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So the school have finally screened ds 8 for dyslexia and its not that I could cry....

(46 Posts)
NotInTheMood Fri 08-Feb-13 11:14:33

As we are still none the wiser as to what it could be. Brief history: he was diagnosed with speech and Lang delay aged 6 had Salt for 6mths closed the case with no follow up etc saying he was progressing and the teachers could refer if need be etc. she was useless tbh and didn't give much help or advice. I stopped her from closing the case after 4 mths but she insisted at 6. Even now he misses off initial sounds of words so 'Cus' instead of 'because' or 'gotten' instead of ' forgotten'. He also uses incorrect language I.e I am older OF you instead of 'than'. He sometimes forgets words too. We constantly reinforce and model back to him the correct language but it doesn't always stick and he gets annoyed.

Anyway he has been struggling with phonics, reading and writing and is well below average for both. Despite alot of support in school and home progress is slow. He ticks all the boxes for dyslexia and it is also in dh family and so I was convinced this was the problem. He is disorganised, forgetful, reverses letters and words even his name he will write backwords. sometimes the right letters of the word are right but in the wrong order. Confused with pas and present tense. He finds it difficult to sequence or retain information for eg would struggle to repeat a given sentence or reverse numbers I.e 146-641. His reading is painfully slow and he has to sound out each word even 3 letter words. His writing is equally as bad as he has the ideas but cannot construct a sentence and put it down on paper as he forgets and finds it difficult to spell.

Anyway he had the dyslexia screening from the school and it came back with a few dyslexia tendencies so not enough evidence to suggest dyslexia as wrong category think it was a c. However it did highlight very slow processing which was painful to watch the teacher said and very, very poor memory skills. Any ideas what steps to take??? I've reminded them about salt and we have decided to re-refer. I'm annoyed with myself tbh as I should of done it sooner but he is my first child and so I have now one to compare it to seen what is and isn't normal. Where we live part of our accent makes us very lazy with our speech iykwim. That is why I was not happy there was no follow up or that I had to rely on the teacher.

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 11:28:03

Sounds familiar.
My son was the same, school did a screening test after much pushing from me and said he was fine.
Cue years down the line me paying for an EP report and guess what?
He iS severely dyslexic! He was less than 3rd centile for spelling and less than 15th centile for reading in year 4 sad
Good news - There is a lot you can do to help your son.
Check out the tinskey hiue support thread x

NotInTheMood Fri 08-Feb-13 11:43:46

Really they said the screening was really accurate and could only be used by professionals. Fgs I've spent the last year focussing on dyslexia and ignoring the speech and Lang in way which is a problem still although like you im still convinced he is dyslexic. There is a processing problem that's for sure. I mean what is with letter and word and number reversals he's 8!!! Ok will hope onto the thread.

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 11:55:34

Well, it's not.
And I would bet that it was a TA who did it with him, too.
Is your son on SA? Does he have an IEP?

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 11:58:31

A lot of the school's dyslexia screening exercises are very, er ... minimalist. The British Dyslexia Association has advice on how to access full screening [[ here].

As for the slow processing, my ds also has slow processing that was discovered as part of an an Ed Psych assessment for something else. In his case it was during the WISC IV assessment, done in school by the LEA Ed Psych.

I would book an appointment to see the SENCO and push for a proper assessment. Children with poor working memory and slow processing speed are at a huge disadvantage to other pupils, even without probable dyslexia and the school needs to properly assess the extent and impact of these on him.

My ds2 has similar speech, reading and writing etc dyslexic traits to yours, not bad enough for schools to be bothered about helping and supporting angry but he has coped with our help. I suspect he also has some processing issues and a recent Occupational Therapy assessment uncovered problems with sequencing, time, planning and organisation that we hadn't realised was such a problem to him.

