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Groan here we go again

(16 Posts)
happychappy Sun 25-Jan-15 02:52:56

OK parents evening next week but this time a new school. My son is nearly 13 year 8 and is dyslexic. Apparently his reasoning is allowing him to cope. I don't see any interventions (whatever they are) in place not have ever been, in this school or the last or the primary school. However his is mulling along and every now and then we have a blip. It's blip time, lost homework, forgetfulness, chatting, poor test results, lots of staying in at lunchtime (is this an intervention?). groan. ok The school as with every other school doesnt tell me until he is nearly on report or a parents evening. next weeks parents evening and he asks not to go. Turns out he is in big trouble in science french and spanish (wrote his french and spanish tests in Italian; her solution give him the answers to the test and more homework!). Other subjects is coasting along the bottom of his set. When I go to parents evening what am I asking for? the teachers awareness clearly isnt going to get him through his GCSE's feeling a bit lost. Husband leaves this to me because I am also dyslexic so therefore, obviously, the fountain of all knowledge on this subject.

senvet Sun 25-Jan-15 23:59:59

I think your son has done pretty well not to rebel more than he has, given that the staff seem so far from understanding, let alone meeting his needs.

Kids with unmet SEN tend to play up or get depressed or both. So far you have a bit of playing up, so well done ds.

I think you are right to focus on GCSEs

Most kids with dyslexia have trouble with organisation, so when I was where you are with ds (dyslexia/dyspraxia) and dd (hypermobile and weak working memory so VERY scatty) I needed to get the SENCo on board with two jobs:=
Job 1 - stopping the staff from telling them off for things that weren't their fault
Job 2 - getting help with organisation eg making sure they had a complete set of notes to revise from, making sure they were given homework by email etc

I admit with dd it took a direct email to all staff with a polite reminder that to do less than I was asking for was breaking the law, but the SENCo had had a good try and got as far as she could.

Then with the writing: does DS touch type? If not, I would recommend it from my experience. My ds touch typed all lessons as well as his exams and got extra time for exams as well. Not sure he would be at uni now without it.
BUT it is crucial to get the exam concessions that the school start using these concessions at least in the year prior to the exams.

The school do need you to get an assessment as it sounds like they are not going to be able to organise a piss up in a brewery one. I think the dyslexia institute do pretty reasonably priced ones. If you can afford a full independent ed psych report that would be brilliant as it might pick up dyspraxia and any odds and ends of difficulties which could impact on exams,and ideas to help eg increasing the print size of the exam paper, or having someone to read out text etc.

The aim is to ensure that his tests from here on reflect his ability not his disability and it is at least doubly so for GCSEs.

Good Luck

happychappy Mon 26-Jan-15 22:42:54

He has had a full assessment, I am also dyslexic and I have a few friends in the same boat. We often about school is just something you have to get through and make the best. I had a direct talk with the sen today. Told he brain was still hardwiring so start putting interventions in place to help with the skills needed including touch typing. Seems to have helped. It helped over the weekend I did quite a bit of research and knew more or less what I wanted out of them. Tomorrow he starts lexus and at parents evening we are going to talking about not longer doing MFL (which are a nightmare and the teacher is giving recouperation homework for) and learning some useful skills like touchtyping.

We showed him his report and showed him how bright he is but explained the dylexia helps him think differently so putting on paper is tough but not impossible. At the moment he seems quite happy with that.

I think the reason he doesn't give up is rugby which he has played since very young and has taught so many skills, including not giving up but also we are all different, not better or worse, just different. The skill is fitting your best bits to the task in hand. It also gets rid of the aggression and pent up frustration. I thank god for sport and rugby, otherwise I would have a very unhappy sad child.

senvet Tue 27-Jan-15 01:51:10

That is SO familiar.
DS did lots of sport including rugby and, from about year 8, army cadet force, where it is largely verbal, survival and physical skills, so BINGO, self esteem restored. He turned out to be a good leader when it was just verbal-no-writing at army cadets, even if every other word had four letters.

And anyway why do we focus so much on reading and writing when being caring or generous or a good teacher or any number of other qualities have more value in life and the workplace

Still. The system should adapt to let your ds record his ideas

By the way, I heard of an acutely dyslexic lass who does all her uni work on dragon dictate.

I had a go with it, and it was pretty good - takes a bit of training but worth the effort. You can voice all the commands like 'new document' 'save' etc.

The only problem I had was the command to start the microphone was 'wake up' which my dogs heard as 'walkies'

Dragon Dictate then put 'are are are. are are' in my letters...

happychappy Wed 28-Jan-15 02:44:15

Ive done my degree using dragon and inspiration. I also had a one to one tutor but the DSa have reduced what they give in terms of support. Hopefully if and when he wants to go to uni they havent taken it away all together.

