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6yo DD with zero confidence now doesn't want to go to school anymore.

(17 Posts)
minko Wed 04-Nov-09 09:10:45

I suspect she might be dyslexic, though her teacher doesn't seem to think she needs assessing but accepts she is below average. That's all very well but what do you do with a 6 year old who cries hysterically and tells you she's rubbish at everything?? It breaks my heart. We try our best to encourage her and console her, but she has reached the stage where she doesn't want to try anymore and it's very frustrating. She's normally a happy, cheeky soul btw.

We have just come back from a holiday with my best mate and her family - her DD is in our DD's class. However her DD is one of the top in the class and ours is obviously nearer the bottom. Having watched their DD being praised all day, doing mental arithmetic and sudoku (!) and reading proper books, our DD is at an all-time low.

minko Wed 04-Nov-09 09:30:44

Please - anyone...!?

glinda Wed 04-Nov-09 09:52:39

Poor love. Tricky to advise without knowing your little girl but there are a couple of options that spring to mind.

You could back off the reading for a few weeks and concentrate on building up her self confidence. What is she good at? Don't let her whole self worth be dependent on her literacy. She doesn't need a label of dyslexia to know that their are loads of very successful people who struggled to read and write - just google famous dyslexics. A little boy I know found that he was great at baking having learned that Jamie Oliver was dyslexic.

The other option is to really tackle the reading problem head on. Ask school to talk you through Paired Reading. This involves you reading with your child for about 15 mins a day 6 days a week for 6 weeks. You need to be shown how to do it properly but progress can be amazing. Your dds reading should be tested before and after the 6 weeks. If she doesn't make significant progress and you have really done the programme properly then you have solid grounds for asking for a formal assessment for dyslexia.

Good luck

smee Wed 04-Nov-09 09:59:24

Why not go and talk to the teacher? I'm sure they'd want to know she's feeling like that about herself. Go see what they say. Make an appointment for a proper meeting so there's time. It's got to be worth a go, surely.

womblemonster Wed 04-Nov-09 10:01:45

Well FWIW on the Continent nobody would be batting an eyelid if she couldn't read a word at the age of 6. Mine is 6 in January and can read just three words. She's far too little for labels.

minko Wed 04-Nov-09 10:01:56

Thanks glinda. I've tried to point out that she's great at swimming, drawing and is the fastest runner in her class but it makes no odds. The school seems very much geared to assessing maths, english and science and everything else is secondary.

What is Paired Reading? We try and read every night anyway with hugely varying results. Sometimes she's great, other times disasterous. She is incredibly hard on herself though and as soon as there's even a tiny problem she wants to give up. She is making progress, it's just very slow...

The other thing is that I suspect the problem might be mine in that perhaps I just need to accept that maybe she's just not that bright! Her dad and I went to uni and all that so perhaps our expectations are just too high...

glinda Wed 04-Nov-09 10:09:03

Paired reading is a specific strategy where you and the child read together - it can make reading less stressy for the child. They control it - choose the book, set the pace etc. You do need to be shown how to do it but try googling Keith Topping for more info.

cherryblossoms Wed 04-Nov-09 10:47:14

Have you tried role-playing with her?

So, if you do stuff at home, be it maths or reading, you are the baby/small animal and she is the big one, who knows stuff and is good at stuff.

She then has to show you what she can do. If she stumbles, you can slip out of role and show her how (but gently - and done in a way so that the game can continue and she can show her little friend [you]) - but basically, she teaches you.

So, if she's reading and gets demoralised, you look sad and say something along the lines of "Oh, but I'm just a little unicorn (or whatever) and I can't read yet." You pick up the book and try and read it - but get it all wrong, or make up a completely incorrect story from the pictures. It's a rare little child who won't take pity on the ... baby unicorn ... and read to it.

And agree, just adore her for doing her best and big up her every attempt. And remember, life is long (hopefully) and a. she might take off later and b. she might not and it will be less important than her being confident and happy in her path through life, which is about way more than early years numeracy and literacy.

minko Wed 04-Nov-09 12:20:03

Thanks everyone, I'll give role playing and Paired Reading a try. By the way, I have spoken to her teacher a couple of times this year already. I've been concerned about her for a while. They don't seem to worried. However I seriously considered keeping her at home today as she was so stressed about school. Something isn't right...

Callisto Wed 04-Nov-09 12:48:03

Minko - have you thought about pulling her out of school entirely for a while? If you have the means to do this it might be worth thinking about and plenty of people home educate for exactly the reasons you're describing. More info can be found on the HE bit of Education or go to Education Otherwise for lots of info:

minko Wed 04-Nov-09 13:21:46

Crikey, that's a big one! No, I hadn't considered home educating, firstly I don't think I'd be very good at it and secondly I put my faith in the school to know what's best for her. Also I don't know whether to trust my - sometimes over anxious - instincts and get her assessed for dyslexia or just try to relax and hope things improve...

maverick Wed 04-Nov-09 13:28:40

minko, I suggest you read the following webpage
'Should I have my child assessed?' -as it will, hopefully, explain what's going on:


NickyHazel Wed 04-Nov-09 13:45:19

Hi there - arranging a meeting with the teacher to point out all your concerns is a good start. Ask what they are putting in place to help her. Say you would like her givin an Individual Education Plan. Follow up meeting with letter confirming discussions and any actions (Ofsted review paperwork so often it makes things happen more than verbal).

If that doesn't help, involve the Special Educational Needs Coordinator. I think you can insist on an Educational Psychologist report (you could request one in writing and see what happens) - they may suggest waiting until 7 years old. They will always try and deter this as it comes out of their budget.

