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Professional assessment required

(11 Posts)
webwoman05 Thu 15-Oct-09 22:08:04

Hoping someone can help us. Our ds is 8 years old and in year 4 and has some learning difficulties - he was slow in learning to write and finds it difficult to keep up in class but when he receives one to one help he is much better. He has an IEP and it has been suggested over the years that we should have him statemented which we have been against. His current teacher has heavily hinted that it would really help him keep up in class. They haven't mentioned autism or ADHD but that may be because they know that we are against labeling children. The gap educationally between our ds and other kids in his class is becoming more obvious so we were wondering if there was some professional that we could go to privately (outside of the school environment) to have him assessed.

We have another IEP meeting with class teacher and SENCO in 3 weeks so were hoping maybe to see someone before then. Hope someone might have some suggestions for us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post if you have got this far!

webwoman05 Fri 16-Oct-09 16:31:59

Bump!

webwoman05 Sun 18-Oct-09 23:42:46

Just wondered if anyone out there could suggest what sort of professional we should try and see to get a private diagnosis for our ds and his learning difficulties. Should it be an educational psychologist or perhaps a pediatrician?

Any help v much appreciated.

Thanks you.

Dolfin Mon 19-Oct-09 19:13:52

Hi
If the educational gap is widening, I think it is probably now the time to find out why and how best to support your child. Our childs self esteem started to plummet when he realised that he was unable to keep up with his peers. Your GP or school nurse can arrange a paediatric referral, this would give you a base to see if there is any medical reasons for his difficulties. A referral to opthalmology and audiology would also be helpful, as poor vision / hearing could effect his ability to learn. The dyslexia institute (dyslexia action, addresses on the web site) have regional offices and they can arrange a private educational psychologist assessment, which assesses reading, spelling, numbers, IQ etc, the LEA educational psychologist will probably do the same assessment. We had both, the second EP assessment was 6mths later by the Dyslexic Institute private educational psychologist. The DI assessment was more comprehensive and clearer about what provision our child required. I hope all works out well!

asteroids Wed 21-Oct-09 11:16:13

Hi,
I would sugggest going to your GP and asking for a referral to a paediatrician. Will the school arrange for an educational psychologist to visit your son at school? If they have been suggesting a statement then he must have had some assessments already.
You could pay for private assessments for dyslexia, ADHD, autism but some schools ignore the results of private assessments.
I'm interested to know why you are so against a statement. If your son has special needs which are affecting his learning and self esteem, wouldn't it help if he had all the support he needs? Statements are reviewed regularly and can be withdrawn if a child is making good progress. They ensure that a child gets all necessary help and they give you more choice regarding secondary education.

webwoman05 Wed 21-Oct-09 13:05:06

Thanks dolfin and asteroids for your replies.

His eyesight and hearing have been tested and are perfect. The school have always said that they didn't think he was dyslexic as his reading was too good although current teacher says he has reading of a 7 year old. He has seen an occupational therapist regularly to help with his weak hands, he has had speech therapy up until he was in year 1 and then discharged. He saw an EP in year 2 who said he was behind and unwilling to co-operate with some of the tests (unfort he was taken out of classroom when they were doing ICT which he loves so was slightly preoccupied with returning to lesson!).

He is a lovely boy, very friendly, good eye contact but rather immature for his age and prone to 'emotional outbursts' school's words if someone upsets him. Quite an innocent really. He found it very difficult when they mixed up the classes and he was separated from his best friend. There was some bullying last year (girls and boys!) but this has been addressed. He is routine driven and thrives with it. At birth he was prem by 4 weeks and was under 4lbs and I feel has been playing catch up ever since. Although once he gets something he really gets it if that makes sense. He has a great memory for things that he likes eg trains and playing different games on his ds wii etc.

I don't like labeling children as then they are stuck with that label for the rest of their school lives at least and are treated differently. I know some people will think I am a stubborn old bag for my feelings but you can't help the way you feel! I suppose we always hoped that he would catch up but we now know that this is unrealistic without some help.

The reason for a private diagnosis is so that he can see someone who has a fresh pair of eyes rather than someone in school who knows his history rather than making up their own minds.

Am I right in saying that statementing takes forever?!

