examiner you know them immediately, and you can then go through them in more detail. And it saves you having to work out how to begin! So, you want to start by telling the examiner that the most important points about this question are x, y and z.

- Keep referring back to the plan. Each paragraph should have a single point, a key idea, which is in your plan. If you think of a new idea mid-way through (as one does under timed conditions), take a minute to scribble it on your plan and think where it will fit. Don't just bung it in as your next sentence.

- Treat each paragraph as a mini-essay, with an introductory line and a conclusion line. This will allow you to tell the examiner where you are going next.

Hope those are some help - it may be he feels he's heard all this before, and if so, I'm sorry.

Moominmammacat Wed 12-Oct-11 17:52:37

EllaDee ... that's really helpful. I'm going to print it for him now. He writes by hand and that's not a problem. It is all to do with organising thoughts. School now applying for 50% extra time rather than standard 25%. He's equally slow working at home as in exams but he can spout all the info at the drop of a hat. We're getting a marked English paper back to see where he slipped.
Any books/websites to look at would be v. welcome. Thanks so much and for kind comments. He thinks his results are mediocre because he's in a clever school!

EllaDee Wed 12-Oct-11 18:18:43

I'm sorry, I can't think of any specific websites but I'm sure someone else will be along soon who can. He sounds very clever to me - to get 50% he must have a severe difficulty to get over and IMO when you get that much extra time, the ordeal of such a long exam is a challenge in itself. Please don't let him think he's mediocre. He sounds very like a student I taught recently (I've just started teaching English to undergraduates), and I found it very impressive to see how well someone like that, who has to work to get over difficulties, can do.

I wish him best of luck.

Moominmammacat Thu 13-Oct-11 12:06:16

Yes, there are a lot of poor souls out there who do not fit the Mr Average tag and have so much to offer. It's identifying what they need to help them and then getting someone to give that help that's the problem ... and time running out in Y13 ... but your ideas (which he liked very much) will help us get there.

gingeroots Thu 13-Oct-11 17:44:02

Actually I'm going to copy and paste and save elladee's tips - they sound like excellent strategies for anyone like my DS who struggles to organise and get his thoughts on paper .
Not that I think for a minute that he'll pay any attention .
But I can keep offering advice .

EllaDee Thu 13-Oct-11 21:04:45

I'm glad if they're useful - thanks! blush

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