Parents evening tomorrow but feeling more hopeful (I think he is too) as they have put a few things in place to help him. so fingers crossed

happychappy Wed 28-Jan-15 02:48:20

Senvet, I agree I dont really do anything but a few emails and the odd report for writing at work. I work as a project coordinator for a charity. Anything very long or annoying I get my support worker to either draft for me or proof read. My job is completely about problem solving and building good strong relationships. The paperwork is just to evidence what we are doing and anyone can do it given enough time and motivation (I can do but prefer not to). My support worker loves a bit of paper so a match made in heaven.

senvet Wed 28-Jan-15 07:58:44

happy wow!
With an example like you, your dc will go far.

Tell the school that they should be aiming for that kind of support. You can certainly get exam concessions that include dragon dictate, and if dc has seen you use it, will be less likely to view it as an alien in his midst which was my dd's reaction.

In this day and age, you do not have to muddle through school and then do your degree on dragon without having so much as a touch typing lesson from the school.

The school needs to step up on both the readin/writing AND on the admin, which is less well known by the general public as a dyslexic symptom.

But your SENCo is NOT the general public is s/he? And it is time to spend some SEN budget and comply with the law,

Good luck with the parents evening

happychappy Wed 28-Jan-15 09:40:42

Thank you senvet, feeling complimented. Thank you. It's tonight, just found out he now has another detention. urgh

happychappy Thu 29-Jan-15 07:42:26

Ha, the science teacher coped we listened, DS started getting upset. husband took him off and socked it to her. I explained his specific learning difficult and explained asking him to write 200 + words while she talked really wasn't going to work. I explaining his auditory memory was poor and he needed visual stimuli and trying to spelling, write grammatically correctly, listen and understand would be all too much. She said he was making excuses and he should concentrate more. I think the word she used was focus! grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
At this point I explained my experience of working with children specifically children with mild learning difficulties so she understood I was not speaking out of my bottom. I explained as a dyslexic myself she should think herself lucky I was not in her class as my concentration is poor, and I become annoying and noisy in the class conditions DS is in. He just drifts off into a world of his own. I remember spending years in school thinking I was stupid and incapable because of this innability to be talked at for an hour and retain a word said to me. I also told her he has in the last week come home and cried because of the pressure she has put him on and having for years built up his self esteem in this area she has, hopefully, temporarily destroyed it. He feels he is stupid right now (his words). I said I cannot accept this and if she needs to change his class because she cannot meet his needs she must do this sooner rather than later. She looked like I punched her and backtracked saying nobody had told of his difficulties, (funny she was the only one) and that she didnt need explaining how to teaching children. I said I wasn't just how to work with him and his INDIVIDUAL needs. We agreed I would make sure he does his homework but she must make sure he has everything he needs to to his homework before he leaves the room and on the shared computer server for printing at home. A truce was called (but I won smile)

happychappy Thu 29-Jan-15 07:43:24

Apart from that they all said he worked really hard listened well but his attainment is limited by his ability to write. The PE, cooking, and art teacher totally loved him.

senvet Thu 29-Jan-15 20:32:02

Actually it is no surprise that some of the teachers didn't get told, or didn't get told properly.
I think that is the big challenge for secondary schools. It took a term to get the message through that dd was NOT to be told off for being disorganised.
I have given up trying to get the other recommendations.

So if they are all saying 'brilliant, attainment held back by the writing' why the fiddlesticks aren't they sorting the writing?

I fear you will need to get their act together for them, but it sounds like dc is easily smart enough to make their eyes come out on stalks when you sort it, which may make it easier for the kids following.

Good Luck

happychappy Fri 30-Jan-15 08:25:02

I think so to, I have him doing lexia in the morning to improve the reading and spelling. He has a laptop now and can type his work. Both of these things have made him a bit happier.

He also got a card from his maths teacher saying how proud he is of him for consistently working hard and doing well. (Very proud)

My next conversation will be small group work with him instead of religion or MFL to give him some writing, proof reading and organisational strategies. Because I am mum I can't have this conversation with him. He rolls his eyes and switches off.

I think you are right, the point where he can writing the clever things he can say they will be amazed by him. My mum said something to me yesterday. I don't know why you push so hard he is never going to doing very well academically. I don't see why not, not with the right support. I can see now why I left school with no diagnosis, no qualifications and thinking I was stupid.

senvet Fri 30-Jan-15 14:35:28

We have come a long way in a generation.
One of the SEN solicitors I heard talk has a slightly shorter arm than the bog standard.
In his day he was classified as 'educationally sub normal' .

I know what you mean about 'mum-is-always-wrong'. With DS (dyslexia/dyspraxia) we used to feed all the suggestions through his much loved judo coach.
When we wanted ds to eat more vegetables we spoke to the coach. Next thing we know not only are veg on the menu but he as given up sugar.


happychappy Fri 30-Jan-15 17:09:42

I spoke to the local dyslexia association today and one of their members is a governor so is going to suggest that the science teacher undergoes some specific training. He was quite upset on DS behalf

senvet Fri 30-Jan-15 19:54:17

GREAT - what good news to start the weekend
Have a good one

happychappy Sat 31-Jan-15 08:31:20

You too

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