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Supporting an underachieving y4 boy ( no this isn't a joke but someone's life)

(35 Posts)
TheSerene Thu 11-Jul-13 13:46:22

I rarely post but another thread has me so angry and sad.

Im glad that this is hysterical for so many of you but as a mother of a y4 who has come out with level 2s I came here for support and how to help my son

The reality of having a child with additional needs who is struggling life can be hard and jokey threads / boasting this sort of thing does not help

Does anyone actually have help on how to support our ds who is late born in the year low attention span and restless and not really suited to the way school is set up, I feel he is set up to fail by the system. Apparently not bad enough to be statemented

I also have a part time job, other children, a husband who works long hours, no cleaner so realistic practical ideas welcomed


Elibean Thu 11-Jul-13 13:58:32

Hi Serene,

I went back to look at other thread (hadn't seen it) and think the OP is very different in it's concerns (real or pretend) to yours. Which are obviously real, and heartfelt.

I don't think anyone who is joking on the other thread would dream of joking about your post: level 2s in Y4 are understandably worrying, whereas level 4s are definitely not.

I wish I had some practical suggestions for you....I am sure others will, so am bumping post for you. What I do know is that there is a fantastic lad in dd1's Y4 class who has been struggling for several years, and it is heartbreaking. 'Not bad enough to be statemented' makes my blood boil sadangry as I'm sure it does yours.

Thankfully, dd's friend finally got a diagnosis of dyslexia and on the second attempt he got his statement. He had to be two years behind, I think, in order to qualify - which is utter madness, but apparently is how funding works.

I also have a friend with a younger (8) dd who is very bright but struggles with attention span. Practical tips she was given included working for a few minutes per day, one to one, with her - and seating her dd on a chair it was harder to slide off/wriggle out of. One with arms, for example, or high up. Also, to send her to run around the garden twice before sitting down to read/concentrate on anything. If that helps, you can ask the school to try and get ds to do a few star jumps, a quick run, anything physical that helps contain his energy before he sits down to learn.

She has also tried giving her dd something 'allowed' to fidget with whilst listening - eg play putty/playdough, or a squishy little ball.

Wishing you the best, and hope others come along with more practical ideas for you.

night1971 Thu 11-Jul-13 14:00:01

Hello TheSerene

If your son is very young for the year, have you thought about having him kept a year back to consolidate what he has learned and also to relearn concepts, if needed. I know that initially this may sound slightly shocking but I can honestly say, in my extensive teaching experience, it does work.

Ask the teachers for a list of areas of concern.

If this is not an option, I would support him at home with: reading, spelling, telling the time and times tables. (If his maths is good, find out from his teacher which areas you could work on over the summer.)

*Daily reading, one book for him to read to you (short and doable for him) and another book that you can read to him. Choose a book that his peers may be reading so that he says within the loop and it may spark more interest in reading. Make it fun, cuddled up in bed as special together time. Other children can join in too cuddled up.

*Spelling - ask the teacher for the past lists and go over previous words over the summer.

*Time - look for time games on the internet and get other siblings to play together. Loads of telling the time resources out there.

*Times tables - again loads of great resources and you can do these as a family with CDs and DVDS.

There are lots of good repetitive practice books out there to help consolidate spelling and math concepts (Schofield & Sims can be bought in WHSmith).

Practically, you will need to set aside about 30-40 mins a day to support him and there will be some tasks that he can do alone.

Hope this is a start.

OddSockMonster Thu 11-Jul-13 14:00:43

That thread looked like it was posted in very poor taste - if it's upsetting you, simply ignore it brew

I have an 'underachieving' but funny, happy, caring, intelligent summer-born Yr2 son, who is going through assessment for ADD and hopefully at some point dyslexia, so you have my sympathy.

Someone recently told me "Love the child you have, not the child you're told you should have". It's helped me stop crying and getting depressed about how he struggles enjoy the things he's good at and know he'll get there with the rest in his own time.

