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Dyslexia - high CAT score and very poor working memory

(6 Posts)
Surbitonsam Thu 17-Oct-19 09:11:28

Hi, I am looking for some advice. My son is 14 and I recently contacted his school about what I believe is his dyslexia. Loads of 'red flags' over the years; late speech and stammer, very poor handwriting and spelling but also a really talented chess player and Lego whiz. I worked with him out of school over the years which has frankly been exhausting, but I assumed that this was normal. He passed his SATS almost achieving all level 5s. Was looking at his books at the beginning of term and his writing is still dreadful, random spelling and punctuation etc. He is also extremely disorganised (lost 8 zip cards in first year at secondary school...). Although not tested, I believe dyslexia runs in my husbands family.

The school aren't interested as he is not falling behind - in fact he is in top group for maths and keeping up. However, he comes home from school exhausted, and I don't see how, with his current level of writing, he will pass his GCSEs. The school shared his MidYis (CAT) score with me (I knew nothing about this and wasn't aware he had even taken it at the beginning of Y7 with the rest of his year). He scored 126 which places him in the top 4% for ability. He is definitely not achieving at this level.

A family member is a SEN assessor and at my request tested him for dyslexia earlier this year. He came out in the lowest 4% for working memory. I was horrified (not fully understanding what this really meant) and if I am honest, threw the report in a draw and tried to ignore it.

I have now shared the dyslexia report with the school and I am arranging to have a full Educational Psychologists report. The school are still not interested.

Is it normal to have a high IQ (or potential ability score) with such a low working memory? There seems to be little information available about this on the web. I am really hoping some lovely Mumsnetters will share their experiences/ideas with me, as to be honest, just feeling so anxious for my son...

HeadofFESEN Thu 17-Oct-19 20:49:11

Do you have the breakdown of the MidYis test? each area will have given a different score? The non verbal reasoning score is often used as an indicator of ability but it is only an indicator!

Further testing maybe beneficial to see if any of the test results you have are misleading you, computer tests can sometimes throw an adverse score, without an assessor present to judge how the student interacted with the programme it can be difficult to get an compete picture of how he engaged with the test.

Your other points do suggest a barrier to learning such as dyslexia, schools should already be looking at what basic support will enable him to over come this, i.e. laptop or dictation software, or handwriting interventions etc.

It is worth noting that often there is a difference in ability and attainment. linier curriculums (GCSES etc) are measures of attainment not ability. Unfortunately this is a restriction of the current education system meaning it may not be the best system for unlocking your sons potential.

daisybank2 Fri 18-Oct-19 11:42:11

My dd is very similar. Not diagnosed until year 12. School weren't interested as she wasn't failing, but she certainly wasn't fulfilling her potential.
Went to new school for sixth form where she was diagnosed as dyslexic. She's on 95-99th percentile for verbal, spatial etc but 4th percentile for processing and has poor working memory.
Now she gets 25% extra time + laptop for exams. Also uses a laptop in lessons to take notes, as the screen pretty much acts as her working memory and helps her 'process' her thoughts and work.
You have to push your dc's school to accept the diagnosis (if he gets one). I was told that even if my dc didn't get an official diagnosis, she could still use a laptop in lessons and exam as it's at the discretion of the school.

Surbitonsam Fri 18-Oct-19 21:59:58

Thank you so much for the messages. Wow Daisybank2, almost exactly the same scores as my son! How is your daughter doing? Did she pass GCSE's ok?? I get the impression that is is a fairly unusual combination. School have said he can use a laptop and have said yes to using in exams too.

Catwoman1985 Sun 20-Oct-19 23:02:12

I know lots of bright children with weak working memory or processing, sometimes dramatically so, and the vast majority are supported within mainstream schools. It can be done...if the school are willing!

daisybank2 Mon 21-Oct-19 12:40:27

GSCEs all passed and she did do well, but didn't fulfil her potential.
Think she would have failed English if we hadn't got her a tutor in year 11.

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