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Ds1 (8) just dx as dyslexic....any teachers/parents with advice on how to make sure he gets the help he needs??

(14 Posts)
Becaroooo Mon 26-Sep-11 12:50:08

Ds1 has struggled with reading and writing since its introduction in reception, but it got particularly bad when he started year 1.

Long story short, he was made so unhappy and struggled so much and had such a terrible impact on his self esteem that I took him out of school and home schooled him for most of 2010 and he started his new school (small village primary) in Nov last year. We loved HE but I soon realised that ds1's issues were getting no better despite the 1-1 he was having with me and he missed the social aspect of school.

He likes this school - and thats great - but I am less than impressed by their attitudes to ds1's literacy issues.

I explained to the HT when we applied for a place that ds1 was behind his peers and the NC and still had considerable difficulty reading and writing (I have suspected dyslexia since he was 5/6).

When he joined the school the SENco assessed him and told me that she "had no serious concerns" and that he just had "gaps in his phonic knowledge".

I was amazed shock I am not trained and even I can see that he has real difficulty tracking words on a page and with his auditory and visual memory!!!
This SENco is rarely there sue to illness and is in fact, again off sick and may be for some time from what I can gather.

In desperation, I went to my GP in Feb this year and asked for a referral to a child dev paed which he ageed to...he agreed with me that I had cause for concern sad (ds1 was a very poorly baby and missed a lot of his developmental milestones) The paed requested the school fill in a GARS questionairre (to screen for asd) and refer to an EP. Neither of these things was done, and in fact I was told that an EP referral would not be forthcoming until ds1 had not made any progress for a further academic year. At the end of year 3 his scores were;
reading: 1a - up from 1b at start of year 3
writing: 1b - unchanged from start of year 3
maths: 2a - up from 2b at start of year 3

The school have told me they consider this "good progress" and are "very pleased". I am v unhappy about this. I do not consider this adequate progress at all!

I therefore comissioned a private EP to assess ds1 at school and her report says he has dx dyslexia. We are still seeing a paed as to whether ds1 has subtle asd traits.

We have a meeting with the HT and his new teacher (who I havent met yet) on 4th!!!!

Ds1 gets no 1-1 help atm. He is on a table with 5 other children that has an HLTA sat with them in the mornings and has access to a TA in the afternoon.

What should the school be doing, what should I be doing and should I apply for a statement???

I just feel they have written ds1 off already and he is only 8 sad

verybusyspider Mon 26-Sep-11 13:07:31

I have no advice, only knowing that its frustrating to see them not fulfil their potential - at 5 ds knows he isn't doing as well as his class mates sad
Have you tried posting on SEN board? there may be some good advice from there.
good luck

paddingtonbear1 Mon 26-Sep-11 13:16:09

I have no advice either, but I feel your pain. dd sounds similar to your ds, but we have no dx. She's a fair way behind, and we've just started Kip McGrath in the hope it will help. We were also told dd had made 'good progress' in year 3. Her reading isn't too bad but with writing and maths, she didn't make much progress at all.

sarahfreck Mon 26-Sep-11 13:30:15

Ok - for starters they should put him on School Action ( if they haven't already done so). This means that they should produce a specific set of targets (called an Individual Education Plan - IEP) for your ds to achieve in a half-term. They should be very specific and achievable in the time frame and they should say how they will teach the targets and how they will assess whether he has achieved them or not.
So for example; "make an improvement with his reading" would not be acceptable as a target. "Learn to read one syllable words with an "ee" grapheme over 3 weeks; will work with TA for 10 minutes 3 times per week on this; to be assessed by testing with 10 "ee" words; should get 8 out of 10 correct on 3 separate occasions" would be acceptable as a target.

You should get to see the IEP and comment on it before it is finalised. It should be reviewed and updated every half-term.

Then I would start your DS on a strongly phonic reading programme at home (if you haven't already done this) as soon as possible - don't wait for school to get their act together as it seems as if they aren't managing to do this very quickly!!.
I would recommend Dancing Bears . From what you have said about his NC levels I would suggest starting with Dancing Bears A - If he has problems with this, you could try their "industrial strength" version. Do this with him at home for 10 minutes a day and get school to agree that he can do this instead of school reading books (especially if they are non-phonic ones like Biff Kipper and Chip et al). You can justify this to the school if needed (it shouldn't be) by saying it will "fill in the gaps in his phonic knowledge"!

Once he is taking off with the reading ( say after half to one term) then I'd also start him on the Apples and Pears spelling programme by the same company.

Have a look at a couple of computer programmes your ds might like to do which could supplement the above.

Braintastic Reading Success If he can cope with a (fairly mild) Australian accent. Level 3 is probably about right for your ds and you can control levels within this to focus practice on specific graphemes.

and Nessy Games Player

The thing I like about these two is that although they cover all the basic phonic stages, the games are more suited to 8-12 year-olds so they suit Junior children who still need more on the basics.

Becaroooo Mon 26-Sep-11 15:23:58

Hi sarah He is on SA and has been since April but we have only had 1 IEP in that time and wasnt impressed with it tbh..."learn all the letter names" for example.

