Sunday, September 25, 2005

At A Loss With School Again

Last year we tried to get Son statemented for Special Needs. His hand-eye coordination is appalling, he has Aspergers and dyslexic tendencies. Nobody has 'dyslexia' any more, officially, just tendencies.

At ten years old he still has to ask me how to spell simple words and his writing is near illegible.

His last year at school saw quite a few breakthroughs - thanks to the encouragement of that teacher and some excellent teaching assistants, he did consider an academic future. She let him display his powerpoint presentations to the class, and even sent him round other classes to share them there too. He picked up on lecturer-speak, 'I have prepared', 'you will see'; all that, and decided he wanted to be a teacher. It was enough to make me cry.

This year, as I think I already said, his plans progressed and he decided to do all his homework (for a complete change). It became a pet project of his to see every piece done and returned.

Last week he did a book review ahead of the homework being set, because he heard the teacher mention it. It was rejected. When the homework was set he had to do 100 words, hand written, this in spite of the fact that up to now school has allowed him to use the computer; allowed him to use amenuensis (dictation) and by that method write a whole lot more, and has done everything barring the Education Authority's official recommendation on his Note In Lieu (the thing you get if you fail to get a Special Ed Statement) that he be given a tape recorder to do his work orally.

Fired up as he was; determined to do all his work as he was, he ignored the headmaster's concession that he could simply do the review on the computer. He composed it in Word, just to get the spellings, then printed it off, sat down and reproduced it in his homework book by hand. Effectively he did the whole exercise twice, to conform to the letter of the assignment, with the writing out taking forever as he slowly struggled to copy digit by digit, keep them roughly of a similar size to each other and watch his spacing. I was really proud - I have never seen his work, albeit still a spider scrawl that goes up and down and all over; looking so neat.

I got his homework book back on Friday, ready for more work. The teacher's comment was:

"You make some really good points, but please keep your writing clear."

He is now looking at a very simple piece of work for this weekend and in the light of that comment, muttering that he can't really be bothered.

I don't think I can be very rational if I go to see her - I will either lose it, or go all squeaky and weak and sycophantic under the influence of adrenalin overload. I think I am going to steal his book and go see the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and ask her if she can point out little things like his Note in Lieu, his IEP (individual education plan), any disparities between them, and the comments of other teachers in his current statementing application. You know, stuff any teacher who gave a rats fart about the job would have read before she started.

If this woman screws up his chance at getting the help he needs by pushing the idea that he doesn't need any of what was stipulated by anybody else, I think I will let her know just what I think of her in front of her class - and I really don't want to be barred as an aggressive parent.

Anybody reading, who knows how I can handle this through the English system with some measure of diplomacy and without leaving the woman feeling cornered or resentful (but still in charge of my son) - HELP!!!


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