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Need help to informally assess kid

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by cuppacoffee, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee New commenter

    I'm overseas and have no way of getting a kid assessed. To be able to help him in some way, both educationally and socially, I'd really appreciate some input. His parents say they have had him assessed and that everything is fine and that he's just "different". Both his class teacher last year, his current teachers and I agree that things are far from "fine".
    *has a short attention span (3 minutes on a task and then "spaces")
    *is very passive
    *is emotionally immature (about Yr 1 on a good day)
    *has an inability to make relationships with other children, but will bombard adults with intense-seemingly random-intense and demanding, quite detailed"conversations"
    *can form letters, but to a Yr 1 level
    *can't reproduce a table (ie lines set out in a specific way with writing in different columns)
    and-most notable-walks around flicking his wrists and hands in a cırcular movement around his head
    His other teachers this year and I agree that he is middle ability when he achieves something
    ANY insights gratefully received!
  2. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    Though you make comparisons to Yr1, you haven't said the age of the pupil, so it's hard for us to judge how severe the difficulties may be.

    There are lots of possible explanations for the varied behaviours you describe...
    • Attention span could be due to ADHD or similar, but may not be. Could equally be a diversionary tactic.
    • Low emotional literacy and your description of friendships/adult-based dialogue, accompanied by 'middle ability' academically, sounds rather like high functioning autism / Aspergers.
    • Handwriting and table drawing issues could be due to dyslexia and/or dyspraxia. But equally could be due to laziness.
    • Not sure about the hand/wrist flicking. Is he aware that he does it, or is it a physical 'tic'? Has anyone asked him why he does it (if it's intentional)? (e.g. if he has noticed his wrists click when he does this, it might simply be a repetitive action because he is trying to work out the reason why, but it might equally account for why some of his peers don't choose to build relationships with him!)
    [The above are gross generalisations. Apologies to any SEN specialists reading this who might think I'm trying to give a detailed diagnosis on the basis of these few observations. I'm not an SEN specialist, but I work with students with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, so have a range of experience. I'm simply trying to point out the wide variety of possible causes.]

    Do you have access to any assessments in school, or a SENCO, or could you purchase some assessments that a teacher could conduct (to be shipped out from UK)? (You haven't said which country you are in - not that we need to know, but therefore, we do not know why you cannot have the pupil 'assessed' (e.g. by an ed psych))

    If you are looking for strategies for working with the pupil in class, rather than particularly wanting a diagnosis, try looking up the conditions mentioned and they might help you to understand the behaviours and recognise other behaviours that could also be linked to any undiagnosed condition the pupil may have.
  3. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee New commenter

    Thank you for answering so quickly!
    Sorry, he's in Yr 6 so 10 yrs of age.
    It's difficult to get him assessed as we don't have a SENCO and then there's the language barrier with local doctors etc. I don't think the parents want him assessed either and we can't do anything without their permission.
    Thanks for the insights. I'll look those up and see if we can find a way to help. I don't think it's dyslexia though as he can read out loud and even spell very well. Re the writing, you could be right that it's laziness (though how he's managed to get this far and why nobody has intervened is beyond me...)
    Re the emotional literacy,he doesn't want to spend much time with his peers either, despite telling me that he doesn't know how to get himself included in games. At break times,the teachers on duty now make sure that he's included in group games, but he wanders off after about 5 mins and sits in the middle of the grass on his own
    I was wondering about SPD as well.
    I'll ask him about the hand rotating tomorrow.
  4. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    If the parents say the child has been assessed, I think you are entitled to ask who by, what they did and to see the results! Somebody, somewhere, must have set that ball rolling - just what sparked the need for assessment and when. The more the years pass, the more the problems multiply so an assessment at the request of a preschool might give the optimistic answer you quote BUT with no follow-up things could have gone very wrong since and the parents will have to get a further opinion to help you in school now. It is odd if he reads with meaning - can he retell? His retelling of a story you have read to him, with pictorial support, should be very revealing. Sounds an interesting youngster(!)
  5. cuppacoffee

    cuppacoffee New commenter

    So, on a mission to understand how to support the boy, I cornered the father today (who happened to be in school) and it turns out that the boy suffered brain damage as a baby. And it turns out that they have had him assessed by neurologists on a yearly basis (but didn't tell the school a year ago when he started).
    Anyway, I got lots of insights into how to help him and lots of things started to make sense.
    And yes, an interesting boy
  6. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    That's wonderful progress! See; sometimes all it takes is someone like you to take an interest, try to find out and do what you can to support! :)
  7. camptownraces

    camptownraces New commenter

    The Children's Trust have specialists who give intensive support to children with acquired brain injury who are in education in the UK.

    (One of their team came to our school and gave an very helpful presentation about a particular pupil and how she could be helped.)

    It may be that they have already been involved with your boy. Even if not, they may be be able to give you some support and suggestions remotely - it would be worth contacting them (via their website) to ask.

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