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Dyslexia, the Education System and Life in general

1. Dyslexia and the Education System (Junior School)

on March 11, 2015

I would like to share my story for others to learn from. To help empower other parents in the fight for the right education for our children.

My fourth child always struggled with spelling tests. She would get so upset when we tried to learn the words at home. Unlike her older brothers, she just couldn’t seem to learn them. At the time I thought it was more to do with her believing that she couldn’t learn them, and put up a block.

I felt like a useless mother as I couldn’t even teach her basic spellings, that I believed we could easily make memorable for her to learn.  Her self esteem dropped and she totally believed she was stupid and this affected the whole of her education and also her social life in and out of school.

I tried to boost her confidence, she is a clever child. She is good at seeing the bigger picture in life and can out argue me in a debate. She has always been very observant, not much gets past her, and her long term memory is above average. At the same time she struggles with her working memory, as she sometimes struggles with a list of instructions she has to follow.

Primary school picked up on a few issues and put her on School Action Plus (SA+) at the beginning of Year 1. This means that she received an Individual Education Plan (IEP), this is a sheet of paper with individual targets ie. who will practice rhyming words with her, and things to practice at home. The IEP should be reviewed termly with parents.

At around this time I started college to train as a Teaching Assistant. I volunteered at Josie’s school for a couple of mornings a week. I really enjoyed helping the children and spotting which ones needed extra support. But as I battled with Josie at home I felt so useless. How can I be any use to someone else’s child if I can’t help my own. This totally knocked my confidence in myself and actually put me off approaching the school for advice about Josie as I felt like I was a failure as a parent. And ultimately stopped me fulfilling me dream to be a Teaching Assistant.

By Year 3 the school called in the local Speech and Language Therapist (SaLT). The tests showed up areas of weakness and made suggestions of various things for the school to practice with her.

In Year 5 I had a meeting with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) at the school. They said that they would be taking away the support that she receives in class, so she learns to become independent ready for secondary school. I asked if she could be dyslexic, as she is still reversing b,d,p,q and various numbers. I was told that she is being given all the help she needs, and that she is being taught the right way for her.

Year 6 involved another SaLT Assessment, and this time when I asked if she could be dyslexic, I was told that if she was tested, it would probably show up that she is. But I would have to think carefully about having her tested as the ‘Dyslexic Label’ can sometimes give children an excuse to stop trying.  I was told that as most of this years school budget has already been allocated, it would be better if I waited until she starts secondary school…

(Updated 28th March 2015)

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