TheSerene Thu 11-Jul-13 14:01:50

Elibean thank you for replying it is appreciated

Some great ideas there will try them out esp like the putty dough one

Timetoask Thu 11-Jul-13 14:02:57

OP, I would have him assessed by an Educational Psychologist to eliminate any sen issues.

TheSerene Thu 11-Jul-13 14:03:18

Thanks to odds I and night lovely posts and have made me cry in gratitude and validate my feelings thank you x

Yogurthoney Thu 11-Jul-13 14:08:29

hi, TheSerene. I quite understand how you are feeling. I would consider a private tutor if you can afford one. I think a child who is doing very well or already above expection at his age doesn't mean he has no potential to do better. If , a parent ,can give them a chance on it, it is always worth to try. Based on that you child has already done very well in school, I believe an extra help may do the trick. If it doesn't work out as you are expecting as 3 sub-levels, at least you tried.

missbopeep Thu 11-Jul-13 14:09:16

I'd say you need an educational assessment either through school or privately if you can afford one. Someone needs to identify why your child is behind- and whether it's a general or specific learning issue.

Late born summer babies do not have to fail or be behind- one of my DCs is a mid August and did very well academically.

If your son is restless then he may have ADD/ADHD and you need a referral from GP to a pediatrician.

If he is a long way behind with spelling or reading then you should look into the possibility of dyslexia.
Sadly, in my experience many parents have to pay for a private assessment as schools drag their heels.

It's sad that your son has coasted into year 4 without his needs being met in school- is he on the SN register? What help does he receive now?

To help at home, you need to follow a structured phonics and reading program. A program for the pc is Wordshark, which is quite good.

If you can give some more info then we can help more.

Jaffalemon Thu 11-Jul-13 14:09:16

Ds has just been scored in the lowest 2.4% so i know how you feel.

Contact the school Senco and ask for referral to an Ed Psych just in case there are underlying issues preventing him from learning in the same way as everyone else.

Ds is a square peg expected to fit into the round hole of our education system. Its obviously not working and we have only done one yearsad

kelda Thu 11-Jul-13 14:10:09

I have a son with mild SN, and I know what it's like to have a child not achieve the same normal things that come so easily to other children.

Just a quick question - have you had his hearing checked? Hearing and eyesight problems are the first things that need to be checked if your child is struggling in school.

No other real advice, just wanted to say I know how you feel.

night1971 Thu 11-Jul-13 14:10:47

As long as he has supportive parents, he will be fine in the long run.

I remember children who really struggled through KS1 and KS2 and then started to take off late KKS3 with successes at GCSE and A level.

Some children just need a little more time. And then when the penny does drop, things start to fall into place. A late developer is not the end of the world, far from it. They have often learnt that you need to work hard to achieve (which is sometimes missed by fast learner/over achievers).

On the whole, with attentive parents and teachers, most children catch up with their peers during secondary school.

TheSerene Thu 11-Jul-13 14:11:35

Thank you this support is great feel so emotional and can't stop crying

Will look up wordshark

I'm going to have to log off know as im a mess but back later

Thank you

missbopeep Thu 11-Jul-13 14:18:11

Serene when you are back, this is a very good site and has a lot more than WH Smith etc.

HRHwheezing Thu 11-Jul-13 14:19:08

I taught year 4 and have a son who's summer born with an.

I symphathise with you.

I'd go back to his class teacher and ask how his results could be improved.
Ask to see the senco and she what she thinks, what are the main issues of concern? Reading, writing?

I'd question what they are doing to engage your son in learning.

ReallyTired Thu 11-Jul-13 14:19:13


I saw the other thread and I agree it was awful. I have no idea how to support a child who is working below age related expectations.

Children are happiest if they are praised for working hard, rather than getting 4b at the end of year 4. Ultimately there is little that a child can do to increase their innate academic ablity, but they can choose to make the best of the ablity that they got. Being academic does not guarentee happiness as an adult. We need more people to be electricians, bricklayers, plumbers than professors. When you come to pick secondary schools you need to pick one that has good special needs support rather than the best results in the area.

