Dyslexia | Dealing With The School
The most important thing you can do is to be understanding and supportive. All successful dyslexics attribute their success to a crucial someone who believed in them when they were struggling in childhood. Don't blame or put pressure on your child for not achieving. Explain to them that their dyslexia is a real physical condition, like deafness or having to wear glasses, and they can be helped.
If you think your child is struggling at school the first thing you should do is speak to their class teacher or head of year. Tell them about your concerns and why you think your child might be dyslexic. They may be able to identify support that your child needs and find ways of providing it.
Make an appointment with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at your child’s school
After a meeting with the class teacher or head of year, if you still have concerns, you should make an appointment to see the school Special Educational Needs Coordinator.
The SEN Code of Practice (2002) requires schools to provide appropriate support so that all children have the opportunity to benefit from an inclusive education. In line with the Code of Practice, the SENCO should create an Individual Education Plan, setting out the steps which the school will take to provide appropriate support for your child’s needs. Dyslexia is a recognised difficulty under the Equality Act 2010.
It is advisable to read the SEN Guide for Parents and Carers before your meeting with the SENCO. This booklet sets out the main points of the Code of Practice, explains procedures and tells parents their rights. It is a very helpful guide to understanding what your child is entitled to and what should happen when you talk to the school.
I have been registered with the The British Psychological Society’s Psychological Testing Centre (PTC) since 2009 and administered tests and assessments regularly since.
The area of Special Educational Needs (SEN) is in a period of proposed change by the Government. Substantial funding has been put aside for these changes and they are going to effect everyone involved, from the child through their school to the Local Authority and Psychologists involved in helping them.
Individual Education Plan
Once the school has established an Individual Education Plan, you should expect to have regular meetings with the school (perhaps once a term) to monitor progress. If all goes well, your child should now receive appropriate help and support.
If, however, the Individual Education Plan is not working or, for some reason, is not properly implemented, it may be necessary to get a full assessment by an educational psychologist, suitably qualified teacher, or other suitably qualified person.
Getting an assessment
You could request that an educational psychologist at the Local Education Authority (LEA) does a formal assessment. If the school is unwilling to refer your child, you can apply for this yourself direct or get help from the Parent Partnership Officer at the LEA.
The LEA service is often over-stretched and there may be a long waiting list. So, if you can afford it, you could consider having a private assessment.
A Chartered Educational Psychologist specialising in Specific Learning Difficulties could cost you £400 - £500.
I am a Chartered Psychologist working towards the field of forensic psychology. I still have a passion for education as my previous career was as a teacher. I have qualifications to test for dyslexia as accredited by the British Psychological Society and my charges for testing for dyslexia start from £295 for those under the age of 18.
What is the assessment and what do you get from me?
The assessment should take between 2 and 3 hours and will involve a series of so-called psychometric tests to measure spatial, verbal, memory, reading and spelling abilities in a standardised way to compare with the normal range of these abilities in children of that age. Someone with dyslexia shows a characteristic pattern of weaknesses and strengths in these abilities that can easily be recognised with experience.
After the assessment I will begin to prepare a full report for you which will take up to two weeks to produce. It will then be given to you and discussed to ensure you understand everything contained within.
A full dyslexia assessment by me can be used for schools, access arrangements, DSA application, exam concessions, workplace accommodations or for peace of mind.
I will keep a copy of the report for 6 years at which point it will then be destroyed.
Discuss the assessment report with the school
Once you have an assessment, meet with the SENCO and discuss the findings of the report. The report should form the basis for an action plan to help your child.
If you obtain an independent assessment, however, the school may not automatically accept the findings. In this case, you should contact the Chief Education Officer for your LEA and ask him or her to ensure that the school implements an action plan.
If you continue to have difficulty getting the school to provide adequate support, you may need to enlist the help of the school governor in charge of Special Needs. With a diagnosed disability, your child would be entitled to reasonable support at school under the Equality Act 2010.
Funding for private assessments
private medical insurance companies will fund independent assessments. If this is not an option then I can arrange
for a payment plan to help with the cost of the assessment. See my fees for further details.