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Can't stop worrying about my DD (Yr 1)

(36 Posts)
Maki79 Fri 21-Nov-14 12:25:35

I'm hoping maybe an educational psycologist can reassure me that things will not pan out for my dd as they did for my brother.

I am 10 years older than my brother (so I remeber his school years well). He is an intelligent, interested man who now has his own sucessful buisiness. He still cannot tell the time on a clock face and was privately diagnised at 7 as having dyslexia and dyspraxia and discalculus. He was never statemented because his IQ was 'average' (accoring to my mum). He left school in 1995 without any GCSE's and worked in a factory until he set up his own business.

He was 'shelved' at school. Bottom sets for everything at secondary school, embarrased to show enthusiasm for the subjects he was intersted in due to peer presure and now suffers with depression from years of being told/treated like he was 'dumb'.

Now my DD goes to a small school. She has been split from the rest of the girls in her year as yr1 has been split by ability.

She is bright, no doubt about it. Her vocabulary is good and she can solve problems that she will overhear dh and I chatting about.
Yet....she cannot recognise single digits every time. She has to count her fingers to know that an 8 is an 8. She is struggling to read, and I think there is an issue with her short term memory (the teacher has said that she cannot follow a series of simple instructions, she needs to be told each instruction one at a time.

We are about to start Toe by Toe learning and she spends 10 mins a day with a TA doing this.

I have become obsessed with reading levels and am worrying myself silly that my confident, happy child could one day become shelved like my brother was. In fact with the class split this has already started to affect her confidence.

I don't really know what I'm asking here but does anyone have any similar experiences or advice? Have things changed so much in 10 years that I have no reason at all to worry??


littlesupersparks Fri 21-Nov-14 12:34:38

I might not be much help - I'm a secondary school teacher. I think you are right to worry - the best thing a child can have is a parent who is fully engaged in your education. I think you need to be pushing and pushing at school for extra support where you can (whilst obviously also encouraging and supporting your daughter in the things she enjoys). For what it's worth, I'm very proud of my school and how we support the students who have additional educational needs of any type, permanent or temporary (just a case of catching up). Children do not all learn things at the same time or progress at the same rate. Please keep asking questions and pushing though as a good school will be putting lots in place to individualise their curriculum and support all their students.

At the moment for exams many of our dyslexic students qualify for 25% extra time and a reader. Students can be allowed a separate room so they can read exam papers aloud to themselves. There are other access arrangements that can be out in place for those who are able to access the curriculum but have barriers to this. I can't guarantee this won't be abitrarily taken away by some government in the future, but it seems unlikely as it is linked to disability legislation as 'reasonable adjustments'.

Your daughter sounds lovely and I really hope your school supports you xx

MMmomKK Fri 21-Nov-14 12:36:41

Sorry to hear. I think worrying is what we parents do and it is, often, a good thing.

Extra TA help is great, but given your family history - have you tried to check your daughter with a specialist? I always think that it's better to worry and be proven wrong, rather than regret not taking an action.

If she does have any specific present ion difficulties, it's definitely best to find out sooner, so that more can be done.

MMmomKK Fri 21-Nov-14 12:38:14

"Specific perception difficulties"

Atalanta Fri 21-Nov-14 12:46:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tigrou Fri 21-Nov-14 14:08:12

I think you need to get a full assessment done, to identify your dd's areas of strength and weakness. This will: a) reassure you and her with understanding of how her mind works; and b) give you the information you and the school need to set up appropriate support.
Things have moved on a lot in recent years - understanding of dyslexia, support available, technology-based solutions... I won't say don't worry, but use your worry usefully to get support and accommodations for your dd. They won't shelve her if you don't let them! And read uplifting books like The Dyslexic Advantage by Drs Eides!
For what it's worth, my dd struggled (indeed, still struggles) in all the same ways as yours, but she is doing well at school with support and accommodations, and her confidence hasn't fallen. She certainly hasn't been shelved. She is thriving. It's the polar opposite of what my dh and his brother experienced as dyslexic children.

Maki79 Fri 21-Nov-14 14:11:51

Thanks Everyone!

ooops got the date 10 years out on my first post - my brother left school in 2005!

