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Specialist Dyslexia Schools

(35 Posts)
Becksharp Mon 14-May-12 14:02:55

has anyone ever sent a child and regretted it? It would involve boarding (which I wouldn't otherwise do)

lostmyglasses Mon 14-May-12 15:37:58

We had a very positive experience of a residential dyslexia school. DS went when he was 10 and he desperately needed it, he was getting nowhere at all in the state system and it was affecting his self esteem and MH. He stayed at the school until he was 18 - and now he is currently in the second year of a history degree, which he would never have been able to access if he hadn't had those years of specialist teaching.

It is really important to visit as many schools as you can, and ideally get an independent educational psychologist to assess your child and make recommendations. Our EP also visited our school to assess its suitability - that was necessary as we went to tribunal to get the LEA to pay the fees. It would have been prohibitive for DS to study all those years if we'd had to pay. Don't just look at the teaching provision, but all the usual things as well - pastoral care, food, accommodation. There were schools I visited which would probably have taught DS well, but wouldn't have suited him in other ways, e.g. not enough green space, shared bedrooms, not teaching a full range of subjects.

I really missed having DS at home but the way I saw it was that he needed that kind of education/environment and it was the only way for him to access it. It bothered me much more than him - the social side of the school was fantastic and he's made many lasting friendships there.

PostBellumBugsy Mon 14-May-12 15:41:09

No regrets here. Has been a transforming experience for DS. Costing me a fortune, as I haven't been able to get any LEA help.

Becksharp Mon 14-May-12 16:00:46

That's good to hear! I don't think we will be able to get LEA funding (although haven't investigated so could be wrong), but I'm getting to the point where I think I ought to be doing it for him - even though I can't bear to part with him! But that's my selfishness because I know school is destroying him :-( Maybe it's time we started looking. Why oh why can't there be a school nearby so he can be a day boy!

soonbesailing Mon 14-May-12 16:34:38

My DC went as a day pupil, it was really good for his self esteem, he did 2 years (yes cost a fortune).

Only downside I found is we then transferred to a state school and DC found the class sizes hard to deal with and found out how to make himself invisible as he didn't want others to see his weaknesses.

We have now transfers back to private so he is in small classes again (but not a specialist dyslexia school).

SodThat Mon 14-May-12 16:36:46

have you checked the distance to your nearest school? Any way he could commute to start?

Becksharp Mon 14-May-12 16:52:53

We're about 1hr 40 mins drive away from the nearest school which is just too far to commute every day and because of work we're just not in a position to move any nearer. I suppose I'd have to accept he might not being able to transfer back to mainstream school but I'm paying for the small class sizes at the moment anyway.

mummytime Mon 14-May-12 17:00:05

Just to check you have used this siteto search? Just check no more local independents don't have a specialist unit?

lazymum99 Mon 14-May-12 17:37:28

DS2 spent 3 years at a specialist dyslexia school. It was the best decision we ever made. He then moved back into mainstream where he had to board. This was because he needed a school which would be sympathetic to his difficulties with extra help where needed and this did not exist locally. Discussed using state system with the head of the specialist school and she advised that the large class sizes and the fact that he might be put in lower sets would be detrimental to his progress. He is now in a state 6th form college doing his AS levels. I could never have imagined he would get this far and I think the specialist school laid the foundations and enabled him to cope with mainstream schooling.

Becksharp Mon 14-May-12 18:52:46

Sadly there's nothing significantly nearer to us with a specialist unit. Plus I think it's the whole school dyslexia approach that would really assist with his self-esteem. As it stands he's invariably one of the brightest if not the brightest in any class he's in, but his attainment is always right at the bottom. I'd really like him to experience success which is happening in the mainstream

ameliagrey Mon 14-May-12 20:52:55

How dyslexic is he?

If he is not so far behind, he could perhaps manage in a school which was able to provide a high level of support and 1:1 specialist teaching. This would give you more options.

Without knowing precisely what his problems are, it is hard to advise. Some children at specialist schools have lots of related problems like Aspergers and dyspraxia, and in comparison those with "just" dyslexia can find other children's behaviour challenging.

IMO unless he is severely dyslexic with associated conditions, I might look for a private school with specialist support- and you could double up with private tutoring out of school which would be a lot cheaper than baording.

Becksharp Tue 15-May-12 10:52:42

He's severely dyslexic, but doesn't have any other learning needs. He's in a private school with specialist support already, and he's making progress but he's a long way behind his peers from the literacy point of view when intellectually he can engage with anything. His self-esteem takes a constant hit and I think an environment where everyone else is facing the same challenges would be good. I'm aware amelia what you say about other behavioural issues children might have in a special school and for that reason the schools I'm considering are dyslexia (and associated). The saddest thing for him is that he's such a little boff with such an acute understanding of the world that if he could only read he'd thrive anywhere!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 15-May-12 11:32:07

Becksharp, DS was also at a small private school for the same reasons, before I moved him to the school specialising in dyslexics and it definitely wasn't the right place for him. Since he moved school he has to weekly board too, as I work full-time & I have another child to get to school & it was not a daily commutable distance.

