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Will visual processing difficulties hurt chances of getting into very academic selective school?

(7 Posts)
muppetsmum Sat 01-Oct-16 17:45:07

Hi there, my DD is in Y5 at an independent prep school and we are keen to get her into a very academic independent senior school (either into Y6 or 7 - it has a small junior department- as she's not really thriving at her current school). She's probably borderline bright enough to get in but it's pretty much the only decent option within reach for day schools and we don't want boarding. However, we've just been told by an Ed Psych that she probably has this visual processing difficulty (which I haven't yet found out much about though am aware that it seems rather frequently diagnosed these days). She's well above average in all other dimensions on the Ed Psych report. We had this done because her results at school declined fairly dramatically over the past year (which we suspected to be a combination of factors including some of the teaching and 'social' issues affecting the year dynamic but also wanted to try and get a handle on how high we should be aiming academically). We will obviously pursue the diagnosis etc but I guess I'm wondering whether having this 'label' is likely to hamper her chances of getting into an academically driven school (assuming she is 'bright' enough). The Headmistress admits that the pace is quite fast, it's not a hothouse but it's for girls who thrive on being challenged academically and want to live life to the full on all fronts. My DD is also very musical, a superb gymnast and is outgoing, confident etc and I think she will enjoy being busy and stretched at this school. Thoughts please - am I being naive to hope that a 'specific learning disability' such as this will be treated as being independent from academic ability? I should mention that the Ed Psych also picked up on her being hyper mobile and wrist hyper mobility affecting her handwriting speed so she may need a laptop! Thank you!

admission Sat 01-Oct-16 20:41:12

The question I would be asking is whether you had any idea about the "issues" your daughter had before they were put to you by the Ed Psychs?

If you did not, then as a cynic, I would wonder whether the ed pyschs was suggesting these things to you as you have paid them to assess your child and they might be so mild as to be not very noticable

The other and rather more important question for me is do you truly believe that you daughter will thrive in the academic atmosphere of the potential new school. If you do then everything else is secondary. Most of the most gifted academics in the country have a "specific learning difficulty", they learn to cope with it and blossom even with it.

Wriggle45 Sun 02-Oct-16 23:36:37

Why do you want to get her into a very academic senior school? Surely it is better to send her to a school where she will achieve her potential?
Could you look at flexi boarding rather than weekly?
My dd2 sounds a little bit similar to yours.... gym, hyper mobile... bright..... but the research I read about hyper mobility wing linked with anxiety and her rabbit in headlights response to too many instructions meant I didn't even sit her to the very lovely, but straight forwardly academic school her elder sister goes to despite knowing she would have passed the test. We are only 1/2 term into year 7 so I can't claim any deep knowledge of how things will turn out.... but I do know she is very happy and enjoying her flexi boarding at a school a wee way away

muppetsmum Mon 03-Oct-16 12:54:23

Thank you Wriggle45 and admission. Yes, I am a tad cynical about the visual processing difficulty. I've questioned her a bit more closely and she utterly denies any difficulty with reading from books or whiteboard, and also tried the coloured filters which did not make any difference. She does have some of the 'behavioural' features of it though. However, I will prob take her to a behavioural OT (which I've found from a bit more research would be the next step) just to have it checked out as interestingly, having read more about it, I'm convinced I had/have it!! (And I did just fine academically though Maths always weak for me as it is for her). Regarding the school, we love everything about it - the way they embrace everything and all the opportunities. She is bright in the broad sense - loves learning, inquisitive, lots of interests, has boundless energy and zest for life, very sociable, and she always rises to any challenge or being stretched. Her recent results at school have dipped in some subjects I think largely because of a dreadful maths teacher who wrecked her confidence, the school not putting much effort into her because she's not great at team sports, and her handwriting difficulties, and overall her results don't do her ability justice. She is utterly sold on the new school because she can do gymnastics 2-3 times a week and they compete at that. That is her real passion. (Also impressed by the science labs - she's into that too). Also have friends with kids there who speak very highly. Yes, if she doesn't get in we will have to consider flex-boarding but still no great options nearby - main one is decidedly nonacademic and v team sporty again. And neither she nor we want boarding at all. I totally take the point about many great thinkers blossoming despite having LDs but I guess I'm worried about falling at the first hurdle - actually getting into the school! Wriggle 45 - any more insights about the hyper mobility at all? Thank you!

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 03-Oct-16 13:12:25

I would tend to say that if you/she hasn't noticed any visual processing issues before now then they are too mild to be a problem. My daughter's were obvious from the moment she started trying to read, she would cry because of the brightness of the white board against the black font etc and was always rubbing her eyes and complaining they were tired.

hypermobility wise - an ed psych is not trained to diagnose it. a large number of children are hypermobile and in the vast majority it is of no significance other than making them better at gymnastics etc. my girls both have fingers which go in and out of sockets when they write. they don't get any allowances other than to use thicker pencils or pencil grips. You might find it hard to prove that a child doing gymnastics needs to use a laptop as generally if hypermobility is a problem it would actually make it difficult for her to do gymnastics.

I would say from the info you have given they have just suggested things that "might" exist, ie they have noted it as a possibility but in reality they aren't or are so minor they don't need any intervention.

Peanutbutterrules Mon 03-Oct-16 13:48:25

Don't be too dismissive of visual issues. My DD had glasses and never complained about not being able to see - and her reading was excellent. She only got a prescription as we did an annual check - not because she said anything.

Fast forward a few years and an Ed Phyc report recommended a Behaviour Optomitrist. Can't tell you the difference her new glasses made - they had prisms to strengthen her eye muscles. Once she had the glasses was she able to articulate the issues she'd been living and had assumed were 'normal'. She was doing well at school, but the glasses have made a huge difference to her academic performance and she's come on leaps and bounds.

Bright kids can often cope with Spld in primary - but it can come unhinged if not supported in Secondary.

Good schools will support her - concentrate on getting her to a school that will help her to achieve her potential. If you like a school but they aren't supportive then it's the wrong school.

DS1 like me has hypermobile finger joints and he does use a laptop. He struggles to write legibly and his hands hurt if he writes for long periods. An EP recommended he used one and the school have been fine about it. He is now Yr9. Poor legibility is an accepted criteria for use of laptops in exams (JCQ) as are medical problems. Provided a laptop is their usual way of working then it should be accepted for exams.

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