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DS needs assessment - a bit complicated

(9 Posts)
eggsareoffagain Tue 27-Sep-11 10:51:06

Hi everyone, I would really appreciate any advice as I feel a bit swamped by our current situation with ds(8).

The short version is, his teacher has asked for him to be assessed asap as she has concerns about his behaviour and learning. The first issue is that we live overseas and will have to fly somewhere and find a clinic/hospital/private ed psych or whoever. There is nothing where we are - the dcs go to a small international school.

This is ds' 4th school already, because of moving countries every 1.5-2 years. Me and DH and teachers have always had concerns and kept an eye on him, and I don't suppose all the changes have helped. I guess now we have to face the fact that this is probably not just something he will grow out of, but I'm very wary of formal diagnosis as with the life we have future schools can simply refuse to take him if they feel they cannot support him.

These are the main issues according to the teacher:

- He does not concentrate for "more than about 15 seconds" and needs
constant refocusing.
- He doesn't listen in a group setting.
- He seems to find writing almost physically painful, writes very little and struggles to structure ideas.
- He struggles with mental maths (nowhere near knowing any times tables).

She says she feels he is a really capable boy but is not achieving any targets.

My additional observations would be:

- He is very chaotic and disorganised, his mind is constantly elsewhere.
- He is very challenging behaviourally, still has frequent explosive meltdowns and does not want to accept that everything cannot be 100% his way.
- He is a very emotional and loving little boy, also extremely jealous of his sister and often bullies her.

Those of you with experience of this "process" - should we be looking at assessment by psychologist? School will not say what possible diagnosis they have in mind, but I suspect they are thinking of ADHD/Dyslexia/Dyspraxia.

Any advice appreciated!

eggsareoffagain Tue 27-Sep-11 11:15:08

Actually, thinking about this more, I'm rather pissed off at the school for telling me he needs urgent assessment but not being able to do it themselves, or even sugest who/where should do it. Kind of leaves us nowhere. You would think that when a school costs 25,000 US dollars per year they could help a bit more!

IndigoBell Tue 27-Sep-11 11:20:36

ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia are frequently co-morbid, so he could well have all of them.

However they're all diagnosed by different people smile

ADHD is diagnosed by a child development paed,
Dyspraxia by an OT
Dyslexia by an EP.

(Although this varies by country and county)

I'd want to start with an appointment with a child development paed.

I can totally see why you're worried about 'labels' and private schools. But he has all these issues. Even without a label most schools won't be able to support him and will therefore not want him. There is more chance of him getting the help he needs with a label than without.

eggsareoffagain Tue 27-Sep-11 11:27:39

Thanks, that's helpful. I think the school would support him, they have very small classes (12 in his year), one teacher assistant per class and some learning support person too. The issue is more when he's older, moving to new schools, they can just refuse.

dolfrog Tue 27-Sep-11 17:07:27


I think a part of the problem is your lifestyle, if your DS has the issues you have mentioned, then the most important issue for him is consistent support, which can vary from town to town let alone from country to country.

As IndigoBell mentioned each country has their own preferred professionals to carry out specific types of diagnosis, which really depends on where each country is regarding the scientific understanding of these issues each country may be. So having a diagnosis done in one country may mean very little in another if the profession that made the diagnosis does not match their specific requirement.

Developmental Dyslexia has three underlying cognitive subtypes, auditory, visual, and attentional. Dyslexia is also language dependent, so the main underlying causes of dyslexia can vary from one country to another due the the variations in the language orthography, although underlying cognitive problems will always have an auditory processing , visual processing, attention deficit origin.

Dyspraxia is better know internationally as Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can vary in interpretation according to the country you are in. These issues are still on the cutting edge of international research

eggsareoffagain Wed 28-Sep-11 00:54:20

Thanks again.

DH is against even getting any assessment done - he feels that the school just want a label for ds. He had similar issues as a child, when there was much less awareness and understanding of these kind of problems. He feels that there's nothing you can do apart from learn strategies to go around your problems, and that for him the label has been just a huge stigma (he was diagnosed with dyslexia around 1980).

We'll see what happens. I feel that as it stands we and the school are quite on top of the issues anyway and that ds has good support, so sort of agree with DH. I wish there was someone locally who could maybe carry out informal assessment, but there's not.

IndigoBell Wed 28-Sep-11 07:07:49

He feels that there's nothing you can do apart from learn strategies to go around your problems - this is absolutely not true.

You can do an awful lot to properly help these kind of problems today if you want to.

indiastar Wed 28-Sep-11 12:20:46

Your ds sounds exactly like my ds also 8. Everything you have written is exactly what my ds does. He is dyslexic and has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. Next month they are looking into autistic or aspergers traits.

eggsareoffagain Wed 28-Sep-11 15:55:28

That's interesting. I thought poor impulse control was a big feature of ADHD and this is not the case with ds, he is careful and sensible. I would say he has normal boy activity levels, if I compare him with other boys his age. He is very fidgety though.

His reading is pretty good now, took a while to get going but now fluent and teachers have no concerns. I think he sometimes doesn't understand what he reads, and gets frustrated when I question him about the story or the meaning of a particular word. This year there is much more writing responses to reading, and although he's not finding it easy, I can already see improvement since the start of the year and he writes a page of an exercise book with not too much stress. The spelling is ok, no worse than some others in the class. But, he needs me to sit next to him otherwise he will drift off, and also needs help to structure what he's going to write. But this is quite a new type of homework for him, so I don't think he's doing too bad really.

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