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Any help with perplexing child???

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by smiley_scribe, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. smiley_scribe

    smiley_scribe New commenter

    I just wondered if there might be anyone out there who has had a child like the one I am about to describe and can help me with a diagnosis or strategies to help them. For background info, Ed Pysch has been involved several tmes and has not come up with anything. Speech and lang have been involved and said she is 'developmentally delayed with language and communication skills' but myself, SENCo and parent feel there is 'something we can't put our finger on'....
    She is in Y3. Learning is erratic - sometimes she gets things, sometimes she doesnt. She could easily read (apologies - decode) a level 2b book but has absolutely no understanding of what she has read. She is unable to sequence pictures to retell a story. She has limited understanding of vocabulary. Spelling is brilliant and regularly gets 10/10 on spelling tests but has not idea what the words mean. She can create sentences verbally and can be chatty but when she writes it down it is in key words or just doesn't make sense at all. Handwriting is all over the place and generally not on the line. Inconsistent in size. Memorises drawings from the board (eg, in science experiments) but cannot tell you what the things are that she has drawn - even when the diagram was 3 cups, each with a different liquid and a tooth in each cup, she couldn't tell me what the 'blob' was that she has drawn in the cup. When asked what a lesson was about that had been all about writing letters, including a practical cut and stick activity, all she could remember was the word 'features' that was in the objective. No recollection of letters. When i quickly drew out a letter with an address and the words Dear... and from... at the the end, she couldn't tell me what it was. Her 5 year old sister could!!
    Whe playing matching pairs, she matches up random objects. She will match two objects simply on the basis that she doesnt know what either of them are or because she makes a different kind of connection (eg, I have seen them at home).
    In maths, she cannot order or sequence numbers to 20 despite working on it in every way possible for the last two years.
    General behaviour - limited understanding of consequences or how what she says or does affects others. Can go for weeks being beautifully behaved then have 4 or 5 days of kicking, punching, biting, name calling and lying and then go back to being lovely again!
    I am at my wits end as the poor girl is very frustrating to teach but i know there is something wrong! I am at the point of referring her to the doctors, unless someone on here can help??
    I know it is a long post but if you can help, I would really appreciate a reply with any suggestions or ideas!
  2. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    What a fascinating and intriguing student (I know, easy for me to say [​IMG])
    No suggestions off the top of my head, but I did have a question for clarification. When you say Ed. Psych. has been involved, have they completed any formal assessments?
    She cannot order or sequence numbers, but does she have number sense or one to one correspondence in other situations?
    As for the Dr., I would not hesitate to recommend that they explore any and all medical possibilities that could contribute to a diagnosis/intervention.

  3. Difficult, and I know how frustrating it can be when you're know there's a barrier to learning but can't work out what can break down that barrier.
    Some things you've described sound similar to a child I taught a few years ago who had global learning delay. Would have thought the Ed Psych would have been able to spot that though. Have they not put it down to MLD (moderate learning difficulties). That seems to be what we get told when they don't really know!
    Behaviour problems could be as a result of frustration, especially if she is able to discuss things verbally but not write any of her ideas down or remember facts and information.
    Have you tried sound buttons to record her sentence so that she can play it back as she writes?
  4. I wonder if she is a 'here and now' child. She lives in the moment and cannot remember what she has just done, who she played with at playtime and what she will be doing next. She has no sense of time and sequence. Maggie Snowling a speech and language therapist identified these children. They do not learn and retain because they are unable to make links to what they have learnt before - if you can't remember what you did at playtime how are you going to hang learning together from one lesson to the next. everything we do relies on a sequence. From getting up in the morning to the layout of a sum or the organisation of a piece of writing.
    If your child is like this then you need to develop her sense of time and sequence. I do this through visual timetables. We start with what the child is doing now and then what they will be doing next. as the first activity is completed we then take that picture away and put on the picture for the activity to follow the next activity. Gradually we build up to the child being able to cope with talking about what they have just done, what they are doing now and what they will be doing next. Over a period of time this can be extended to the whole day. alongside this we work on what they do each day of the week and build this up so they can sequence the days of the week and talk about what they did yesterday and what they will do tomorrow. This can be done with drawings made by the child so they are significant to them. I enlist parental help via the home-school book. They write about something they have done at home so I can prompt the child to talk about it in school and vice versa. Eventually you can work on the months of the year and the seasons.
    Don't know if this helps you, but I have had some real success with it. Once they have developed a sense of time and sequence the rest of their learning improves as they begin to be able to link things they have learnt together.Her outbreaks may be due to her seeign what the other children can do and becoming frustrated. I don't know.
    Her vocabulary difficulties show that her storage of words in her semantic store is not very efficient. The speech and language therapist should be able to give you examples of how to teach her vocabulary by using a word web. I put the word in the middle and then draw red lines to the right of the word and put the phonological cues on these so what the word starts with, rhymes with and how many syllables it has and then the meaning information to the left on green lines. The pupil draws pictures to help them remember the information. This method mimics the way the brain stores information about words and so helps the child to store the word more effectively.
    Hope this helps.
  5. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    Certainly sounds that way (in spades for Y3!) You don't say if you are able to provide any 1-1 support. Children who give a definition along the lines of 'we have one' / 'mine is called Harry' / 'I don't like it' need tons of work on early categorisation and association. Those that read but don't seem to understand need to read simpler stuff but demonstrate that they do understand (reading for meaning). I have uploaded many resources which would suit this child by the sound of it BUT of course someone has to be available to do the work! They are all on TES but the index on my blog would help you: http://languageisheartosay.com
    I would say you definitely need to keep finding out why and get some idea of the attainment potential - perhaps the child is not well placed at present and it is all just too much.

