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Primary School wont diagnose dyslexia

(299 Posts)
bethalexander Mon 01-Jun-15 14:06:03

My 9yo DD is really struggling with her spelling and is bottom of her class. We think she has dyslexia but her primary won't test her. Getting her tested privately costs a fortune. Surely the primary have a duty to test her?

NotBanksy Mon 01-Jun-15 14:20:45

Have they said why they won't test her? It might be that they don't believe she is if they have a good Senco who has had dyslexia training. Is she on the register for SEN? What strategies/interventions are they putting in place to make sure she achieves her end of year targets? I would call the school and ask for a meeting with the teacher and ask those questions, also ask if the Senco could be there as well.

NotBanksy Mon 01-Jun-15 14:24:08

Also, what level is she working on? ( you don't need to tell me) but depending on the levels of the other children in the class she may still be on target. For example, she may be in the lower group of a higher set class.

DazzleU Mon 01-Jun-15 14:55:42

Is it just spelling ?

Does she have any other common symptoms like:

there are various other list out there with. Is there any family history of dyslexia?

Is she guessing words when reading ? Was she taught via mixed method or whole word?

Might it not be dyslexia but just poor spelling?

How are spellings taught by the school - are they taught or are they just given spelling tests every week ? Are they ever corrected in written work or is she making same mistakes again reinforcing incorrect spellings? Is it just spelling test that are the issue or is it spelling in her actual work - are there other issues with written work ?

Have you spoken directly with the SENCO - asked them why - what they have done / are doing to help her? What they view the problems as? This suggest You can challenge the decision and request your child is formally assessed through the statutory assessment process by contacting the special needs department of your LEA directly. Which suggest you can force them - but whether you'd actual get any useful help I couldn't tell you.

I know people who've shelled out for private assessments only to find it changes nothing at the school or worse lowers expectations of their DC.

Is your DC in the position mine was for years of everyone suspecting something is wrong but not struggling enough to merit help?

I suspect you need to ask for more information from the school if possible.

In mean time apple and pears good place to start sorting the spelling issues out.

mrz Mon 01-Jun-15 17:02:01

A new SEN code of practice was introduced in September 2014 so the advice is out of date.

mrz Mon 01-Jun-15 18:02:22

The sad fact is that services are being cut. Last year I was allocated a whole 12 hours Educational Psychologist time for the year to cover the school! It takes around 6-9 hours to assess one child.
This year I have been allocated zero hours EP time! We are paying for assessments but with limited budget children are prioritised according to level of need. A child having issues with spelling but otherwise doing well would I'm afraid be low priority.
Having said that the school should be investigating the problem and working to support the child.
With or without a diagnosis teaching should meet the needs of the child.

PotatoesNotProzac Wed 03-Jun-15 08:05:09

School can't test for dyslexia!

Only EPs can.

Littlefish Wed 03-Jun-15 18:40:05

No, the school does not have a duty to test her, but they have a duty to try and meet the needs of your child.

They don't necessarily need to know whether she is dyslexic or not in order to put some support or strategies in place.

bethalexander Thu 04-Jun-15 10:05:31

Spoke to her teacher yesterday and found out that the school SENCO has assessed her as dyslexic (thanks for telling me!), but as mrz says, a diagnosis can only be done by an Educational Psychologist.

Apparently there is a very long waiting list for an EP.

Tissie Thu 04-Jun-15 19:32:34

It depends who you want the diagnosis for. A properly qualified teacher of dyslexia can also assess for it. I am one myself. However, a local authority would want an EP assessment which does cost a fortune about £800. Even when given a diagnosis it does not necessarily change anything in the school. You might be better off finding a private tutor. I quite often do pro bono work if you're interested.

tomatodizzymum Thu 04-Jun-15 19:37:51

Even with a formal diagnosis they often don't get any extra help for dyslexia. Better off doing what Tissie said. Although if you can get a formal diagnosis it can help with future help (further/higher ed) and sometimes with secondary school applications.

