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SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS - our policy.  We offer to discuss individual needs with parents on request

 

The great majority of pupils join Roselyon in the Nursery, and although they undergo careful and regular assessment during their early years, staff must remain vigilant, and continue to monitor progress carefully as the children move up the school.  It is vital that any problems are identified early – and that staff err on the side of caution. 

 

In the early years, each child’s development should be followed particularly closely.  Older children’s progress also requires careful and active monitoring.  Should any problems arise or be suspected, an ‘Initial Concern Form’ should be completed.  Copies of these are to be found in the Office or can be obtained from Ros McKeown, the school’s SENCO.  These are sheets for you to record any concern you may have about a child’s progress/development.  With younger children the forms found on pages 25 – 29 of “Different but Equal,” Cornwall’s Guidance on inclusion for Early Years’ Practitioners may provide a helpful structure.  Completed forms should be discussed with the SENCO and then, if it is agreed that the concern is valid, discussed with parents, after which a note of the meeting should be put on the child’s file.  A copy of the initial concerns form should be kept with your personal planning.  The SENCO is responsible for ensuring that all staff involved in the child’s education are aware of the concern.

 

Every half term a Staff Meeting is specifically set aside to discuss children with difficulties, though concerns may be brought up at any time during the term..  This allows updates on those we already have identified, discussion on their progress and the support they are receiving.  It is also an opportunity to raise concerns on other children.  It is important that within this we include our brightest children.  Gifted pupils must be identified promptly and challenged appropriately. 

 

Worries can prove unjustified or temporary.  However, monitoring should continue and further investigations of the difficulty take place if they persist.  The Head and SENCO must be involved in the process, and discussions with parents arranged, particularly if dyslexia, dyspraxia or any other specific learning difficulty is suspected.

 

Roselyon has relationships with a range of Educational Psychologists and other professionals, who may be contacted when appropriate. The SENCO maintains this list.  It is also well worth checking at this stage that there are no undiagnosed hearing or eyesight difficulties, or any other factors which could be affecting the child’s performance or progress in school.  Strategies appropriate to the age of the child and the nature of the difficulty may then be devised and implemented.

 

It is vital that the child’s needs continue to be met in the classroom.  Depending on the nature of this, it may involve additional classroom support, extra time to complete work, differentiated tasks, or withdrawal for one to one or small group work.  Appropriate short term targets need to be selected for the child and recorded on an Individual Learning Plan form.  These are kept in the SEN box and on the child’s personal file.  This should then be discussed with the child’s parents.  A former TA, experienced in working with dyslexic children, visits the school voluntarily and working with her may prove appropriate for some children. Upper Prep children requiring 1:1 assistance usually spend time working with a TA under the direction of the appropriate teacher.

 

All strategies must be regularly reviewed and evaluated to ensure that the child is making steps to overcome, or come to terms with the nature of his or her difficulty.  The regularity of any review will depend on the age of the child and the nature of the difficulty.  Within school, the reviews should be at least termly.  External agencies often operate on eighteen-month review cycles.  New targets may then be set and progress monitored.

 

The school has regard of the DfES ‘Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs, 2001’ and “Different but Equal,” Cornwall’s guidance on inclusion for Early Years’ Practitioners.

 

The governor with responsibility for Special Educational Needs has just retired as a governor but a replacement governor is expected to be appointed soon.

 

The school also has a large number of very able children, whose needs are equally special.  Staff must also be conscious of these, and ensure that the work they follow provides the challenge and stimulus they require.  Please see Section 4.18 on “The Gifted Child” for further information.  It is all too easy for bright children to under achieve too.

 

Roselyon’s approach to responding to a child experiencing difficulties may be summarised as follows:

 

 

 Child 

 

 

 

Cause for Concern form

 

 

 

Child raised at Staff Meeting or in informal discussions

 

 

 

Discussions with parents

 

 

 

Ongoing observation by parents and staff (This phase should have an agreed timescale)

 

 

 

Concern continues.

