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severe dyslexia, dyspraxia and Ms secondary. any experience or thoughts?

(17 Posts)
billiejeanbob Sat 03-Jan-15 18:59:31

I need to start thinking about secondary school for my dd. She is in yr 4 at moment but her statement will be reviewed soon by the LA and I will need to name a secondary placement or type of school.

Dd is severely dyspraxic and dyslexic. She has a combination of high and low tone plus sensory issues. She has difficulties with both speech clarity and understanding. She muddles her sentences and finds sequencing her words very difficult.

she is currently in ms with full time 1:1 support, weekly OT, SLT and specialist teaching. This is all written into her statement as ordered by tribunal. She has a fab 1:1 and seems to be enjoying school now. She is still not reading yet and her writing is mostly illegible. However her scores for maths work are on par with her peers and she has made some lovely friends.

The SENCO recently mentioned that dd would be expected to go to Ms secondary school. If she doesn't progress then she suggested the local ss for children with cognitive impairment.

I would love for dd to go to ms as i feel she would benefit socially. However the more I think about this the more I wonder how she would cope. How would she read and manage her timetable? find the classroom she needs to be in? organise her books? understand the lessons? write down her homework? how would she cope with the noise and all the children? how would she get there on her own?

would she stick out with a 1:1? or could this work in a ms secondary? but then how could they possibly train every teacher to deliver a multi sensory curriculum?

If ms is not a realistic option then I will need to fight for an ooc indie specialist school plus transport. dd would have a 45 minute journey twice a day plus she wouldn't know anyone.

Does any have a dc with similar needs in ms secondary? or can offer me any words of wisdom?

bjkmummy Sat 03-Jan-15 19:11:54

ive already come to the decision for my dd that it will be specialist and ive ruled out mainstream so im probably not the best person to ask - mainly because the secondary school choice here is so limited and ive already been warned by the secondary school that if I have a statement with specialist teaching on they will refuse to admit her to the school.

I guess then it also depends what your local secondary schools are like - they are all different.

just out of interest as its something im fighting for at the moment - how may hours of specialist teaching does she have each week?

billiejeanbob Sat 03-Jan-15 19:23:38

Thanks for replying. She has an hour a week of direct 1:1 specialist teaching with the dyslexia teacher. The teacher also has 30 minutes weekly to liase with the TA. The TA, CT and SENCO are all receiving ongoing training from the specialist.

billiejeanbob Sat 03-Jan-15 19:25:08

Can I ask why you ruled out ms?

PolterGoose Sat 03-Jan-15 19:41:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bjkmummy Sat 03-Jan-15 19:52:46

I ruled it out due to the schools attitude and also I guess due to my dd - she has also been dx with ASD as well and has huge issues with sensory processing as well so a large mainstream secondary school is going to be difficult for her plus she is in a tiny school of under 30 kids at the moment and she struggles with the social side there and with the noise. the mainstream secondary also made it clear that children with ASD - their school isn't the right school - I could look further afield but I just know that a big bustling mainstream school isn't right for my daughter - that's not to say that for other children it wouldn't work. she is already in an out of county primary school so isn't with children locally anyway - she was in the local school but that didn't work out either. if we don't secure her specialist schooling then we will home educate her

billiejeanbob Sat 03-Jan-15 20:04:18

Thanks polter I will have a look at that thread! Great to here about your ds - the SENCO sounds very good.

The secondary schools around here are all very big - 1000 pupils per year etc. I don't think I would be able to drop her as I can't drive (also dyspraxic and really struggling with lessons) plus I will still have my 2 younger dc to walk to primary.

I think I will phone a few of the local secondaries and try to grasp their understanding/ attitude of dyslexia. I could always pay for taxis from her dla.

Unfortunately we seem to have had a bad experience of ms so far that could be making me doubt that this can work.

billiejeanbob Sat 03-Jan-15 20:09:14

x post bjk. I think a lot of it does come down to the schools attitude doesn't it. I am also wondering how dd will cope with the noise and quantity of other children - she is likely to become either very excited and very high and start shouting and flapping or meltdown and run away sad

If only our LA had a smaller sized secondary school with a understanding and motivated SENCO!

senvet Sun 04-Jan-15 23:22:37

My ds has dyslexia and was in indie ms secondary - the ms clearly could not organise all their staff to know which kid in a given class had which SEN. I just asked each teacher as I went round on the open day how they knew which kids had what and it was 100% clear that there was no system.

dd is in ms secondary with recently diagnosed memory problems as well as hypermobility - so dd is very, very disorganised. It took ALL of the last term to get all the teachers just to stop telling her off for forgetting things. Even in late Nov one teacher was threatening to exclude her from her lessons if she forgot her text book again. Shouting at her.

There are lots of super recommendations for teaching approaches in the EP report but they have fallen by the wayside.

It took a massive email-kick from me to each teacher just to stop them telling her off, I have no chance of getting them to sign off on the teaching approaches.

The SENCo is lovely and totally gets it, and then it is pot luck after that.

