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What shall I ask at SEN meeting - Y5 DS

(11 Posts)
MadAsgardian Tue 14-Jul-15 11:27:13

My DS is NT year 5 - May born 10 year old. He has always struggled a bit with reading and writing. Was tested in Y1 for dyslexia etc and nothing found.

He is generally ok at school and doing well in maths but his recent report showed below expected levels for writing. His reading level has improved although he hates reading so hard to judge for myself. (he loves being read to and loves stories, also likes drawing comic strips)

Since the start of y4 (middle school) he has been having small group sessions with SEN team twice a week. For the first time, we have been invited to an end of year meeting with them and I am wondering what I should be asking/expecting?

His writing is atrocious. He still forgets to leave spaces between words sometimes. If he gets a spelling list he can learn them and does well in spelling tests but when he is writing his spelling reverts to almost everything being spelled phonetically. His sentences are fairly basic with not much use of connectives.

His report overall is very positive, they say he has good ideas, participates in discussion, is keen and interested in topics. He is sociable, no behaviour issues other than sometimes getting distracted when working with friends.

September onwards will be his last year at middle school and I am keen to get things properly sorted before he goes to Senior school. I know there must be lots we can do to support him at home but he is so hard to engage and homework is almost always a nightmare because as soon as he thinks its going to be hard, he clams up and gets upset. This only happens when it is writing. This week he has to do a reflection on the year and it can be a collage, powerpoint or any form and he is full of enthusiasm because he knows he won't have to physically write.

I don't know what I want really, just feeling a bit lost with it all. The school are overall excellent and very supportive/encouraging so I want to make the most of that and ask the right questions.

MadAsgardian Tue 14-Jul-15 11:27:53

Sorry - that was long!

smee Tue 14-Jul-15 11:53:07

Mad, I'd ask if it's worth asking if they could re-testing him, as a lot of what you say sounds v.similar to my dyslexic 11 year old. Yr 1 is quite young to test; a lot of people say you can't really tell until they're 7 or 8. My son was diagnosed in yr3.

Regardless of being dyslexic or not though I think the key is obviously that you don't want him to start thinking he's thick or can't do things. With my son, he barely wrote at all until late year 2, as he knew he wasn't as neat or able as the other kids. Yet he had a fantastic imagination and loved stories. His teacher in yr4 gave him a dictaphone, so when they were writing he got to record his, then he used to just write the first paragraph. It took all the stress away and really let him fly, so he started to be proud of his abilities.

Lots of things you can do about homework in the same way, so ask them if you can scribe for him - so he dictates and you write. Ask them about mind maps to help him plan as he might be a visual thinker/ have problems holding lots of ideas in his head. I used to have his teacher's e-mail address, so I could e-mail her and tell her if he'd really struggled/ or really worked hard. She was brilliant at bigging up the praise when he'd really tried and also going over things kindly with him if he hadn't got them. Things like that made a massive difference.

With spellings, try the Squeebies app if you can access it. It's fun and they type not write, so again stress reduction all round! I have no idea why, but it worked really well for my son and words stuck in far better. Once he was confident with the words on the iPad I used to get him to handwrite them out so he was used to actually writing them, but by that point he could do it easily. Also, the real plus with using that app is it doesn't need you to stand over them, so that gives them space and control too. My son used to do it as I made breakfast each morning before school and all the nagging stopped!

For my son getting the dyslexic 'label' was really key too, as it gave him a reason why he found things harder than his friends. So if your son does happen to be dyslexic, I'd say push to find out. If he's not, then still get them to think outside the box. I think the really key thing is confidence and self belief. That's the key to him improving and not stalling. Good luck!

Moleyjay Tue 14-Jul-15 11:58:34

I would reiterate what smee said and ask for retesting. Year 1 is often too young to identify dyslexia.

lougle Tue 14-Jul-15 12:38:20

The OP's DS is 10 years old in year 5.

smee Tue 14-Jul-15 12:45:07

Yes lougie, I know he's 10 now, but he's only been tested once when he was back in yr.1

lougle Tue 14-Jul-15 12:53:57

blush misunderstood. I see what you're saying now.

MadAsgardian Tue 14-Jul-15 13:23:51

Thanks all, this is so helpful. Why wouldn't they retest him without me asking though?

I will ask and also have a look at the app suggested.

Thanks again.

smee Tue 14-Jul-15 13:33:11

Mad, most local authorities only have one Ed Psych, so schools have limited access. I think I'm right in saying that teachers can do basic assessments, but that's far less detailed than a full Ed Psych report and can also miss things. From year 1, I was asking if my son was dyslexic and was constantly told no and that he was just a summer born boy, etc, etc. In year two he suddenly started reading fluently and so even more so they insisted he wasn't dyslexic. In year 3 we were incredibly lucky as DS had a teacher who was dyslexic herself and she was adamant he was, even then though the SENCO said it could take a couple of terms for the Ed Psych to do a full assessment. We ended up paying for assessment. Ridiculous, but v.v.common..

wheresthebeach Tue 14-Jul-15 13:54:16

Similar story here Smee. School constantly told us DD wasn't dyslexic.
Sigh.
We finally did Ed Psych in early yr 6. Wish we'd done it in yr 5. School had to buck up their ideas once they had a full report.
Yr 5 is a good time to get retested. Push for it - and ignore them if they say a diagnosis makes no difference. It made a huge difference to my DD's confidence. Huge.

smee Tue 14-Jul-15 14:13:10

Completely agree with where - push for a full ed psych assessment. Even if your son's not dyslexic it's terrific in terms of telling you strengths and weaknesses and how their brain works. It really helps to know all of that.

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