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To feel there's something 'wrong' with DD1 at school?

56 replies

dontrunwithscissors · 08/09/2015 11:14

I'm sorry--this will be a long post, but I don't want to drip feed.

DD1 is 8 and has just gone into P4 (in Scotland). She's a bright, articulate, and friendly girl. Halfway through P1, a teacher contacted me and said that she was struggling with reading and they would give her extra support through a new reading programme called 'Read, Write, Inc.' I was promised regular updates, which never happened.

She has continued to struggle with her reading, although she enjoys doing it. I'm really sad to admit that we haven't done as much to support her as we could have. I was very poorly and in/out of hospital during her first 3 years at school. We did spend time with her, but there were some points where DH struggled to keep everything going. DH and I both worked FT. He was in a terrible, bullying company. `I went into her school a couple of times last year to speak to the learning support teacher. I wasn't impressed. She mentioned possible dyslexia and that she would look into this, but later said she wasn't dyslexia. I asked her about DD1's reading age a year ago and whether she was catching up. The teacher said she doesn't know as she has not way of assessing this Hmm

She's been in P4 a few weeks and it's clear that she's struggling with all of her work. She's very unhappy and said she's 'not school material' to me last night Sad DH was made redundant 5 weeks ago and I'm much better health-wise. We've had much more time to spend with her on schoolwork. She continues to go to Read, Write, Inc, but that's only 2 x 30 mins a week.

My gut feeling is that there's something else going on. She really struggles with her concentration. She's always been a child who cannot filter out noise or stimulation. She suffers from insomnia and is quite an anxious child. She's very sensitive to other people's emotions and can sometimes feel quite overwhelmed by all these emotions. I feel that her poor concentration is a big part of the problem. She's said to me that she struggles to follow her teacher's instructions because she can't remember them long enough. She works very slowly and gets upset when she doesn't finish her work.

WIBU to go to the school and ask them to make more effort to assess her for additional learning support? I feel she's been pushed aside because she's quiet and doesn't cause trouble. Is this a suitable situation to ask her to be assessed by an educational psychologist?

OP posts:

anothermakesthree · 08/09/2015 11:20

Absolutely. Push, push & push again for an assessment. You need to get this sorted whilst still at primary so she can get the support she needs to progress.

My admiration goes out to you for keeping on top of things with all the other stuff you have had going on.


TheGonnagle · 08/09/2015 11:20

Your poor dd, I feel so sad for her thinking that she's not cut out for school at the tender age of 8 Sad

One thing that leaps out at me from your post (and I am no ed psych, so could be totally wrong of course!) is the insomnia. I certainly find it hard to concentrate when I'm shattered.

I do think you should be making big fuss at school. "Quiet and doesn't cause trouble" was exactly how I would have described my dd last year, and she was also struggling massively and overlooked by the adults in school. We moved her eventually, as both her teacher and school were indifferent to her needs. SHe is now thriving (thankfully).

Good luck. And definitely start making a fuss.


dontrunwithscissors · 08/09/2015 11:25

Thank you. It does make me sad to hear her talking that way. It sounds like her new teacher is not at all understanding. She's not sleeping too badly at the moment, but there are times when she says to me 'I want to sleep, but my head won't let me.' There are also times when she says to me she feels sad, but she doesn't know why. I'm not sure whether it's just that school is affecting this way, or whether it's possible for her to be depressed.

The school has been abysmal. I was wondering about moving her as she's in an out of catchment area. The school is meant to be the best in the city. I'm not sure whether moving her to our local school will make much difference. They're all overcrowded. We'd also have to move DD2 who has just started P1.

thegonnangle how did you decide which school to move her to?

OP posts:

RoseDog · 08/09/2015 11:27

Yes it's a suitable situation to ask for the ed psych to be involved, dont be fobbed off with 'she is still young she will pick it up in her own time' type comments, follow your gut, I didn't I trusted the teachers even the deputy head now my dd has just started high school and problems were picked up straight away and she is being tested for dyslexia at last and in support for learning classes, I will never forgive myself for trusting the school over my own gut.


BathshebaDarkstone · 08/09/2015 11:32

I want to sleep but my head won't let me is very similar to what DD very nearly 8 says to me. I don't know if 8 is too young to learn to meditate?


WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant · 08/09/2015 11:34

YANBU to go in and chat and ask for more help. Even every week!
The sooner she gets extra help, the better it will be.

YWBU to go into school shouting and stropping.

Go in, ask nicely. And keep doing so, until you can agree a plan with all 3 parties (you, school and dd)


Lonecatwithkitten · 08/09/2015 11:39

When I took my DD to the dyslexia research trust I discovered that there is a strong link between dyslexia and insomnia.


BarbarianMum · 08/09/2015 11:41

If she says this again, insist that she put it in writing then complain to the Head/govenors. It should be perfectly possible to assess your dd's reading ability periodically and work out if it is improving and by how much.

