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 Post subject: KEGS, CRGS Dyslexia
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:22 am
Posts: 7
Location: essex
My eldest son will sit the 11+ in November and I have found this site most useful in answering most of my questions. However, if anybody can help with my remaining queries I would be most grateful.

My son was diagnosed as having verbal dyspraxia when he was 3 years old and was finally diagnosed as dyslexic last month. Despite this diagnosis his reading and comprehension skills are age appropriate but they are far behind his other cognitive abilities. His mathematical reasoning age was assessed as 16 years whereas his spelling age was 9 years 8 months. His age at the time of the assessment was 10 years 3 months. As a result of the assessment it was felt by the neuro-pyschologist and his teachers that he would fit in better at an academic school rather than the local comp.

We have started some of the practice papers and obviously it will be the English paper where he will do worst. His VR is pretty good as he is good at problem solving and working out patterns.

My questions are:
Some of the English practice papers have poems for the comprehension. Has poetry ever come up on the Essex papers? He can manage straight text comprehension but some of the more abstract ideas that are found in poetry he can't manage.

Does anyone have any experience of a dyslexic son in KEGS or CRGS? The science and maths specialist status of KEGS has some appeal for my son and particularly the young engineering club, but I would like to know how the schools have been able to respond to a bright dyslexic child. The CRGS website does mention support for special needs children but there is nothing mentioned on the KEGS website.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2354
Hi
Hope I can help - first some background so you can judge if our experiences relate to you!
I have 3 children each with very similar Specific Learning Difficulties which are in the dyslexia field - they don't fit to be scored on traditional methods of rating dyslexia but do have problems with processing speeds and short term memory. Their spelling is weak & they have trouble learning tables etc so mental maths weak. Also take long time to process information both in receiving it - whether verbally or written & in responding.
Because of this they have all been assessed as requiring extra time in external exams (GCSE etc).

All three have experience at CRGS. The eldest has now gone to University. THe school were very understanding of his issues and teachers provided adhoc support where practical. He did not really need particular suppport outside of the classroom. Once we provided the ed pysch report there was no problem with the extra time issue in exams.

The youngest is doing very well at the school. I have been in close contact with senior members of staff & while issues do arise, the school have been very supportive & willing to help. However, I am not sure that they really have very much of a special needs department as such so I think it would be wise to contact them to discuss your son's needs. You cannot prejudice your son's chances of entry by alerting to the school to his special needs because that is decided purely by marks in the tests!

You mentioned KEGS's specialist status - CRGS also has specialist science status & a very strong department (they usually have several pupils gaining entry to the Cambridge Natural Sciences degree each year- seen by many as the toughest in the Country!) with various extra curricular opportunities.

As far as the actual 11+ exam goes it is not possible to get extra time for the papers but my experience is that the school is happy to assist where possible. But they can only provided what you specifically make a case for. Eg. question papers can be enlarged or printed on coloured paper; a member of staff can be provided to write down the answers (this might be helpful for the multiple choice paper if your son has issues with visual tracking) If you have a ed pysch report to support your request you may be able to get extra time between each exam - if particular issues mean that your child gets tired more quickly than the average.


I do not recollect a poem from past papers but may be wrong! most of the emphasis is on vocabulary. There always was a focus on punctuation as well but dont know if that is still the case. The questions I have seen were much more precise than the Sats -'how do think...felt' type stuff!!

The ususal advice is to encourage a child to read widely to broaden vocabulary (especially classic texts) but if they find that slow/difficult you could also read to them/use story CDs etc. The important thing would be to make sure they focus on any words they do not understand - check they can read them - and look up their meaning.

Some of the VR questions rely on spelling skills. We made sure my son could recognise his 'dodgy' questions so he left them until the end. He then had strategies for dealing with the different types.

Generally our experience of the 11+ has been that it has required alot of effort from all concerned even though the children are all my very bright high performers. It has been a difficult hurdle to get over. In some ways it is good preparation for what is to come. Lots of children at CRGS do not really have to work very hard to get good results until they get to 'A' levels. However, those with special needs do have to accept that to get the results they do have to put in more time & effort than many of their peers of similar ability.

I hope this doesn't go on too much - hoping something here might be of use in your particular circumstances!

Very best wishes for whatever decision you decide on.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:22 am
Posts: 7
Location: essex
Thank you KB, your response has been very helpful.

The difficulties you describe are the difficulties that my son has. We were fortunate to find a very supportive psychologist who diagnosed dyslexia but we are aware that the county council's ed psychs will not acknowledge this as his reading and comprehension are not below expectations for his age. My son's teachers are concerned that he is not progressing as would be expected given his abilities in other areas and they are supporting him as needed.

I had read that there is no extra time allowed and we will have to work on the timing as he is very slow and methodical in his working. I don't think he will need any help in any other way, he has had input from a behavioural optometrist in correcting problems that he had with eye tracking and focusing. He is keen to sit the test and is always happy to do extra work so we will do our best in making sure he is prepared.

I was unaware that CRGS is a specialist science school. That is useful to know, we live just about the same distance from KEGS and CRGS to it will be difficult to decide on the order of preference. I will speak to both schools and find out what support they would be able to offer.


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