External agency

 

 

Meeting to plan strategy and define targets.  Writing of IEP.  This must involve parents and set a clear review date – at least termly.

 

 

A)      DYSLEXIA

Staff, through their ongoing evaluation of their children’s progress, can and must identify those with language difficulties particularly when these are not in line with the pupil’s abilities.

 

English is a complex language.  It is worth remembering that whilst there are 44 sounds (phonemes) there are 1120 ways in which these may be combined when they are written (graphemes).  It is not surprising that these can prove a challenge to master!

 

It is currently estimated that one in thirty of the population has dyslexic difficulties.

Dyslexia is an umbrella term encompassing problems in:

  • organisation and sequencing
  • word retrieval
  • memory

 

Not all dyslexics display what are often regarded as the classic signs of letter reversal, poor reading and spelling.

 

Some warning signs you may notice in the classroom:

 

1                    DISCREPANCIES

  • intelligence/attainment
  • oral/written word
  • within NC subjects
  • across NC subjects
  • assurance/uncertainty
  • understanding/memory for facts
  • good days/bad days
  • effort put in/quality of end result

 

2                    SEQUENCING DIFFICULTIES

  • with time, including days, months, years
  • having correct books in correct place
  • completing homework on time
  • alphabet, tables
  • words, sentences, stories
  • following instructions
  • telling stories, jokes
  • revising

 

3                    CLUMSINESS

  • getting changed for PE
  • tying shoelaces/doing up buttons
  • ‘two left feet’
  • writing : inconsistent size/spacing
  • uncertain of left and right

 

4                    DIFFICULTY WITH VISUAL PERCEPTION

  • confusion with letter/number shapes
  • miscopying
  • misreading
  • misunderstanding
  • mislaying

 

5                    EMOTIONAL/BEHAVIOURAL DIFFICULTIES

  • low self esteem
  • frustration
  • reading social situations
  • uncertainty
  • exhaustion
  • poor concentration

 

6                    WORKING MEMORY DEFICIENCIES

  • copying from blackboard or books
  • making notes/taking dictation
  • remembering facts/formulae
  • poor sense of direction
  • remembering instructions/messages

 

7                    LANGUAGE

  • mishearing
  • difficulties with polysyllabic words
  • difficulty with rhyme
  • difficulty segmenting sounds
  • difficulty blending sounds
  • problem with labelling : right/left; east/west; up/down; names
  • ‘tip of tongue’ feeling
  • convoluted explanations
  • ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ : playing for time
  • difficulties reading music
  • erratic spelling
  • ‘avoidance’ spelling
  • ‘avoidance’ reading
  • poor syntax/pronunciation
  • poor basic reading
  • poor comprehension

 

 

If you have suspicions that a child may have dyslexic difficulties, the following steps should be taken:

 

1.       Discuss the nature of the difficulty with previous teachers to see if this reveals any earlier signs.

 

2.       Complete a ‘Cause for Concern’ form which should be lodged with the pupil’s record in the Office.

 

3.       Discuss the situation with the SENCO and the Head.

 

4.       A discussion with parents at this stage is informative.  Their observations may reveal a family history.  Parents might find “Dyslexia and Your Child” useful.  This is a guide which we have written for the purpose.  It contains background information as well as sources of further information.  Copies are kept in the Office and with the SENCO.

 

5.       If our observations indicate a continuing or growing difficulty, parents must be involved (if not already involved) and the recommendation for a professional assessment made.  Parents make the contact with an external professional and arrange psychological assessment.

 

  1. Once the report is received by parents, a further meeting should take place to discuss further appropriate action.

 

  1. Appropriate learning targets set.  These should be recorded on an Individual Learning Plan form, which is obtainable from the SENCO.  These should be discussed with the child and the parents.  A clear date for review must be set and the Learning Plan updated as necessary.

