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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:00 pm 
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Hi, I wonder if anyone can help with my query. Sorry it is very long!

My son is about to enter year 5, and his SATS results for end of year 4 are a level 3a for everything except writing, which is only at a level 2b.

He is on the G&T register for maths and at school, and his teacher has informed me that he is working more within a level 4 for all of his subjects except writing, and he didn't actually finish his SATS papers on time, which could explain the results.

I am quite concerned that there is such a huge gap between his writing SATS and everything else, and wonder if he may be dyslexic. Even when he reads a word and copies it, when he writes it down, he sometimes gets letters in the middle of the word the wrong way round. I have noticed that sometimes he does this when reading too, although his reading is generally okay.

I had started him with a private tutor to prepare for the kent test, and his initial assessment showed that he is very able, particularly in the NVR which the tutor said was very good.

He is due to sit the kent test in 2011, and I would like him to sit it, but I am very worried about his writing skills. When he writes, his spelling often doesn't make sense as he doesn't always write a word as it sounds if he is unsure of the spelling, making it very difficult to understand what he is trying to say.

Should I try to get an appointment with the primary school's SEN when the new school year starts in September, or should I see how things go?

Also, if he does pass his kent test, and his spelling is still bad, would he still be able to go to a grammar school - do they have support at grammar schools in this respect.

Sorry this is long, but his tutor thinks that he has a very good chance of passing the kent test - she says that he isn't even bordeline, that he is quite able based on the intitial assessment, but I wouldn't want to put him through it if he won't get support in a grammar school (if he were to pass the test).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:32 pm 
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I am no expert but I think some children with mild dyslexic problems hide it by being good readers and otherwise academically very capable. They read by using a couple of the letters they recognise and put in a word that makes sense. Often as they progress through school they are heard reading aloud less so it goes unnoticed and I do think that dyslexia is often perceived as a reading problem rather than a writing issue.

Personally I would go in and have a chat with the senco about your concerns now rather than wait. My eldest had a similar problem but his early education in a different language muddied the water slightly so it has always been harder to pinpoint if he has dyslexia. My DS was not given any extra support at primary, I did ask, but he has at his Grammar school, not in Kent.

You may find yourself in the same boat I was in that as long as your DS is on target to achieve his required level 4 SATs the primary school can't or won't help. The irony is that once at Grammar the goal posts shift and because my DSs writing was comparatively poor to the rest of the class he is finally getting the support he probably should have had years ago. This is unlikely to have happened had he gone to our local comprehensive. Annoyingly it is now having less affect than it would have had it been given sooner and is possibly not being given by a person with the right expertise.

If your school can't help then I would ask your tutor if they have any experience with dyslexia or find someone who does and ask their advice. Others on this site will also give you good advice as well.


Last edited by Tolstoy on Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:45 pm 
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I agree with Tolstoy and would see the SenCo as soon as they go back to school in Sept.

I don't know about all the GSs in Kent but at the GS my DS attends they get lots of support and there is also no stigma in going to learning support. If I was you, I would visit the GSs you are interested in this year and speak to the SenCo's and English teachers to get some sense of how they deal with children that need extra support.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:14 am 
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Thankyou, Tolstoy and SSM for your advice, it does help.

Looking through the literacy books that he brought home at the end of term, I noticed that he had a scribe during the first term of year 4, which I wasn't aware of. I feel sad because if I had known there were definite problems, I could have done something sooner, but his teachers kept telling me that he was doing fine.

I will go and see the school's SENCO as soon as the new school year begins and see what happens.

Thanks once again for your help and advice, and for sharing your own experiences. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:25 am 
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The school gave your son a scribe and didn't tell you about it? I'd be knocking on their door first day of term and demanding to know what the heck's going on. I think the school needs to know you expect to be kept in the loop.

