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Hypermobility - Extra time GCSE's

(28 Posts)
Teenmum60 Fri 20-Apr-18 22:31:00

My DD has Hypermobility - rest breaks have been agreed in the forthcoming GCSE's (she was also offered use of laptop but decided against this because she uses an Ipad in school). DD was only diagnosed at the end of Yr10 although she has always struggled with poor pencil grip and slow writing (some adjustments made in class - missing every other question etc).

Obviously its too late to consider extra time for GCSE's but it maybe something we look at for A levels. Therefore just wondered how many children have access arrangements (extra time)
who have hypermobility and whether this was on the back of a consultant report (which we have) or whether other tests are required.

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TheSecondOfHerName Fri 20-Apr-18 22:44:27

DS2 has hypermobility in his hands and wrists. He has to grip the pen very tightly and can only write for 2-3 minutes before it starts hurting.

The school SENCo asked us to get an OT referral via his paediatrician. The OT did an assessment in Y9 and the report was sent to the school in time for adjustments to be implemented and become his normal way of working. Recommendations included rest breaks, using a laptop, sloping writing surface.

They considered lending him a school laptop in Y10 but decided against it because his hypermobility made it difficult for him to carry a laptop as well as a school bag full of books.

In the autumn of Y11, the SEN department agreed that a school laptop could be brought to his English lessons for him when he had to do long periods of writing.

For his mock GCSEs, they provided a laptop for half of his subjects (the ones with most writing) and hopefully the same will happen for his GCSEs this summer.

Rest breaks have not been offered (despite the fact that he also has ADHD) but if he is using a laptop in the subjects with a lot of writing, then I don't think he'll need them.

Fortunately he doesn't plan to do any essay subjects at A-level.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 20-Apr-18 22:46:08

So for him, rest breaks aren't really needed, so long as he can type his answers in English and similar subjects.

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 20-Apr-18 22:47:59

He was assessed for eligibility for extra time in Y9, and didn't meet the threshold. However the assessment was done on a computer, so he didn't need to handwrite anything!

HeddaGarbled Fri 20-Apr-18 22:58:35

We would test speed of writing even if there was a consultants report. However, if there is an EHCP which stipulates extra time in exams, we wouldn't need to. The speed of writing test isn't a big deal - takes 15 minutes (2 minutes copy best handwriting, 2 minutes copy fast, 1 minute writing the alphabet, 10 minutes free writing and we'll stop the free writing if she's experiencing pain).

However, I'm not convinced she's made the right decision about the lap top. Wouldn't typing with rest breaks be best? That's her "normal way of working" isn't it, regardless of what device she's typing onto?

Teenmum60 Fri 20-Apr-18 23:01:10

Thanks, Second - do you know what assessment was done in Yr9...It maybe that DD will not need consideration given she is looking at Biology/Physics and DT.... so hopefully not too much writing - History has been the main nightmare for DD, fortunately, English was 40% coursework which has take a lot of pressure off (IGCSE).

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Teenmum60 Fri 20-Apr-18 23:17:23

HeddaGarbled - She hasn't used a laptop in classes, it's a school that uses Ipad's (Apple Distinguished), but still has done quite a lot of writing too...she has stated that she would prefer to write at this stage (it may have been different if she had used a laptop regularly).

The main issues come when she needs to write quickly e.g. she did a computer science past paper and there was a fair amount of coding to write down and because there is a time limit ...she was rushing, writing, therefore, got bigger and in some cases she could not fit the answer into the space given (DD's writing gets bigger the faster she writes because of poor pencil grip - she loses some control). In fairness, she has done remarkably well because pencil grip was highlighted back to when she was in reception and she has really improved her writing but does get joint pain (hence rest breaks help - although breaks concentration)...more hypermobility symptoms manifested when she was 14 (leg pains/acid reflux)...up until then we just thought she had never come to grips with holding pens/pencils despite trying various pens etc...I suppose the use of the Ipad in school (by every child) also meant that slow writing was not being highlighted and she's a child that doesn't generally whinge.

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TheSecondOfHerName Fri 20-Apr-18 23:20:11

I'm afraid I don't know what the assessment in Y9 was called or what type it was. All I know is that it was done on a computer and the whole thing took a couple of hours.

Teenmum60 Fri 20-Apr-18 23:53:00

Thanks...In fairness I think DD has probably adjusted quite well (had no choice) to issues with her hands and writing. She probably is at a slight disadvantage on some subjects but perhaps a bigger disadvantage with say History (although in saying that she has been guided to just answer the questions rather than write too much). It would be interesting to get a test done ( dare I say at some stages through her education I thought the poor/lack of notes was probably laziness - then she told me this week that the CS teacher puts a timer on for note taking - and that is why she often doesn't make enough notes in class because when time is up they move on. *I wish she had told me this 18 months ago*)

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Bluebonnie Sat 21-Apr-18 07:08:35

In this situation, it doesn’t make sense to refuse the use of a laptop for exams. (iPads won’t be permitted because of potential internet access)

Word processing has to be the answer here. Use of a keyboard, whether laptop or pc, doesn’t need the school to apply for permission in advance. Obviously school does need to make computer provision in the examination room, and to keep documentation relating to the justification in case an inspector calls. They should have a published policy available to parents that explains all this.

In many subjects word processing won’t be worthwhile, and rest breaks could be a better option.

If DD can be persuaded to reconsider her decision, the SENCo needs to be approached ASAP. Hope the Exams Officer is amenable to changes at this late stage.

