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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:49 pm
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Location: S.W. London
I'm not sure where to start, or exactly what advice I'm looking for. I feel like I'm going round in circles and maybe outside eyes might be able to point me down a new path. Apologies if this turns into a long post.

Background
My DS (9yrs in Year 5) has always had problems with handwriting but very good at maths.Infants school said wait until he gets to the Juniors, they have more experience. So we did. They screen all pupils on entry and said, mildly dyslexic. However the end of year report - Year 3 - contained some (negative) comments by his class teacher which set alarm bells ringing. By this stage I had discovered 'dysgraphia' and then I discovered a dyslexia centre who knew about it. Off we went for an assessment by an educational psychologist.
No surprise when he said yes, dysgraphia including a hand tremor, and severe dyslexia because there was a gap of 50 points between his upper and lower scores on WISC III subtests. What absolutely rendered us literally speechless with shock, and I am not exaggerating - we drove back home in stunned silence, was the level of some of his scores. For example, Mental maths at level of 14 year old - he was 8 years when tested.
Year 4 - present report to school, they swing into action. OT, fine motor skills groups etc - result is his handwriting is now a more appropriate size and can be read. He is still phobic about writing anything more than a paragraph. There was great delight amongst the staff when he wrote a piece that covered one side of paper. It contains 100 words.
From infants school he has always had some support for his abilities.

Where are we now?
Year 5 - motor skills and 'writing and higher order language support' group. When we attended parents evening the teachers had his various assessment scores, and there is still a 40 point spread between his best and worst scores - 93 at bottom and 139 at top.

So what's the problem?
His reading age is above his chronological age so he's not eligible for a statement. The focus last year on his handwriting as a physical activity has seen improvements in that, but he still can't get his ideas onto paper. Perhaps the new writing support group will help with this?

We have arranged to have his educational psychologists report updated to support our secondary school plans - see post in independent schools forum in due course. He will be re-assessed on WISC IV.

Any ideas about literacy based activities we can try at home, particularly non-threatening (in his world) paper-based activities.

Does anyone have experience of school based dyslexia support - what types of things do they do? I'm concerned that because nothing has been provided/offered under the 'dyslexia' label that he's missing out.

To be honest I don't know where to focus my energies:
- on what he's good at - Maths and Science
- on what he struggles with - literacy
- getting specific dyslexia help
- preparation for entrance exams(!)

Any help or suggestions or guidance would be gratefully received,
Susan :?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:40 pm 
Unfortunately I have no experience to help but I wonder if you could use the subjects he is good at to encourage him to write. Doing a project on the solar system where he needs to write some paragraphs on the subject as well as drawings to help his fine motor control. At least this may keep up his interest.

I would only extend his gifts if you want him to get into an independent or GS as this shows he is gifted inspite of his SEN. That aside, I would invest in more help for his dyslexia/graphia regardless of any other routes you choose to go down.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:51 pm
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I recommend that you investigate this:

http://www.learn-writecentre.co.uk/biog ... rofile.cfm

It's a one-person operation so expect up to a 12-month wait for an appointment if you decide to go ahead.

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
what about alternative methods of recording?

Could he use a laptop, or maybe record his stories etc using a dictaphone?

A technique which helped a y3 pupil was to use coloured gel pens, one colour for each line, also setting a target for how many lines would be written in that session and an appropriate reward if the target was met or surpassed.

Writing frames might help and you could ask the senco if there is suitable software available, not knowing his specific difficulty I am not sure what would be appropriate but clicker is good for some children.

Has the ed psych made any specific suggestions?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:02 pm 
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Many schools use an AlphaSmart to support pupils with slow handwriting. It's less likely to get stolen than a laptop and doesn't need to be plugged in as it has a very long battery life. You can download to a PC -

Some pupils do their NC tests and GCSEs on them and then the print out is submitted -


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:41 pm 
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Last edited by Belinda on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:43 pm 
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Location: Bucks
My child has used an alphasmart since yr4, I can recommend learning to touch type using an Australian system, Kewala, which i got from the dyscovery centre - they have a website. It has a spell checker so that the child can concentrate on expressing themselves using the words they want to use without worrying too much about spelling. The spell checker can be turned off for tests if needed.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:54 pm 
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Hi Susan

Our DS is exactly in the same boat as your DS but also has ADHD,

The mention of having to write would bring on a panic attack (Crying and shaking).

We always brought it to the schools attention that we felt there was something wrong.... Their reply was it's a boys thing and they will start improving in the juniors.

It just carried on and in school because he would get upset in class he would be given lines to do....if he didn't do them, they would add more lines for him to do..He told me they had forgotten how many pages of lines he had to do so they just put ' X pages' , x representing infinity.

His Maths level at the start of year 5 was level 5, even then he was told off because he done everything in his head and would just write down the answer.

I had worked with him after school for a hour and half every day, but sometimes it was extremely difficult because there always seemed to be a loss of focus because of something that had happened at school.

In March we removed him from school and decided to educate otherwise
(Home School).

In May he said he wanted to try to get into a grammar school. I explained to him it would be a lot of hard work and i would expect him to have a positive mental attitude at all times.

He has now sat three exams and has put in 100% and amazed me with his effort. He still has his difficulties in writing and spelling but he compensates that with his brilliance in maths..In the VR Nfer papers i set as Mock exams, in standard format in timed conditions at a local library he attained 90+% in all of them..

In the Nfer Maths he got; 96%, 98%, 98% and 100%
His average for the NVR, VR and Maths was 94%+ in all of them.

In the forums i have read that if a child is attaining 90%+ in the Nfer papers they have a very good chance of passing the 11+.


He has one more 11+ exam to go which he is really looking forward to,
because it is a multiple choice VR paper and NVR paper.

DS has been doing a lot of reading in between these exams

I have told him we will try to get our head around the writing and spelling
after the exams are over.

I have a few ideas i want to try but i wont be expecting any miracles.

Quizzer


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:55 pm 
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Last edited by Belinda on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:49 pm
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Location: S.W. London
Thank you all for your kind, thoughtful and thought-provoking replies to my message.
I'm going to print the thread out and highlight particularly striking phrases. My DS mentioned that they had done a piece of levelled writing this week, so I will need to make sure I get some feedback for that.
Have a good weekend everyone, keep warm :)
Susan


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