Attention SEN

(5 Posts)
Tullippa Mon 30-Nov-15 17:17:37

Hi there

I was wondering if anyone can help me, my son is in year 4, aged 9 and has a 'moderate learning difficulty'. I have just had a meeting with my son's teacher and his 121 teacher. His report was as always D's, needing additional support in everything.

He is under speech and language therapy following an ed psych assessment a year ago. that was very detailed and informative, and required him to see a speech and language, it was not so much for his speech, but his understanding. Last week he was assessed again, and his ACE sentence comprehension subtest came back at percentile rate 2% (severe delay). Although these are supposed to be invaluable , i feel we have never got anywhere with them. And we just get told the same thing, his attention is terrible. He has no behavioural or social issues, lots of friends, he just cant keep up.

The teacher feels he is unwilling, and she said everyone is doing a straightforward task and she still has to go over and prompt him.I think she knows he is struggling but also frustrated with him daydreaming, and drifting off, and not following instructions and needing regular reminding, she said he is also very easily distracted and also distracting. she said she is the only teacher on her own most of the time, so if my son isnt being taken out with the social group he does or 121, then he is just basically behind, and its his own faulty. I think they are clearly really exasperated with him, and just glad he is a polite boy in class.

I do home tuition a lot at home with him, he is incredibly reluctant, it is very trying, but we do it and get through it. His maths is year 2 level, and we do dynamo at home. He has two main interests, and will not budge on these, and that is football , he doesnt play or want to, but he goes to the matches and just loves talking about it, his other interest is minecraft.

following this meeting, they are now going to put in place a good work reward system, but other than that, I hear the same thing, and I dont know what to do to help him progress better or quicker.

I have looked into working memory problems, and dyscalculia, which to me shows the signs of, but school are unsure, as am I!!!! I dont really know what more I can do.

He was behind with his speech but eventually he caught up, and always quite obstinate about what he wanted to do. Socially he is fine, a bit shy, but definitely okay in this area, can be a little chatterbox. But he just shuts down, Maths is so hard to practice at home because he gives up so so easily, please can anyone give me any help on this or experience of this.

Flanks Mon 30-Nov-15 19:41:43

Hi Tullippa

A great description of his and your experiences, thank you for sharing.

Firstly, try to avoid becoming over-anxious about the ACE score. It is not uncommon to remain in the same percentile, even with support. Just as baby's born with a certain weight tend to track their weight curve through the majority of their development. If would suddenly jump in ability that is of course something we would want.

It is entirely possible that the SLT is keeping him tracking that curve, it is also possible that he will kick on a bit more and suddenly, although it becomes less likely the older he becomes.

Clearly the school are struggling to meet his support needs. It sounds as if the teacher is caring but unable to care enough for your boy because of the class size and lack of support. It is not uncommon for the best use of support to be a prompt. It sounds as if you need to be in the beginning of a discussion about EHCP (if you are not already) because his individual needs are not being met. He is now in that crucial window of beginning transition, the curriculum will start to shift and aim him towards secondary school, so it is even more important for him to be better supported and prepared.

If I may dare to advise, I would try to curb the extra home tuition as much as you can bear. It is so important for children to have the home environment as a safe place where they can express themselves differently and therefore learn differently. However, if you can replace home tuition with games then you may have a different level of success. Dice rolling games, card games and even well selected computer games can all add a valuable level of learning without it being explicitly 'tuition'.

Minecraft can be an outstanding teaching tool, try setting him challenges with a reward system for completing it. Can he build a house using 3x3 blocks? Can he take a bundle of blocks and create two equal sized piles? Can he build objects, count up the blocks to discover the 'area'?

At its core, dyscalculia is an unexpected failure to acquire maths skills, normally typified by a difficulty in recognising that size/orders of magnitude can be represented by numbers. It is difficult to diagnose because it is often hard to decide whether the maths difficulty is due to an alternative underlying cause, or because it is a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) relating to maths. With MLD, the profile will generally be difficult to read with regards to SpLD. For example, in the case of your boy, it may be that his difficulty in comprehension is impacting his ability to take instructions, therefore making maths difficult. Therefore it would be intriguing to know if he can do these things in minecraft, because if so it would suggest he has a concept of numbers and size etc, which would be useful information!

Apologies for the severely long answer. You are experiencing a story that is (sadly) not unusual, the key is to get the school to recognise his need. It may be that the best way to do this is to return to the EP for a re-assessment, requesting him to look for evidence of a SpLD, I would not be surprised if his last report made a suggestion that further investigation could be done. If he does find something further, then the school have a choice and mandate to respond, and if they fail to respond appropriately you can pursue them in other ways.

I hope that helps somewhat!

Tullippa Mon 30-Nov-15 22:52:37

Dear Flank, I am truly grateful for your reply, it's really helped, because it absolutely consumes me the worry, and pressure when you read what is expected of him in year 4. tHe teacher said he is really struggling, but she feels because he isn't paying attention, and I can understand this. he will get another assessment from the ed psych, on the results last time. I get incredibly low over it because I don't know anyone in my social circles who has kids struggling, they are all either average or above average. I know I shouldn't, but I feel I've failed him - and because of the pressure of the curriculum I bet my son feels I am obsessed with him getting stuff done. yOur advice has been invaluable and made me take a step back, I need to enjoy him more, rather than feeling disappointed.

The teacher gave me an example where the class were given an activity, and she said of course Everyone understood, except .... and She then had to kind of one to one him, but he was perfectly capable. so she is clearly frustrated, but not in a horrible impatient way, just exasperated. I think when I hear things like this I am embarrassed, nothing worse than 'he was the only one'

He loves Minecraft but only as a game on Xbox, absolutely adores it, and creates beautiful worlds on it. i have another son who is 6 and very different, has a wide variety of interests, loves board games , dice frames, dominoes, but when I try snap and all the other fun board games , we have tonnes of Lego, he just hasn't the patience, he will toddle off and play football in the kitchen, so it's these two things - Minecraft and talking about football! which I am not particularly good at!!! I am good at all the other games and fun stuff, and we go out on our bikes and play footie which he loves, but home is a safe haven for down time, I must not lose sight of that, and he loves home, he is a real home bird !

thank you very very much for your long answer! I so appreciate it.

Anomia10 Tue 29-Dec-15 14:41:43

I'd ask to speak to the speech therapist. What were his other scores on ACE like? A delay suggests just that - the child should catch up with his peers eventually. Is there a disorder in one or more areas of language? The lack of attention could be that - or the symptom of a child switching off because they don't comprehend. I would not pay attention in a physics lecture, because it would be right over my head!

Does the speech therapist observe him ever in the classroom, because a child's performance in a test 1:1 in a nice quiet room is quite different from functioning in a busy mainstream classroom, where language is delivered at speed? I'd ask the speech therapist about it.

figureofspeech Wed 06-Jan-16 08:39:01

Have you had him assessed for autism as he sounds very similar to my son.
He was diagnosed 2 years ago and is now in an assisted classroom with other SEN children with in a mainstream school so he experiences the best of both, very small class 8 kids max plus all the facilities of a mainstream school. He has improved so much as he has an education plan tailored to his needs delivered by very experienced SEN teachers. Speak to your SENCO/SALT/GP, just because you have him assessed for autism doesn't mean that he has it. It's just a way of ruling things out if he's not affected by it and getting him the right support if he is.

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