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Not sure whether to have private educational psychologist assessment?

(23 Posts)
BelleBoyd Wed 05-Oct-16 12:59:02

My DD is 6 and in year 2. She's never been keen on reading or writing. She's very bright though and good at maths, performing etc.
She struggles to read at all. Doesn't recognise the same word repeated in a sentence, reads words backwards like saw for was. She turns numbers backwards as well as letters, 7,9,1 and d,b,p,q.
Basically I wondering whether she has a form of dyslexia or whether she is just taking longer than her peers to read properly. We read almost every night.
I've spoken to her teachers about this all throughout her school time but have always got the 'oh she's fine-just keep reading!' line. Which is annoying because she's not fine she's really struggling. She's very social and quite competitive and if she feels she can't do reading she'll give up eventually.
Is the process for school having her assesserd by a EP impossibly long or just impossible? Is it worth getting a private assessment? Would the school recognise and act on a private assessment?

elfonshelf Wed 05-Oct-16 14:31:35

I am in exactly the same situation but a year on.

I was told all through Reception and Y1 that DD was a very bright kid and once she decided to learn to read and write that she would fly through the levels. School wasn't worried, so I didn't worry. She did have an extra 2hrs a week of phonics after school for the whole of Y1.

Halfway through Y2, DD's teacher raised the possibility that she might be dyslexic and we agreed that we would massively concentrate on the reading at home and he would watch her over the summer term. End of summer term he told us that he was pretty much certain that she is dyslexic and we might want to start looking into that.

Did some research over the summer, spoke to DD's new Y3 teacher at the beginning of term as I was planning on getting a private Ed Psych done and didn't want to spring the forms on them out of the blue.

Teacher arranged for me to meet the new SENCo and I believe the school are having DD assessed today. If she is deemed dyslexic on the back of the assessment then they will put all sorts of things in place to help (we will be having a meeting to discuss once they have the results, so as yet I don't know exactly what is on offer, but I know they have just got funding for a reading/writing scheme specifically designed for children with dyslexia).

I've been told that a separate Ed Psych referral won't be needed to access help, the school one should be sufficient.

I spoke to the Dyslexia Association over the summer and I understand that I am in a very unusual situation where I have the school telling me that they think DD is dyslexic and offering to do testing and get help. Very sad if this is the case. I have been told that before the age of 7, testing is a bit hit and miss as things that would stand out as markers later can be completely normal in younger children.

Just to give you some examples of what the school were picking up on:

- huge disparity between verbal abilities and written abilities - DD would relate a long complicated story using fairly sophisticated vocabulary orally but be capable of writing the equivalent of 'the cat sat on the mat'.

- only using very simple words when writing; spelling the same word multiple different ways in a single paragraph; odd use of capital letters - one will suddenly appear in the middle of a word with no reason behind it; using the right letters but in the wrong order e.g. lsat instead of last.

- with reading, she needs to see a word 50+ times before it's retained. Good at phonics but only when it is a standalone subject, she struggles to apply them to reading in a more general sense. She scored 100% on the phonics test but still struggles to remember them when she sees an actual word.

Fortunately she is very good at maths and performing arts, so we are able to deal with the 'I'm just stupid' comments to a degree, but they pick up on where they are in relation to their peers quite fast. I know DD sometimes picks out a reading book that is way beyond her because she wants to get one from the same box as her BFF.

The SENCo has promised to give me a list of useful resources and things like Spelling Apps that I can get to help DD, so I will pass those on if it would be helpful.

If you have a private assessment done, I believe the school have to act on it, but you may find that it's inconclusive at her age. An Ed Psych assessment here is around £750, so not something you want to have to pay for twice. You have to complete a form yourself and get the school to complete another one (it's fairly detailed), you then send them off and it takes around 4 weeks to get an appointment and then a further 2-3 weeks to get the report.

I believe it's very, very hard to get funding from the state for an Ed Psych assessment, but the school may have something along the lines of whatever my DD is doing today.

Have you asked to meet the school SENCo? They should be able to give you the school's SEN policy if nothing else.