BUT there are plenty of ms schools out there doing a great job. They just aren't near me

Also, kids at ss spend most of their time skype facebook and tetxing their friends even if they live over the road, so I wouldn't worry too much about being in a school where the kids are further away.

For both my kids we under-estimated the huge amount more writing involved with ss. It is a huge step up. For different reasons neither of them find writing easy, but ds was happy at school, dd is definitely not.

Hope this helps

billiejeanbob Sun 04-Jan-15 23:43:36

Thanks senvet. dd can not yet write a single sentence independently, she still struggles with sequencing and letter reversal in her own name so I just cannot see how she will be able to participate in a ms class without the staff being on board. Even then I am sure she will still struggle.

My gut is telling me to forget ms and fight for the indie ss. When she was last assessed by indie slt and OT they advised that she would need a specialist placement as her needs were severe. It is such a difficult decision though as at the moment ms primary is working (albeit with a huge support system) and I feel like I should at least give ms a chance, as I don't want dd to feel different or robbed of that chance.
But then on the other hand I know how amazing specialist schools can be and dd won't feel different for struggling and needing support. its difficult as she is cognitively able but so severely dyslexic it really holds her back. I wish their were more ss that cater for cognitively able dcs with complex needs.

bjkmummy Mon 05-Jan-15 00:30:30

my dd is now in year 6 and when we took her to see an indie dyslexia school it was like a weight had been lifted of her shoulders as she met other children just like her and no longer felt that she was different plus with the issues with the local mainstream school it now just feels right to fight for her - whether we can win is another battle of course but now she is older it is something that she is also asking for to happen.

a couple of years ago I would never have dreamed that she would want or need to go to a specialist school.

BigBird69 Mon 05-Jan-15 08:33:15

My son has extremely severe dyslexia, dyscalculia etc very similar needs to your daughter. He has an independent specialist school named on his statement. Everyone said we'd never get it, it would be a fight etc, but actually about 40% of kids at the school are LA funded so dont be put off by the "you won't get a place" talk. I would view as many schools of all types as you can anyway to get a feeling for what you as a parent thinks will be best. We have found the tiny classes (max five kids) lots of one to one, on site salt, OT etc very good. BUT whilst the small classes are good for learning, you are right in that it is not great socially, especially as some the kids are there for their social issues so my son struggles a bit with making friends also a lot of kids seem to come and go, but this might be just this particular school. We make a huge effort to involve him in clubs and activities out of school so that he mixes and meets other kids. The trouble is I know nowhere is perfect.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 05-Jan-15 11:39:26

DS1 is at indi ss - 70% funded by LAs. What you need to consider is access the full curriculum - i.e. ability to take GCSEs. DS1 would have gone into year 7 at level 3 and so would have been shunted into the 'functional skills' curriculum. In year 2 SATS he was 2b, 2a and 3c but stagnated. They still planned to teach functional skills even though they knew he had been assessed as above average intelligence but significantly underachieving. I apparently just needed to get real and change my view of B&Q as a potential future employer.

billiejeanbob Mon 05-Jan-15 12:19:26

Thanks for your replies.
keep that is a very good point. I just assumed with ms that they would teach her in line with the curriculum but actually I doubt they would as her levels will be too low. she is in yr 4 now and still on p levels for reading and writing but level 3 for maths. she has been assessed by indie EP as having high average iq and cognitive ability. so unless she makes huge amounts of progress will she not have full access to the curriculum in ms secondary?
so far as I can see it our options are:
ms - functional skills group
LA ss - life skills and no suitable peers
indie ss - specialist teaching so hopefully can access curriculum.

billiejeanbob Mon 05-Jan-15 12:28:00

I can fully imagine ms will not support her to take gcses. We have had to fight at tribunal as they were trying to say she wasn't cognitively able and was achieving to her potential without any standardised EP assessments!
The LA EP told me that my expectations of dd were too high and that if she worked hard she could be a hairdresser when she is older. don't get me wrong, I have nothing against hair dressers but I know the way she said it meant that she won't amount to much sad

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Mon 05-Jan-15 12:31:42

I doubt that you would have the option of LA ss. They tried that with DS1 but the LA perform cognitive testing as they only have MLD schools in these parts. DS1 scored too highly. Transition to secondary had failed for DS1 and so the next LA move after EOTAS home tutors was for him to attend a PRU with the hope of getting him into the secondary. One of the tutors told me that some DC don't leave the PRU though (or are HE) as there is nowhere suitable for them to go. sadangry

billiejeanbob Mon 05-Jan-15 12:46:28

They have already suggested LA ss if she doesn't make steady progress. The LA EP doesn't believe in dyslexia and thinks that dd has global learning difficulties and suggested the ss for children with cognitive disabilities, based on her current NC levels for reading and writing. Yet they are failing to take any notice of her iq or indie EP assessments and instead told the tribunal panel that I had paid the EP to state that dd was dyslexic etc. We did 'win' the tribunal and her statement has been amended to remove any reference to global learning difficulties MLD etc but their attitude remains the same.

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