Does your son have hobbies that can give him confidence?

I think the suggestions of getting your son's eye sight and hearing tested are good. If you can afford it a kind tutor may be able help your son catch up.

Elibean Thu 11-Jul-13 14:21:20


See, Serene, not a bad bunch here overall. So glad you got the support! x

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Thu 11-Jul-13 14:23:29

Serene, I relied to you on the other thread to suggest looking at the home ed topic. To see if that's something you feel could work better for your ds as not all children suit school. X

gnushoes Thu 11-Jul-13 14:24:33

The Serene, what does your lovely boy's teacher say about him? Where does he need to improve? Does she have particular concerns? Would be well worth having a chat with her too.

crispsarenotoneofyour5aday Thu 11-Jul-13 14:29:59

Sorry - this has turned out to be long and rambling!

I had exactly the same thing with mine. Born Early August and school reports always referred to him being lazy, lacking confidence, lack of concentration, distracting other children, very slow at writing etc etc. We weren't at all happy with the support he got at school because, as you seem to be finding, unless they are REALLY failing then there is limited help available.

We ended up biting the bullet and moving him halfway through Y4 into a single sex private school with very small classes (11 for most of his years at junior school). This helped massively just because there was far more teacher engagement and things improved dramatically grades-wise (though not, it has to be admitted on the concentration front etc).

He got into grammar school and following further similar comments (but with no input from school) I decided to seek help from a child psychologist. After her first meeting with him she said she had a concern that he was dyspraxic. We then raised the possibility with the school who then swung into action and got him referred to the SENCO coordinator. He hasn't looked back since. He is now able to do his work on a laptop (so no issue with the slow writing) and just the fact that he realised that we were all taking it seriously and understand how much more difficult he is finding things has made a HUGE difference.

I appreciate that private school may not be an option but it may be worth seeing if there are other schools around that might suit him better and I would definitely push for an assessment by the SENCO if you haven't already done so to see if Dypraxia is an issue. It wasn't even on my radar and so DS "lost" years of his education before help was offered simply because he wasn't doing badly enough for anyone but me to be concerned.

Take a look here and here and see if this rings true for your DS.

If it is then there is a fair bit of help out there and lots of suggestions as to what support/activities you can do at home to support him.

veryconfusedatthemoment Thu 11-Jul-13 14:38:21

Marking place as this is my situation but Yr 3 going into Yr 4. I will be back later smile

OddSockMonster Thu 11-Jul-13 14:40:49

ReallyTired, that's a lovely and very supportive thing you've just said, all that starting with "Children are happiest..." smile

DS's 'hobby' is cooking, even though he's the world's fussiest eater, and it's the one thing that'll really get him writing. The teacher may only be able to read every third word at best of his homework on it, but he's already talking about "when I go to cookery school...".

BeerTricksPotter Thu 11-Jul-13 14:41:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OddSockMonster Thu 11-Jul-13 14:44:41

TheSerene, I'd also see if you can chat with the teacher / SENCO if you've not already. I found it quite stressful when DS's YR1 teacher suggested (rather badly) that we should talk to the GP about ADHD but now we're 'going through the process' it's alot less daunting. I suspect he may be 'too mild to be statemented' but at least we'll have hints and tips on how to help him do well and be happy.

And even if there aren't any SEN concerns, they should still be trying different ideas to help him along.

ReallyTired Thu 11-Jul-13 16:25:57

"when I go to cookery school...".

It is great that he has ambition and wants to do something productive when he is older.

Emotional welbeing is far more important than grades. Sometimes as parents we can get far too caught up in the rat race of grades and academic achievement and loose sight of what is important. Children need to feel valued and unconditionally loved.

Having good academic results does not make someone a better person and developing strong life skills is important as well.

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