 

  1. Learning strategies in the classroom may need to be modified as a result of issues raised in the psychological assessment.

 

  1. Regular review of the pupil’s progress must be noted.  At the first Staff Meeting of each term, all pupils who cause academic concern will be raised.  Both children with weaknesses and special abilities should be raised.

 

An 18-month review should take place with the external professional.  Parents arrange this but it is important that staff discuss the results of this review with them.

 

Useful resources:

 

school is a member of NASEN and receives their regular publications.

 

www.spellzone.com  A site which provides a programme of spelling resources.   Very useful to recommend to parents who wish to help with their children’s spelling.

 

www.dyslexia-inst.org.uk

 

www.bdadyslexia.org.uk

 

Alpha to Omega

Beve Hornsby & Frula Shear

(Heinemann)

ISBN 0435 103814

 

Before Alpha

Beve Hornsby

(Heinemann)

ISBN 0285 62896-8

 

Teaching Reading through Spelling (The Kingston Programme)

Mary Prince, Lucy Cowdray, Paula Morse & Sally Law

(Frondeg Hall Technical Publishing)

Aberoer

Wrexham

Denbighshire

LL14 4LG

 

Toe by Toe

(8 Green Road)

Baildon

W Yorkshire

BD17 6HL

01274 598607

 

Mathematics for Dyslexics: A Teaching Handbook

Dr S J Chinn & J R Ashcroft

(Whur)

 

What to do when You Can’t Learn the Times Tables

Dr S Chinn

(Mark Co Publishing)

Mark College

Highbridge

Somerset

TA9 4NP

 

A Practical Guide to Children’s Handwriting

Rosemary Sassoon

(Thames & Hudson

ISBN 0500 2731460

Aurally Coded English Spelling Dictionary

David Moseley, Catherine Nicol

(LDA)

ISBN 1855 03106X

 

Cued Spelling

(Kirklees Psychological Service)

Civic Centre

High Street

Huddersfield

HD1 2NF

01484 221472

 

ADDRESSES:

 

The British Dyslexic Association

98 London Road

Reading

Berkshire

RG1 5AU

0118 966 2677

 

The Advisory Centre for Education

1B Aberdeen Studios

22 Highbury Grove

London

N5 2HA

0171 354 8321

 

The Dyslexia Institute

7 Hawthorn Lane

Wilsmlow

Cheshire

SK9 1AA

01625 530158

 

 

B)      DYSPRAXIA

The Dyspraxia Foundation defines dyspraxia as “an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement” and, in many individuals, there may be associated problems with language, perception and thought.

 

The term normally used is Developmental Dyspraxia or Developmental Co-ordination Disorder.

 

The condition is thought to affect up to ten per cent of the population in varying degrees.  It is probable that there is at least one dyspraxia child in every classroom requiring access to a specific treatment programme.

 

Symptoms are evident from an early age.  Youngsters are generally irritable from birth and may display feeding problems.  They are slow to achieve expected developmental milestones, often not sitting independently by the age of eight months.  Many fail to go through the crawling stage as babies, preferring to ‘bottom shuffle’ and then walk.  Children with dyspraxia usually avoid tasks which require good manual dexterity and depend upon well-developed perceptual skills.  Inset puzzles, Lego and jigsaw puzzles are difficult.

 

Between the ages of 3 and 5 children with dyspraxia may demonstrate the following types of behaviour:

ü Very high levels of motor activity, including feet swinging and tapping when seated, hand clapping or twisting and an inability to stay in one place for more than 5 minutes.

ü High levels of excitability, with a loud/shrill voice.  Children may be easily distressed and prone to temper tantrums.

ü Awkward movement.  Children may constantly bump into objects and fall over.  Associated mirror movements, hands flap when running.

ü Difficulty pedalling a tricycle or a similar toy.

ü Poor figure and ground awareness.  Children may lack any sense of danger, illustrated, for example, by jumping from an inappropriate height.