Zebda Thu 04-Jun-15 19:43:08

My DD age 7 is also waiting for dyslexia testing (same story - the EP team have a massive backlog). However in the meantime her teacher and the SEN have been trying different things to see how they can support her learning (they are not waiting for the assessment to act). DD has improved immensely this year and is predicted 3bs/as in her SATs. Shes gone from being very behind in reading at start Y1 to now being a free reader. I'm saying all this just to show that the school CAN do something now, they dont need an assessment to tailor support to your child. If I were you I'd be setting up a meeting with the teacher and SEN together and asking them what theyve tried/can try and also understand the learning targets as pp have said above.

Spelling is not really looked at in Y1 though, I am concerned for DD when this becomes more of a test metric from next year....

mrz Thu 04-Jun-15 20:08:33

As tomatodizzy up says you don't need a diagnosis to get extra support. Good schools will support every child's needs without a piece of paper.

The dyslexia industry is big business

mrz Thu 04-Jun-15 20:09:38

Why isn't spelling looked at in Y1 zebda? It should be!

tomatodizzymum Thu 04-Jun-15 20:21:13

mrz because English isn't phonetic. It can take a long time for children to master spelling. Year one spelling is never very good and mostly sounded out rather than correct. Picking apart writing attempts to focus on accuracy often inhibited a lot of children from producing creative writing.

mrz Thu 04-Jun-15 20:22:04

English is complex but it is phonetic

mrz Thu 04-Jun-15 20:23:46

Tomatodizzymum perhaps I should gave said but I am a Year 1 teacher

mrz Thu 04-Jun-15 20:28:22

My iPad insists on changing Have to gave!

tomatodizzymum Thu 04-Jun-15 20:30:37

No, know, too to two weather whether which witch their they're there....etc

Very difficult for a 5-6 year old child. Some words are phonetic but not all. A phonetic language has set rules for each constanant and vowel combination and this rule can be applied to every single word. Most (perhaps all) Latin languages are phonetic, English words with latin routes are usually phonetic.

tomatodizzymum Thu 04-Jun-15 20:34:02


tomatodizzymum Thu 04-Jun-15 20:35:35

and my dyslexia insists on changing words for me smile

Tigsley2 Thu 04-Jun-15 20:50:15

With phonetic languages, there is a direct relationship between the spelling and the sound. It is important to understand that English is not a phonetic language. So we often do not say a word the same way it is spelled. Some words can have the same spelling but different pronunciations.

mrz Thu 04-Jun-15 20:56:10

All languages by definition are phonetic and English is no exception. The difficulty we have is that English has a complex alphabetic code while some languages have a much simpler match between sound and written symbol. It makes learning to spell in English more difficult but that doesn't mean that spelling can't be taught in reception and Y1 ... in fact it's a good idea to begin early so that children don't store incorrect spellings to the long term memory ... the more times you see/write a word incorrectly the harder it will be to change.

mrz Thu 04-Jun-15 21:00:48

Some words can have the same spelling but different pronunciations.

yes we teach children how to deal with hetronyms ... the problem is that too often it's left to chance.

tomatodizzymum Thu 04-Jun-15 21:57:35

No I'm sorry mrz not all languages are phonetic. The definition of a phonetic language is that each letter designates a sound depending on its position in the word. For example every time you see k at the beginning of a word you make a KA sound. In a phonetic language this rule is applied to every word that begins with K. In English there is not a universal phonetic rule for letters. So therefore English cannot be defined as a phonetic language.

Children can form new memories for spellings, even adults can. It's good to correct the spellings of children, making mistakes continously can actually be a beneficial long term learning tool. It certainly was for me, but spellings were not the focus of any peice of work I did in school or university, they were an after thought and I am glad about that.

I think Zebda was refering more to the over all importance in terms of testing criterea. Children of that age are not usually tested on spelling, although I have come across many schools where they are. No harm in it, provided the children don't become too stressed about getting the spellings correct, or doing well on the tests and loose the ability to form great ideas and constructive writing techniques.

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