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Dyslexia: What support does your child get in school?

(32 Posts)
smilesandsun Sun 12-Aug-12 13:34:10


we have somewhat recently had a diagnosis of mild dyslexia for our 7yr old. So we are taking this and trying to make sure we make learning as easy and effective as possible. I'm trying to get an understanding of what support (if any) you get within your schools?


stargirl1701 Sun 12-Aug-12 13:41:10

I am a teacher.

In my class I offer daily 'overlearning' opportunities:

Toe by Toe
Wordshark (PC)
Starspell (PC)
Rainbow Reading
Barrington Stoke

My PSA supervises and I assess progress at appropriate points.

In addition my ASN teacher has direct teaching input twice a week - once in group (with peers from across the year group) and once on an individual basis.

I hope this info is useful in some way. I teach in Scotland.

smilesandsun Sun 12-Aug-12 13:50:59

thanks stargirl701 that is really helpful. I just need to get an idea of what the best possible support is that we can offer. We are doing what we can at home as well.


Niceweather Sun 12-Aug-12 16:22:24

I would imagine that it could be dependent upon how far behind your child is. Unless they are say 2 years behind, they may not automatically qualify for help, even if they are underachieving and not reaching their potential.

smilesandsun Sun 12-Aug-12 17:42:17

thanks niceweather. Yes I imagine you are right, regarding special help. I am hoping now that the issue has been highlighted some effort to help progress can be made within the school day, otherwise I can't see how I can make significant progress to help improve the situation.

stargirl1701 Sun 12-Aug-12 18:42:09

What is the handwriting policy in your school? The charity 'Dyslexia Action' recommend a cursive script where every letter begins on the line which isn't standard 'Nelson' handwriting.

Niceweather Sun 12-Aug-12 19:48:13

There are lots of parents out there fighting to get help for their children. There are lots of things you can try outside school..... tinted lenses, overlays, all the suggestions given by stargirl, extra dyslexia lessons, behavioural optomestrist etc. My son (Yr7) has recently started using a laptop and so would benefit from typing lessons but they are not forthcoming from school (not complaining though as pretty amazed how readily they agreed to the laptop). There are typing lessons on-line (BBC Dancemat) and ones you can buy (English Type, Nessy) etc. Hope this helps and good luck with it all - you are certainly not alone!

mrz Sun 12-Aug-12 19:50:37

smilesandsun Mon 13-Aug-12 07:10:50

Hi All,

Thanks for the comments so far it really helps.

Stargirl I'm not sure what the handwriting policy is, so I will certainly look into it. He has been using wordshark at school and we are occasionally using readingeggs at home.

Niceweather, thanks for the hint on typing I hadn't looked into that but at age 7 perhaps he is too young for that? We are doing a number of things outside school such as specialist individual tuition outside school and we are using Barrington stoke at home too for reading. We also play rhyming games, syllable snap, and memory games.
I am concerned however that all this good will be undone if I don't have some follow through at school as well, for instance when instructions are given or large worksheets provided. I am trying very much to improve confidence, which should go a long way to helping his progress. I am trying to work out how best the school is able to help follow through what we are doing at home, or in other words how best they are able to acknowledge the issue and teach in accordance with his needs. I understand that there are others out there with greater needs, but still as parents we all want to provide the best support we can. Its just nice to hear how others have done this as i'm relatively new to it.

Mrz thanks for the link.

Niceweather Mon 13-Aug-12 08:28:12

One thing that may help with confidence is if you can find something else that they can excel at - acting, art, model making, sport etc. My son did get some extra support at junior school but it wasn't specifically for dyslexic children. For example, to help with his spelling, I think he needed help with phonics but he was given lots of words to re-write over and over again. He also had help with Maths and other literacy support but to be honest, there have been no magic wands - it's slow progress. He had an IEP for settling to work without finding distractions and he was meant to repeat back what he actually had to do. I got him some tinted glasses from the Dyslexia Research Trust in Reading which have helped but again, no magic wand.

I know it's a long way off for you but there was a really great recent thread on here about how dyslexic kids had taken off at secondary school where the emphasis is not only on the three Rs, as at seems to be at primary school.

smilesandsun Mon 13-Aug-12 11:32:47

thanks. Yes I know there are unfortunately no magic wands, its going to be an ongoing learning path. I just want to make sure I go about it in the most appropriate and effective way. I am just so aware that if he looses too much confidence then all the years ahead at school are going to be difficult.

I'll have a look at the link you suggested it might be helpful too thanks smile

thanks again

mrz Mon 13-Aug-12 12:07:12

The link is to a sight created by a MN poster (Indigobell) and is full of information she has discovered as a mum.