ü Continued messy eating.  Children may spill liquid from drinking cups and prefer to eat with their fingers.

ü Avoidance of constructional toys, such as jigsaw or building blocks.

ü Poor fine motor skills demonstrated by difficulty in holding a pencil or using scissors.  Drawings may appear immature.

ü Lack of imaginative play.  Children may show little interest in ‘dressing up’ or playing appropriately in a home corner or Wendy house.

ü Limited creative play.

ü Isolation within the peer group.  Rejected by peers, children may prefer adult company.  Laterality still not established.  Problems crossing the midline.

ü Persistent language difficulties.  Children are often referred to a speech therapist.

ü Sensitivity to sensory stimulation, including high levels of noise, being touched or wearing new clothes.

ü Limited response to verbal instruction.  Children may exhibit a slower response time and problems with comprehension.

ü Limited concentration.  Tasks are often left unfinished.

 

 

If the condition is not identified, problems can persist throughout school life causing increasing frustration and a lowering of self-esteem.

 

Between the ages of 5 and 7, behaviour may include the following traits:

  • Problems with adapting to a more structured school routine.
  • Difficulties with PE (Physical Education)
  • Slow at dressing and an inability to tie shoelaces.
  • Barely legible handwriting.
  • Immature drawing and copying skills.
  • Limited concentration and poor listening skills.
  • Literal use of language.
  • Inability to remember more than 2-3 instructions.
  • Slow completion of class work.
  • Continued high levels of motor activity.
  • Motor stereotypes - hand flapping or clapping when excited.
  • Tendency to become easily distressed and emotional.
  • Problems co-ordinating a knife or fork.
  • Inability to form relationships with other youngsters, isolation in class.
  • Sleeping difficulties, including wakefulness at night and nightmares.
  • Reporting of physical symptoms, such as migraine, headaches, or feeling sick.

 

Poor handwriting is one of the most common symptoms of dyspraxia and, as the child progresses through the educational system the requirement for written work increases.  By the age of 8 or 9 the child may have become disaffected and poor school attendance is much in evidence in pupils of secondary age.

 

With access to appropriate treatment, the majority of dyspraxia children can have their needs accommodated within mainstream setting.

 

Staff concerned about a child who may display dyspraxia behaviour should complete steps 1 - 4 as for a dyslexic child.

 

Parents should then refer to their GP and seek a referral to an outside professional, for example a paediatrician, educational psychologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or speech therapist for assessment.  Access to these can be frustratingly slow in Cornwall.

 

Assessment may well provide a detailed account of the child’s’ developmental history, examination of gross and fine motor skills and a test of intellectual ability.

 

Treatment is available from specialist in health and education once the condition has been identified.  Therapists may offer movement programmes and The Dyslexia Institute can assist in certain situations.

 

Resources:

 

Developmental Dyspraxia - A Practical Manual for Parents and Professionals.

Madeleine Portwood

 

Dyspraxia - A Handbook for Therapists

Michelle Lee and Jenny French

 

Further resources are available from: www.SEN-for-Schools.co.uk

 

Addresses:

 

The Dyspraxia Foundation

8 West Alley

Hitchin

Herts

SG5 1EG

 

01462 454986 (Helplines)

01462 453016 (Administration)

Fax: 01462 445052

 

www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk

 

E-mail:

 

 

 

C)      DYSCALCULIA

Dyscalculia, otherwise known as ‘number blindness’, is a serious disability that is thought to affect six to seven per cent of the population.  This is about the same prevalence as dyslexia but it is far less widely recognised by teachers, parents, education authorities and scientists.

 

In many ways poor number skills may prove a greater handicap than poor literacy.  It has been found that men and women aged thirty with poor number skills are more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be depressed, more likely to be ill and more likely to have trouble with the police. 

 

In school, dyscalculia is a cause of distress, low self-esteem, stigmatisation and disruptive behaviour since dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of number and have problems learning number facts and procedures.  Even if they answer a question correctly or use a correct method, they may do so without confidence.

