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24/06/2013 at 21:58
Hi, this is my first time on here so sorry to jump straight in with a question but I really don't know who else to ask.
My son is 5 and is in reception. Parents evenings have not been great for us as they are mainly focused around what Marcus is struggling with. He has clearly struggled to pick up letters, sounds and numbers. He didn't learn basic colours until almost five. He doesn't seem interested in learning. We had his hearing tested after requests from Pre-school and his teacher has also asked if he can hear ok. The tests were fine. Recently she asked me to come into school and said that Marcus was really struggling. He hasn't progressed since starting and the other children have all taken off, even the July children but as Marcus was 5 in September she feels he may have learning difficulties. She started filling out a form, I had to write stuff that I felt may be relevant (very sensitive to smells, must sit in same place in car & at table etc). She also made me an appointment with the school nurse (next Tues). I don't really understand what's going on, its happening so fast. Today I received an appointment from a paediatric clinic saying my doctor had referred Marcus and to bring a urine sample with him. I don't know what this is for. I'm guessing this was to do with the form I filled in? I just thought she was applying for a little help for him. Does anyone have any experience or can tell me what to expect? I feel totally bewildered.
Sorry this is so long!
24/06/2013 at 22:26
I don't really have any experience of this as SEN (special educational needs) children are usually identified by the time they get to me. I would ask the teacher or the school's SENCO to talk through the process with you as it's unfair on you and M. Hugs to you xx
24/06/2013 at 22:31
Thank you, I feel really stupid not understanding what's happening. I work full time so don't usually do school runs unless I book the day off and my husband is not helpful at all so communication between me and his teacher is quite crap anyway, when she sees me she just whisks me in and it's a bit of a whirlwind. I will see her briefly next Tuesday and also the school nurse so hopefully I'll get some answers then x
24/06/2013 at 22:34
Don't feel stupid. They should have explained the process to you before starting it x
24/06/2013 at 22:40
So sorry you're feeling bewildered by it all. I can only reply as a teacher.
Firstly, while it all seems to be moving very fast all of a sudden this is a good thing. If your son has got learning difficulties, the sooner he gets help the better. He really should have started to make progress by now, particularly as he is a September child, so they do need to take steps to ensure he can make as much progress as possible or he will get further and further behind his class mates. The school nurse is usually the first step and I know that the head of my school will always use her first for most referrals, so I guess they'll want to rule out any health problems that could be hindering his learning. An example I can give (although probably not relevant to your son at all) is a child I taught with quite severe (or so we thought) special needs. He made very little progress at infants and was still at reception level when he was 8. It turned out that he had petti mal epilepsy and had spent most of his early life basically 'blanking out' and missing what was being taught, or becoming confused with what he thought was being taught. On the outside it looked like he was daydreaming, but when the school flagged up his lack of progress and he was referred his condition became apparent. He then went on to make steady progress, but would have had so many more difficulties in later life had this not be discovered.
From the bit you've mentioned about sensitivity to smells and sitting in the same place etc. while that can be common for a lot of children, it could also be indicative of something like Aspergers syndrome which they'll either want to rule out or monitor.
After the medical appointments I expect you'll have an additional meeting at the school and they will discuss what will happen next. He will have an action plan of what targets he will be given to help him make progress and what support he'll be given to help him to achieve these. If his needs are great enough, a statement may be applied for where he may be given additional TA support for some lessons (but these are very difficult to get, so it's more likely he will be supported by the staff already in school to start with).
I can totally understand how you must be feeling as a parent, but as you say, all parents' evenings etc. have focused on his lack of progress, so the school have obviously been tracking him and now feel that, after almost his first year at school, now is the time to start to take steps to get him any additional help he may need. It may be that everything is fine and it is just taking him a bit longer to get off the starting blocks, but if he does have difficulties, the sooner help is given, the better. Please try not to worry about it all as I sounds like the school are doing the right thing in getting things moving. There will be other people on here who will be able to give better advice as they may have been through this with their own child. Hugs. x
24/06/2013 at 22:58
Thank you both for replying. LWO - I know we are very lucky that they have not only recognised the issue but are being so quick to help us. I bet she explained it to me but I was probably too stunned to take it in. I knew he was slow but to hear that there may be a problem was hard. Thanks for reassuring me that the appointments are normal too x
25/06/2013 at 07:40
My eldest has learning difficulties.
He had "quirks", and was thought to have Aspergers, but thankfully it was ruled out, and he was accepted as just being fussy (he HAD to be the one to turn the TV off if we went out, if I did it, he'd scream. All his toy cars HAD to be in a straight line, and facing the same way, God help anyone who moved them, things like that). This came straight from his teacher, there was no school nurse.
He had his hearing tested, had meetings with an Educational Psychologist, who along with his teacher, came up with an IEP (individual education plan/programme) which sets out targets for your child to reach. It identifies areas they need to work at most, and every few months, I go and speak to his teachers about what he has achieved, and what still needs work.
He has a couple of one on one sessions with his SENCO, and he has an individual reading buddy, who works with him once a week.
C also had a couple of meeting with other health professionals, which was daunting, but turned out to be helpful. (proper medical check ups at a clinic. They ask your childs teacher to fill in a report, then get your "statement" about your child)
All of these things are to help your child. It's not nice to hear your child may need extra help, but as long as it does help them, then that can only be a good thing!
C is not 9.5, and he is still slightly behind his class mates, but his SENCO said in reguards to how many reading levels he has moved up, he has made the most progress out of anyone in the whole school, even though he is on a lower level.
You'll probably find your child isn't the only one going through it too, don't worry
25/06/2013 at 09:16
Although I haven't really got any good advice on learning difficulties, I did have to go in and out to see the headteacher when my son was being bullied. It is so stressful and your emotions normally take over. I found it very helpful to have a list of questions ready before I went in and if I wanted to, I made notes during the meetings. Remember they are all there to help you and your son so if you want to make other longer appointments to discuss things, ask them.
Good luck with everything xx
25/06/2013 at 21:41
Thank you both x
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