He is doing ok in school now - Y4 - but had intensive 1:1 and group support in the infants from the tail end of Reception to the middle of year 2, which really brought him on. He's a mid-range student and happy and comfortable there. I regularly point out his reversals, mirror writing etc to the school and they dismiss it, bit having a friend who is not only severely dyslexic herself, but also a highly qualified specialist dyslexia teacher, I know that realistically I won't get any support via school for him. (Unfortunately she lives too far away to be able to work with him herself as well.)

Do go and have a look on the Tinsley House thread, as I believe it has helped a few people on here to help their dcs. It wasn't for me/us, but worth
considering as a means of supporting your ds yourself, but, I would recommend doing this alongside trying the school/ed psych route. If the school won't listen or get him assessed, I would recommend going to your GP and seeing if you can be referred from there.

Finally, as Badvoc also said, there is the option of paying for an independent Ed Psych report, which is £££s but would be a quick way of getting answers and evidence you need to push for your ds to get the support he needs in school.

Finally, don't blame yourself, just the fact that you are here shows you are a lovely mum and are doing your best to get his needs met. I was the same with my first-born and he didn't get his ASD dx until he was nearly 9, then to compound things, I was so busy concentrating on sorting things for him that I missed obvious signs that ds2 was struggling and he ended up being diagnosed with a physical disability, just last year - again at the age of 8! blush We can all only go on the what we know at the time and it takes a while to realise that you can't always rely on or trust some of the professionals who are involved with educating our dcs.

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 12:05:38

Moose..."minimalist" !!!
Love it!
Just the word to describe schools attitude to dyslexia, sadly sad
Moose gives very good usual smile
Personally I regret paying for an EP report as it didn't tell me aching I didn't already know and the school did not implement any of her recommendation. It's a big problem for parents of kids with sen actually...getting the schools to implement what they have been told to do/requested to do.
The way I seeif, I could have spent at £600 (yes, it's very expensive) on other things to help ds.
But, by all means do go down that route if you feel it is the right thing for you.

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 12:06:36

...oh, and should also point out that some schools and HTs will feel that as you paid for a private EP report you have paid for a dx too.

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 12:08:23

NotInTheMood - ds2 still reverses both horizontally and vertically, letters and numbers - in fact the only numbers he doesn't reverse are 0, 1 and 8 - because those are the only ones you can't reverse!

School insist he just needs to check his work for reversals and correct them - completely oblivious to the wider implications of what is causing him to reverse in the first place. angry

He also mirror writes and reverses his own name, will reverse and mix letters in words so, for example in a recent piece of homework, said became siad, because became becuase and captain became captian. He also writes m for w and n for u and vice versa and reverses 'e', 'd', 'b', 'p', 'q', 'j', 'l', i and g - and probably a few more.

School said no sign of dyslexia on their screening and wouldn't agree to any further testing than the standard y3 screeing. angry As Badvoc said, hardly any schools have fully dyslexia trained teachers/TAs/SENCOs and therefore the test is highly likely to have been carried out by someone with no professional training in dyslexia.

He has speech issues similar to your son, he would say older 'of' you and also says I 'writ' a story, I 'buyed' a game, despite us always modelling and repeating correct usage.

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 12:11:30

Sadly Badvoc is right about the attitude of many schools to independent EPs. Just thought, my friend is involved in a charity that does private dyslexia tutoring in her area.

It might be worth checking out if there is anything like that in your area, as you could get an awful lot of dyslexia support tutoring for the same amount as one EP report.

I have to take dd to nursery now, but I will see if I can dig out the details of my friend's charity and they might be able to advise you where to look if you aren't in their area.

NotInTheMood Fri 08-Feb-13 12:16:36

Ok thanks your help and advice. He does have a IEP and is on the school Action too and keeps a lot of support in class and small group work. I have been told to do some memory games with etc. I am tempted to visit the Gp and refer him that was as his current teacher seems keen to help but is acting on advice from SENCO as she has suggested we give it a few months and perhaps refer to an ed psychologist on methods to help rather then a diagnosis. SENCO seemed lees keen.The SENCO doesn't know this child and seemed to think using a timer when he worked would help to speed his up hmm She also wanted to believe that ds may not just be trying very hard. Luckily the teacher refuted this.

