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Recently diagnosed dyslexic son being kept in at lunch to finish work, is this fair?

(20 Posts)
23balloons Tue 01-May-12 17:09:21

I am feeling furious right now & plan to approach his teacher tomorrow. Briefly, I have always suspected he was dyslexic, cannot read fluently, very slow, very messy writing bad spelling etc. I recently paid for a diagnostic assessment and the assessor verbally confirmed dyslexia, said he had slow processing and trouble with long term recall, he had a vision test last year and this showed his tracking and processing problems. I have told the school and written a letter and asked for a meeting before his SATS (in a couple of weeks, he is in y6).

At parents' evening recently his teacher was implying he was lazy and would struggle to keep up at secondary school which was one of the reasons I finally went ahead with the diagnosis. She said she had been keeping him in at lunch to catch up on his work. Afterwards I felt I should have protested at this but I didn't at the time. Since I told her he was dyslexic and I would have a report soon I assumed she would realise why he wasn't keeping up. Today he has told me he has been kept in at lunch this week and will have to spend tomorrow lunch break doing work in the Heads office. I am toatlly furious as he is a very energetic boy who loves sport and I feel he needs to run around at lunch time to burn off energy.

I am not sure what to do should I wait for the report knowing he will be kept in again tomorrow or should I complain to his teacher in the morning?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

zipzap Tue 01-May-12 17:37:09

Speak to her tomorrow but rather than going in all guns blazing to start with, ask her what is being done to support your son now that he has a diagnosis. Not just now as in this term, but what practical measures are they going to put in place to help him with his work, taking the dyslexia into place.

Kind of roll that into saying that you are worried that now you have told them that he is dyslexic that he is being kept in at lunchtimes to do more work - and that you think this is discriminating against your son in 3 ways:
1 - it's effectively punishing him for having dyslexia
2 - it's marking him out as different to his classmates - whether they think he is being punished or whether they understand about dyslexia, it's something they could then use to tease or bully him (not saying that they do or would - but you want as many reasons to have in your arsenal against this teacher's sanctions on your son)
3 - it's actually making him worse - because he is not getting his lunchtime exercise like the rest of his class, he is therefore going to be more fidgety and less able to concentrate in the afternoon, which is going to make things even worse in the afternoon for him

If he was a lazy child then why didn't the teacher keep him in sooner or tell you about things earlier? Keeping a child in to catch up on the work over lunch time is a punishment for a lazy child on an odd occasion when they are behind. It is not an appropriate strategy for helping a dyslexic child catch up. Not least because if this is the only answer the school has as a long term strategy (or even for more than a day or two) then it is going to be very disheartening for your son as he realises that he will basically be forefeiting all his lunchtime run arounds for catching up. Which is back to the lazy child thing - one thing to do this as an occasional punishment to buck a lazy child up, completely different when that is the only way a hard working but dyslexic child can't cope with the amount of work in the time available.

It's tricky because I guess at some point he does need to catch up with the work. But not if it means losing all his lunch times.

And it still doesn't answer the question of what are the school doing to help him with his dyslexia? Even if they don't have the piece of paper in their hand to confirm it, as professional teachers they should still be able to come up with some strategies to get things going. One thing to say they have to wait for the piece of paper until they can apply for extra ta funding or whatever they might get, another for the teacher to say that if the class have to answer questions 1-10, then your son should do q1-6 or all the even numbered questions and have more realistic expectations from here on in.

good luck - hope he gets it sorted. My dsis had dyslexia that wasn't diagnosed until she was about 14 in a very academic school and really struggled as a result of it. She had some help from a fantastic tutor who she is still in touch with 20 years on, who really got her on track, then in teh 6th form she changed to a much smaller, less academic school where she she had a much better experience and did really well so fingers crossed you had a similar happy ending for your ds's struggles!

23balloons Tue 01-May-12 19:09:20

Thank you for your long and informative post. I also posted in AIBU and have plenty to think about now. I am mad at the school for more than this but don't want to go into other issues here.