Thanks for listening.

asteroids Wed 21-Oct-09 17:47:22

Hi Webwoman,
Using my own fresh eyes, it is possible that your son is still catching up after a very premature birth. However, there are also aspects of autism in the information you have given. I understand your concerns about labels but, if your son has autism, I really feel the label would be a help rather than a hindrance. I have autism myself but was only diagnosed a few years ago, My education was a disaster and I wish very much that I had been diagnosed earlier.
I can see your reasons for wanting fresh eyes but the diagnostic process for autism usually involves a multidisciplinary team (worth checking that as it may very form one place to another). The statementing process does take ages so I would suggest you start now.
Can I suggest you join talkaboutautism.org.uk at www.treehouse.org.uk They have some excellent information about autism and the statementing process.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

Dolfin Thu 22-Oct-09 08:21:37

Hi
I would agree with Astroid, if your child is struggling it is best to have appropriate support to meet his individual learning style. Unfortunately to secure the most appropriate support from the LEA you do need a label.

The statementing process for us took just over a year before we agreed a statement that reflected our childs specific needs and the provison that he needed. Our son is now much happier and his confidence has grown, he now starting to understand his specific learning difficulties and how to live with them, as well as recognise that he has he is really good at things that some children might find difficult.

Hope all goes well.

lou031205 Thu 22-Oct-09 22:07:14

Hi webwoman smile I think it is great that you are putting aside your own misgivings to get clarity about your son's needs.

You can visit your GP and ask for a referral to a Developmental Paediatrician. This will be a first step to identifying any reasons for your DS's difficulties.

There do seem to be some Autistic traits in your description, but the ASD spectrum is huge. The Developmental Paediatrician is the 'gatekeeper' to Speech & Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, etc.

If you request a Statutory assessment, the Educational Psychologist would automatically be involved.

webwoman05 Mon 26-Oct-09 09:46:18

Hello again!

Sorry for the silence. Have had some internet problems but all up and running now!
Thank you so much asteroids, dolfin and lou031205 for your helpful comments.

We are investigating getting ds1 assessed by another EP who has been recommended by a friend of a friend who is a SENCO, as to be honest I didn't have much confidence in the EP via school.

My mind is decided that we will go with the statementing route (DH may need a bit more convincing!). If say DS is diagnosed with aspergers would it be probable that he would need a statement for the rest of his school life? The other question I have is do you tell other people (parents of other kids in his class) that your child is statemented or is it really none of their business?! The reason I ask is that we have some real alpha mums at our school who do like a bit of gossip and I don't want my child being the topic of their idle chit chat in the playground! I am not overly comfortable in discussing my family's private business at the school gate.

Have to say I am dreading the whole process and the time that it will take. As the school has recommended the statement will it speed things up?

Thanks again.

x

Dolfin Mon 26-Oct-09 19:51:42

Hi
Nice to hear from you. We went for a second EP assessment for similar reasons to your own. For the EP test to be valid there needed to be at least six month gap between EP assessments.

If the school are mentioning statements then they are probably wanting specific support for your child which a statement can legally secure for him. The statement is reviewed each year, to determine if a statement is still required or not. All information is confidential, other parents should only know if you chose to share this information with them. I would guess that if a child has additional support in class then other children do notice. Our child has severe dyslexia, we thought it was best that he and his classmates understood that the reason why he had some difficulties in some lessons was because of the dyslexia and not that he had a dull brain (which is what he believed)and that he could learn. We did not have any problems with other parents or with his peers. I think they understood him more. He is learning strategies to cope with his dyslexia and he now sees that he has skills that some of his peers dont have. His confidence is growing daily.

IPSEA were very supportive with good advice about the statement process, so i would recommend you contacting them for advice.

The spectrum for specific learning difficulties is so vast, I think we can all recognise some aspects of ourselves and our children. Your little boy, sounds very similar to our little boy.

I think you need more information to help you make this important decision. The paeds and EP assessments will give you the information. It is best to have all of your childs strengths and limitations identified, so you know what needs to be included in the statement if you decide to go down this route. I found this inital process hard as it confirmed our fears that he was struggling and did need a significant amount of help.

If the LEA agree to a statement, make sure it reflects your childs needs and that there is adequate provision to meet his needs. This was a challenge in its self - but with help we achieve a good statement that adequately reflects his needs and the provision he requires. The statement process took just over a year.

Be positive, keep focused, you will make a difference for DS. Good luck!!!

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