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Dyscalculia

(11 Posts)
MissDuke Sat 13-Apr-13 15:38:28

Hi everyone, I have posted here before about my 8 year old dd. She has been referred for an ASD assessment by the community paed.

School are far from helpful, so I paid for an Ed Psych assessment. I don't have the full report yet, so don't know her scores, but the Ed Psych basically said that dd's reading, comprehension, literacy etc is fantastic. She tested her reading using up to age 12 resources and dd flew through it no problem, including answering comprehension questions. The Ed Psych was horrified that dd is in one of the lower reading groups. However maths was another story. Basically, the Ed Psych said dd would be in the top group of children for reading, but right at the bottom for maths. She said this wide a gulf is very unusual, and dd is quite complex.

I won't get the report for a couple of weeks. Basically I am wondering what I can reasonably expect from the school? The Ed Psych is asking the school to move her to the top reading group as she feels it will help her confidence, but I don't think the school will comply, there must be a reason they have her in a lower group?

Her school don't do any numeracy withdrawal - only literacy - so say they cannot give her anything extra. Is this typical, or are the school being unreasonable?

The Ed Psych says she believes that she has dyscalculia, is this likely to be part of the ASD in your experience?

Thanks if you managed to get through all that, I would appreciate any thoughts as I can't really get my head around this yet x

Handywoman Sat 13-Apr-13 18:08:13

Hi MissDuke it's great that an Ed Psych has done a full assessment, it should help to uncover not only the weaknesses but the strengths that can be used to help your dd learn (even if your school won't use it hugely, if its is anything like mine). Hopefully the Ed Psych will write a clear report and explain everything fully.

I believe (and I'm no expert, just a mum of an 8yo dd also awaiting assessment for ASD under community Paed) that children with ASD often have an uneven profile of cognitive skills. There is no one profile, however, that 'typifies' ASD, however. The important thing is to have a comprehensive picture of individual difficulties (ASD children are as unique as non-ASD children) and address them in whatever way works. Hope your Ed Psych can give you lots of practical advice. Good luck x

Handywoman Sat 13-Apr-13 18:16:48

I would also add that ASD can occur with learning difficulties (such as dyscalculia) or it can cause its own difficulties with maths (ASD-type issues with handling abstract concepts and information processing). Your Ed Psych may or may not be in a position to comment on this and it might be irrelevant in terms of what help is needed (unless something secondary to ASD, for example anxiety, is a factor).

Teachercreature Sat 13-Apr-13 18:18:33

Agree with Handy!

Also - very curious about the lower reading group/high test scores. This might be that she works better one to one? Also the thing about no maths help is VERY unreasonable. School should 100% be doing SOMEthing about it - there are a great many possible approaches and not just withdrawal.

What I'd probably advise, given you've already had the assessment done, is wait for the report. Then go in with it and have a meeting with SENCO and class teacher. It should hopefully contain strategies which will give them a starting point to help her, and it's a very useful piece of evidence to back you up. You can then ask why the lower reading group, and discuss how they plan to support her Maths. Hopefully once they have the full picture they will be helpful. If not, then complain directly to the head. (Alternatively you could have this meeting straightaway since you know the broad outcomes - but I think I'd wait for the report if they are already being unhelpful.)

You can point out to them that the current Code of Practice requires them to ensure they are supporting SEND children correctly, which if your daughter is ASD comes under this umbrella. Your child absolutely has the right to have a good education!

Good luck with it.

MissDuke Sat 13-Apr-13 21:36:08

Thank you so much for the replies!!

The Ed Psych commented that although she can clearly see ASD traits in my daughter, she found it unusual that a child with ASD would have such good understanding of comprehension. But as said above, all children are unique, so surely that doesn't mean anything?

The Ed Psych offered to go in to the school to present her report, but I am still undecided about that idea, I think I will see the report first and what she suggests in it. I am glad to hear that I am not being unreasonable, I obviously want the best for dd, but also understand that she is one of 29 in the class.