Atalanta - you are so right and DD is a great swimmer. She isn't a natural, but loves it and so we signed her up for 121 lessons and with practice she is really very good at it. Watching her dive last week made me cry!! Hormones!!

We have pushed the school and complained a LOT when the class split, wrote our 'assesment' of our dd, was largely ignored but then her lovely teacher started listening. I think because she's not the 'worst' learner in the class, they think she's 'ok'. I see it differently.

Also, she had an added struggle in reception because she needed quite strong glassess and to our shame we had no idea at all. I took her for a behaivioural optemitrist session and it was picked up then.

We have been in contact with a private ED and we are on her 'books' but we wanted to wait until at least this term was over to see if the glasses made any difference. They have, and she did begin to start reading with a lot more fluency, but this week she's been put down a reading level (to books she enjoys a little more so a good thing), but now I can see such a huge void in reading and writing between those in her class who seem less 'bright' to me and my dd. Her recognistion of numbers is also better (she usually does recognise '8' but just not every time) so it's still not 'normal' for her age.

The advice I've given myself is to wait until after yr1 and get the assesment in yr 2 so that it can be used formally as an assesment of dyslexia, as if she gets assessed now they can't do much more than say she has 'dyslexic tendancies', and it will mean another assesment will be dificult in yr 2 as it's not possible to have 2 IQ tests in the space of a year I've been told.

Good to hear about the current provisions supersparks, hopefully this will be the type of help she will get.

I'm not very impressed with the school but the options are limited and she is really happy there. I also think it's a possibility that she has aspergers and hides it well. Change is a huge thing for her so moving schools is not something I want to take lightly. However, if we won the lottery I wouldn't hesitate to give up work so I could drive her to a private dyslexic forest school about an hour away from us. It sounds incredible!

Thanks again, sorry for the essay!!

mrz Fri 21-Nov-14 17:07:02

Your daughter is still very young so her difficulties have been identified early which will enable you and the school to come up with strategies that will help her. It might be something as simple as a visual prompt for each step of the task or using talking cards to help her recall the instructions.

I definitely wouldn't use Toe by Toe with Y1 children and disagree with withdrawing children from class to go out with a TA. Children who struggle need more teacher time not less.

Maki79 Fri 21-Nov-14 18:14:54

Out of interest mrz why would you not use toe by toe with a yr 1 pupil?

mrz Fri 21-Nov-14 18:20:38

It isn't age appropriate or the best programme available

mrz Fri 21-Nov-14 18:33:05

Things are very different in secondary your daughter does not need a formal assessment to access extra time/readers/scribes in primary.
Your GP should be able to arrange dyspraxia screening if this is a concern and the school doesn't need a dyslexia label to put support in place as

Vikingbiker Fri 21-Nov-14 18:44:36

A few things. A split year 1 class will have no effect what so ever on her long term ability. It may also be good for her confidence because she can lead the younger ones. Also they really should be doing lots of play in year 1 but it doesn't always happen which is sad.

Short term memory is important for learning. Many schools like to wait it out a while to see if issues will resolve themselves. Ed psych Assessments in our school often take place aged 7.

Do remember she is still very young. She could easily not be quite ready for formal learning and might take off in juniors.

In the meantime ensure you read interesting and enjoyable books 10 mins a day.

What level is she on out of interest?

Maki79 Sat 22-Nov-14 00:04:40

I do think she has more of a male brain so wonder also if she's learning v slowly because she's not interested and wants to be playing and I agree she's v young. I think I find it tricky because I don't really identify with her lack of enthusiasm to learn or to be competitive about it. My issue though!

She was on storyworlds stage 3, now is on Ginn All Aboard stage 2. She does not read them easily first time or second time. Third time she tells the story perfectly but the adjectives are different, the sentence is structured differently. She usually improves it!
Feeling silly for this moan now as just found out my lovely 14 yr old neighbour is suffering with anorexia. Puts things in perspective a bit!
Thanks for all the replies!

mrz Sat 22-Nov-14 06:12:42

Neither Storyworlds or Ginn All Aboard are suitable books so that could be your problem.

addictedtosugar Sat 22-Nov-14 07:00:16

I think you are right to think about an assessment, however a couple of positive bits for you.