NotInTheMood Fri 08-Feb-13 12:25:23

Thank you, thank you I am sat here crying as feeling less alone by your lovely replies. As awful as it is I wanted that diagnosis and was convinced it would show up in the test and hadn't prepared to argue my case We all know there is something wrong and stopping him from learning and so now not knowing what it is is so disheartening. Ds has just swum up to cubs last night and had to read the oath he told the leader he couldn't read :-( dh forget to mention his difficulties .

I just wanted to say he is dyslexic or he has this or that so other people outside of school could understand iykwim. I don't want to label him but I want an explanation for him and us so he can understand that it's no ones fault and he is not stupid he just has to learn in a different way.

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 12:40:42

Right, I'm back.

Friend's charity is Dyslexia Association of Staffordshire. You probably aren't in their area, but they may be able to offer you some advice on where to look in your own area - or how to get private help.

Alternatively you could try the British Dyslexia Association's Helpline.

It's good that he has a supportive teacher, but angry at SENCO for you. To be honest she's bound to try and sidestep a referral to EP, as she won't want to do anything that costs them money.

ilikemysleep Fri 08-Feb-13 13:48:59

Dyslexia 'diagnosis' is a process not an event. It should be diagnosed by evidence of a child failing over time to make progress at reading and / or spelling despite appropriate teaching over time and in the absence of clear learning needs that are sufficient in themselves to explain the difficulty. If your child is not reading or spelling appropriately despite the school making genuine attempts to differentiate and teach appropriately then he is probably dyslexic. Dyslexia like other learning conditions is a set of outcomes which can have a variety of causes - processing, memory, phonological awareness, visual processing. It's more useful TBH to know what the 'stuck' process is than to simply ascribe it to dyslexia and not know WHY he is struggling IMO. So knowing he has poor memory and slow processing gives school lots of work on.

AFAIK sencos are not really meant to single handedly rule any condition in or out on the basis of a test. They can get a bit hung up on tests though. I remember a meeting in school once where I mentioned that a child had very poor fine motor skills. 'Really?' asked the SENCO. 'What test did you use? I don't have a fine motor assessment, is it one SENCOs can do?' My response: 'I looked at his handwriting...'

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 14:03:14

You aren't alone smile
There are 3 main different types of fact in my sons case his dyslexia is a symptom of Dds = developmental delay syndrome.
This could also apply to your son.
Don't get me started on Sencos!! angry

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:14:11

Ilike - the trouble is that collecting evidence of a child failing over time is not easy - ime school will argue til they are blue in the fact that there is progress whatever the circumstances because they do not collect the relevant data to do so. When they are made to do so it turns out that 'apparent lack of progess' acutually means 'evident regression'. 'Apparent' can have two meanings - obvious or suspected. The other issue is that failure takes time and all the time the child is experiencing failure on a daily basis. They are unable to explain this to themselves (because we don't want to label them) and so become self-punitive, believing that they are stupid. This is damaging to self-esteem and mental health.

DS1 is 12 now. The private EP that carried out the assessments and 'diagnosed' dyslexia was worth every penny because it gave DS1 a means of understanding himself.

Plus, it may to difficult to get interventions with a private EP diagnosis but in my experience it brought interventions (Accelerwrite/read, touch typing, recording device, extra time in exams, a reader/scribe in exams etc) that are impossible to get without a diagnosis.

Inaflap Fri 08-Feb-13 16:41:38

Can I say something from a SENCO perspective?

Senco in primary are often class teachers with no expertise. If they are lucky they will get to do some of the excellent senco training out there but in these days of tight budgets... The amount of paperwork a senco has to do is huge. Please do not underestimate this. I could spend all of my time on paper work (some of it pointless but have to justify and prove everything you do in case of inspection), however, actually, i'd like to teach children its what I'm good at.