 

Dyscalculia is about numbers and arithmetic and not other branches of mathematics, such as geometry.  Some people can be good mathematicians but still be hopeless with simple calculations.

 

In class, dyscalculic learners easily lose track in lessons and have an inability to deal with numbers in everyday life situations such as shopping, telling the time and remembering phone numbers.  These children can have average or even above average performance in other subjects and can score well in IQ tests.  This means that standard tests of cognitive ability won’t necessarily pick out the dyscalculic child.  It is therefore not always easy to spot them.

 

As a basic indicator, the dyscalculic child will be performing below expectations with no obvious reason, such as emotional state or illness.  This underachievement may manifest itself in specifics such as problems with knowing the value or worth of numbers, in realising than 9 is one less than 10, for example, or in being able to rapidly recall basic number facts - or perhaps in a totally mechanical application of procedures with no understanding of why or what the result means or how to evaluate the answer.

 

Some children with good memories and good general abilities may not present as underachievers within a class, but may be dramatically underachieving in terms of their true potential.

 

Clearly, children with dyscalculic difficulties will require speedy identification and a careful and systematic approach in teaching.  They will also almost certainly require one-to one support.  Concerns should be raised with the Head and discussed with other staff.  Parents should also be involved at an early stage if the difficulties appear profound.  An individual strategy should then be prepared which should be reviewed at least termly.  Bird and Butterworth & Yeo suggest strategies in their books.  These provide suitable starting points.

 

We have copies of:

Bird, R.  (2007). The Dyscalculia toolkit: Supporting Difficulties in Maths.

Butterworth, R & Yeo, D. (2004).  Dyscalculia Guidance: Helping Pupils with Specific Difficulties in Maths.

 

Further information is available:

Chinn, S. J. and Ashcroft, J.R. (1998).  Mathematics for Dyslexics: a Teaching Handbook, 2nd edn. Whurr.
Chinn, S.J.  What to do When You Can’t Add and Subtract (1999) and What to do When You Can’t Learn the Times Tables (1996). Egon.
Grauberg, E. (1998) Elementary Mathematics and Language Difficulties. Whurr.
Henderson, A. (1998) Maths for the Dyslexic. David Fulton.
Henderson, A. and Miles, E. (2001) Basic Topics in Mathematics for Dyslexics. Whurr.
Miles, T. R. and Miles, E. (eds) (1992)) Dyslexia and Mathematics. Routledge.
Poustie, J. (2000) Mathematics Solutions: an Introduction to Dyscalculia. Next Generation.
Yeo, D. (2002) Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Mathematics. Whurr.  Resource videos by Mahesh Sharma are available from P Brazil, [email protected]


The National Numeracy Strategy has also published guidance on dyslexia and dyscalculia as part of a file called Guidance to Support Pupils with Specific Needs in the Daily Mathematics Lesson (Reference DfES 0545/2001).

 

Articles on dyscalculia as well as other aspects of mathematics can be found at: www.mathematicalbrain.com


Leaflets on mathematics and dyslexia are available from the British Dyslexia Association’s website: www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk

 

 

D)     ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER

 

ADD is a disorder which whilst there may be a variety of symptoms, can often be related to inefficiencies in their development.  This is a relatively infrequent problem and is distinct from other attention problems, such as hyperactivity or impulsiveness.

 

The following article by John M Jaquith, M.Ed., from the Journal of the National Academy of Child Development provides further information on ADD and the closely related ADHD and includes a checklist, which may help in its identification.

 

YOUR ADD/ADHD CHILD

 

What is ADD and ADHD?  Essentially, both of these are labels that describe symptoms.  In fact, a list of symptoms is used to identify such children.  A child receives a label based on prolonged occurrences of eight or more, out of a possible fourteen, symptoms before the age of seven.  These symptoms have been identified as:

1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.

