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SPD and DCD - advice needed on how to deal with the school.

(14 Posts)
Paralllelogram7 Tue 03-Nov-15 16:09:51

Hello, please is anyone able to help? I have a meeting with my 6 year old DS's school on Thursday to discuss the way forward following his recently diagnosed Sensory Processing Disorder and Developmental Coordination Disorder. The school to date have not been willing to admit any difficulties with DS's performance, despite his struggles, and his teacher doesn't see the need for an OT assessment, although she has agreed to one. Last year's school report was all 2s. The meeting is with DS's teacher plus the school SENCO. They both have received copies of the independently gained reports from an OT, a Paediatrician and an Ed Psych, which outline his diagnoses. My DS has many sensory issues and struggles with PE, ball sports, writing a story, maths, following group conversations etc. He has hypermobility, poor muscle tone and poor processing speed, he struggles socially, is emotionally immature and yet I'm told by his Ed Psych that he is a bright boy. Does anyone know if I have the right to request support for him, and how is the best way to go about achieving support for him? What do I ask for? What should I expect from the school? Many thanks in advance.

blaeberry Tue 03-Nov-15 16:33:24

My 6 year old ds also has dcd (dyspraxia) and has been attending a language unit but is shortly returning to mainstream. He struggles like your ds and has problems with his speech and language but the teachers describe him as one of the brightest in the class. My ds needs a full-time 1 to 1 TA, small group support (in a SEN base when we leave the language unit) and SALT. Last year he had weekly OT but that has stopped for now. However, the OT has got him a specialist chair to provide extra support. He has also been assessed for a laptop (awaiting outcome). Not sure how much of this would be suitable/necessary for your ds but that level of support probably requires you to request an EHCP.

Paralllelogram7 Tue 03-Nov-15 17:13:48

Thank you so much Blaeberry. I'm sorry your son struggles so much too. It's heartbreaking. Do you mind me asking - who does the assessment for a laptop? Do I request an EHCP from the council, independently from the school? Do I need support from the school to request an EHCP? Thanks again.

Babbafish Tue 03-Nov-15 17:41:56

If school do not think there is an issue then is there an issue????

The teacher and the school would prefer for SEN provision if it's required .... Brings lots more money into the school!!!!

Good luck with weekly SALT .... I've got a nonverbal boy with SLD who gets monthly !!!!

blaeberry Tue 03-Nov-15 19:05:38

Babbafish I am sorry your ds isn't getting the help you feel he needs. Does he have an EHCP? I'm afraid it is not uncommon for schools to not see issues especially if the dc is masking at school. OP reports the EP says her dc is bright - my ds is also a bright but I had to spend a year fighting off 'global development delay' which would have allowed his school to put his lack of progress down to that rather than his dyspraxia and would have prevented him getting a place at a language unit. Schools are also expected to spend, I think it is £6000, out of their own budget before they can apply for support so hardly an incentive to recognise SEN!

paralell my LA run a scheme for assessing who needs technological support. Not sure how it works in other areas. You request a EHCP from the LA. The school can also request it but you can do it yourself if they are reluctant. Their support is helpful. look on the IPSEA website to get started. Even if you don't qualify for an EHCP, they have to carry out an assessment of needs in response to a request.

StarfrightMcFangsie Tue 03-Nov-15 21:53:24

Schools don't get extra money for SEN generally. The get money, but as it isn't ringfenced they can spend it on things that will benefit lots of kids rather than just one and so it suits them to not see need.

WildStallions Tue 03-Nov-15 22:01:47

Nor do they have to carry out an assessment if you ask for one.

Unless he has very significant difficulties you are unlikely to get 1:1 or an EHCP.

I would instead (at this point) break down exactly what you think he would need and ask for them.

Physical things like a move n sit cushion, pencil grips, fidget toys and ear phones are relatively easy to get.

It's different teaching / 1:1 which is hard to get. If his class has a TA he should be able to get some 1:1.

Do you want him to have a handwriting intervention? Or a quiet space to go to when he's overwhelmed? Or help getting changed for PE?

Make a concrete specific list (which should be in the private reports) and ask for them.

blaeberry Tue 03-Nov-15 23:27:57

Sorry - listen to wildstallion. My ds needs are probably higher than most other DCD/dyspraxia so may be jumping a step or three.

Paralllelogram7 Wed 04-Nov-15 14:14:30

Hi, thank you everybody for your inputs. All really interesting. Even before the meeting Iget a strong sense that the school don't see a problem and are not interested in helping. I will have to wait and see how they respond in the meeting.

