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Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by misssking, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. misssking

    misssking New commenter

    Hi everyone,
    I am new to the role of SENCO so am learning lots at the moment! There is a child in school who has possible Dyslexia but there may be a different underlying issue. We are keen to have her diagnosed but I am unsure on who to contact. The Educational Psychologist connected to the school said that often children aren't diagnosed but just need appropriate support put into place. Any advise would be amazing!
  2. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    Just look at the child's needs and address them. An assessment for dyslexia by a qualified person is usually very expensive. There are computer programmes which will give an indication but don't assess. If you think there is an underlying issue then address it whether that means an EP assessment or just adjustments to QFT.
    misssking likes this.
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    If you can be a bit more specific about the dyslexic tendencies then am sure we can offer some practical advice - even if it means suggesting how staff should be making reasonable adjustments for her via the QFT as @Wooton says. Remember that the revised code stresses that some children are the recipients of poor teaching and not ‘route one ‘ SEND so you must be confident that teachers are accommodating her difficulties routinely. You can monitor and observe and then ratchet up the support mechanisms if ‘ progress ‘ is not forthcoming....EP time - never ever enough ( in my experience ) and was v precious - we were limited to / prioritised their expertise for complex needs students ( of whom we had many !!! ).I totally understand their take on this .I was Secondary.
    misssking likes this.
  4. misssking

    misssking New commenter

    We have adjusted QFT to suit the child's needs including coloured exercise books and dyslexia friendly phonics. Parents are very keen for a 'diagnosis'. However, as with all SENCOs, I am also working within a very tight budget. I believe that previously the school gained a diagnosis from the LA who no longer complete assessments.
  5. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

  6. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    A diagnosis is a signpost. Can you ‘ isolate ‘ her primary learning need/ specific learning difficulty ? You will not be the first SENCO to be pressurised by parents. It may be that as well as your curriculum delivery modifications ( maybe they don’t go far enough ? ) you provide a time limited intervention which addresses the main barrier to learning ( I hate this phrase but you know what I mean ! ).
    Wotton likes this.
  7. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    You are under no obligation at all to find a diagnosis. Your obligations are to ensure reasonable adjustments are made according to the needs of each child, which you are doing.

    In all cases, except where a school are failing in their statutory duties, a diagnosis should make no difference to support, sen register status or resources. If you are already doing it, a piece of paper with a label is only a cost and no benefit. If parents wish for it they can fund it.

    Even in cases where I involve either advisory teachers or educational psychology service, I can not recall ever asking for a diagnostic approach. When I involve those services it is because I need fresh eyes on a child who can inform our next steps. EHCPs do not require diagnostic labels, only recognised specialj educational needs, which can be evidenced anyway.

    Diagnoses are most often just a useful short hand to give a quick and loose description of a collection of behaviours. They can be useful in that respect, but you can just as easily describe these behaviours as 'tendencies' in any case, without needing to resort to a medical model of learning difficulties.
    minnie me likes this.
  8. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Really interesting responses and food for thought

    I’m in the position where I get to see lots of different SEN intervention paperwork from many different schools.

    One thing that strikes me is that some intervention which has been put in place, especially if the child has been assessed internally by an SpLD specialist (this is usually without an diagnosis), can be very rigorous with clear guidance and targeted practical advice while other SEN intervention I have come across is much less targeted and as a result can seem rather “ woolly “ and generalised. In some schools, children are lucky to have any support at all while in other schools, children get several sessions of support in many different areas each week.

    I think an important part of having a dyslexia assessment with a possible diagnosis is the positive impact it can have on a child’s/person’s self esteem. There has been a lot of research done around how important self efficacy is in improving someone’s self esteem.

    There has been a lot of work done by dyslexia organisation to create positive messages and get these out to as many people as possible - for example the festival of Dyslexia cultural which ran a while ago celebrating the work of dyslexic artists, designers,musicians and poets.

    I think many schools have come a long way in terms of providing targeted support to children with Splds but despite this I still see many children who are struggling in the classroom and are not coping very well at all despite often having many strengths . Hard to believe but some teachers still don’t understand dyslexia and as a result, can label a child as being lazy ,not putting in the effort required or simply as not being bright enough.

    It does often impact on a child’s self- esteem and understanding why they, for example, might have really good ideas but really struggle when they are asked to write these down or why they may be struggling with homework tasks such as keeping up with reading and spelling is important in preventing negative perceptions of themselves taking hold permanently. Self esteem is very easily knocked.

    The process of dyslexia assessments may not be perfect but neither is the current situation for many children with Splds in mainstream classrooms which are often made up of large classes of children who have many diverse needs.

    I don’t think there is a clear cut answer - most of us here are trying our best to help to make a positive difference to the lives of those we work with.

    Dyslexia assessments are prohibitive in terms of cost, although when I was working in a college, I was able to provide them free of charge and even though it was hard work , I felt it was beneficial for the students concerned. It is a shame that cuts to SpLD services means this is something which many schools cannot access very easily.

    I think one of the positives about being assessed for dyslexia is that you can understand what is going on and speaking from first hand experience, I feel it has really helped me understand myself and even though I can’t change some of this things which I find difficult such as spelling or having difficulties with things like verbal memory, I feel empowered because I now know why this is.

    I like to think I pass on that empowerment to the children and adults I work with. I always work really hard when assessing to make the experience as positive as I can. I personally prefer the term learning differences and neuro diversity but I think that confuses parents so I stick with the traditional terms in my reports.

    Hope that makes sense - it took me a long time to write it because I had to keep changing the text

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