Also, ask to see the assessments that were carried out to rule out dyslexia. And definately get an assessment by the educational psych.

How much sleep is she getting? Is it getting to sleep that she finds difficult, or staying asleep? Do you check to see if she is asleep? Mine quite often say they were awake for ages when they mean 40 minutes but, on the other hand, childhood insomnia does exist.

dontrunwithscissors · 08/09/2015 11:41

Thank you. I've just called her school and asked her teacher to ring me back. I want a meeting with the regular and learning support teacher. When I spoke to the last learning support teacher (there's a new one this year), she said 'oh yes, I was thinking DD might be dyslexic for a while' but she clearly had no plans to bloody well do anything about it. She later told me she'd tested her and she was fine, but I've been told a teacher can't do a full test for dyslexia.

I've been doing a bit of yoga with her. We went for ages with her having a sore tummy each night. Lots of tests turned up nothing. I eventually figured it was anxiety and taught her the difference between a sore tummy and a worried tummy. She talks to me every night about what her worries are.

DH thinks that it's our fault because we haven't spent enough time with her. I feel that there's something else going on beneath the surface. It doesn't make sense that she's struggling as much as she is and, whatever happens, I feel like she's struggling emotionally with all the stress of tests and relationships.

OP posts:

dontrunwithscissors · 08/09/2015 11:48

Erm, at what point was there the remotest suggestion I would shout? Confused. I've allowed the school to do its own thing for 2.5 years now. I've had repeated promises of further information, updates, and assessment, but not once has anyone done what they promised. I definitely feel that it's time to step up the pressure on the schooil and be assertive, but obviously with good manners!

As background information, the entire city has a huge shortage of primary school teachers, and her school has been worst affected. There was a point in P3 where she was having 2 or 3 different teachers a day and she often had no idea what their names were. I'm still tempted to look into moving her to our local primary, but they're both in the same city (our primary catchment is next door to the one she attends.)

OP posts:

ItchyArmpit · 08/09/2015 12:18

Your poor dd.

she wasn't dyslexic That might have been how the teacher communicated the situation to you, but the truth may be more complicated. Reading difficulties/abilities are a spectrum. The dyslexia label is applied to people who fall beyond a certain point on the spectrum, but it doesn't mean that your dd doesn't find it difficult to decode all the different visual symbols she'll come across when reading, or perhaps with the tiny eye movements readers have to make.

If she does have dylexia-type difficulties, things that might help include coloured overlays (don't have to be expensive, a coloured polypocket will do the job) or also larger print. Either photocopy the text and blow it up on the copier, or use a Kindle or computer screen to zoom in. If you find this helps at home, it shouldn't be beyond the wit of the teacher to use a bigger font on worksheets. (14 and up)

she struggles to follow her teacher's instructions because she can't remember them long enough This really stood out to me in your post, because it is very, very common. It is also very easy for the teacher to rectify. They can repeat the instructions, write the instructions on the board, or give a visual list of instructions. It's not hard, and it will help other kids in the classroom too.

cannot filter out noise or stimulation. Again, really, really common. If the kids are working on an extended independent task, the room should be quiet. Sitting at the front of the room, facing the board will help.

Try out the dyslexia strategies at home and if they work, write down all the stuff the teacher should be doing to help your daughter and write down why - what it is that your daughter finds difficult. Make an appointment and talk it through as calmly as you can. (Not saying you wouldn't, but then again I wouldn't blame you for getting upset).

If anyone tries to tell you that asking for the above is unreasonable, of a busy teacher, in a busy classroom, that's bollocks. I'm a teacher and I do this stuff for my classes every day. None of it is hard. Teachers don't have to produce a special set of resources for one kid, you just give all the kids in the class the larger-print sheet (helps avoid kids being singled out, too).


Badders123 · 08/09/2015 12:24

Read write inc is shit.
Get her apples and pears by sound foundations and help her yourself at home.
Best of luck x


Badders123 · 08/09/2015 12:26 ds1 was dx as severely dyslexic at the start of year 4.
The school did NOTHING.
tbh they just don't know what to do for kids with reading difficulties imd. They don't have resources or he trained staff.
I did a lot of research and the intervention I have recommended is the best one around.
It's easy to do, it's s workbook for her and a teachers book for you.
My ds did it and in the year 6 seats got a level 5 for reading :)


dontrunwithscissors · 08/09/2015 13:10

thank you itchy and badders.

DD1 complained repeatedly last year that the teacher kept sitting her in places with her back to the whiteboard, which meant that it took her much longer to copy down work off the board. I must have asked 5 or 6 times that she be seated somewhere else. The teacher would move her and then a few weeks later DD1 would be moved so she had her back to the board again. I'm hoping her teacher this year is better. I'm confused why any child would be sat so they have their back to the board/front of the class.

badders I will have a look at the apples and pears work. Many thanks.