2. Has difficulty remaining in seat when required to do so.

3. Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.

4. Has difficulty waiting their turn in games or group situations.

5. Often blurts out answers to questions before they have been completed.

6. Has difficulty following through on instructions from others.

7. Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activity.

8. Often shifts from one uncompleted activity to another.

9. Has difficulty playing quietly.

10. Often talks excessively.

11. Often interrupts or intrudes on others.

12. Often doesn't listen to what is being said.

13. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities at school or at home.

14. Often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering the possible consequences.

 

The label ADD refers to those children who are experiencing attention problems, but who are not hyperactive or impulsive.  Such children display a variety of symptoms that can be related to inefficiencies in different areas of their development.  Fortunately, developmental problems can be identified, addressed, and often eliminated.

 

In the development of tactility, there are two common areas where problems can occur.  The first one involves the ability of an individual to appropriately process sensations of light touch, pressure and pain, the other involves proprioception.  Proprioception refers to one's knowledge of where his body is in space.  If an individual has not completed developing his proprioception, his brain is not likely to know specifically where his body is.  Symptoms include: bumping into things, fidgeting or squirming around, and to a degree, engaging in physically dangerous activities without considering the consequences.

 

To determine if your child has a problem with tactility, ask yourself these questions.  Does my child exhibit the above mentioned symptoms?  Does she have a high threshold for pain (i.e., not knowing where she got bruises on her arms and legs after playing outside)?  Is she inappropriately ticklish (not ticklish at all or so ticklish that she can't stand to be touched)?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may not have completed all of the developmental levels dealing with tactility.  These problems can be corrected by providing specific tactile stimulation in order to complete all of the levels of tactile development.

 

Processing (both auditory and visual) is another area that is often found to be underdeveloped.  An individual's auditory and visual processing affects their short-term memory.  If a child has low processing, it may appear that he is not listening to what is being said.  The reality is that he is unable to process the information completely.  Other symptoms that occur related to short- term memory/low processing include the following: difficulty following through on instructions from others, inability to remain in one's seat, easily distracted, difficulty waiting for ones' turn in game situations, problems with sustaining attention or shifting attention from task to task, difficulty playing quietly, and losing things necessary for task completion.  Children with low processing can be identified by using a simple technique.

 

To check your child's auditory and visual processing levels, you will need to administer a digit span test.  To do this auditorily, dictate a sequence of numbers to your child.  Say them slowly and in a monotone about one second apart.  For example, say: "6-4-3-7.”  Then have your child repeat the numbers back to you in the same order.  If she can correctly repeat four numbers in a row, try a sequence of five, then six, and so on.  Take note of the sequence length she is able to complete without making a mistake.  To test your child's visual processing, show her sequences of numbers on flashcards.  They should be on 3x5 cards, written in dark solid ink, and shown to your child for approximately three seconds.  After three seconds, put the card down and have the child repeat the numbers she saw on the card in the same order.  Begin with a sequence of three or four numbers and increase the sequence size using new numbers and cards.  Take note of how long of a sequence she can do correctly.  A three-year old should be able to complete sequences of three numbers (both auditorily and visually), a four-year old should be able to complete a sequence of four, a five-year old five, a six-year old six, a seven-year old seven, and adults should be able to complete a sequence of seven or more.  If your child has low processing skills, you can help increase her skills by practising the digit spans daily, thus increasing the brain's ability to process information.

 

Long-term memory problems may also be an issue with children who have received a label such as ADD or ADHD.  This is related to a concept known as dominance.  Almost everyone is either right-handed or left-handed.  In order for the brain to take in information as efficiently as possible, it is helpful to consider if a child is right or left eared, eyed, and footed.

 

How can you know which is your child's dominant eye, ear, or foot?  This process involves gathering a great deal of information.  We'll start with the hand.  Which hand does your child write with?  Does he write with this hand all of the time?  Which hand does he use to perform other functions with?  Which hand does your child use to eat, throw a ball, or brush his teeth with?  Is he doing all of these activities with the same hand?  If so, which one?  If your child does all or most activities with a single hand, it is probable that he has established a dominant hand.

