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Aston index - what is it and how may it help? What could an educational psychologist do?

(14 Posts)
MollieO Thu 01-Oct-09 19:39:48

Ds doesn't seem to have engaged at all in class this year. He is 5 (summer born, prem) and in year 1. I wrote a comment in his reading diary about the dullness of his reading homework. Today I got a call from his teacher to explain why he had to stay on the scheme. She then said about how he doesn't engage at all in class. She asks him questions and it is clear he hasn't heard a word of what has gone on in the lesson. She said he is sitting there and seemingly paying attention but not really there. I assume she means he is daydreaming.

She has asked me to get his hearing and sight tested which I will do, although I don't think there is anything wrong with either. She also said she thinks he may have a processing issue and would get the SENCO to administer the Aston Index. It is used to diagnose dyslexia but I don't think ds is dyslexic and there is no history in either side of our family. He doesn't have any problem writing or reading when he wants to.

His vocab is exceptional and he is a very curious child - wants to know about everything. His teacher thinks he is intelligent so it seems to be a lack of motivation/interest in class but she doesn't know why.

None of this overly concerned me but then she said she had never had a pupil like ds and doesn't really know what to do with him. He may need to have an ed psych evaluation.

Does anyone have any experience of some or all of this? I feel incredibly sad.

buy1get1free Thu 01-Oct-09 19:45:17

May get more experiences if you post this under 'Special Needs Children' ... just a thought. Good luck

ramonaquimby Thu 01-Oct-09 19:48:25

have just cut and pasted this.


Based on years of research at the University of Aston, the Aston Index, is a comprehensive battery of tests for screening and diagnosing language difficulties.
Using the Aston Index, you will build up a complete profile of your student's ability and attainment in different skill areas. It offers a thorough understanding of the needs and difficulties of individual children and a sound base for planning a programme of remedial work.
Range: 5 to 14 years of age
Key Features:
A comprehensive battery of tests for screening and diagnosing language difficulties
Based on extensive research over a number of years
Identifies children with special educational needs, children with language difficulties, children with auditory and visual perception difficulties, children with graphic difficulties, specific difficulties in reading, writing and spelling fluency
Purpose: To provide a thorough understanding of the needs and difficulties of individual children and a sound basis for planning a program of remedial work
Assessment Content: 16 tests covering visual and auditory discrimination, motor coordination, written language, reading and spelling as well as general underlying ability and attainment.

InThisSequinBraYesYouOlaJordan Thu 01-Oct-09 20:20:13


I was a SENCO until July - an Aston Index was my first port of call before referring a child for further assessment, as the tests described above assess the different skills children should be developing. There is (from memory) a phonic test, a reading test (reading and spelling lists of words that are set out in order of difficulty), a "draw a man test" - listening skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, talking skills - there's lots of different things. The results always went to the LEA for learning support to have a look at.

It wouldn't "diagnose dyslexia" as such, but be used in context with lots of other evidence before a referral was made.

If they're worried I would let them have a look at him - it might be nothing.

Hope all goes well

MollieO Thu 01-Oct-09 20:25:00

Thanks for that ramon. I don't think ds has any language difficulties at all. He can read, write and spell but most of the time won't. He gets all his spellings correct despite refusing to write them out at home.

I had a look at the SN Children section and I don't think ds's lack of attention in class would fit there.

MollieO Thu 01-Oct-09 20:29:51

Thx for that. I have no problem with his school trying to find out if there is some underlying concern. He is at private school so I'm not sure what involvement the LEA will have. I hope that if he has to see an ed psych then this can be done through the LEA or via the GP (if that is a possible route).

asdx2 Fri 02-Oct-09 05:23:05

Being a mum that posts on both boards primary ed and special needs I would google sensory processing disorder and auditory processing disorder as they jump out at me from your post. Particularly the second one as dd has this and does much the same although her problems are clouded by autism too (not suggesting ds could have autism by the way)Referral to an occupational therapist would normally be the port of call if they think processing difficulties are a problem.

MollieO Fri 02-Oct-09 16:08:18

Thx asd. If ds does have a sensory or auditory processing disorder who would be able to diagnose it?

asdx2 Fri 02-Oct-09 16:18:58

Speech therapists and occupational therapists would be the ones to diagnose and suggest ways of managing difficulties.Although you may be referred initially to a paediatrician for an noverall view

Sandy22 Fri 02-Oct-09 16:24:10

MollieO - I think you are very lucky that the school has contacted you rather than just let your ds just sit there in class - I had to fight with the school all the way to get my son tested - maybe this is the difference between private & state schools which makes me sad.

MollieO Fri 02-Oct-09 17:09:42

I think I am lucky albeit a bit shocked. Ds's teacher said that she often meets parental resistence when she has raised concerns. As far as I am concerned I want the best for ds and if he needs help then the sooner he gets it the better. I am lucky that I have a GP who thinks that ds is a very special little boy so I I know I will get support there too.

LIZS Fri 02-Oct-09 17:18:25

ime LEA's are very reluctant to pay for assessments of kids at private schools. We got OT for ds via gp then a paed referral, with an 18 month wait, but had to organise and fund our own Ed Psych - both I and OT tried via LEA and failed. If his problems are relatively slight and he is functioning well academically then I doubt they would be very interested. Sorry to be so negative but the school SENCO should have experience of the process locally and be able to advise and give you names of ones others have used.

MollieO Fri 02-Oct-09 19:38:52

Well according to the note sent home tonight ds is too young for the school to do any assessment so it will have to be the GP. Apparently he needs to be 5.6, which he won't be until Christmas.

I think his teacher's concern is that he is not functioning well academically despite apparently being intelligent.

It will be interesting to see what view our LEA take if we do need to see an Ed Psych. If a child's school thinks that he/she needs assessing then the fact that the school is private should be an irrelevance. I have private health insurance but I've never been refused NHS treatment because I could pay.

LIZS did you have to wait 18 months for a paed referral? Was that to see a general paediatric consultant? If so I'm really shocked by that. The most ds has had to wait to see a paed consultant was 2 weeks.

LIZS Sat 03-Oct-09 08:03:32

no Paed was only about a month , OT was 18 months' wait. Yes it should be irrelevant, afetr all we pay taxes too, but funds are limited so LEA's can pick and choose how they prioritise it.

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