Not sure if any of that is helpful, but I do feel for you. This time last year I was quite worried about why DD was so uninterested in reading and writing and probably unfairly had more than one chat with DD about concentrating and not chatting with friends etc. Hope you can get somewhere with the school.

ilovegreen Wed 05-Oct-16 14:39:10

Our experience was that our school did their own assessing and interventions and did not act on privately done assessments (for both my DCs)

BelleBoyd Wed 05-Oct-16 19:19:04

Thanks that's really interesting and I'm glad you're getting support from the school. Funnily enough I just had a chat with a parent of a yr 3 girl who had same situation and apparently the school only will start testing/screening when they are 10 years old. Which seems a bit crazy. Anyway have found a local organisation that screens for an indication of dyslexia for only £45. Hesitant to have the full EP assessment especially if the school won't recognise it. Next step as you suggest is to talk to our Senco and go from there. I just really want to be able to support her and make it all less of a struggle for her.
Her dad is set against any testing as he would rather her never being labelled even if she is dyslexic as he had such a terrible time when he was young.

mrz Wed 05-Oct-16 19:25:18

Reversals and reading words backwards aren't signs of dyslexia.

kicker Thu 06-Oct-16 01:01:19

My daughter 'passed' the school assessment for dyslexia i.e. she was deemed not to have it. I paid for a PATOSS registered professional (around £450). She was diagnosed with dyslexia. Been a bit hit and miss with the school. She's been offered interventions over the last four years (word shark, memory training etc) but I can't say thy have made much difference. However now she is in year six and SATS are on the not too distant horizon she's been given a computer to do her written work on so for the first time ever she's been able to finish a piece of written work. She's much happier as she's not kept in at break to finish.
Her spelling is still terrible and she will without doubt fail that part of the SPaG test in May which really saddens me because she has good potential for learning but just cannot remember how words are spelled.

elfonshelf Thu 06-Oct-16 10:46:12

When I spoke to DD's class teacher, she said that she and a couple of the other staff had been sent on a course on dyslexia over the summer holidays by the school and one of the things that they had been told was that it was important to start interventions as early as possible - as much as anything to stop the child getting into the mindset that they can't do things or that they are stupid or that they don't enjoy school or learning. Age 7-8 or Y3 was what they were recommending as the ideal time to be identifying it.

The Dyslexia Association also said 7-8 was a good age to be testing. The school suggesting age 10 makes me wonder if they are trying to wriggle out of doing anything and hope to buck pass to secondary school. In any case seems very unfair on a child to make them wait that long given that there are SATS and potentially 11+ around that time.

Odd that your DH is against testing - I've spoken to as many of my adult friends and family who are dyslexic as I could over the last few months and all of those who got an official diagnosis are glad they did and those who didn't get one as children wish they had. All of them told me to get her tested and if she is, to get everything as official as possible as young as possible as it makes life so much easier. Nobody said that they wished they hadn't had it diagnosed.

Turns out the school got an Ed Psych in yesterday afternoon to do the testing with DD - she said she did lots of puzzles and it was fun but that was all the information she was willing to divulge. I guess I just wait to hear - parents' evening on Monday so hopefully I might find out then.

Very happy to pass on details of any suggestions that they make whatever the result as they both seem to have similar struggles.

One thing I have tried so far is ordering a set of coloured overlay rulers. We'd already done the optician visit and she has perfect vision and no convergence problems but I had noticed that she seemed to lose her place when she was reading a lot. The set was £10 on Amazon and had 11 different colours. There was no magic 'ooooh mummy, the words have stopped moving around' or anything like that, and it may just be the novelty value, but she seems to enjoy using them and her reading is a bit better in terms of fluency. Certainly there had been less of a huge fight to make her do the reading since we got them.

BelleBoyd Thu 06-Oct-16 11:10:50

Thanks that's really interesting about the coloured overlays. Might be worth us trying them. She also loses her place when reading every few words even with her finger underneath.

BelleBoyd Thu 06-Oct-16 18:51:26

This is an example of her writing. Is this ok for year 2?

elfonshelf Thu 06-Oct-16 21:49:19

It's very similar to what DD does now in terms of spelling (Y3 and 7 years 5 months) but I'd be thrilled if DD ever wrote as much as that.

Teachers in Y2 always said they were happy with 'phonetic' spelling, so even if it was wrong as long as it was clear that they were using decoding skills to write then they were on the right lines.

If you don't get many replies, it might be worth posting it as a separate thread so that you get responses from parents with DC who are on track (if that makes sense).