I am going to wait for the report and approach the teacher when I have all the facts in front of me. I just feel that she has not taken any notice of me telling her I have had him diagnosed. She hasn't offered any additional help. He said he is getting so behind as often he doesn't understand the question and puts his hand up but because he isn't in the bottom group it takes her a long time to come to him. According to him she spends most of her time with the bottom group.

Anyway, I feel he is being penalised for being dyslexic and not being as fast as he should be. His vocab isn't great as he never reads and believe me I have tried, I have bought so many books but you cannot actually force a child to read if they dont want to and he doesn't want to because he finds it so difficult. I do personally think he is being punished but again I will speak to the teacher when I have read the report and point out why I think he shouldn't have to work through every lunch break.

Thanks for answering, I think from the 2 threads I have gained a bit of perspective but I am still furious. confused

MsDrinkwater Tue 01-May-12 19:26:49

This happened to my ds in primary school he is now doing his GCSEs and cannot wait to leave school. He is dyspraxic not dyslexic but the label 'lazy' stuck and followed him through secondary school. Still now his teachers don't understand about his slow processing speed. I train teachers about SPLD and I am amazed at how little a lot of teachers know or care.
Ask the school to allow him another way of recording his work as well as his writing, use of a scribe, dragon dictate - a free download is available, talking tins. Teach him to type asap, he can use a laptop in class and then in exams especially in secondary. Look into getting an alphasmart some schools have them already.
Keeping him in is a punishment and he needs his break. Try to be positive with the school but stick to your guns they need to change the way they teach him not punish him and destroy his self-esteem but not all teachers/schools understand this. Good Luck.

tethersend Tue 01-May-12 19:31:09

I didn't ask on your other thread 23balloons, but has your DS been tested for access arrangements (reader/scribe/extra time) for his SATs?

23balloons Tue 01-May-12 19:36:46

Thank you MsD that is the way I feel. Instead of punishing him they should perhaps be suggesting ways to help him, rather than just making him catch up with his classmates.

I currently work in HE, in a creative institute, the number of undiagnosed students who leave secondary school having never being diagnosed or offered help is partly why I paid for the assessment. It is unbelievable how little the majority of teachers know about dyslexia or the suffering it causes children who don't receive any help.

I will definitely look into all of your suggestions, the assessor did say he should learn to type & also he should have access arrangements for his SATS but it is too late now - the Head of his school told me without even a second's hesitation.

Sorry to hear about your son. I am hopeful that the secondary school he is going to will take the report seriously. They have a very good reputation of helping children with SEN achieving their potential. Time will tell.

23balloons Tue 01-May-12 19:40:06

Hi tethersend - crossed posts. He will not get any access arrangements for his SATS as the Head point blank refused to even consider it. I have looked it all up on line with the Testing Standards Agency and believe he would qualify under exceptional circumstances which can be applied for up until 1 June, considering he apparently had no special needs on 27 Feb but is now dyslexic?

I am going to see what the report says before I go down they route insisting on this as I feel it would be an uphill battle and I am not sure if it is worth it? He major problem is writing and that is teacher assessed, I beleive.

tethersend Tue 01-May-12 19:43:39

I am not sure that that's correct about it being too late for access arrangements. It's been a while since I did them, but children can break wrists the day before the exam and get a scribe and extra time.

Feenie is the expert on access arrangements (I think it's Feenie? Will check)... Might be worth checking with her.

tethersend Tue 01-May-12 19:46:42

They should be testing his writing speed and his reading. You don't have to be diagnosed with a SpLD in order to qualify for access arrangements. If he's unable to keep up with his peers in class, I would question how they think the SATs will be able to accurately test his ability given that there may well be a writing/processing speed issue.

tethersend Tue 01-May-12 19:51:04

My info may be out of date, I hasten to add. Will look for an expert.