Thanks again, I really appreciate your support.

knittingwithnettles Sat 07-Nov-15 14:44:37

If he has dyspraxia, diagnosed dyspraxia he should be on SEN support, and you should be receiving input from the SENCO at school, in the form of what action they are taking to help, targets, someone to ring up if there are issues (such as might arise from poor social communication, like bullying or misunderstanding instructions) They would probably target him if there was a Nurture group in school (ours had one) or a social skills group.
If the homework was something involving cutting or colouring very neatly or writing they should be giving him work which is differentiated, so not telling him off for poor presentation etc, possibly less writing required, closed worksheets where he can show his knowledge with fewer written words, other activities that both challenge him and he can gain mastery of.
You will probably have some good suggestions for them from your reports as Wild said. Tbh I think there will be other six year olds in the class (unless it is a very selective school) who also struggle with these things, poor attention, poor handwriting, poor motor planning, poor social communication and the teacher will probably be trying her utmost to develop skills in a lot of children, through group work, encouragement, team building, enjoyable activities. Unless he is being really disruptive at school or at home, reluctant to attend, making no progress at all, it might be that the teacher does feel he is being sufficiently supported AT THIS STAGE. (I say this as a mother whose PFB was only diagnosed with dyspraxia at 13 (and had obviously had it long before), but struggled a bit through primary in all areas you describe, but still enjoyed it a lot and came out with 5's in his SATs) Short of taking him out and tutoring him within an inch of his life I cannot see that the one with dyspraxia and spd would have ever got a 1:1 or an EHCP in the real world, where so many other children in his class had so many similar difficulties. Others may disagree but school is not perfect and never can give 100 percent for every child, still they learn from each other too, if they are happy in the school environment, and ds1 WAS.

[unfashionable opinion]

If the difficulties you describe are making you all miserable, and his life at school miserable, that is the time to start asking more serious questions of school and seeking out an EHCP. In the meantime he should almost certainly be on SEN SUPPORT and they should be putting funds towards his support from that earmarked amount they are getting on his behalf (every child gets a nominal amount whether they are SEN or not)

Paralllelogram7 Tue 10-Nov-15 20:33:55

Thank you so much knitting. The school claim that ds is attaining at an average level so doesn't require additional support. They say that the PE team haven't noticed any coordination problems and that he doesn't struggle any more than any of the others with any of the subjects. They say that just because he has a diagnosis doesn't mean he has learning difficulities. Also, that lots of children struggle following group discussions, take time to answer and have difficulty generating ideas for writing (which is what last year's teacher fedback the ed psych). We could see from the last Parent's Eve that his written work on the wall was below that of his peers (this was before we had received a diagnosis). We know from the agonising challenges we face every weekend to complete his homework that writing for him is a real problem so I do not understand how they can say he is attaining and am at a loss as to what to do next. They have offered a 25 minute exercise class every morning till the end of the term that develops fine and gross motor skills. It is a group of about eight children. Of course I am grateful but they don't recognise his sensory needs and they don't seem to think he needs support. He does.

Myst97 Thu 17-Dec-15 19:52:05

You could be describing my daughter! This time last year, we were in the situation of the school saying she was fine and various OT and even consultant paediatrician reports saying she was not. We (and the OT) spent the rest of the year trying to convince them otherwise in order to get some support provided. Do you think that the school is simply ignorant or willfully unaware? As I believe the former would suit a different strategy to the latter.

Flanks Fri 18-Dec-15 08:19:57

If you wanted to play hardball then you can say the following.

1) A diagnosis is evidence of SpLD.
2) If they dispute this and refuse to make reasonable adjustments they can be sued for discrimination. (Law is not even slightly ambiguous)
3) Even if he is achieving averagely compared to his peers, this is no evidence at all for their position. SEND reforms, educational legislation and all spld research agree that failure to achieve is not criteria for recognising spld. The recent send reforms placed a legal obligation on class teachers (in first instance) and the school to recognise difficulties proactively, not reactively. Failure to do so leaves them open to neglugence claims.

Either way, a letter to Ofsted is appropriate and is often effective.

Dipankrispaneven Sat 19-Dec-15 15:36:16

The school is clearly unaware that the legal duty under section 19 of the Children and Families Act is to have regard to the need to support children to achieve the best possible outcomes. That means that it is not OK to say that a child doesn't need support if he is, with a struggle, just about reaching average standards if the reality is that with support he could easily achieve that and more.

The real question is whether he's making progress, and that doesn't mean minimal progress, it's progress against his own baselines and as compared with other children.

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