The difference in just two & a half terms is amazing. Instead of feeling like a square peg in a round hole, he fits in. His boffin side in maths, science & music is flourishing & he is making steady progress with English & the other less sciencey subjects. The teaching & teachers are completely geared up to teach boys like DS & I have no criticisms to date. I feel like they really understand DS & know how to get the best out of him.

It is financially crippling. I will be selling my house & moving into a shoebox next year - but I think it is worth it.

SDCHM Wed 16-May-12 00:11:06

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SDCHM Wed 16-May-12 00:11:44

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Becksharp Wed 16-May-12 08:44:25

Does anyone have any experience of St David's college? I like the fact it's so strongly outdoors

happygardening Wed 16-May-12 09:08:00

I too have heard its "strongly outdoors" and I know its well regarded by dyslexic prep schools. I don't know where you live but it is in quite an inaccessible place. I haven't read its website recently so I don't know how many exeats they have most schools have one every half term but you must consider getting home at exeats. We looked at it and it would have taken my DS 3 1/2 hours to get home and longer by public transport because my DS would have to have gone into London and then back out again and speaking from experience thats just too far. Also if your that far away you never attend the school for any events. I gather from your postings that you are not keen on boarding so I would suggest that you restrict your journey to about 1 1/2 hours one way because that way you will be more involved and thus hopefully feel more comfortable with it.

bamboozledAardvark Wed 16-May-12 09:16:34

A friend has just moved her DD there at the beginning of this term and she is settling in really well. It sounds like a place that will really help his self as esteem and the scenery around it is just beautiful!

I do agree with happygardening though. It is very much out on a limb and you would probably see your DS less than at a more easily accessible school.

Becksharp Wed 16-May-12 09:37:44

We're in the north west, so although a bit of a hike round into north Wales it's not that bad a journey (on paper - would have to try it to see how long it really takes). I know it's very keen on the outdoors (which would suit DS down to the ground) but is it very sporty in a rugby and football kind of way? That would suit him less...

happygardening Wed 16-May-12 10:30:16

Have you only looked at on paper? On the map it looked ok for us we're south westish 30 miles of Welsh boarder but the reality was that it was just not doable crappy roads and equally crappy public transport links. Actually Liverpool etc are probably easier. It was about four years ago that we looked at it an ed psych recommended it to us because my DS likes being outdoors and sailing etc I spoke briefly to the staff and they seemed very nice. I think you will find that nearly all boys/mixed boarding schools take rugby and football seriously accept my DS2 school which doesn't even do rugby!
Milton Abbey is the other very outdoor dyslexic school lots of ferreting polo etc but again in a very inaccessible place and I know children there and I hear very mixed things about it!

BringBack1996 Wed 16-May-12 10:52:23

DS's school don't do rugby either. I think that most schools won't push your DS to participate in it unless he is very good!

Becksharp Wed 16-May-12 11:15:16

He's very athletic, just doesn't like rugby or football. It's bizarre because he is not un-sporty and he is perfectly good at both!
happy we haven't visited anywhere yet, still determining where to visit - we still have a bit of time before any decisions need to be made. I want to be sure it's the right thing to do in principle before we start looking and get carried away!

happygardening Wed 16-May-12 11:15:50

Maybe not push rugby but at boarding school "games" is timetabled at least two/three times a week and in many schools rugby and football are the sports that a boy would be expected to participate in when doing games. You would need to ask the school as some will allow non team sports players to do alternative sports a lot depends on facilities and recourses to employ teachers to run alternative activities to the main stream.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 16-May-12 11:34:05

Becksharp, DS hates football & cricket but he has to play both. He does other sports which he really enjoys though. He also has to do English & Art - both of which he wouldn't chose to do either!!!! I don't think subjects can be avoided if they are part of the school time table, but I think at a specialist school you can feel more confident that they will be taught in an engaging way & the teachers will understand that boys have difficulty with some subjects. DS is dyspraxic, so finds ball sports difficult (although he loves rugby) and the teachers know that & the other boys know that too, as dyspraxia & dyslexia often overlap - so he's not the only one to find ball sports more challenging.

Becksharp Wed 16-May-12 11:58:30

I'll have to go and see and ask them about it - He'll play whatever he has to in games but in some places extra-curricular rugby is enforced! It's probably only parents that will be honest about how sport plays out in a school. Seems like at St David's there are other things on offer for games afternoon - would be great if he got the choice!

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