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Ed Psych says uses Dragon school says no!

(17 Posts)
happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 09:51:15

It has been stated by two ed psychs one 5 years ago and the LEA one five weeks ago that my DS who has very low processing ability but high IQ uses Dragon in exams but the school says he has been assessed by a person unknown as not needing Dragon. I thought the school has to follow the Ed Psychs advise is this correct?
Also my DS only follows instructions if they are written out (very low score for working memory) schools says tough he has to follow verbal instructions even though they acknowledge he cant??!! Please help before I shoot someone!

Ihavenobum Mon 19-Nov-12 10:15:41

Well in that case your Ds is unable to access the curriculum so the school are failing on their part if the school have a website have a look through their policies or contact the LEA's educational psychology department to see what they have to say maybe they can point you in the right direction or intervein on your part, hows his progress at school? sometimes if a Dc is attaining average targets the school will see this as being sufficient.

BeeMom Mon 19-Nov-12 14:05:50

If you are talking about Dragon Naturally Speaking, it is EXCEPTIONALLY poor at recognising the speech of children or any individual with less than perfectly clear speech. Bee has recently started using predictive typing (she starts the word and after the first 2-3 letters it begins to give her choices to select from) and she has expanded her ability to put her thoughts on paper massively. We discussed Dragon at school (her brother tried and failed with it - at 14, he now types 120 words a minute) and everyone agreed it was a poor choice for Bee (and pretty much any other child, too

If that is not what you are talking about, I will go away and hush now grin

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 14:58:09

Bee My DS was professionally assessed for it four years ago (he's now 15) and found to be able to use it. He has exceedingly clear pronunciation and is also exceedingly articulate (backed up by ed psych assessment) and able to affectively explain his idea out loud but when he's typing/writing everything comes out in disorganised bullet points. We would at least like to give it a go and Im happy to pay for it. He's also been touch typing for 6 years and types about 25 words a minute despite numerous courses etc.
Ihavenobum (fab name) he's now under performing becasue as the curriculum has got harder and thus more complicated he cannot follow verbal instructions therefore cannot complete homework or assignments controlled assessments. The staff seem to think that they just have to keep telling him what to do but it doesnt make any difference although if he was given a chance to discuss it rather than just being talked at he would remember. But he understands things best if they're written down and he can carefully read it over. He has what I suppose is a photographic memory he reads it once carefully then can remember every micro detail.

Nigel1 Mon 19-Nov-12 16:06:31

A number of points come to mind.
1. You might want to ask the school the qualifications of the latest assessor and why they went against the LA EP view point. That EP is likely to be rather underwhelmed by this decision. Ring the EP and let them have your fight for you.
2. Check the latest exam arrangements guidance to make sure that it is worthwhile having the fight in the fist place.
3. On of the best overviews about voice dictation equipment is at The key message is that particularly for young voices the PC needs to be trained and the hardware upgraded, more so on an old PC.
I've used such software for years. Its definitely getting better but still room for improvement.
Hope this helps

BeeMom Mon 19-Nov-12 17:56:25

If you think he would benefit from it (and I apologise, DS was 10 when he was assessed, and has a lisp - the school bought it for him anyway and it infuriates him... gets less than 25% correct) then you might want to take a look at the Broderbund website. They are gearing up for their "black Friday" (day after US Thanksgiving) sale and e-mailing out FANTASTIC deals. I saw Dragon at more than 75% off last year.

If he struggles with touch typing, then either Dragon or predictive type might be good - but Dragon costs less (if you are trying to make a case with the LA).

Sorry for stepping out of line, I was not aware he had had so much success with it already - bloody LA clearly has NO common sense (particularly since purchasing the software would clearly be cheaper than the cost of completing the assessment that is supposedly blocking him from accessing it now, right?)

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 18:19:22

Thanks Bee of course you weren't stepping out of line.
Nigel1 many thanks for your link to latest exam arrangements, I have read to document (well not all of it) and it states that a scribe/dictation package can only be used for children who cant use a word processor. The problem I think we have is that although my DS can physically use a word processor then ultimately my cat can ores the keys but he is unable to type the information he wants to onto it. We repeatedly hear comments from the teachers like he's fantastic verbally but when he it dome to writing typing this information onto paper theres not enough of it or theres no detail or its not properly organised or coherent. Hence we believe as does my DS that with dragon he could "write" what he's desperate to say but unable to process onto paper because of his poor processsing skills. Hence the recommendation by two ed psychs that he uses Dragon or something similar.

catstail Mon 19-Nov-12 20:30:17

If it does say the Dragon can only be used in exams for children who "cant" use a word processor then my guess would be that if he can type at a speed equal to the average writing speed of his peers then the Dragon wouldnt be allowed for exams.