NoHaudinMaWheest Sat 13-Apr-13 23:10:34

It can be difficult to disentangle ASD problems from actual seperate specific learning difficulties but both can be present. My Ds has Asperger's syndrome and dyslexia and it can be difficult to see why exactly he is struggling with a piece of written work.
With regard to dyscalculia, what kind of difficulties does your dd have with maths. I am sure that my Ds also has dyscalculia though it hasn't been formally assessed. He has no difficulty with mathematical concepts (A at early entry GCSE and heading for A level maths) but really struggles with basic arithmetic. He still doesn't know his multiplication tables or even number bonds very securely but has developed his own ways round this. When he was younger basic arithmetic obviously played a bigger part and so it looked as if he had more difficulty with maths than he actually had.
I think it's important that you find out what difficulties your Dd has as if she is like my Ds just going over and over tables for example isn't going to help and may frustrate her.

Teachercreature Sun 14-Apr-13 12:25:28

NoHaudin is right, very important to find out where the Maths issues are. The Ed Psych report may well cover this too. The school ought really to know by now anyway too....!

Agree with you MissDuke - read report and then decide if you want the Ed psych to go in (she sounds good!)

You are definitely not unreasonable - there really are a lot of ways to help a child with Maths trouble, from different work to different equipment, all sorts! And they can most certainly be done in a class of 29 too.

And yes, all children unique, and different issues present in different ways too!

MissDuke Sun 14-Apr-13 14:10:12

Thanks again.

She is good with graphs apparently, and identifying shapes, eg she seems to understand 3D shapes. She couldn't tell you how many corners and sides they have though. She takes things very literally, and recently I discovered that she thought that a right angle being 90 degrees meant it is that temperature, bless her!

She struggles with the basic number bonds and cannot grasp that 1+5 is the same as 5+1. She cannot get the hang of concepts such as 15+6 - when I tell her to add 15 and 5 and then add one more. I cannot remember the name for that method lol! But she does not get it. Also she doesn't understand that 21+6 can be calculated by first doing 1+6. She just panics and says it is far too hard. If she has a 100 square, she can see that 20+10 is 30, but without the number square, she is stumped.

She cannot work out money at all. Eg I tell her milk is 99p and she has £1 - how much change, she says something random like 10p. She has no concept of time at all, I bought a wooden clock and practiced simple times with her for 10 mins a day for 4 weeks and we were no further ahead!

The Ed Psych says she thinks dd has a complete mental block. It is as if she is 'allergic' to numbers. She writes numbers back to front a lot, yet doesn't do this with letters.

Her latest homework was 3 digit numbers in rows. The first row asked them to write the next highest number. The next column they had to write the number below. The final column had 2 numbers eg 314....316 and they had to write the number inbetween.

There were 30 altogether and she got about a quarter wrong, and a further quarter had to be amended due to digits being written back to front. It took her about an hour to do :-/

NoHaudinMaWheest Sun 14-Apr-13 17:04:19

It sounds like a mixture as often happens with ASD. Hopefully the ed psych report will be detailed enough to tease out problems. In my experience class teachers are not always very good at identifying where problems lie.
Ds still has difficulty with time. He can now formally tell the time but in real life needs to be told that e.g. 11.25 is the end of break for it to mean anything.

alimac87 Sun 14-Apr-13 22:27:07

Sounds like my DD who is dyslexic and dycalculic but not ASD. Lots and lots of very basic number problems. She does get help but it is not as joined up as in literacy.

Teachercreature Sun 14-Apr-13 23:50:57

Yep does sound like a real confusion with numbers - hopefully the report will spell this out plus some tips for supporting her. (Great that she is good at other aspects of Maths though!)

Class teachers can and should usually spot the symptoms of problems BTW, but can't usually tell you the actual cause unless they have particular experience of a child with similar issues, as training on SEND varies a great deal. Hence the need for Ed Psychs - they do minimum five years of specialist training!

That said, your school sounds as though they aren't being particularly great right now ... very sorry to hear that. I know (from friends, MN and also parents of children who switched to our school) that it's sadly all too common. I really hope this report will help you get the support from them that your DD both needs and deserves! Fingers crossed for you x

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