TheSnorkMaidenReturns Thu 06-Oct-16 21:55:43

I'd pay for a private assessment as soon as you can. I don't know about dyslexia, but Asperger's/autism/dyspraxia. And I wish I had acted on my concerns in year 2 instead of being fobbed off by teacher.
I seem to recall there is an unwillingness to dx dyslexia before 7, presumably on the educational grounds it's fucking stupid to have formal education at 4, 5 and 6. But, if you can afford it and you have concerns you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

bojorojo Fri 07-Oct-16 01:01:00

Age 6 is young to get a dyslexia diagnosis though. This is why aged 7 and 8 is mentioned by many.

Schools buy in the Educational Psychology visits or at least that is how it works here. Ask the sendco what arrangement your school has with your local ed psych service and how long it will take for her to be seen if she goes on the waiting list; assuming you get agreement for her to go on the waiting list. This, frankly, is better because he school will work with the ed psych and they rarely do with private ones. Also be very careful that a private one is up to date and not using tests the LA ed psych service and the school will not recognise. Some private ones do not update their tests.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 06:03:04

Can I ask if the teacher ever corrects his spelling? Has he been taught correct letter formation?

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 06:08:35

Has he had a hearing test lately?

BelleBoyd Fri 07-Oct-16 06:23:16

As far as I know they don't correct the spelling. No she hasn't had a hearing test ?
I've just bought her a handwriting workbook so perhaps that will help.

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 06:47:50

As a teacher and a SENCo I'd suggest ruling out hearing issues before perusing other things. In your example she doesn't seem to hearing the ending of some words so it could be part of the problem.
You've probably also noticed she's unsure of the direction of 'b' and tries to get around it be using capitals. This is really common but needs correcting. Teaching correct letter formation in families helps. The letter d begins like c, a, o, g, q and s. If she can remember this it will help with b/d confusion. Joined handwriting can also resolve the issue.
Contrary to what Elf said all Y2 teachers aren't happy (and shouldn't be) with incorrect spelling especially of common words like said and came etc. I'd always praise a plausible attempt but then explain how to spell correctly and get the child to write the correct spelling. Caym <ay> is a way to spell the sound /ae/ but in this word it has a different spelling ...can you remember any more ways to spell /ae/ (child might know but if they don't tell them) in this word the /ae/ sound is spelt with a split spelling <a-e> can you put it right?

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 06:48:58

Personally I'd avoid handwriting books ...use handwriting lines and watch closely where she starts and ends each letter

BelleBoyd Fri 07-Oct-16 07:04:14

Thank you that's really helpful. And I have noticed the way she starts writing letters /numbers seem to start from a different point that what I would think 'normal'. I'll follow up the hearing test also

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 07:04:27

Just to add I'd be very concerned if any Y2 teacher said "^*as long as it was clear that they were using decoding skills to write then they were on the right lines.*^ *"* hmm

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 07:06:07

A letter d should start at the "ten past position on the clock" and a b should start at the top of the "stick"

elfonshelf Fri 07-Oct-16 21:58:01

Mrz - one of the reasons I suggested possibly posting it as a separate thread is because I can't be sure that what I was told by the Y2 teachers wasn't because they were trying to alleviate some of the many worries we had about DD rather than being a more general comment.

Getting her to write anything was such a battle that I imagine they weren't going to start getting picky about her spelling - however they were gently raising the idea of dyslexia with us by Easter so they certainly didn't think everything was hunky dory.

Would you not agree that an incorrect spelling that at least shows some comprehension of the phonetic sounds is better than random letters just to put something on the page?

mrz Fri 07-Oct-16 23:26:33

It's got nothing to do with trying to alleviate concerns. The statement is nonsensical.

mrz Sat 08-Oct-16 05:35:54

*"*^*Would you not agree that an incorrect spelling that at least shows some comprehension of the phonetic sounds is better than random letters just to put something on the page*^*"*

I would if the OPs child was still in reception.
The more times we see a word spelt incorrectly the more we are likely to spell it incorrectly.
The more times we write a word incorrectly the more it becomes established in the motor memory and harder to learn the correct spelling.

Imagine your child has written "sed" 3 times a day for a year in reception that's almost 600 times so the visual and motor memory is beginning to be fixed.

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