It's heartbreaking to hear an 8 year old tell you that 'I guess I'm just stupider than everyone else.' Sad

OP posts:

ConferencePear · 08/09/2015 13:15

I would start with the basics if I were you. Have you had her sight and hearing tested ?


pinkje · 08/09/2015 13:18

Have you heard of APD, auditory processing disorder?

Here is an extract from wikipedia

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders[58] state that children with Auditory Processing Disorder often:

have trouble paying attention to and remembering information presented orally, and may cope better with visually acquired information
have problems carrying out multi-step directions given orally; need to hear only one direction at a time
have poor listening skills
need more time to process information
have low academic performance
have behavior problems
have language difficulties (e.g., they confuse syllable sequences and have problems developing vocabulary and understanding language)
have difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, and vocabulary

My experience with it is limited but it was suggested that my DS (who is now 12 and just started High School) may have this. He sounds like your daughter except that his reading and spelling is exceptional though his hand writing and self-organisation is poor.


pinkje · 08/09/2015 13:20

He is on a stage 1 Intervention - we are also Scotland - so is flagged up as needing a little extra assistance.


dontrunwithscissors · 08/09/2015 13:23

conference yes, both were tested recently.

pinkje no, I haven't heard of that. She has a very large vocabulary and is articulate. That's what made the teacher think about dyslexia--she said that she was far ahead of her age in terms of vocabulary, but behind for her reading. She's also struggling with spelling.

OP posts:

Mistigri · 08/09/2015 13:23

Push for assessment. It's plain that along with reading difficulties, your DD also has working (short term) memory issues as well as concentration difficulties. These could be consistent with a dyslexia diagnosis but she should also be screened for an attention deficit.


orangepudding · 08/09/2015 13:25

I agree that you should ask an Ed Pysch to assess your daughter. You really need to keep on the schools back. I spoke to the teacher weekly until they agreed to assess, and once they did asked for regular updates.

I personally would ask your GP to refer her to a developmental Paed as well. My son has some of the same difficulties, he struggles with concentration and also struggled to get to sleep because his head is too busy. He is also struggling to read. He is diagnosed with asd, ADHD, duspraxia and specific learning difficulties.


redexpat · 08/09/2015 13:27

Another bit of advice usually given on here is to take notes during every meeting, then email a summary and list of who is doing what to all parties. A paper trail is very useful in this process.


MoonriseKingdom · 08/09/2015 13:28

Not school material

Was this an actual quote. If so I would enquire who said it to your daughter as it doesn't sound like something a child would spontaneously say. Your poor DD sounds like her confidence is at rock bottom - I hope teaching staff are not making this worse.

It sounds like you need to trust your instinct and push for more assessment/ help. She may have a specific learning problem (eg dyslexia) or she may not. Either way she is falling behind and in danger of being totally turned off education.

Hope you can get some help Flowers


dayslikethis · 08/09/2015 13:32

I might be wrong here, but I'm wondering if you are in Aberdeen due to what you said about teacher shortages? If you are - have you looked into tutoring at explore learning? The Aberdeen branch is in Sainsburys at Garthdee and I have heard really good reports from people about them.

It may well be that she isn't dyslexic, that her sight and hearing are fine, but that school stresses her out and going back into the same environment every day just continues to stress her so she may need some help learning in a completely different environment. It's not cheap, but it seems to get good results and the whole emphasis is on positive reinforcement - no negativity here!

I am seriously considering it for my DD (also age 8 and just started p4) as we have recently moved back to the city and her teacher is giving her work which is way below her level and I suspect it's because in school she is stressed and distracted (because of all the moving about and because of the complete difference in teaching and school style here than what she had in USA) and so isn't showing what she is capable of, but the teacher won't push her. Our school has also been really badly hit by teacher shortages and sadly the way in which the council now employs people means the head teacher can't be as selective as she used to be, and the standard of teaching is definitely going downhill.


ChazsBrilliantAttitude · 08/09/2015 13:33

Do push to get her assessed now. There are a number of SpLD that could be causing these problems and the sooner she gets help the better. I second the suggestion of Apples and Pears. Both my DC are dyslexic.
A couple of other suggestions:-

Audiobooks are a great way of accessing stories if reading is a struggle. DS2 (aged 8) is currently working his way through a box set of Roald Dahl books - which also help him get to sleep.

Routine and organisation help hugely. Get things ready the night before. Do things in the same order mornings and evenings so it becomes automatic and doesn't require thought and processing.

Sandtimers are useful for DC that have no sense of time passing. If my DC are lingering over breakfast I put a 10 min one of the table so they can see time moving.

Break down tasks into manageable chunks and use a timer so she knows each task isn't going to take forever.

Give clear sequential instructions e.g. drink your milk then put your glass in the sink.

If she is struggling to settle at night these might help. Even I listen to them if I am struggling to sleep


ChazsBrilliantAttitude · 08/09/2015 13:35

that is a box set of Roald Dahl audiobooks on CD

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