End of term comments for school? Communication skills needs working on!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:29 pm 
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Tolstoy wrote:
The irony is that once at Grammar the goal posts shift and because my DSs writing was comparatively poor to the rest of the class he is finally getting the support he probably should have had years ago. This is unlikely to have happened had he gone to our local comprehensive.


This was not the case with us, whilst DS certainly stood out because his writing level was low (3a) in Y7 at GS, I was told by excellent SENCo and Ed psych, that they had to prove he was working below the national average level - not just compared to peers at GS, otherwise he was not entitled to any extra help or extra time in exams. I am a teacher and know this is correct and of course when he was younger he did not stand out as much and was relatively not far behind average - the gap widens as children grow older and progress. Most made average progress, he didn't so fell further and further behind. If he had gone to a comp he would have been entitled to the same help. He is about to go into Y10 and will have a reduced timetable next year.
My DS2 (Y7) with similar problems is at a secondary modern and is in the top groups, he is about to be formally assessed so his needs can be met, even though he finished KS2 with level 5s.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:50 pm 
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Quote:
I was told by excellent SENCo and Ed psych, that they had to prove he was working below the national average level - not just compared to peers at GS,


I disagree with the ed psych and the SENCO in your scenario and I also have a small degree of expertise in this area. Just because a child is working at the national average does not mean they should not receive support, your son with his 3a was below this anyway so should have have received support. My son had a high NVR score and his English in terms of creativity is excellent, reading and maths were both 5s. Far too much SEN help is given to children who are across the board low level learning ability rather than going to those that have a specific difficulty that needs to be addressed.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 12:36 pm 
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I will be speaking to the school soon. He is doing okay in his reading, although still a little behind and his comprehension is excellent. It is only really his spelling that he needs help in, and my biggest worry is that he will be overlooked on other subjects too if he does end up getting help, even though he does very well in everything else.

Another thing I noticed is that he spells a word out loud, (still with the wrong spelling though) but cannot seem to write it on paper the same way. For instance, for the word 'blue', he spelt it out loud as b-u-l-e, and when he wrote it down straight afterwards, he spelt it b-l-u-l-l-e-l. For the word 'there' he spelt it as 'they', but he can read these words and many of the more difficult words without too many problems. I am feeling quite frustrated as I don't know what is going on here. It seems that he can't put down on paper what it is that he wants to say.

He is only just beginning to grasp telling the time, but can explain easily how many hours/minutes there are between different times of the day, and still gets confused with the order of the days of the week/months of the year.

My other worry is that the school won't think that he has a problem because he does so well in everything else.

Anyway, I'll get on to the school ASAP and see what (if anything) needs to be done.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:47 pm 
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Location: Bucks
My DS has Aspergers and has always struggled with handwriting and getting what he knows down on paper. He is just about to start Yr 7 at a grammar school. His spelling is awful, he can spell the same word (high frequency ones) 3 different ways in the same paragraph, I don't understand it either. However his reading is well above average and his verbal communications skills are amazing. Do seek advice from the school and don't be fobbed off. In Year 5 at my DS's school they adjusted the way he had to answer his CATs exam (never told me) it was only because his scores went up from the 50th percentile to the 95th percentile that I went in and questioned what had happened. It just happened that this was the best thing they could have done because we started to realise that he had difficulties with the format of exams.

You will be told all sorts of things about what support you can or can't expect, by teachers, SENCO's, other parents etc. Don't take what people say as gospel, a lot of the SEN system is down to each individual child and how people interprets the Code of Practice. DS had adjustments for his 11+ and his Year 6 SATs he does not have a statement (but working on it) and is not under achieving but does need on going support.

Good luck with the school.

MG


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:47 pm 
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Can I just put up a concerned hand and say that if he's at level 3a at the end of year 4, he may have a bit of a mountain to climb? There's plenty of time, obviously, and I don't want to worry you, but in order to get to level 5 by the beginning of year 6 he;s going to have to pull out all the stops. What does his tutor say?


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