Primary sencos are seldom trained in assessment. In secondary it is necessary so that exam access arrangements can be awarded. I put myself through the post grad cert for that at considerable cost. The hoops to jump through and expense to become a specialist teacher are huge and often beyond the reach of most.

To try and get over this problem, dyslexia screeners (using computers) are used. I think they are not great and don't use them myself but then I'm trained. Unfortunately, some people ignore good old fashioned observation, book scruitiny, listening to parents, asking the teacher, asking the child, and common sense. However, all these take time and that's something that most teachers don't have, particularly if the senco is also head of 6 other subject areas.

Private EP. Well here, I have to say, and I have a lot, and I mean a lot of evidence for this, that some do take the money and give the parents what they want to hear. I've got quite a few 'middle class dyslexics'. They have reading ages 5 years ABOVE their chronological ages, they write fluently, they are cohearant, their spelling is not great but within bog standard average scores, they do not need any special provision, they are above target in all areas (and we are talking targets of B and A grade.). I have read some truly poorly written reports. jCQ have got wise to this and so a private EP is now last on their list to award extra time. It is up to the schools specialist teacher to award or not exam access arrangements and much evidence is required.

A senco has to be pretty sure that a childwill get a diagnosis before recommending that parents spend money as I have known it happen that parents pay, don't get a diagnosis and then blame the school, despite there being evidence to suggest a particular need. Lea ed psychs are rare beasts who have to be booked and in my experience are a bit crap! Also to move on for disabled student allowance you need a report written in secondary. For exam access arrangements in secondary, where there is no one to assess, JCQ will only accept a report in secondary so sometimes staff don't want to ask a parent to pay twice.

Some parents won't accept a diagnosis. I have one child at the mo with major dyslexia whose mother is refusing to get her tested. I have heard of one case where the mother wouldn't allow the child to be on the sen register or receive extra help. In other words, you have to deal with very varied people!

That all being said, OP, your son sounds dyslexic to me with possible co morbid speech and language delay.

And finally, yes some sencos are rubbish just as I have to deal with some parents who, for whatever reason, are hopeless. The sadness comes is when a child who needs support gets stuck between a crap senco and hopeless parents. Your children have you lot fighting their corner, rattling cages and stamping feet, just like I do for my kids. It's very difficult when you know there is a problem, a solution, but your hands are tied.

Sorry for the rant but we do doa very difficult job which I think goes unacknowleged. We are often the person campaigning for 'our' students in school and being their advocates, often this causes annoyance because we have to demand and aggrevate to get them what they want. I spend countless hours pleading with leas for more money or support, cajoling staff to use different fonts, talking children out of a locked loo. Crikey, the list is endless.

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 17:11:59

Inaflap, I think your input is invaluable, as you say, not all SENCOs are created equal. Some - like yourself, are amazing people, who do everything they can to support their pupils, often in extremely difficult circumstances, but others - like ours - are either out of their depth or more interested in the bottom line (£'s) than making sure children are properly supported. (Our school loves boasting about how much profit they are in, but at the same time fails to properly support it's most vulnerable pupils. hmm)

As a parent, fighting for their child, though what do you do - where do you go, when you are confronted with one of the crap ones? I know we are caught between a rock and a hard place with ours these days, as nothing we say or do makes any difference and she is a master of illusion and highly adept at covering her tracks.

In our school it's one of the incredible teachers who is always there trying to talk children out of locked loos and talking them down from the high places they've managed to climb etc. She is also the one that takes the time and trouble to listen to my ds and help resolve any problems he has, despite no longer being his CT. Even the Head gets involved in directly supporting pupils and once spent over an hour hovering outside the toilets when my ds was poorly and distressed - sadly the SENCO, doesn't get involved unless she's forced to.

I have in the past acknowledged and thanked previous SENCOs for all their support and help. Having been bare-faced lied to and manipulated regularly by the latest incarnation - well let's just say she doesn't even make the Christmas card list.

