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Dyslexia "dx" (not a surprise) for DD (7), meeting with SENCO this week, what should i expect/ask

(9 Posts)
Whatnowffs Sat 17-Nov-12 11:13:24

I finally got the school to listen, which means I can no longer stick my head in the sand with the "oh, shes the youngest in the year" hypothesis.

The school say after some sort of "screening" that doesn't give a diagnosis but indications that DD is dyslexic (moderate to severe), her teacher said that we could have an external test done and she suspects she would rate as severely dyslexic but not to waste our money as it wont change what the school do. To be honest, we can't really afford it, but would scrape the money together if we felt it would help, we woudlnt be able to do this just yet, but maybe in the summer? (would have to save up).

So, we have a meeting with the SENCO do discuss their report and a way forward for DD.

I am very happy with DDs school and DD is so very happy there (the most important thing) but it doesn't have the best reputation in terms of SENs so i am worried that she wont get the specialist help if she needs it?

What questions should i be asking?

Thanks guys x

telsa Mon 26-Nov-12 09:38:55

Bump, as I am quite keen to hear some advice as may be in same situation

smee Wed 28-Nov-12 11:00:21

Hi Telsa, My son was diagnosed in the summer. He's 8 and has just started in Yr4. We got a private assessment as though the school promised he'd be assessed, they couldn't say when as they had to wait for the LA Ed Psych to be available. The full report's quite helpful as it shows strengths and weaknesses, but the school should have access to an Ed Psych, so I'd push for a proper assessment from them, which should be free.

We've had to push like crazy for help for our son. He's not profoundly dyslexic and is doing okay, so it's easy for the school to just say he's fine and ignore him. After a lot of meetings, we've not got the following in place:
* small group work on handwriting / basic spelling each day for 15 mins.
* he's just started using a computer programme once a day to help with his reading/ spelling too.
* after Christmas they're going to provide him with a 1:1 session each week with a teacher who's been trained in Dyslexia. She's going to work with him on techniques like Mind Mapping, so visual ways of planning work, etc.
* they've started allowing him to dictate some of his creative writing.
* he's going to be allowed to use a laptop for some subjects to get him more used to technology.
* in class, he's given print outs of white board work so it's in front of him and easier to assimilate.
* they've said he'll get extra time for tests and that probably when he reaches year 6 SATs he'll have a teacher to scribe for him.

This is just an inner city primary school, who are doing their best, though it's been more than a bit of a struggle to get this far. I think from all I've read though that they're now being unusually good.

MarshmallowFarm Wed 28-Nov-12 11:26:40

wow smee you have done brilliantly to get all that help set up!!

My experience of getting DD (12) help for dyslexia both in the state system (OFSTED rated "outstanding" state primary and a private school apparently all geared up for dyslexia) has been v. disappointing. i think you have to push, push and push some more. There will always be a parent who shouts louder and unfortunately, in the case of dyslexia which doesn't come with a statement, it seems to be up to the school really as to how much help they offer. At DD's state school it was only the dyslexic children who had been diagnosed v. early on (Y2/3) or who had parents who were teachers themselves so knew what to ask for who got the 1:1 support.

Now DD gets taught in a small group for certain subjects and is given extra help with phonics, spelling and organisation. Some teachers will also give her hand-outs rather than expecting her to make notes/copy down from the board and this helps enormously. Thus far she also gets extra time in tests/exams and this enables her to get through all the questions.

I think a lot of the needs of dyslexics go beyond reading/writing. They can be very forgetful e.g. forgetting their homework tasks if not written down; forgetting to have the right books in their bags etc etc and as they get older they need schools to understand this, rather than dole out detentions for forgetting things.

What has been really helpful for DD as she has got older is learning study skills - how to make mindmaps, how to revise, how to read a text and sort out the information. These skills help with everything a child does at school as they get older and can really help to improve attainment.

There's tons of computer games/programmes that can help too eg. Nessy, Wordshark.

A proper assessment will highlight your DS's areas of weakness and suggest appropriate strategies/computer tools to support his learning. I would push for the ed psych assessment from school to build up a full picture of DS's strengths/weaknesses.

