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Educational Psychologist

(9 Posts)
faitaccompli Mon 02-Feb-15 11:08:54

My son, who is in grammar school, year 9, has dropped out of doing any form of homework at all, and is falling behind. His test scores in year 7 showed him to be top 3% of the country in terms of overall ability, but he is making no effort at all in year 9, takes no part in some of the classes and is generally disengaged. He has had low level bullying for the past 2.5 years at the school, and this is being addressed with vigour for the first time.

I have been to the school, who have put a program in place for him. However, although they are getting a council organisation to come and test him for various issues, they also said that an educational psychologists report would be helpful in trying to establish what the problem is.

His writing and layout is dreadful - his writing style is poor (from when he was in prep school and no amount of assistance could help him) and very slow. So this may be one reason.

Anyway - I contacted a local EP and they quoted £680 which seems like a huge amount of money to find out whether he has a brain or not. Or is there more to the report than this?

If anyone can shed some light on what my £680 would purchase, I can then make a more informed decision about it.

The school is very switched on this year, and are concerned about both his social and academic progress.

THanks for any help you can offer.

RatherBeAnywhere Mon 02-Feb-15 18:46:10

We went through the same thing and what we didn't realize at the time was that an Ed Psych assessment is about so much more than finding out if your child 'has a brain'. We had my DS2 assessed at 14 years for the same reasons; at a very selective academic school so obviously bright at 11+ but then fell off badly and disengaged by year 9. The Ed Psych spent the day with him testing him and assessing all aspects of learning and cognitive function - it was a very intensive session for him... We found out that although he indeed has a brain, he had very significant specific learning difficulties in a number of areas mainly around processing speed, attention and memory. The Ed Psych wrote a long report highlighting the issues and recommending strategies for the school to use to enable him to learn effectively. He is now doing really well again. He had fallen behind largely because as the work got harder he couldn’t mask his problems anymore and keep up, and so lost confidence and disengaged. I wish we had had him assessed years ago as we had a sense things were not right and regret we ignored our instincts for so long. Hope this helps and wish you the very best in trying to work this out.

LIZS Mon 02-Feb-15 18:57:34

Of course there is more to it! It should look at how he processes information , whether he has particular strengths and weaknesses, working memory , self confidence etc If he meets specific criteria he may be recommended to have extra time in exams and/or laptop. Issues school as poor handwriting , planning etc could be attributed to several issues but you could look at the dyspraxia foundation website as a starting point and see if he fits any of the traits mentioned. If so occupational therapy may also be of benefit. You do need his cooperation to get the most benefit from any assessment though and it is worth trying to get to the roots the homework issue.

Quitethewoodsman Mon 02-Feb-15 20:52:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

faitaccompli Tue 03-Feb-15 08:29:36

Thank you so much for your responses. And thank you, Rather, for relating your experience.

The school will not pay - however, they have arranged for him to have some assessments from the LA - one session was yesterday where he was given a series of numbers to repeat forwards, then remember them to say them backwards. He was also asked to write a story - the content was not important, it was about seeing him write - speed and neatness.

So I guess that part of the fine motor testing will be covered there.

I would have said he fits the dyspraxia label for everything apart from he is very (successfully) sporty with every sport he chooses to play, he is one of the fastest sprinters in the school, represents school and county for hockey and football, and holds his own in a county tennis tournament. I understand that rarely, a child may be dyspraxic and still be a sportsman, so perhaps this is possible.

He is perfectly willing to co-operate. I think he would prefer to have a problem than be uncovered as being lazy. I would prefer he was lazy as this is easier to deal with than a "real" reason for this disengagement.

Poisonwoodlife Tue 03-Feb-15 18:48:47

Specific Learning Difficulties affect different pupils in different ways, the labels "Dyslexia" and "Dyspraxia" are now more closely defined in terms of the effects they cover amongst those who have Specific Learning Difficulties eg Dyslexia for those with problems with literacy but even those that fit those "labels" will be affected differently.

