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Wondering about identifying / assessment re. learning difficulty

(8 Posts)
DemmitGel Mon 14-Sep-09 13:12:05

Hi, I am new to special needs so forgive me if I sound rather ignorant - I have no experience here.

I have a ds of 10 who is a very bright, articulate boy, has a huge vocabulary, reads a lot, is very good at memorising facts (if the interest him) e.g. train timetables, football stats, transport maps, etc. His schoolwork over the last couple of years has deteriorated, noticeably in presentation (poor handwriting, little effort) and spelling (he writes according to his own personal phonic rules, occasionally sprinkled with a rule he remembers about a particular word. e.g. knolige = knowledge.) Basically his work does not reflect his ability (I know that just sounds like any moany parent at parents' evening or whatever) and we are wondering what is the cause.

He's not that happy at school and we have spoken to his teacher but we are wondering whether we are missing a trick somewhere & whether it is possible that there is some sort of difficulty or disconnect that we haven't picked up on.

Can anyone tell me whether this sounds possible, and how you go about having an assessment made, etc? Also would this be unusually late to be picking such a thing up?

Thanks so much.

ICANDOTHAT Mon 14-Sep-09 13:22:12

Ask to speak to their School SENCO (special education needs co-ordinator). Tell them all your concerns and ask them to get an Educational Phycologist in to assess your son. It may be nothing, or it may be a form of dyslexia or something else. This way, you will not be asking yourself constantly if something is preventing him from being able to write/spell. It will put your mind at res and also help your son if he needs it. I would follow any gut instinct your have and insist they do this for him Good luck!

DemmitGel Mon 14-Sep-09 13:28:56

Thank you. I don't think our school has such a person, would it be the case that you would ask a gp or something in that case? Sorry, really clueless.

ICANDOTHAT Mon 14-Sep-09 14:24:10

Every school should have a SENCO - is it private or are you abroad ? Sometimes, if it's a small school, one of the teachers may also act as the SENCO. If not, then the next call would be your GP. They can refer you to a developmental pediatrician/child physchologist or whoever they feel would be best placed to carry out the assessment depending on the information you give. It depends if the reasons for your child's learning difficulties (if in deed there are any) are physical or neurological. By the way, I am only talking from experience in having gone through assessments with my own child via school and our GP - not a professional context.

DemmitGel Mon 14-Sep-09 17:02:47

Yes we are abroad I suppose those that makes it sound rather glamorous and it really isn't!

Thanks for your advice. I don't want to create a big palaver for no reason but if he needs help of some kind I'd obviously like him to have it. And if we can rule this out it will help us to help him in other ways, I hope.

Would you think it would be normal for the school to flag it first? I mean they have never mentioned anything to us we have just thought "gosh have you ever thought he might actually need a steer" in the last few days and now are thinking seriously about it.

DemmitGel Thu 22-Oct-09 17:04:51

Just to update this old thread, we eventually got a (private) educational psychological assessment and were told that ds1 is dyslexic.

Not really sure what to do now.

catkinq Thu 22-Oct-09 17:20:03

I teach lots of people (now in HE) with dyslexia. Many manage fine if they can use a laptop - would this help your ds? It can remove the handwriting and spelling issue (but you have to get him to use a dictonary with the spellchecker as otherwise you get a list of seemingly identical words as suggestons and don't know which one to pick copying and pasting them into something like Woedweb tells you waht they are). There are often other issues with duslexia, often based around organisation. If your ds has problems with these then you can maybe suggest things to the school to help (my dd has a box to put everythign in as she cannot manage a peg for this adn a drawer for that).

DemmitGel Thu 22-Oct-09 17:35:54

Yes they suggested a computer but to be honest we are still digesting the news and have not even spoken to his teacher yet (tomorrow). I hope the school is supportive, I know nothing about their learning support. He does have organisational issues - up till now we have just considered him rather scatty - not sure how to get around this, it's things like leaving his clothes around (I mean around the country not around the house!), never knowing where anything is, leaving his books at school or at home, etc.

They are following up with a report in more detail which will explain specifically what his difficulties are.

I feel awful for him, that he's struggled till now and we never knew why.

His reading is fantastic, he loves reading, I am surprised this is consistent with dyslexia but then again I really know nothing about it yet.

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