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SEN - school no help - who should I go to next?

(10 Posts)
leesylou Tue 21-Jun-11 22:39:21

Hi, I'm new to this so please bear with me, I'm not up with the lingo yet.

I have a dd who is 8, she is in yr 3. She was born prem at 29 wks and was late reaching her development milestones, which we put down to being prem. She struggled to learn to dress herself and still struggles with buttons and zips. She isn't confident catching, throwing and kicking a ball, can't skip unless others are holding the rope and can't ride a bike. She has a very poor memory and is struggling at school with reading, writing and maths.

For the last 2 yrs me and dp have been back and forward to school voicing our concerns over dd's troubles. She is very aware now that she is unable to do what her friends are doing and it is affecting her confidence. School have put her on 10 wk 1 to 1 courses for reading, writing and maths and she has shown some improvement but she doesn't seem to learn well in a classroom setting. She is still slow at reading, constantly confuses letters, ie reads when as then where as there and vice versa and has trouble when trying to sound out certain words and join sounds together. Her understanding of grammar is very poor and struggles to write stories, poems etc. She also still regularly writes the d as a b. Spelling is not good, she spells the way she speaks, which isn't a good thing as she constantly mis-pronounces words. Maths knowledge is also poor, she has to use her fingers or something visual to add and subtract. She struggles to count backwards from any number higher than 10 and is struggling to learn the time.

On the other hand, dd is very artistic, loves dancing, singing and acting and can watch a film once and know the words the second time she comes to watch it. Sometimes we wonder if tv is the only thing she can relate to! She seems to need visual stimulae in order to process things.

Me and dp are at a loss as to where to go for help. School don't seem to be taking our concerns seriously. They have acknowledged the poor memory and have commented on the fact that when she is spoken to she struggles to understand what is being said, looks blankly a lot. She struggles to explain herself too. She knows what she wants to say but can't find the words to use. They have said they will draw up an IEP but they said they would do that 2 months ago and still have not come back with one. When you read about dyslexia, dyspraxia, inattentive add, apd, our dd seems to fit the bill for all of them yet no one at school seems to agree.

Do these things ring any bells with anybody else, can anybody advise us on where to go for advise, should we be seeking an assessment from someone? Please somebody, any advise would be gratefully received.


StarChartEsq Wed 22-Jun-11 00:17:20

Hello Leesy,

You need look up those disabilities again and make a list of all the aspects of them that your dd ticks a box for and take them to your GP and request a referral to a developmental paediatrician.

Sorry to hear that the school don't seem to be listening, but it isn't personal, it's the way things can be sometimes.

Submit in writing your concerns, that they promised an IEP and ask them when you are to expect it.

TotalChaos Wed 22-Jun-11 07:25:13

agree with StarChartEsq about going to the GP and following this up via the medical route. You might also want her to get a hearing test and speech therapy referral as well, given you have concerns about her spoken language and understanding of language.

mum0fthree Wed 22-Jun-11 07:40:25

Agree with posters above, go to GP for referral.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 22-Jun-11 08:33:08

Would also suggest a referral to a developmental paediatrician via the GP along with a referral to an occupational therapist. Also look at websites like the Dyscovery Foundation.

If the school is not listening this can also be because they do not have the resources to actually help your DD get her additional needs met. I would have words with the SENCO at the very least and insist that the IEP for her is drawn up this week. Longer term I would be looking at other schools.

I would also now look into applying for a Statement; as it is now she runs a high risk of falling still further behind her peers.

You are her best - and only - advocate here.

IndigoBell Wed 22-Jun-11 09:27:29

Dyslexia is not diagnosed via the GP or any other medical professional.

The only person who can dx it is an Educational Psychologist.

So as well as going to your GP and asking for a referral you need to ask school to refer her to their EP.

School are reluctant to do this because they have very limited amount of EP hours and they prefer to use them on kids with behaviour problems. But make a real fuss and keep on demanding she is seen by one.

If school won't put her on the list to be seen by the EP, then ring up parent partnership and enlist there help.

However, as well as getting her seen by the EP and a paed, don't stop doing everything you can. Eventually you will get a dx - and it won't change anything. Eventually you will get a piece of paper saying your kids has XYZ and it won't tell you anything you don't know.

So what you also need to do is work out what you should be doing and what school should be doing and start making that happen..........

I think the reason she fits the bill for dyslexia / dyspraxia / ADHD / and ASD - is because they're all caused by the same underlying problems. There are many, many different clinics which offer to treat all of those problems. If you can afford it these are the places to start.

Here's a small sample:

Sunflower Treatment
Sound Learning Centre

The fact that you think she fits all of those conditions, make centres like this very likely to be able to help....

Triggles Wed 22-Jun-11 10:18:05

If the school is not listening, it's best to put it in writing. Put together a brief letter to the senco, stating that as previously discussed 2 months ago, an IEP needs to be put together for your child and you are concerned as this has not yet been done.

Don't let them put you off as stating it's the end of the school year, either, as the IEP will carry forward. We just had DS2's IEP review yesterday, and we continued a few targets forward simply because we knew he would possibly backslip a bit in the move from reception to yr1 next autumn.

I would also push for both referral by GP to paed as well as referral by school to educational psychologist. It's really hard to say exactly where your DD's difficulties are, as the conditions overlap so much!

And make sure that you remind the school that they are obligated to support her needs, regardless of whether or not she has a diagnosis. So if she needs more support, insist that they provide it.

dolfrog Wed 22-Jun-11 10:33:09


One of the Key issues you mentioned could be Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) which is a listening disability, or having problems processing sound sources of information, including speech.
APD causes problems in learning to speak. We learn to speak by imitating the speech we hear and process, which we then reprocess as the sounds of our own speech. Those who have APD have problems processing the speech of others which hinders the speech learning process.
APD also causes problems processing conversations, following verbal instructions, and we are not always aware that others are talking to us even though we can hear their speech.
Those who have APD have problems processing the gaps between sounds, which can be the sounds that can make up a word, or even the gaps between words. This creates the impression of a single blurred sound until we are able to process a gaps between the sounds. So those who have APD can not sound out words or use phonics. We need others to sounb out new words for us so that we can learn to imitate them. ( can be embarassing an adult who has APD lol)
Dyslexia is about having cognitive problems using a man made communication system the visual notation of speech, or processing the graphic symbols society chooses to represent the sounds of speech. There are three cognitive subtypes of dyslexia : Auditory, Visual, and Attentional. So an auditory processing disorder, a visual processing disorder, an attention disorder, or come combination of the three can cause the dyslexic symptom.
The confusion between d and b can be described by the graphic I use on my the bottom of dyslexia research collections web page the letters change according to how you spin the graphic, but the frog is always a frog from whatever angle you look at it.

This research paper summarises the results from Alexia (acquired dyslexia) research but includes a good review of the psycholinquistic models of how we learn to read Aphasia, Alexia, and Oral Reading (you need to download the full pdf file)

leesylou Fri 24-Jun-11 20:19:47

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. All your advice has been gratefully received.

I had an appt with my GP yesterday and mentioned my dd to her. She agrees she needs to be assessed and has said she will write to the paed clinic. The info about requesting the school put my dd on the list to be seen by the EP has been helpful. I will certainly be doing that, and yes I think it is about time I saw the SENCO. I haven't got as far as her yet and when I when you mention her name to my dd she hasn't a clue who she is! Says alot doesn't it.

Thanks again everyone.

Amieesmum Sat 25-Jun-11 22:42:40

Parent Partner ship have been fab to us when the school couldn't get into gear. They gave the senco a real shove in the right direction.

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