What the Ed Psych will tell you is not so much has your son a brain but does his brain work differently in ways that affect his ability to learn.

It doesn't mean he can't learn, just that he may learn differently, or that the learning curve may be a longer one before it takes off. One thing I am pleased about is that without realising my DD fitted the Dyspraxic label she had Ice Skating lessons, I think that and dancing as part of her training in theatre group have done a lot to help her with coordination though she still broke her arm twice falling down a set of stairs and letting go of a Flying Fox Similarly skilled intervention at 6 with techniques that work for Dyslexics mean that her reading writing and spelling scores are in the average range, still not what you would expect for her ability, but Working Memory, Processing and Speed of Writing scores that put her in the bottom 10% of the population still are a considerable challenge for her.

I can totally relate to your son being perceived as lazy. I am dyslexic and my seemingly inexplicable inability to match my peers in terms of getting my ideas on paper, or to remember what went on in lessons and on the blackboard at school made me retreat into a dream world. My English teacher said "her general air of insouciance and failure to translate her considerable insight and ideas into sound answers to exam questions make it difficult to predict how she will do in the public examinations" I have two Masters degrees.........

faitaccompli Wed 04-Feb-15 11:42:50

Interesting PW - thank you for taking the time to let me hear your experiences. His spelling is second to none (when he was 8 he decided he was going to study spelling and football at university as he found them both so easy ... (if only!)

He takes on board concepts very quickly - and then (with maths) almost immediately forgets them. This makes him difficult to teach as in the class he is among the first to undertand, then by the time he does the homework, he can;t remember how to do something again.

His organization is dreadful - unless it is something he is interested in. He can tell you every player of his favoured football club, where they came from, how much they cost etc. At the moment, he is being monitored in each class, and is receiving 3 and 4 (4 being the highest) for effort in class. This is above the 1 and 2 that he has been getting fo rthe past two terms. But how long will it last?

His dad, my ex, is not willing to help fund the cost. His view is wait and see what happens. My view is that waiting another few months is potentially causing more delay on something that should be taking priorty. I jsut can't afford to pay for it right now.

camptownraces Wed 04-Feb-15 12:05:14

The LA assessment was doing the right things to find out if he might have access arrangements for exams and controlled assessments. LA may need to come back and do another couple of tests, if these two don't come out low enough.

What's his typing like?

tickinglists Wed 04-Feb-15 12:16:54

You could be describing one of my offspring. Very clever. Very attentive and fast to catch on in class. When it came to work at home it was as if the subject matter had never been seen before! Takes ages for stuff to get 'inked in' to the brain cells with my offspring.
My offspring is both dyslexic and dyspraxic. Yet competes at National and International level in sport! The dyspraxia took some time to be diagnosed as the Ed Psych never tested for it as she assumed that it would not be relevant due to the high level of competing.
Get you child tested as soon as possible. It is expensive. But that is because it takes such a long time. It is not just getting the child to write on a piece of paper to see if they are slow at writing. It covers every possible area. It takes quite a few hours. It is very indepth. It should not be surprising how much it costs. There is a lot of 'man-hours' in each assessment and each report. But it is SO worth it. It gives you and your child and the school so many areas to work on and build on. It helps teachers realise that your child is not being innatentive and forgetful - your child is finding it hard to take on board and remember all the instructions given out (for example).
My child could never be described as 'lazy'. The teachers always commented on how diligent and hard working in class my child was. The teachers realised that only answering 6 out of 10 q's on a worksheet had taken my child more time and effort than the others who had finished all 10 q's. It gave my child the opportunity to shine at the speed they could go at. If that makes sense.
Get the tests done. You won't regret. then cut and past. Cut and paste. Cut and paste. Email the relevant bits to all the individual teachers that teach your child. Dont just assume the school will give them all the report. Tell each teacher what the report suggests could be helpful to your child. Chances are the teachers will use the tools suggested for your child with other students in the class as well!
It is expensive but we really felt that we could not afford to 'wait and see'. Our child was slipping too far behind.

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