My DS has extremely slow processing and relatively high iq too, so I am looking into Dragon as an option right now as well. I might be back in a minute or two!

catstail Mon 19-Nov-12 20:44:08

In case you havent spotted them, the exams regulator JCQ has these comments regarding the use of a scribe:

2.7.1 A scribe should only be used where a candidate cannot use a word processor with the spelling and grammar check disabled and the use of a transcript (see section 2.9, page 30) is inappropriate in light of the candidate’s needs.

2.7.4 Where the centre has approval for the use of a scribe and where it reflects the candidate’s normal way of working within the centre, as appropriate to his/her needs, the candidate may alternatively use ... voice activated computer software which produces hard copy with predictive text when the candidate dictates into a word processor. Software (a screen reader) may be used to read back and correct the candidate’s dictated answers;

2.7.5 A scribe or voice activated software will be allowed where a candidate has a substantial impairment which affects his/her writing and/or spelling, and reflects his/her normal way of working within the centre.

2.7.5 (cont) So as not to give an unfair advantage a scribe will only be awarded if a candidate has a substantial impairment which results in:
• a spelling accuracy score in the below average range (a standardised score of 84 or less); or
• free writing which cannot be read by others; or
• free writing which is grammatically incomprehensible; or
• free writing which is produced so slowly that answers cannot be fully recorded even with extra time allowed. (The candidate’s handwriting speed as a standardised score or a words per minute score, being in the below average range for their age.)

Sooo, consent for a scribe will be given where the child has a "substantial" impairment affecting writing. This is defined as a writing speed or spelling accuracy standardised score of 84 or less.

If you get consent for a scribe you will be allowed to use Dragon or similar if it is normally used by the child in class.

A transcript isnt suitable as an alternative to a scribe (ie Dragon) in your case because the issue includes speed of writing and not just legibility.

What were DSs standardised scores in the two EP reports for writing and spelling?

catstail Mon 19-Nov-12 20:47:45

hmm, except I still dont like 2.7.1 which doesnt explain what "cant" use a word processor means

Nigel1 Mon 19-Nov-12 20:50:10

Get the school to submit the two EP reports and not submit the other. EP report will trump an assessors report anyway.

catstail Mon 19-Nov-12 20:53:37

sorry, going on and on here.....

how about if you test his typing speed under similar condition to those used in the last ep assessment. If it was, for example, 10 minutes on a subject of your choice, then get him to do that on the typewriter. If the typing speed is at ot below the standardised score o 84 for WRITING then noone could argue that he should use a word processor only

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 21:30:35

The only scores I have these scores verbal comp 126 perceptual reasoning 115 working memory 97 processing speed 65 general ability index 123 ah just found writing score 89 8 words a minute spelling 91 maths 79 these are from old report new one none of this was measured in the recent report because apparently little changes.

catstail Mon 19-Nov-12 21:55:42

the problem Ive got with access arrangements, is your sons scores may not be poor enough to qualify, because they arent far away from average - but they in no way reflect his intellectual ability, which is much higher than (below average), so it seems that if you are bright but have difficulties theres no help for you, but if you are average with difficulties, there is help. Am in similar boat

happygardening Mon 19-Nov-12 22:03:57

catsail So what do we do? Im thinking of shooting the teachers who don't seem to want to make any effort to understand my DS's difficulties. We've been having this problem since reception and I've virtually given trying to get someone to understand it doesn't seem that complex to me up but teachers in any school and it doesn't matter if we pay or not they refuse to get it and just keep repeating the same stuff. He doesn't write, follow instructions copy of the board etc etc so shooting seems the only way forward!

catstail Tue 20-Nov-12 11:29:14

Infuriating isnt it.

can you find out the words per minute required at his age in years and months to be under the crucial standardised score of 84?

If so I think you should try to replicate the assessment for handwriting as well as you can at home on several occasions.

If you are getting scores below or near 84 I would try and get someone to reassess the handwriting.

I might also do the same for typing, and if this is below the necessary handwriting speed it adds weight to an aguement for using dragon.

There may, as school says, not be much change, but if he is older now then the speed should have gone up, therefore he would now score more poorly

Nigel1 Tue 20-Nov-12 21:52:08

I received details of this half price offer on Dragon which may be of interest to those following this thread.

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