  6. smiley_scribe

    smiley_scribe New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    Thank you for your ideas and support. There's loads to take in and try out from the ideas you have given me so thank you all again!
    Languageisheartosay - that web link is amazing and I'm sure when i get chance to go through it all during half term I'll be able to create much more specific work for her and get it into her IEP. I do have a TA but i also have a statemented child with me in the afternoons (he attends a special school in the morning) and a few EBD issues witihin the class. The TA does a brilliant job and has been implementing Word Wizard type concepts for the past few months - at least we have got past random guesses of words (teeth are made of bricks and glass!) to admitting simply 'I don't know' which is a big step really!!
    If anyone else has any input, more ideas gratefully received!!!
    Thanks again TES community for supporting a very frustrated and bewildered teacher!!!
  7. I worked with a pupil (A) with Semantic Pragmatic Disorder (SPD) who exhibited some of the behaviours your pupil does.
    The behaviours A exhibited were
    • passage of time - no idea of the concept of today, yesterday, could not grasp that his baby photo was of him
    • could read (decode) and spell but with little comprehension - dependent on visual learning only
    • little social interaction or understanding of social situations - very placid so no poor behaviour
    • repeating facts and figures with not understanding them
    • had no questioning skills
    • copy and draw from board accurately but not comprehend what he was doing it for
    • poor sequencing skills
    • why/because correlation poor - shown two pictures girl crying next to a dropped ice cream..could not relate the two events
    • no semantic linking - again shown two pictures..shoe and foot and could not relate them
    • confused pronouns - you and I in particular.
    Hope this may help
  8. smiley_scribe

    smiley_scribe New commenter

    Wow, this is brilliant. The behaviours you describe are exactly like my pupil. I have googled it and it seems to fit her down to a T!! Thank you so much, I feel like this is a Eureka moment!! Will be getting straight onto speech and language therapy tomorrow to try and get further assessments done and hopefully sometime in the future, some kind of confirmed diagnosis! Can't thank you enough!!
  9. Glad to assist [​IMG]
  10. This child also sounds very like my son and he has sensory processing disorder also known as sensory integration disorder. His primary teachers and I all knew there was something very different about him but visits from the educational psychologists came up with nothing! It took a long time but eventually when he was 10 I had him assessed privately. He had had many hearing tests before, electronic ones which always proved his hearing was normal but this guy gave him a set of head phones and played a tape of someone saying random words. My son only heard one third of the words spoken and every one beginning with F he heard as F***! Which explained why he kept telling me his teacher was swearing at him! After the diagnoses life became so much easier and he even began to communicate to me his problems, which of course he thought everyone had. We used to have a major battle every morning getting his socks on and it turns out the seam on his socks actually caused him extreme discomfort. New sports socks with no seam help him to concentrate better. Basically his brain prioritises all the wrong sounds and sensations, in a busy classroom setting life is extremely difficult and concentration is impossible , he suffers total sensory overload leaving him with extremely poor ability to do almost anything! He is too busy having to guess two thirds of the content of each sentence he hears to actually process what it means and it's the same with his reading, when he really concentrates he can do so fluently but the actual content of the text is lost on him. Instructions have to be broken up for him, even now at 15 he struggles. He has poor short term memory and no understanding of time, he likes to be with other kids his age which is fine if they're wrestling like I've discovered teenage boys seem to do quite a lot of but it takes him so long to piece together what he hears in a group chat that the topic has changed before he can formulate any response. If we watch a film together, he remembers totally bizarre things about it that no one else noticed. He can get me up in the night to investigate a noise in the garden which turns out to be a leaf blowing about in a jar under his window but never hears the phone ring. When I speak to him, sometimes he sees me speaking but hears the news on the tv in the room down the hall! It is all so obvious now we know about it but as a wee boy, he was very confused most of the time, as were we. He didn't really behave badly at primary school but he went to a tiny one with only 30 pupils in the whole school, also he was scared to misbehave because when people shout at him he can't make out anything they say. It's tricky because he wants to be 'normal' but if I had know then what I knew now I would never have put him to school, it's an impossible environment for him and children like him. He has suffered extreme self belief issues and now suffers from crippling anxiety. My advice would be to suggest to her parents to go for a private assessment, get a diagnoses, when you finally know what the child is going through it makes all the difference and will help them make important decisions about her future before secondary school. Secondary school was a washout for my son, put into classes where the support was rather than by ability, exposed to pretty shocking behaviour he learnt very quickly how to get himself out of class and now aged 15 I've had to take him out of school, he is suffering extreme anxiety and to be honest his future looks bleak. Not what you want to have happen to your pupil! Good thing is she clearly has a teacher and parent who care but don't waste any time.

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