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 13-Aug-12 14:41:40

Depends what the main underlying cause of her problems is - DD has mild dyslexia issues mainly based on visual problems so we have been doing exercises with a behavioural optometrist. At school, it helps her to use a highlighter as she reads through text eg she can underline the parts she thinks are important in a maths question. That helps her focus on what she has just worked out - she can follow verbal instructions very well, but if she has to read them she can 'forget' what she has read and do the wrong thing by just assuming what she is supposed to be doing. eg she will continue to add numbers as she hasn't picked up that the sign has changed to a minus half way down the page, Using the highlight helps with that. They have small focussed groupd for phonics lessons, but apart from that, not a huge amount of individual help at school, although a lot of recommendations for dyslexia already seem to be used within the classroom.

I also support her a lot at home and her reading has really come on by using EasyRead (an online daily reading programme) - if you search on here you will find some threads about this and you can see if you think it might help.

IndigoBell Mon 13-Aug-12 15:08:55

A diagnosis of dyslexia doesn't tell you or school anything.

You can ask for a list of generic stuff like stargirl mentioned - but they may or maynot be the right thing for your DS.

Dyslexia isn't one thing. Even mild dyslexia isn't one thing.

If you want to help you need to work out what he struggles with, and then think about what might help those things.

But be warned, if school knew how to help him - they would already be doing so.

smilesandsun Mon 13-Aug-12 15:46:46

indigobell for your 'warning'. I am aware that dyslexia can affect everyone differently and have had the reports done by professionals and understand where weakness lie. My posted question is more in regard to what schools might do or not do to be able to help children that suffer from particular problems in areas.
I don't think that it is certain that a school would already be helping in the best way possible, they are not all trained in the area as much as a specialist is and at the early ages I am told that it is not always clear what the issue is, often being mistaken for laziness.... anyway thank you for your comments and I'll take them on board.

smilesandsun Mon 13-Aug-12 15:47:24

sorry it should say thank you for your warning ....

mrz Mon 13-Aug-12 15:52:52

If you are aware of where the weaknesses are then I would expect the school to tailor their support to best fit those weaknesses. As Indigo says may things are beyond a school's expertise and need the involvement of appropriate professionals.
I wouldn't expect a generic response such as stargirl posted.

smilesandsun Mon 13-Aug-12 16:02:20

thanks mrz I think that you are certainly right. We have a specialist tutor separate to school but I don't have a feel for what is or can be provided within a school. The specialist tutor can help me with this as well but it is good to hear what other parents have or are experiencing.

thx smile

IndigoBell Mon 13-Aug-12 16:04:16

Also remember to keep a long term focus.

School will be able to come up with heaps of compensating strategies. Ie if he can't copy of the board they can print the stuff out and give it to him.

Schools focus is for your child to make 2 sublevels progress this year.

Your focus needs to be for your child to have the skills he needs to be happy in life. Being heavily supported through school may not be in his best interests.

mrz Mon 13-Aug-12 16:18:10

Obviously it's not possible to give an answer without knowing the individual child but I would say in general schools should be able to provide the same kind of support a specialist tutor provides but they can't generally provide specialist vision and hearing therapy.

smilesandsun Mon 13-Aug-12 17:15:17

thanks both. I am hoping that the school will be able to provide support at least inline with what we are doing at home to help, fingers crossed. Atm I am focussed on building his confidence and working out strategies to help him cope, so that in years to come this is less of an issue (though it will always be there). I think with confidence and coping strategies he will have the skills he needs to be happy.... I don't intend to have him supported beyond what is needed.

thanks again.

mrz Mon 13-Aug-12 17:48:38

Are you providing the school with a copy of the diagnosis so they know where /why your child is having experiencing difficulties?
I would however imagine they have their own programmes so wouldn't expect them to use the same resources/methods as your tutor.

Niceweather Mon 13-Aug-12 18:22:41

In my experience, even being armed with a diagnosis, recommendations and reports will not guarantee school will be on the ball with the correct type of help. There are dyslexia forums out there with parents fighting for the help their kids need. Even with reports, school didn't ever really acknowledge my son's (mild) dyslexia. A school EP even questioned the existence of dyslexia. Year 6 teacher said that his reading was too good for him to have dyslexia. Year 5 teacher thought the fact his phonological knowledge was on the 6th percentile was irrelevant because his reading comprehension was so good. Year 3 teacher had him sitting on the bottom table with very low ability children despite him being very very bright. A teacher friend told me that her Head had told the teachers not to mention the word "dyslexia" to parents. Secondary school has been way way better.

mrz Mon 13-Aug-12 18:56:26

I agree the school can ignore reports if they choose but the OP can't expect them to provide appropriate support if they aren't aware of the specific needs of the child. My son's needs weren't met at all in secondary school...they even ignored the advice of their own SENCO and EP.

Niceweather Mon 13-Aug-12 19:56:01

Yes, should clarify that secondary school is only way way better because they have let him use a laptop and understand that you can be bright and have literacy difficulties. They have given him opportunities to shine in his areas of strength. He has had some extra literacy support and should be getting some extra spelling help despite passing a spelling test given to him by the SENCO. I would really like them to give him some touch typing lessons but it's not on the cards at the present. So, not brilliant but much better than bottom table at primary school.

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