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Word Finding Difficulties

(14 Posts)
anice Tue 18-Sep-12 06:26:14

I suspect that DS2 (age 8) has word finding difficulties. I know it not as severe as many of the problems experienced by children who are written about on these boards, but I'd really appreciate a little help.

DS's teacher said yesterday that although he may have this problem, the school would not be able to do anything about getting a diagnosis because he isn't far enough behind. (She was really nice and understanding about it, also she seemed really knowledgeable on the subject).

He is gradually dropping down the class though, from top set in year 1 to bottom third in year 4.

Does anyone know if there is a way to get him privately assessed and then if the school has any obligation to accept the assessment and provide him with an IEP?

I am still hoping that he doesn't really have a problem at all, and that he'll just begin to start improving, so please don't think i am wishing this on him.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 18-Sep-12 09:41:05

He's not making adequate progress then, which is the criteria for a statement.

anice Tue 18-Sep-12 10:00:50

Thank you. I didn't know that. All this is new to me.

I told that teacher that all I wanted from her at the moment was her opinion about whether DS is having difficulty expressing himself in the class. She said she'd hear him read and come back to me. Then she warned me that the school would not be able to do anything.

DH and I are not rich but I would not mind paying for a private assessment and maybe even some therapy if it speeded things along.

moosemama Tue 18-Sep-12 10:18:00

I'm a little confused as to how hearing him read will help her identify word finding and expressive language problems.

My middle son (also 8) has what sounds like similar issues. He is often hesitant to answer when spoken to and doesn't speak up in class. Yesterday he went up to his teacher after school to give her a letter he'd forgotten to hand in. He stood there for ages unnoticed and then when he did get her attention he just thrust the envelope forwards and said "letter". She is lovely and gently asked him to try and use a sentence instead of just one word to tell her what he wanted and he just looked at her blankly (which a common response for him).

I raised my concerns with last year's teacher, who was at great pains to tell me he is fine and they haven't noticed any problems at all at school. I was also told that I was making a fuss about nothing because ds2 isn't ds1 and doesn't have ASD. angry I know he's not ds1 and although he has some traits, does not have ASD and I didn't need a teacher who knows absolutely nothing about ASD to tell me that. Apparently because ds1 has SNs, ds2 can't possibly. [angry)

Oops sorry, went off on a bit of a rant there.

I have been monitoring ds's language and am pretty sure there is an issue there. As well as struggling to express himself, he seems to have a delay in processing when people speak to him and when I asked him whether he finds it easy to understand people he said he sometimes has to wait until the words get into the right order before he 'get's it'. He also still reverses some letters and lots of numbers.

We are currently dealing with another issue of his at the moment (hypermobility) and have been having lots of appointments about that, so I haven't pushed about the language thing as yet, but it's next on my list.

That said, my ds isn't falling behind at school. He struggled through reception and year one, was on the SEN register for additional group and 1:1 work with learning his letters and basic reading and writing, but by the end of year 2 had caught up and has been comfortably in the middle of the year ever since.

Check out your local PCT's website, because you can self refer to Speech and Language Therapy in some areas, although there will almost definitely be a long wait. Alternatively, contact your school nurse, HV or GP, who can all refer.

You can go private, but it isn't cheap. Any Speech and Language Therapist should be registered with ASLTIP.

Finally, you could think about asking your GP for a more general referral to check hearing, speech and anything else he/she feels might have an impact on his language skills, as there is often a lot of cross-over between different issues.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 18-Sep-12 10:31:22

She's gonna hear him read and get back to you?

Okay, so she obviously knows NOTHING, and you don't need to pay any attention to her opinion that the school will or can do nothing.

You probably need a SALT assessment but tbh, it was the independent EP that picked up DS's word finding difficulties.

She did a test where he could show he understood things, but couldn't explain them. So she would show him a picture and ask him to point at a roof. He could do that easily, but when she pointed and asked him what it was he wasn't able to say.

moosemama Tue 18-Sep-12 11:03:44

I thought SALT would be a good starting point, as although it's hard to get therapy, it's easier to get referred to a SALT via GP, HV, School Nurse, self referral, than it is to get the school to bring in an EP.

If you can get an Ed Psych assessment that would be better as it would be more comprehensive and look at other areas, not just speech.

anice Tue 18-Sep-12 11:20:39

Thanks for your replies, but what is SALT?