My son is in Y1. Looking at the book bands translation, before half term, he was on a similar level to your daughter. He has just been put up to the level your daughter was on before they changed her level. He is far from the worst in the class.

I am dyslexic. I was labelled stupid at school. BUT, as soon as I hit GCSE options, and could drop the essay subjects, and focus on sciences/maths, I started to excel. I've got AAABB at A'level, a BSc and a MSc, and am now working in a job which, while not mega bucks, is well above average salary.

While early remedial action is really beneficial, with the correct support, it is not a life sentence (as your brother has shown through a different route). The availability of computers/ e-mail and spell check (I considered posting this in unedited mode, but thought the pedants would jump down my neck) removes much of the writing and spelling problems (even if I sometimes need to google a thesaurus for words not even spell check can work out what I'm trying to write).

And the best bit of all: your daughter has a parent who is concerned about her, and wants to help.

mrz Sat 22-Nov-14 07:11:05

What do you hope to achieve from an assessment?

icklekid Sat 22-Nov-14 07:17:33

Have you tried coloured overlay to see if have any impact with reading? I've seen children's reading ability soar when used properly. Ask senco to observe and give support for you at home and teacher for how can best meet her needs? In my mind this would be more useful than any diagnosis/label?

Vikingbiker Sat 22-Nov-14 08:02:33

I think her lack of competitiveness is a really nice positive quality. I regularly encounter extremely competitive children and they often lack sportsmanship because their ego rests on being the best. I bet she has lots of admirable qualities.

Also I think infants can be pretty uninspiring for some children. It's all about learning the basics of everything and can be pretty mundane sometimes. My older ones all blossomed in juniors which is when things became much more interesting

I know you mentioned change but wondered what other things make you suspect autism? Sometimes very sensitive children can be mistaken for autistic (finding new situations hard - also tastes and clothes etc). The main difference is that sensitive children are extremely aware of others feelings while autism would mean that she would struggle to read others feelings. The national autistic website has great info by the way.

bronya Sat 22-Nov-14 08:11:48

You need a proper assessment and a programme that is suited to her particular difficulties. The school may, in time, offer to get an Ed Psych report, but that's usually once your child is vastly behind the others, and has just given up on learning. The most effective time to 'close the gap' has been proven to be in Year One.

Having worked in schools, I would start by getting a comprehensive eye test that includes looking at tracking difficulties etc as well as short/long sight. You can get this through the NHS if there is any family history of eye problems before the age of 8 - my DS has just been referred for this (through our health visitor) as I had very dodgy sight from a young age, as did my father (print blurs and shimmers for him, both numbers and letters). Once you know your child can see the stuff on the page properly, you can then get an assessment that looks at auditory/visual memory, processing etc - but you'd need to pay for that at this age.

Vikingbiker Sat 22-Nov-14 08:16:43

I'm not aware of that reading scheme sorry. Is it very different to ORT? How has she been learning to read?

mrz Sat 22-Nov-14 09:12:50

Both schemes are of the "look and guess" variety relying on children using picture clues so don't fit in with current teaching methods. It would make me question teaching methods

Vikingbiker Sat 22-Nov-14 09:24:37

Would she be better with ORT? ORT still involves using pictures but that phonics system really worked for all mine in the early stages.

mrz Sat 22-Nov-14 09:44:02

Personally I wouldn't use any of these reading schemes

Mitzi50 Sat 22-Nov-14 10:43:08

Really good advice from bronya about the tracking although I think you mentioned you have already seen a behavioural optometrist.

I would not really on the school, many schools and individual teachers do not believe that dyslexia exists. I would also make sure that she is getting appropriate phonic instruction and that the books that are sent home are decodable - again this is still not happening in many schools. All the evidence is that phonics is the best way of supporting dyslexic learners to read.

Again the good news is that having dyslexia does not mean academic failure - my daughter, who was severe dyslexia, has just started at Russell Group Uni.

If you can afford it, I would get a private assessment carried out.

mrz Sat 22-Nov-14 12:55:10

If you "can't rely on school" what do you think will be achieved by paying for a private assessment?

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