I agree it is a very hard, thankless job and the good ones are worth their weight in gold, but never recognised as such. So thanks to you and purleease, could you come and work at my dcs school - pretty please? <bats eyelids>

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 17:34:47

A Senco blaming parents.
What a shocker.
I am sure you are a good Senco inaflap, but as you say most Sencos are not adequately trained and - as with everything - budget constraints apply far more than is acknowledged.
I am a Gov at my sons school for sen so have some knowledge of this as well as being the mother to a dyslexic child.
Not all parents are adequate, I agree, but your comment about "middle class dyslexics" sucks.
We are middle class and my son is severely dyslexic, despite 2 Sencos telling me they had - and I quote "no concerns"!!
My son is now progressing well, but that has nothing to do with school provision or with any Senco and everything to do with interventions that my dh and I have done/are doing.

Inaflap Fri 08-Feb-13 17:39:06

I wish I could but I do primary and secondary in my current job and its rather fun. I crawl round in nursery then go help with A level! I have to say my blood boils when I read some of the stories on here. I think some staff get so concerned with covering their backs and some are bloody lazy and completely lacking in empathy. I was really lucky with Flying boys sencos over the years but it could so easily gone to someone else.

Is it worth contacting a govenor of your school. There will be one who deals with SEN. Interestingly, the LEA get pissed off with crap Sencos as well. After completing another bloody form I asked wtf of the case officer (really nice guy) and he said some just write a sentence in the information bit and so tey've nothingto go on. Deep sigh.

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 18:10:40

Gosh, what a great role working from the bottom to top vice-versa - but such a massive amount of ground to cover SENCO wise.

Governors are a no-go at this school, it's all neatly sewn up between the HT and church. Ds1's best friend's mum is a governor, but is standing down, as only the HT and pastor have any power and all decisions are basically down to whatever they want/say. angry

LEA are just starting to have their eyes opened to the school, having had them off their radar for the longest time. This is because they have consistently and deliberately failed to identify and support children with SEN, so none of the support services even knew they existed. The ASD inclusion team said they didn't think there were any children with ASD in our school until I called them in for ds1 - two years later and there are six that they are supporting, just off the top of my head. None of those parents even knew that they could ask for help. angry

These days the parents of children with SEN get together every now and then and sit there with our hair standing on end at what each of our dcs has been subjected to. sad LEA officer was shocked when I told her what was going on and said "but we have never had any problems with X school", no-one has ever complained. I then told her that was because no-one knew a) that they could and/or b) how to do it.

Yet this is a 'good' school in a 'naice' area, that presents itself as a friendly, happy church school that is ultimately inclusive and welcoming. hmm

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 18:14:23

It was only my second b of gov meeting on weds and I told one of the other governors that something he suggested was "immoral".
Because it was.
I am not a governor to make friends. I don't give a crap what the HT thinks of me ( and she knows it)
I am a governor to try and do the very best for all the children at that school.
That is terrible about your b of gov.
Not all are like that, thank god.

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 18:21:25

I know Badvoc, ds's friends mum has been a governor for years, but has finally become defeated at being the lone voice, challenging the others and being steamrollered. sad

She is actually going to be a governor at another local school, where she feels she will be more able to make a difference.

Badvoc Fri 08-Feb-13 18:29:31

I feel like that about church ATM moose sad
Am not standing again.
At least at school I stand a chance if altering things for the better!

moosemama Fri 08-Feb-13 18:35:38

Sadly I think it's fairly common with smaller church schools - it's like the church mafia or something. Everyone knows who the individuals concerned are and that it's never worth the battle. hmm

Such a shame, as you'd think with religious morals/ethics you could rely on them to know better.

Just to clarify, I don't think it's all churches/church schools, just the ones that don't practice what they preach.

MareeyaDolores Fri 08-Feb-13 23:06:03

The only thing worse than an evil bigot playing God...
is an evil bigot who thinks God wants then to play God.

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