Meeting with school re: dyslexia support year 3/4(20 Posts)
I've posted about this many times. Different names. I'd like some advice on what to ask from school now. Here's the short version:
DD (aged 7 in year 3) has serious spelling difficulties. Her handwriting is great and she has an extensive vocabulary. Ed psych report (privately as school couldn't pay) last year out her in the very high ranges for comprehension and other verbal and spatial skills, with very low scores in phonogical awareness.
She is an avid and able reader now - took until year 2 to 'get it'.
Example of current free spelling:
Youse thes numrs to maek biggur nubmes
(I've just found it in her bedroom - a 'worksheet' for her brother. Translation 'use these numbers to make bigger numbers').
She rarely chooses to write, although loves to draw, make comics, etc.
I have instigated meetings at least half termly with SENCO and teacher to discuss progress and strategies. After initially being told 'she's fine' and that there was no money to support, some strategies have been tried:
Withdrawal for 'exciting' literacy project with children with additional needs (a film made by TA with no reading or writing from the children for the two week period).
Eventually not required to do weekly spelling tests with the same spellings as the rest of the class.
Withdrawal, sporadically, to do 'literacy games' with a TA.
Provision of a 'word bank' (old year 1 HFW).
Occasional, sporadic 'touch typing'.
End of term report is lovely, but makes little reference to this. There is a sentence about strategies to help spelling and reference to reversing numbers ('should take more care not to...').
I have a meeting next week with the SENCO in which I want to discuss provision for next year and beyond. I really need advice on what to ask for now. Thanks for reading.
Just to add, I do 'Apples and Pears' with her daily, and support with homework of course. She is read to everyday and reads pretty much constantly throughout the day herself.
What in class support is she receiving?
The interventions sound nigh on useless. There needs to be a cohesive plan for her support in school based on the recommendations in the Ed Psych report.
If you are supporting her at home, I would definitely recommend activities to develop her phonological awareness. This has some ideas
No in class support! Class teacher says there is nothing available (i.e. not even time for her to have a quick check that DD is on track/ copied the date correctly/ got the number 15 the right way round).
'apples and pears' is all I can fit in at home, alongside other homework. It's good for phonological awareness. Just slow and tedious!
This is useful to read
Dyslexia Action no longer exists, but the British Dyslexia Association provide support,and advice.
I really hope someone comes on to help you OP.
I have 3 dyslexic children in my class and went on a one dyslexia training course to support them, but I had to fight for that. A lot of it was just about using the correct fonts and coloured backgrounds. They also told us to give dyslexic children more thinking time and to watch out for other comorbid issues e.g. dyspraxia, dyscalculalia, asd and ADHD.
In terms of resources you can use, they recommended: word shark (computer game that helps spelling), toe by toe if she has reading issues as well as a text to speech program. You said that your daughter has good handwriting except for the reversals, but is she joining/ forming letters correctly? If she is joining then she should keep writing her spelling words without looking until her hand "remembers" them. They also said only to focus on a few words at a time.
Honestly I do feel for the class teacher because training like I got is the most she will get and that is only an overview. Also interventions only really work 1-1 or 1-2 so she would have to choose your child to prioritise. I find it really hard to make that decision to help one child and ignore others who are equally struggling so I also fall into that trap of ineffective interventions. The only thing that has helped at all for me has been touch typing and getting the children to type their work. It doesn't change their spelling but at least they can see the mistakes because the computer detects them.
"^with very low scores in phonogical awareness.^." Apples and Pears should help but school should also be addressing this problem. Did she pass the phonics screening check in Y1? This should have raised the issue and the school should have put support into place from then with or without a label. Under the SEN code of practice every teacher is a teacher of SEN and should be meeting the child's needs regardless of budget (it's difficult and often require goodwill from staff).
Your LA should have a parent support section where you can ask for advice.
Unless your child is suffering from visual stress coloured backgrounds and overlays won't help ...they may have a placebo effect but research seems to be discrediting much of the normal advice found on sites like Dyslexia Action .
Passed Year 1 screen after school 'practised'. I dont know how. But her spelling is now WORSE than at the end of year 1. She has since changed schools - a house move.
She is frequently told at school that her 'spelling will just come if you keep reading'. This is not true!
No visual stress (OT has seen her), eye test and hearing test both fine.
With low phonological awareness school needs to provide interventions to actively address this. Spelling won't just come! I'm very anti withdrawal and feel interventions should be in addition to rather than a substitute for normal lessons.
Yes, I agree, mrz.
Her reading now appears mature - she's expressive, understands complex stories and vocabulary. It masks the problem though. Faced with a word she doesn't know and can't predict from context, she has absolutely no chance of decoding it. Names in books, place names, product names.
Because her spelling is so poor and is so difficult for her if she's trying to get it right, she's producing less and less work. She has never written more than 10 lines in a lesson, for example. She doesn't (or didn't used to) lack ideas and motivation, but this seems to be a growing problem.
Children at my DDs school get intervention from a Reading Recovery teacher, it used to be free but now parents pay. And while I know Reading Recovery is discredited it has made me wonder if you could pay for a decent intervention to be used in school time? I know all teachers "should" but you might end up battling the system for a not that good intervention and your energies might be better channelled?
I really feel for you and your daughter OP.
Thanks. Any more suggestions about how to approach the school? I have a meeting tomorrow.
If they are not convinced by the ed psych report (not even necessary as the spelling g problem is clearly evident!) should they be providing some additional assessment of their own - investigating the difficulty/ level of need?
Is Apples and pears not helping? I have just got it for my son who sounds exactly the same as your dd. I also used reading bears for my older child with dyslexia which transformed her reading. Sorry I can't be much help re the school as we haven't had a lot of joy. My son's teacher did give him a 'sound mat'? to help with writing which she said has helped a little. Good luck with your meeting. I think a lot depends on how knowledgeable the SENCO is and I think that varies enormously.
It's helping, slowly, but she needs more support to put it into practice in school I think.
Yes, the 'sound mat' is unlikely to help if they don't know how to use it, or, as in DD's case, they don't know they haven't got it right anyway.
I've just read your link from dyslexia action, sleepingdogs. It's useful as it lays out what the school should be doing. All they've said to me is 'she's not going to get an EHCP' (which I hadn't thought she would, or even mentioned!) with the implication that therefore she shouldn't/ wouldn't receive any support beyond 'quality first teaching'. However, that hasn't been of any help.
They also don't seem to be measuring her progress in any constructive way. Occasionally the class teacher will say, for example "She's getting better. Look, she spelled 'said' correctly here, and 'because'".
Everyone's so 'nice' about it, apologetic almost that they haven't done anything.
If you can afford it, I would consider taking out a subscription to Nessy Reading and Spelling - they are doing a summer pack for £25. Long term if finances permit, I would try and find a specialist dyslexia tutor.
The SEND Code of Practice makes it clear that it is the class teacher's responsibility to ensure the progress of pupil's with SEND, but the reality is that many teachers have had little or no training on the impact of dyslexia in the classroom or in how to support a child with dyslexia. It is a heartbreaking situation for both the child and the parent.
Just wanted to chime in and say good luck about getting more effective support at school. Are you going in for termly updates on her IEP? Be quite bullish about the fact you want to be sure that all interventions are working and if not you want to try something different. Be vocal about the fact that you want her to be working on her writing skills and not looking at alternatives at this stage. x
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