Dyslexia Action
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Update on my school-phobic son

Firstly I would like to thank everyone who replied to my original post last year ('Help my son can't cope with school!') It was such a life-saver to know that so many people have had similar issues and have got through them!

I just wanted to post an update on what has happened to us to offer some hope to others who are in a similar struggle. We have continued to Home Educate our son (now 11) as he has been SO much happier - he has lost a lot of his anxiety, he is continent again, is sleeping, and has articulated some of how he felt at school. He has also made really good progress academically - I cannot recommend TOE BY TOE enough - it took him over a year to do, but his reading has gone from 2 years below his age to be level with his actual age. We have now started on 'Stareway to spelling' - again brilliant as it can be done in really small chunks and is designed to teach him words he needs to learn - not what the government thinks he should be learning!

He still struggles, as his intelligence is greater than his reading ability, but with more conifdence, he now reads books for pleasure, and asks non-stop for the next Beast Quest he wants! That is such a result, and one that we hold onto when all of his friends have got into grammar school making us all feel left behind. My son asked why he wasn't allowed to go to the school for clever children too! Soul destroying, but we have turned that around now by showing him all the things he is far better than them at - sport/computers etc. He has even said he feels sorry for me as I am not dyslexic, which means I can't see things like he does - in a 3D way, and because I have no imagination! :)

We have carried on battling to get proper help as we have felt abandoned by the system to cope on our own - not easy when we have faced redundancy and ill-health. It has taken nearly 2 years, but we have finally had an Occupational Therapy assessment which has highlighted he has Sensory Processing Disorder as well as dyslexia and mild dyspraxia. They have helped us to make sense of why he found school so stressful due to the noise/lights/smells etc. We are now facing another battle to get an assessment for Aspergers, as he still displays some behaviours - he just seems to find the world such a stressful place, and would prefer to stay in all the time - we have regular battles to get him out to do things. We have more or less given up on him returning to mainstream school as our LEA seems so behind on offering help (we have never even been offered LEA assessment). He is due to start secondary school next year, but we have more or less taken the decision that unless we miraculously get lots of help then he will not cope. It has made us feel quite bitter - as my husband has struggled to find work since redundancy (He is also dyslexic and possible Aspergers) and it means that with a child at home we cannot both be out at the same time to work. We feel that my son has been denied an education because the system does not know how to deal with his needs.

BUT the good news is that we have found a wonderful, small school that he now attends for 8 hours a week to go to a 'workshop' in IT/Science. In fact, he is also doing literacy and maths, but he doesn't even realise! It comes at a cost, and it is so hard because we are surviving off my tiny salary and no benefits! He has said he would like to go more often - does anyone know if an LEA would help with the cost of this if it was the only school option that would suit his needs? It is the only place where he has ever settled - he doesn't feel dizzy or sick there and because it is small (only 5 in a class) he doens't feel stressed at all.

Sorry for the length of the post - I think forums like these are a life-saver for all of us who are still battling with a world where dyslexics are not given the support they need.

1 Reply

Well done you as parents you find the strength to do anything for your child. The LA will not usually assess unless a child is particularly severe and the school recommends it but you as a parent can request them to assess for a statement of special educational need. Put in your letter asking for the assessment the reasons why and what you have done so far and any reports you have had carried out. Explain that he attends a small school and you would like this to be included in a statement for him funded by the LA etc. Always get your own assessment done before the LA gets their Ed Psych to do one and more often then not they will say no to the assessment and then you apply to SENDIST to meet the LA at tribunal. We have just secured our son a place at a specialist dyslexic school paid for by the LA this took us a year to secure and lots of time and patience. If you have hard rock evidence from a good Ed Psych who puts recommendations in the report (always say the report is for a tribunal because you may have to use the report at a tribunal in the future) then use this to carry you forward. It is a long hard road but you should not have to pay to support your child through learning. Good luck


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