Specialist dyslexia school refused to take dyslexic son - advice needed please(6 Posts)
Hi all, it's been a while since I've posted on these boards as life has been more than hectic these past couple of years. I am desperate though and this is the only place that can potentially give me some help and info re my DS's issues.
DS is 10, in year 4 (was in Scotland before and he started school at 5.5 so a year behind in English schools). Since he was in nursery we knew there was an issue with him but we didn't know what. We all thought ASD but as time went on I thought there was more to it. He wasn't assessed immediately and they just sat on it saying it might right itself but they put him on the waiting list for an ASD assessment. In the meantime he would cry when looking at books, couldn't remember any words even though we looked at them 2 minutes before and couldn't do any simple arithmetic. That said, school said he was a bright child with a vivid imagination who thought outside the box. We had him assessed privately when he was 6 against the schools wishes for dylexia and they confirmed that he had an extremely spikey profile and that he had significant SPL issues with expressive and receptive language. School didn't want to know and said he was making good progress, the only issue they saw was him not socialisng normally which was true. We got a good SPL therapist privately who worked with him for 2 years and she didn't feel he was autistic as he is empathetic and is not at all rigid, she said it was his severe language processing that was causing his problems. Anyway, over the years we have tried various programmes, Fastforword, Davis programme, Tinsley House, IPP for retained baby reflexes, all the usual Toe by Toe, Jolly Phonics and the rest... We had him assessed 18 months ago by one of the top EP's in Scotland who said he was severley dyslexic with most probable ADHD and we should consider medication as his concentration was non existent as was his working memory and processing speed. At that stage we had to go abroad due to work which was a huge mistake as no resources for him so we have now managed to get back to the UK. He is now in a mainstream primary in Oxfordshire who said he is behind but ok in mainstream and not a candidate for an EHC plan. We think differently and are going for one ourselves. We live in Abingdon and took him along to the Unicorn School who have said they can't take him as gap too wide, he is currently at 1a for reading, writing and maths but did jump from 1c to 1a in 3 months at this school.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, they also said he has autistic traits but have said dylexia is his primary need and they would have taken him if they had another couple of kids at his level but it just wasn't viable for the school to take him. He is having a trial at Appleford in a couple of weeks and if they say yes then we wil move to Wiltshire to start the EHC process, if they say no then I don't know what to do. We can find work around these areas but will be hard elsewhere and given that DS would literally hate to board it reduces our options. We have 3 other kids to consider, all younger than him with my youngest also having special needs in that she has Downs. I am desperate and feel that everything we try is failing. He knows his condition and is begging us to help him. He told me the other day that he doesn't think anyone can help him but he trusts me when I say we will, I don't want to let him down. We are going to have him assessed by a good psychiatrist to say yes or no to ASD/ADHD but I'm sure he is somewhere on the spectrum as it is so vast.
Does anyone have any words that could give us some insight as to what is happening here? Is this normal for schools to lie and say all is ok when it really is not?
Thanks so much for reading this mammoth post, I just feel so isolated with this and no one else really understands except other mums going through the same crap.
I am not sure I can help much with the schools but have you considered using reading software at home to help him read. We used this with DS Easy Read. It is quite expensive but it is a fantastic way for children to learn to read.
It works with pictures instead of phonics. So you might have a picture of a cat for the "short a" sound and that is placed above each sound in a sentence so the child just has to learn the pictures and their associated sounds. This doesn't take long to do at all because They have a rhyme associated with the sound and the picture so they are easy to remember. It is hard to explain but it means children "read" text very quickly by "reading" the pictures which are written alongside the words. The gradually they switch to reading the words instead of the pictures With practice and over time it really seemed to work.
DS learnt to read using this and once he could read school was much easier for him. It took about 9 months of ds having 5-6 20 minute sessions every week at home to get him to point of being able to read comic type books etc. DS reads pretty well now and read short novels etc
Another software that has a lot of good feedback is this [https://www.headsprout.com/] and tried it for several months using it 3-4 times a week with DS but it didn't work for him as it just uses phonics (albeit in a very efficient and easy way) . DS really struggled with phonics generally as he he had to remember too many sounds and would just forget them. He ended up getting frustrated with Head Sprout which he didn't with Easy Read but it is much cheaper and lots of people on here have very good things to say about it so may be worth trying first if money is an issue.
I have no expertise in dyslexia, but my ds2 had ADHD (severe) HF autism, sensory processing disorder and various other comorbid diagnoses. His mainstream school fobbed me off with the "he's fine" excuse, for years. In the end I applied for statutory assessment myself, and felt vindicated when the LEA issued his statement. (school were very pissed off with me over this, but I didn't care!)
If you are planning applying for EHCP yourself, don't delay, get the process started asap.
IPSEA have a huge bank of letters / FAQs / and a helpline relating to all areas of special needs. Have a look at their website for info.
Are there any specialist dyslexia charities who might be able to help you? Our local Autistic Trust were very helpful when we were undergoing statutory assessment.
Thanks ladies, it's great advice form you both.
BumblingBovine - I have already looked at easyread and think I'm going to give it a go. I have tried so many things and spent so much money when nothing has really worked but this does look good so it's great to hear you got success.
AnimalsAreMyFriends - you must have felt so vindicated. How dare his schoo be pissed off, why should they be , they should be hanging their head in shame. If we are successful which I'm confident we will, I'll be letting DS's last school know and I'll be telling them exactly what I think of them. I know not al schools are the same and our school here have at least appeared to listen and are not so obstructive, we also have quite a few teachers in our family who have been appalled at DS's first school. Thanks for the advice re getting the EHCP process started. we are lucky in that we can (just) afford a lawyer, I don't have the time or energy any more with a full time job and 3 other young kids!!
I don't know how much help I can be, but I am a primary teacher with a special interest in dyslexia.
I would be happy to discuss your son's situation in more depth with you.
Are you able to PM me?
good luck ange...like the sound of EASYREAD-it sounds diff from other reading schemes which he may have developed a phobia to just about!...like just looking at a book could upset him! what a shame!....would the singalong disney films,say,help?[unthreatening and happytime use of words on screen]
thinking of you
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