If you still have no luck, you can get her tested for dyslexia privately, but it is expensive (Dyslexia Action or Helen Arkell are specialists).

Keep focusing on what she is good at and developing the talents she does have. I know how hard it is as my now 10 year old had the same issues - I have fought every step of the way - the school said he was 'average' - I got him Statemented by attending the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal in London. He has progressed lots since then. The more determined you are, the more help you will get her. Sadly I have had to fight every step of the way, but it is so worth it to see them succeeding.

Sorry this is so long! Hope some of it helps.

Danthe4th Wed 04-Nov-09 14:11:59

I think you need to concentrate on building up her self esteem out of school it will make her more resilient in school. I have a 7 year old ds who still struggles to read, I know he's a boy i've listened to all the boy excuses of being slow for the last 4 years.
He is now in juniors but when he was in year 1 I didn't realise he is a bit of a perfectionist and was very aware that he was not very good at english, I think its genetic my 3 other children all hate english but love sport and are better at maths and sciences.
Anyway apart from all that we tried several different clubs away from school until we found he liked swimming and gets a huge buzz when he does something new, school encourage children to take in certificates etc from achievements to share with others, this was the best thing for him, it took the focus off what he couldn't do to what he could.
He still can't read but his writing is improving and even though he is still a bit of a perfectionist and gets cross when he can't read or write a story he is a lot happier.
Thinking about my elder dd who is now 14 she didn't read until year 4 and that was by reading the beano she refused to read anything for pleasure until she discovered jaqueline wilson and that was year 5/6 and now she reads for pleasure but is still slow to read.She says herself she couldn't see the words properly until she had glasses. I know a useless mum!!
Another friend of mine took her daughter to an optician that specialised in children, she had been suspected of dyslexia but when fitted with glasses her eyes focused on the words and stopped jumping she was age 9.
Your dd is not the only child to be slow to read, have her eyes checked, but try not to worry too much and don't compare to other children, they are all different with different talents.
Sorry to go on, but I do understand we all want our children to be happy and bright.

Callisto Wed 04-Nov-09 15:58:52

Minko - you'd be suprised at how many people say that when they first start out, only to realise that they actually know their child best and also know what is best for their child. I would never, ever put my faith in any institution to know 'what is best' for me or my DD or to blindly expect officialdom to have DD's best interests at heart.

I don't want to get too full on as I feel quite strongly about this (despite DD currently being at school) but I would say if your DD is deeply unhappy and feels like a failure at this young age it may be worth looking at your options to work out what is best, in the long term, for your her. At the moment it isn't looking like school is anywhere near what she needs.

smee Thu 05-Nov-09 13:06:10

minko, here's a thought but is it the academic stuff that's troubling her or is that just something tangible she can say? Am guessing she' yr1, or at most yr2 and school's like sensory overload when they're that little.
Am only saying this, as DS is finding it tough atm (yr1) and it is partly him finding learning hard, and being worried he's not as ahead as some of his mates, but actually it's because everthing's too much for him. He loves school, but it wears him out, and it doesn't take much to throw him out of sorts. This week we've gone from him running to school quite happily to complete hysterics next day, then being happy again the next. He can't explain it. But if I say is it because you find it hard, he'll always say yes. So that's now turned into the reason he doesn't like school. But then if I said is it because you miss mummy? He'd say that's why he doesn't like school. Hard to know how to solve it really.

LRB978 Thu 05-Nov-09 22:36:44

Warning ramble ahead


I could have written a similar post to you last year, when ds was in year 2 (in fact I did, kinda, here). I knew something was wrong, school wouldn't accept it, felt he was just lazy. DS was in tears most days re: school, the first day back after Feb half term he was asking me when it was the next holidays (and in tears, coming out of school sad). I moved him to a different school at Easter, and the differnce was noticable very quickly. The new school assessed him internally through the summer term, he was assessed by an external support tutor a couple of weeks before the summer holidays who stated he did have difficulties within the classroom (and thus wasnt lazy! (still rankles, bitter, me????)) and in the tutor's private opinion was showing dyspraxic tendancies (ds has just had an official diagnosis of this).

So, within a term he had been assessed internally and externally for learning difficulties. He had (in the words both of his fantastic headteacher and deputy head/SENCO) lost the pinched nervous look in his face, stopped clinging to me and gained a huge amount of self confidence. He went from not walking more than a couple of meters away from me to walking himself to school (a ten minute walk) albeit with me watching him from a distance the whole time.

I suppose what I am saying is, discuss with the school but if you do not feel like you are getting anywhere, try looking around, seeing what other schools have places and what they are like. I don't know what schools are like around you, here (relatively big town in Shropshire) there tend to be spaces in most schools even in KS1, even in reception! Try calling schools you like the look of, and seeing if they have spaces, and what they would do for your daughter, to meet her needs. You don't have to do anything, but you may find a school that just feels right for your daughter now. Ds is stil behind, he got 1c, 1a, 1a in his yr 2 SATS, and they are trying to ensure he does not fall any further behind, but at this school, you get to talk to the teacher on a daily basis if needed, home school books are welcomed, the headteeacher walks around at the end of the day, talking to the parents as they are collecting their children - she knows all the parents at least by sight. But don't focus on OFSTED, I moved ds from a 'good' school to a 'satisfactory' school, but I know which would get an 'outstanding' from me, because it doesn't expect the children to fit its square holes, but moulds itself to the shape of the childrens 'pegs' IYGWIM.

Sorry this is a ramble, but I hate seeing others having similar issues to those ds had, children should enjoy school, not detest it.

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