Ds1 has real problems with phonics....just doesnt seem instinctive to him at all.

Should also have mentioned the things I have tried;
Headsprout (first half not too bad, 2nd half not good)
Toe by Toe (he hated it)
Step by Step (wasnt impressed with it)
Jolly phonics (he hated it)
BRI (not impressed)
Nothing seems to have helped him and what progress he has made he seems to forget sad

I am a regular on the SEN board but came "over here" smile to see if there were any teachers/professionals who could advise me on what they think the school should be doing and whether they agree that that level of "progress" is "adequate".

So very frustrating as I have known since ds1 was 5/6 that he was dyslexic but schools seem very loathe to get a dx until kids start Juniors/middle school which is not much help to them for the 1st 3/5 years of their education angry

ithoughtthiswasoriginal Mon 26-Sep-11 17:18:01

I really feel for you, your situation is almost identical to my DS (10). I had to pay for an Ed Psych report at the end of year 5 and he is only just starting to get a fraction of the support he needs.

I haven't got any firm advice other than maybe try a tutor, support him at home as much as possible. We will be moving DS to an independent for secondary with the hope that the smaller class size will help him make up for lost time.

Good luck

mrz Mon 26-Sep-11 18:34:48

Many schools don't use IEPs

Colliewollydoodle Mon 26-Sep-11 18:57:42

Follow your instincts.
You know your child better than anyone.
Don't think the teachers know best.
Take control of the situation.

I will carry the guilt of not standing up for my son for the rest of my life, finally did when he was 11, but it took a suicide threat from him.

Have confidence do what ever you think he needs.

Becaroooo Mon 26-Sep-11 19:25:37

maryz My sons school does.

collie I am so sorry to hear that. I took ds1 out of his old school in year 2 as he was showing signs of clinical depression. Best thing I did.

ithought Its so wrong that we have to pay for these assessments, isnt it? Just to get our kids the help they need!

Ds1's class is quite small for a state school - 24 - and he is on a table that gets support from a HLTA all morning. He gets no 1-1.

Am currently doing Write from the Start with him to help his dyspraxic wrist and hand pain and odd pencil grip. Who knows if it will help!

Am looking into getting him a tutor...the school wont/cant provide him with the help he needs sad

mrz Mon 26-Sep-11 19:42:59

Without a statement it is up to the school decide how best to support a child and it seems they are providing support from a HLTA you may spend money on a diagnosis and get no additional support.

Becaroooo Mon 26-Sep-11 19:45:39

Yes. Coming to that conclusion mrz

(maryz???? where the hell did I get that from??? - sorry!)

maizieD Mon 26-Sep-11 20:11:10

I am a regular on the SEN board but came "over here" smile to see if there were any teachers/professionals who could advise me on what they think the school should be doing and whether they agree that that level of "progress" is "adequate".

I don't know what people have been saying on the SEN board, but first of all, do you realise that 'dyslexia' is a symptom of something, not a discrete condition? Getting a dx of dyslexia is no use at all unless it gives you some insight into what is causing the dyslexia. School 'assessments' don't go into much depth. To get at root causes you have to go private, I'm afraid, but there's a minefield of quacks and snake oil merchants out there, so be careful...

Secondly, I wouldn't hold out much hope of getting appropriate help from a school whose SENCo first identifies 'gaps in his phonic knowledge' and then gives him an IEP target of learning letter names. Letter names have no use whatsoever in learning to read and if the SENCo believes that they do then she has very little knowledge or understanding of the reading process or how to teach it!

The tracking issue may be a result of not enough practice of L to R tracking leading to weak/undeveloped eye tracking muscles. Or it may be a visual problem. Have you had him assessed by a Behavioural Optometrist?

Is he any good at whole word learning (I am astounded to find myself asking this, but very occasionally a child doesn't seem to understand phonics at all, ever. It seems to be a trait which is sometimes associated with ASD) If he can't 'do' whole word either then you are better sticking with the phonics as it will, ultimately, be more effective, though hard work to learn as he probably needs intensive practice to get anything to 'stick'. A different programme, such as Sarahfreck has suggested, might just 'click' with him. I have a colleague whose child, with huge problems, got nowhere with Jolly Phonics, but progressed well with ReadWrite Inc.

I agree that a good tutor might be very helpful.

hermitcrab Tue 27-Sep-11 08:26:50

My dd (year 5) was diagnosed with dyslexia over the summer, the school had asked us to get a private ed psych assessment done. (we're abroad so could not do here). We also had an eye test re Irlens syndrome, which flagged up tracking issues. DD was given some glasses with a specific tint, and they have helped no end, almost like magic. She has halved her reading times when assessed by the ed psych! Well worth 50 pounds for the test.

Regarding the phonics, our DDs school is using Ruth Miskins Read Write Inc, and has put her on a Fresh Start programme. She gets time in a small group three timnes a week. Last year her reading age shot up from 7yr to 10 yrs 4 months....does really seem to do the business and would recommend!

Becaroooo Tue 27-Sep-11 09:49:24

Thanks both

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