I think the teacher meant she'd listen to him read and then ask him questions about the text. Maybe I was just confused though because I also described to her how the reading book he has from school is at a much lower level than the stuff he reads at home.

Its DS2 I am talking about here. DS1 is in year 6 and doing really well academically. I mentioned that DS2 was reading DS1's (much, much longer and more complex) books for enjoyment and I am certain that he gets what they are about. So, maybe all the teacher meant was that she'd assess to DS2 to see whether or not he needed to be moved up a reading level.

Now I am confused! I thought we were talking about DS2 having problems explaining himself but maybe the teacher had dismissed that conversation with her "the school can't help" conversation and all she is planning to do is assess whether DS2 can cope with a slightly more complex reading book!

moosemama Tue 18-Sep-12 16:16:46

SALT is Speech and Language Therapy.

It's probably me that's confused things. Wouldn't be the first time. Sorry. blush grin

She could well have meant she would hear him read and then ask him some questions about what he's read, but honestly, a teacher really isn't qualified to assess this sort of thing. If you, his mother, feel there's a problem, you are far better placed to know than she is, too often teachers etc are quick to dismiss parents as fussy or precious, when really they should welcome parental input as no-one is a greater expert on a child than their own parent.

If the teacher is saying the school won't do anything, make an appointment to see the SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) and outline your concerns to him/her. Again, teachers are not qualified to assess children for special needs and if you are concerned they should not just dismiss it out of hand. The SENCO can refer to either a Speech and Language Therapist (often just referred to as SALT) or and Educational Psychologist (EP) and some SENCOs have additional training to enable them to do very basic level assessments themselves (although strictly speaking for the most part they are not qualified to do so).

If the SENCO refuses to bring in the relevant professionals to assess your ds's language skills, I would recommend a trip to your GP to discuss your concerns and ask for a referral from there.

Firsttimer7259 Wed 19-Sep-12 09:53:18

Cant really help with the assessment stuff. Just wanted to say that my sister who has dyslexia had/has word finding difficulties - like her memory retrieval system is scrambled (so she can remeber everthing about an object just not the word for it}. Her school friends used to play 20 questions with ehr to find out what it was whcih was sweet. She is a very happy successful adult with a degree from extremely prestigious art school - if thats in any way reassuring. But I do know my mother had her professionally assessed and there was specialist remedial input to help her find methods of dealing with the different way her brain works. She ahs lots of tricks now she uses to help her read, focus on conversations etc, take notes (she cant take in aural info and write simultaneously). From what I know dyslexia is v indiv and expert help I think made a huge differnce to her.

anice Tue 09-Oct-12 11:14:13

Bit of an update...

The teacher assessed DS's reading a couple of weeks ago and moved him up a couple of book levels. But she never got back to me about whether she perceives a problem or not as we'd agreed. I am not sure if she has forgotten or hoped I'd forget or ???!

I saw the GP last week and described it to her. She asked me to go and make a report about DS's NC levels, get a comment from his current teacher and one from last year's teacher. Write it all down and then come back to see her next week. I have made an appointment to see the teacher tomorrow.

The GP said that often parents and carers pick up on a problem before professionals notice anything amiss. She also said that she can refer DS for assessment to <<wish I could remember what she said>> or the school could refer DS to an education psychologist.

I have to call my private medical insurers to ask if they will cover the assessments for DS before I see the GP next. However, I can't remember what the specialism is called. Can anyone help me out??

anice Tue 09-Oct-12 11:20:43

Also, DS jumped 2 NC levels when she moved him up those bookbands. He is now level 4C for reading and he's just starting year 4. (Only level 3C for writing though). I should be pleased but I am not because I still think there is a problem and I don't want the school to use this as an excuse not to address it.

moondog Tue 09-Oct-12 13:41:17

My lovely colleague (the one you met with me in Birmingham) is a big fan of Sensible Pencil but I note this is not available on Amazon at present.

I also experimented with pencil grips (I bought about 10 different types) but quickly got rid of them all. I'm not one for pathologising or accommodating a difficulty, hence my loathing of weighted vests, wobble cushions, wrist grips, sensory rooms and all of that other creepy 'Special Needs' equipment the Special Needs industry would have you paying through the nose for.

No thanks.

moondog Tue 09-Oct-12 13:41:53

Sorry-wrong thread. grin

anice Tue 09-Oct-12 14:22:37

no worries, moondog!

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