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Working memory - please help - I want to scream!

(9 Posts)
Melodrama100 Thu 08-Sep-11 17:43:43

My son struggled all through primary school so we scrimp and save to send him to a private school with smaller classes. Did terribly in year 7 so after advice from a friend got a private ed psych assessment (told it would take ages to get a referral) and he has slow reading spead, slow writing speed (bottom 2%) and poor working memory (71, 3rd percentile). After a year of the school providing "help", not sure we are actually getting anywhere. They are still saying he is lazy, unmotivated, unfocussed, etc. and I really want to scream because they don't seem to have a clue.

Ed Psych suggested a number of things including using a computer rather than writing but the school didn't think he was "mature" enough for this and extra time in exams which also was not given for the end of year exams. With the school being private rather than state, it seems they can do what they like and don't have to follow the recommendations.

I have a meeting at school shortly to discuss his progress and help for this coming year. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what might really help?

LIZS Fri 09-Sep-11 08:56:08

Firstly your ds sounds similar ours. His last EP report gave him low working memory score in addition to dyspraxia-related poor fine motor skills (handrwriting etc) and processing and organisational issues which had already been identified, but a well above average verbal iq score. He has also been at independent schools and just got a scholarship at 13+ so please don't allow them to write your ds off. For several years he has done touch typing at school and used a laptop for his CE and entrance exams and in some lessons during Year 7 & 8 which made a huge difference. Year 8 would be a tricky time to move him (I'm not clear if he is at a Prep or Secondary school yet) so you really need to get the schools SENCO on board. However they don't have to listen to the report (and some teachers at ds' school were in denial for a while or focussed on to the negatives) but nor would a State school be obliged to heed a private report unless he had a statement. Could you afford to get him any help outside school if the school can't/won't help ? Good luck

meditrina Fri 09-Sep-11 09:24:27

Private schools are bound by DDA, are they not?

So if there is an Ed Psych report which says he should be working on a laptop, they should be facilitating this. I was told you can access LA provision of laptops irrespective of setting (not tried it myself). But unless/until he can touch-type at a decent rate, it might be tricky - has he started learning?

I really can't see why a school would say a child who is at least in year 7 is not "mature" enough for a laptop.

What "help" is the school actually providing? How does this related to his needs as laid out in the Ed Psych report? Are they raising additional bills for it? Are there areas which the school cannot tackle (eg OT) and might you be able to access a tutor?

LIZS Fri 09-Sep-11 09:52:50

I don't think accessing support from LA at a private school is universal unless there is a Statement in place - I got short shrift wrt our ds. Not all private schools accept children with Statements or even milder learning difficulties and may not offer the relevant resources and support. OP, presumably your ds isn't diagnosed officially.

meditrina Fri 09-Sep-11 10:12:51

Depends on the nature of support requested. Lots of LAs say "no" in the first instance hope you'll just have to go away - and the level of obstruction can be appalling. There are some things they are not obliged to provide (rightly, I think) in terms of schools-based services. But those to the individual - such as laptops - may be worth persisting for. A clear EP recommendation is recognised.

Affluent parents tend not to bother, but not all private sector parents are well off.

Melodrama100 Fri 09-Sep-11 13:47:21

Thanks everyone. In terms of support, he gets extra English, Maths and Science lessons and help with his writing. Other than that, they have suggested to his teachers he be allowed to present his knowledge and understand in different forms (this has not happened), that he is given photocopies of notes where possible instead of copying from the board (I don't know if this has happened), checking on his understanding during lesson (doesn't appear to have happened), making sure his prep is written down and understood (this has not happened), encourage him to use a word processor where possible (this has happened a bit but not much).

Does anyone have any additional ideas that I can present to them for similar problems?

By the way, what is a ds? I'm new to all this!

Melodrama100 Fri 09-Sep-11 13:59:19

LIZS, your ds does sound extremely similar to ours except our problems weren't really picked up until the end of year 7 (by me). He has just gone into year 9 (3rd year senior) so I'm desperate to get everything in place so that by year 10 he is ready for his GCSE's. The Ed Psych suggested learning touch-typing but I was told by the SN Coordinator he would need to do that in the holidays. Very frustrating - he is at boarding school otherwise I would do it with him in the evenings. I'll see what they say tomorrow.

Does anyone have any experience of Fairley House or More House schools? I would rather he stayed in mainstream but if they can't or won't give him the help he needs, I guess I will have to look at other options.

LIZS Fri 09-Sep-11 17:14:02

I believe there are online packages - would he be motivated enough to do it himself ? Once a laptop is established as his normal method he should be allowed to use one in public exams. I think you'd need an Ed Psych recommendation that he needs that type of school and possibly a more formal diagnosis. Many ms schools can and will cater for mild SpLDs whcih doesnlt soudnot be the case where he is presently.

ohappydays Tue 13-Sep-11 21:08:04

What about a private school which is for children with dyslexia and related difficulties

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