23balloons Tue 01-May-12 19:52:34

Thanks for the advice, one of the tests he did was a writing speed test. He had to write for 10 minutes and thats when the assessor noticed how difficult he found writing. She suggested he should have a scribe, a reader etc. but it is so close now, I think a reader would the best thing for him as he constantly misreads words and questions.

My biggest concern for him is that he will totally misinterpret a question due to his poor reading skills. He is very good at maths but has started to drop down a bit purely due to misreading questions.

I have to go out now but I will check back later, any advice on access arrangements would be greatly appreciated.

Feenie Tue 01-May-12 21:38:30

Hi, sorry to hear about your school's failure both to recognise and help your ds with his dyslexia. sad

The head is right that the deadline to apply for extra time has passed - but actually, we have found that a child has to be so far behind that it's not really worth applying for, although we have tried in the past.

Help that does not need to be applied for and just needs a form to be filled in and attached to the paper can include:

- the use of a reader (but not in the reading test). Your ds would qualify if he routinely receives reading help to read questions in day to day Maths lessons. Would also require a separate room/adult to sit the test.

- the use of scribe if your ds physically writes very slowly/finds writing very difficult, and again is used to receiving this kind of help day to day.

- the use of a transcript if your ds's writing was very hard to read (this would entail someone rewriting some/all of your ds's writing after the test.)

-the use of a word processor (again if this is normal classroom practice. Spell/grammar checkers would need to be disabled)

- rest breaks if your ds finds it hard to concentrate for this length of time (the test must not be discussed between breaks).

- a prompter, again if your ds has severe concentration difficulties - ahould be a child's LSA, if they have one. Prompters should only be used to draw a child’s attention back to the task. They should not advise the child on which questions to do, when to move on to the next question or the order in which to attempt questions.

Hope this helps - sounds like you urgently need to speak to the school about this. All of the above ammunition information can be found here.

Let us know how you go on smile

23balloons Tue 01-May-12 21:52:40

Thank you. The problem is he isn't currently getting any help in class (that I know of), probably why he is so behind? He does say he is in the lowest reading group and he sometimes uses headphones and listens to sounds but that is all I know. Will post an update when I have had my meeting. Probably next week.

Thanks for taking the time to reply, I appreciate it.

MsDrinkwater Tue 01-May-12 22:07:24

In my experience SATS give a false picture of where children are at. A lot of schools use all sorts of ways of manipulating the figures - I worked at a school where children had a 4 in SATS but had a reading age below 8!
Move on and work with his secondary school who sound supportive, it is just negative energy otherwise and makes you both feel bad. Let your son know that you understand how hard he is working and that you will support him and that it is wrong that he is being made to finish his work in this way. It means so much to have such supportive and understanding parents. He is a lucky boy!!

Specialistassessor Sun 31-Mar-13 23:08:08

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Badvoc Wed 03-Apr-13 18:50:22

Check out to help your son.
It is an eye tracking and convergence software.

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 09:00:10

Children can request that the teacher who is info dilating read any question on a papers other than English reading papers.
'Emergency access arrangements' can be made for your son if the school contacts the ACCESS ARRANGEMENT body to explain recent assessment's findings. NB a dyagnosis of dyslexia is NOT in itself sufficient to justify the Privision of such arrangements (additional time, a scribe, etc.). However, your son's results (select appropriately from assessment) will be ample (eg processing speed, handwriting speed, reading speed / accuracy, etc.).
School / class teacher are clearly not taking this into consideration so I'd make an appointment with the SENCO ASAP!
I'm a dyslexia assessor (PATOSS listed).

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 09:01:34

Access Arrangements telephone number: 0300 303 3013
Worth having your report (assessment) to hand.
Take a look:

difficultpickle Sat 06-Apr-13 09:10:32

This thread is a year old! I hope the OP got support for her ds and he is now settled at secondary school.

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 09:14:04

Silly me
I hope so
I'm new to Mumsnet
How do I see threads I'm on by the way?

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