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Why would secondary school think that DS with AS might have trouble with French?

(6 Posts)
Niecie Fri 27-May-11 21:01:07

DS and I had a tour of the secondary school he is going to in September as part of his transition planning. The SENCO asked if I thought he would have trouble with any lessons in particular. I said probably PE (he has dyspraxia too). For some reason she thought he might have trouble with French and would need extra help.

He has done a bit of French at Primary and has not had any problems (I personally know the woman who taught him French for the 1st 3 years and she said he did fine). I did query the SENCO but she muttered something about sensory overload. I wish I had queried further but I didn't and now I am wondering why French would such an issue. Anybody else come up against problems with AS children learning languages?

Many thanks.

silverfrog Fri 27-May-11 21:06:05

I think it is a common perception - reasoning being that As children often have langugae issues - even if not always immediately obvious, but stuff like underlying comprehension etc are not always up to scratch.

I know moondog has done some work in this (sort of) area, and says there is no reason not to raise a child bilingual, even in ASD/language impairment cases.

but that isn't the same thing as being taught at school.

however, the most important bit is that your ds has not been having problems with French - that is what the school shoudl be focussing on, not trying to pigeon hole him based on "what someone, somewhere might have read"

Niecie Fri 27-May-11 22:24:19

Thanks for the reply. That is my worry - he will be pigeon holed when I don't consider him to be a typical child with AS. He has trouble with maths as well which I wasn't quick enough to think of, given that he has been given a lot of help with it in Yr 6 and has improved a lot. He can't handle all the rules and the multi-stage processes.

I really do need to think on my feet a bit better!! I was so worried about the things that I was going to ask and tell them, it didn't occur to me that they would ask questions back.

spearhead Sun 29-May-11 20:57:12

my ds1 has mild Aspergers, and I hadn't even thought he might have a problem with other languages. He goes to an out of school French class with a school friend, and is really enjoying it and learning a lot. He has also now started to do it at school and has no problems with it. I think (I'm quite new to all this, so might be wrong), that like all children, AS children have their own strengths and weaknesses and don't fit into the boxes and headings. With my DS we concentrate on his strengths, build up in his weak areas and put him into areas to see how he gets on to find new areas of interest or not as the case may be. So if he is not showing signs of struggling with French, then good, but he may need extra help with maths. He may find another 'secondary school subject really suits him and he excels at that. Good luck to you both in the transition to 'BIG' school.

beigecake Sun 29-May-11 22:05:02

DS goes to a specialist school for Aspergers, they cover most of the NC to GCSE but don't do foreign languages as all. The HT says that their experience was that it was unnecessarily stressful for them as they had enough difficulties coping with the pragmatics of their native language. I have visited quite a few schools for AS/ASD and most of them have this policy. I've also known parents of children with AS who have really struggled in mainstream schools as their policy was that a foreign language is compulsory.

Niecie Mon 30-May-11 09:57:52

Thanks for your replies.

Beigecake - it would never have occurred to me that there would be a problem with languages but I am comforted to know that specialist schools hold the same opinion as the SENCO at DS's secondary. At least I know she knows what she is talking about and isn't making strange assumptions (I have come across that before)! Whether DS needs extra help or not, we shall have to see. She suggested it but obviously she has hardly met DS yet and she has to get to know him so we shall have to play it by ear. I hope in doing that it doesn't get too much for him in top of starting a new school but it sounds like they will have an eye open for trouble.

spearhead - you are right - like all children AS children do have their own strengths and weaknesses. They are 'supposed' to be good at maths, presumably because it has rules and all AS children like rules - DS struggles with some aspects of it precisely because of the rules. It is good that your DS enjoys French so much - there is hope for DS yet. DH is good at languages (studied them at degree level) so lets hope DS has some of his talent and not mine (failed A level French)blush

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