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What exactly does 'additional needs' mean?

(3 Posts)
aelinora Mon 08-Oct-12 17:16:43

Hello all... new to this section of the boards... but looking for advice for DS, who has just started Yr1. He's 5 (Jun birthday) and I thought he was basically doing OK, just wasn't very 'academic' and needed a bit of help here and there- I'm not one for pushing kids at his age and figured that like a lot of boys it would click for him later but it seems the school are rather more concerned than me...

To sum up - at the moment he is in the extra support groups for literacy and numeracy and a special handwriting group and has some help in class (he was in there in Reception as well) and they've had him assessed in school for by a speech and language therapist and an occupational therapist who are both going to be working with him. From what I can tell from the report they sent me his language is not bad, his fine motor and balance not so good!

His reading and writing are fairly non-existent. He can mostly do his name and he can copy or write words if you talk him through letter by letter. He can pick words out for you on a page, but not read them himself and phonics and blending are a mystery to him... He's also been seen out of school (at their request) by a the NHS speech therapist who said he would benefit from help with speech sounds - but as the sessions would have meant me taking time off work every week and a long journey we haven't been able to go to them. She didn't seem overly worried and agreed that he had intelligible speech etc, just had issues with some sounds.

From my point of view all these things have slowly and steadily developed and improved in the last year - his speech is clearer, his lego skills and climbing and drawing are better - admittedly his reading and writing haven't really got anywhere significant, but I know children are all different and soetimes take a while to 'get it'. He has no problem grasping concepts, he's bright, he picks up on visual things incredibly quickly, he's very musical and creative (sometimes rather too imaginative) and his memory is fantastic... he was the lead in his drama club play last summer and he's learning the piano :-)

Anyway - to get back to the point of all this, today the school called me to ask me to come in as they feel that even with all the extra help he's having they think he has 'additional needs' which we need to discuss 'as soon as possible'. I'm not sure what more support they could be supplying? Is this them talking about a Statement of Needs or just more of the same? Or about getting him an extra classroom assistant or something?What do 'the next steps' mean? Should I be pushing for this or against it? I have no worries about being open about him struggling and am quite happy for them to do whatever they think he needs, but I'm not sure what more they could be doing with him!

I'd like to not look like an idiot in the meeting, lol!

Thanks and sorry for the novel!

LIZS Mon 08-Oct-12 17:55:36

I would think they want to refer him for formal assessment to identify of there are any other underlying reasons behind his problems. Probably initially to a paediatrician or an assessment centre with various specialists, depending on your local system. Have you had his eyes and hearing tested recently? Is he clumsy, floppy, fidgetty, easily distracted, have problems doing a task with several steps remembering each and the order, better with visual prompts than listening etc

Presumably he is already on School Action so the next stage would be SA+ which involves external input. The outcome of further assessment would determine whether applying for a Statement is then appropriate at this stage or if there are specific approaches (such as one to one to keep him on track in classor a particular therapy ) which could be tried and then his progress reviewed.

aelinora Mon 08-Oct-12 19:07:12

He is long sighted and wears glasses (for the last 2 years) and used to wear a patch for a squint when he was younger, so I'd always put his being behind in writing and drawing down to the fact that before he had his glasses close-up work must have been hard for him. He had glue ear and poor hearing as a toddler which resolved itself and was a late talker.. his hearing was tested again this summer and the lady described it as 'not great but within normal parameters'.

He's kind of clumsy and figety but only like five year olds are (I think!)... Thanks for that, I'm just starting to work out the whole Action, Action Plus thing!

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