OddBoots Sat 21-Apr-18 07:23:48

My dad had similar (although a couple of hours ago now and the rules could change) and he was told a laptop was the appropriate adaptation for had hypermobility except in maths and that no extra time could be given. Even having used an iPad a laptop is still possible.
Does she use a writing slope when writing by hand?

Sleepsoon7 Sat 21-Apr-18 07:53:20

Is there a laptop she could try to use ie to practice on in the run up to GCSEs? One of my DDs had a similar diagnosis prior to GCSEs. She had rest breaks, laptop and extra time. This was on the basis of GP letter and consultant letter. The laptop was really helpful and she didn’t use one for school generally. Might be even more helpful for your DD as mine did old style GCSEs and was able to take modules at different times instead of the current linear system and so exams were spread out more. As an aside DD was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia as well when she moved schools for sixth form and we were told these were not unusual “companions” to hypermobility although of course every child is different. Is it definitely too late for extra time to be considered? Is there a specific cut-off date or can they take account of later diagnosis if you have medical recommendation?

LIZS Sat 21-Apr-18 07:59:08

Ds used an ipad in class (wonder if same school!) with wireless keyboard and a laptop in exams. At uni he still does.

Bluebonnie Sat 21-Apr-18 08:36:38

The cut off date for applications for extra time was 21 February for this summer's exams. There also has to be supporting evidence from teachers that extra time is needed as normal way of working for the candidate in question.

Only genuine emergencies (eg a broken arm) should be considered after this.

Teenmum60 Sat 21-Apr-18 09:06:26

I think I will email the SENCO and ask about DD trying a History exam with a laptop ( I did ask for this to be done at the end of Yr10 but it wasn't arranged (SENCO a bit useless) and in truth, I didn't follow up again because DD was also reluctant to use a laptop). Are practice papers available in laptop format (so she could try at home)? History exams are not until June so she does have some time to adjust.

DD's exam timetable is such that she will not have to do too much writing on any one day which helps (the first week is the toughest).

Not sure about Dyspraxia, she doesn't have a lot of strength in her upper arms (recent gym test showed this), but legs were fine but her hand to eye coordination has always been poor. No Dyslexia symptoms.

It's an all-girls school so doubt it @LIZS

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OddBoots Sat 21-Apr-18 10:01:58

I have just re-read my post and it made no sense, I wasn't drinking, honest, it was just tiredness. dad = ds and hours = years.

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 21-Apr-18 16:21:43

Hi I am an invigilator.
There is no special format for laptop papers.

They merely type it on to bank paper ensuring that they label their answers correctly. eg. 1 (a) 1 (b) etc.

Some do the diagrams directly into the booklet or on blank sheets too.

They then have to sign each sheet to show its their work, and label with the paper number, centre number and candidate number in case they get separated.

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 21-Apr-18 17:05:52

As Allthebestnamesareused says, they use the same question paper as the other candidates, but type the answers instead of writing them in the answer booklet.

Teenmum60 Sat 21-Apr-18 17:37:01

Thanks...not sure whether this would work for DD, I think she would find it more hassle and would probably forget to label pages etc!
I don't think it is a big issue with the GCSE's apart from maybe History but as long as she passes that exam we will be happy given circumstances....but I guess I can give her the opportunity to type answers to a History exam on a PC and see how she gets on.

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Bluebonnie Sun 22-Apr-18 18:58:37

Following on from what Allthebest ... said, I seem to remember that

all the labelling and signing of the sheets to be handed in: all this could be done after the end of normal time for the exam paper (or extra time if this was used), after the word processed sheets have been printed off. Invigilator will stand with candidate to make sure it’s all done correctly.

So the situation that Teenmum describes should not arise.

We need an exams officer on here to confirm this.

Teenmum60 Sun 22-Apr-18 20:10:47

Thanks bluebonnie....in terms of the laptop - do school provide or should pupil provide and I assume they use MS Word ...Are there provisions so they don't loose work e.g. accidentally delete what they have written?

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LIZS Sun 22-Apr-18 20:18:45

School should provide a laptop, with internet access, spellcheck, thesaurus etc disabled as appropriate. Your dd needs to find out the protocols for saving as she goes along, and practice.

Bluebonnie Mon 23-Apr-18 08:47:05

As Lizs said, school has to provide an "empty" laptop for exams, so no revision documents on it, and preferably with back-up facilities - ie a connection to a mainframe: although battery operated laptops are permitted these days they are less desirable for this reason.

A good IT department will ensure the documents are set to auto backup, but you can't always count on this being done in every school.

Spellcheck will be disabled, unless criteria for a scribe are met (which it wouldn't be for your DD). That very basic Windows word processing package, whose name I now forget, is normally what the candidates use in the exam. MS Word is dodgy, as the candidates can switch spell and grammar check on without invigilators realising what's happened.

Interested to see your concern is about the History exam. What about English Lang and Lit - isn't DD taking those this summer too?

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 23-Apr-18 16:27:14

Yes - sorry should have made it clear all the labelling happens after the end of the time and extra time allotted.

Teenmum60 Mon 23-Apr-18 17:20:24

Bluebonnie -Not so concerned about English because she has already completed 40% of the exam marks with coursework (IGCSE) on both Lang/Lit. She is naturally good at English and workflows so it is not such a speed writing session(although obviously, she does get pain in her hands which is helped with the rest breaks)...whereas History has always been an issue ...she cannot seem to write quick enough and has always struggled to complete papers (a lot of it is confidence). I believe that she can start the higher marks questions first on History which may be an option if not using a laptop (which I'm a little apprehensive about too).

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