It's also worth looking into coloured lenses even if he doesn't need glasses as such as he may have tracking/convergence issues that hinder his reading - I think it's called Irlen's syndrome? DD's reading improved massively with coloured lenses.

smee Wed 28-Nov-12 12:05:01

Yes, should have said that, my son's got the Meares Irlen syndrome problem too. To find out , just ask your DD what she sees when she looks at a page of text, so do the words stay still, or do they move? I had no idea this was happening with my DS, as his normal vision's fine and a normal eye test won't pick it up.

Basically if she says yes, you need to find a Behavioural Optometrist, who will help her find a coloured filter. The filter stops reduces visual stress and makes the words stay still when they look at them.

Just to give you an idea, when we took DS, once they'd found the right tint, they did a test. He had to read a paragraph of non-sensical words in a minute. First time with the tinted overlay he read 98% of the words and made just two mistakes. Second time, same words but without the overlay he only read 73% of the words and made no end of mistakes including missing out whole lines. I was genuinely amazed at the difference it made. We're waiting for his glasses to arrive. Really hoping it makes a massive difference for him.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 29-Nov-12 10:50:00

DS1 has a statement for dyslexia (which is the cheapest SEN and so the lea prefer this as a primary need to ASD) received earlier this month. But the statement only deals in parts 2 and 3 with needs/provisions for cognition and learning. He has 15 hrs LSA in ms on the statement but we are going to tribunal. He is supposed to be in year 7 now but has not been able to make the transition. Another boy in his class at primary also had a statement for dyslexia. The other boy did not receive interventions until the school were forced (by the lea after an assessment refusal) to make them (teaching touch typing, Accelerwrite/Acceleread, voice recorder etc) for DS1 who was on SA+ at the time. There is an awful lot that the school can and should do without a statement but the problem is that this is not legally enforceable until a statement is in place. Then it has to be carefully worded so that there is no wriggle room.

Have a look at the SEN policy of your la - there may even be a specific one for dyslexia and the Rose Review 2003 on dyslexia. Chances are you are not getting what you are entitled to. Is Reading Age and Spelling Age assessed regularly (? twice a year)? Is ratio gain being calculated? Are DC receiving Wave 1, 2, or 3 interventions? 1:1 sessions with a peripetetic specialist teacher?

nettlefairy Fri 14-Dec-12 05:51:34

Hello - my dd (8) year 3 is now being tested for dyslexia over a year after her teacher first flagged this up as a concern and after a lot of pestering on my part. This follows a year of her feeling huge anxiety over her writing (she basically gave up for over a term) and lowering self confidence as her school friends overtook her in reading and writing and spelling. The school now seem to be giving it more attention but I want to know if I've been let down or whether it's normal to just "wait and see" with kids in year 2. We have been using a private tutor for the past year which has really helped but now I'm wondering if this missed year is going to prove to be a real problem and that she will have picked up bad habits as coping mechanisms etc. I'm interested in reading about the Meares Irlen system as my daughter has mentioned that words move when she's tired and she often skips sentences - I'm in Sussex and not sure where to even start looking into this. I'm feeling very overwhelmed - on the one hand happy to be finally getting some answers to a very stressful year and on the other realising things are going to carry on being really difficult for my dd sad

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sun 16-Dec-12 11:27:40

'wait and see' was the bog standard response throughout primary school until we got indi assessment by an EP - reception to the beginning of year 6. It is like ground-hog day - each new year teacher is convinced they will succeed where others have failed - let's keep monitoring the situation because I am sure things are about to change. Stark regression is recast as 'apparent lack of progress'. Diagnosis is not necessarily a solution - one LA EP told me that even if DS1 were dyslexic he would not recieve more or different interventions that the ones he was already receiving (not true btw - they receive phonological intervention -acclerwrite/acceleread - but their effectiveness is questioned).

Undiagnosed dsylexia can cause huge self-esteem issues - see Robert Burden - author of MALS (myself as learner).

nettlefairy Fri 21-Dec-12 17:57:14

thanks for your response - I'm going to find out more and be on the case!

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