 

It is fairly easy to observe the foot because it is similar to the hand.  Watch your child to see which foot she uses to kick a ball.  Observe your child hopping on one foot.  Which foot did she use?  The foot used most often should be recorded.  Also, note if the foot she uses changes consistently.  Once you have gathered information about the child's hand and foot, the eye and ear can be assessed.

 

We all engage in two types of visual activities.  They are referred to as near point and far-point activities.  When visual activities occur close to us (i.e. reading and writing), they are called near-point activities.  When visual activities occur at a distance (i.e. watching TV. or riding in a car), they are called far-point activities.  There are several different ways to assess which eye your child is using to take in information.

 

To analyse visual near-point activities, you will need two note cards.  Place a dot (about 3/8ths of an inch in diameter) in the centre of one note card.  On the other card, punch a hole (about the same size as the dot) in the centre.  Place the card with the hole on top of the card with the dot, and line them up together.  Place the cards on a flat surface, and sit your child directly in front of the cards.  Instruct your child to lift only the card with the hole up to their face while watching the dot the entire time.  Observe which eye he brings the card up to.  Try this at several different times, and record the information.

 

To assess far point activities, have your child stand across the room from yourself.  Point at your child using your index finger with your arm extended.  Instruct your child to point back at you in the same way, so that it looks like his finger is touching yours.  Observe which eye the child is using to line up his finger with.  Have the child switch hands and repeat the exercise.  Which eye is the child using to line up his finger with?  Does your child switch between eyes?  Record this information along with your previously gathered information on the child's hand, foot, and near-point visual activities.

 

Gathering information about your child's auditory dominance is also a matter of observation.  Have your child stand directly in front of a door in your home.  Next, have someone on the other side of the door say something softly "through" the door.  Encourage your child to "lean in and listen carefully" to what is being said.  Observe which ear the child is using to listen at the door.  Try this a number of times and record what you see.

 

Once you have gathered this information, it is time to examine it all.  Notice which side of the body is used for each activity.  Does your child use the left hand, left eye (for near and far point), left ear, and left foot?  Or does your child use everything on her right side?  Is there a mixture (for example, right hand and foot, but left ear and mixed visually)?  To use our brains efficiently, we must have an established dominant side.  If there is a mixture of some kind, then the brain does not receive, process, store, and utilise information in the most efficient way possible.

 

Impulsive behaviour is another symptom that is commonly seen in children with the ADD or ADHD label.  Traditionally, it has been treated with drugs.  Two commonly prescribed drugs are Ritalin and Dexedrine.  These drugs are prescribed to affect the chemical make up of the brain (more specifically, they raise dopamine levels).  The objective is to reduce the impulsivity of the children.  An alternative to medication is to take a look at what is causing the impulsivity, and then eliminate it.  Many times food sensitivities are found to be an issue.

 

Food sensitivities are generally not as obvious as allergies, so they are often referred to as hidden problems.  Symptoms of food sensitivities can include, but are not limited to: congestion of the nose and throat (which can be accompanied by headaches and postnasal drip), impulsivity, distractibility, hyperactivity, and a short attention span.  Trying an elimination diet may be an avenue for families who suspect food sensitivities in their children.  Speaking to someone familiar with food sensitivities is a good place to start.  There are some other sources listed at the end of this article that may help.

 

Addressing problem behaviour is often another major area of concern for children who have been given labels such as ADD or ADHD.  Establishing a positive environment, implementing a solid daily structure, and providing appropriate feedback are all very important components of a successful behaviour plan.  Depending on the child, it is sometimes necessary to eliminate certain negative behaviours before it is possible to establish a positive environment.

 

The key to eliminating behaviours is to establish a consistent plan of action.  A consequence to the behaviour you are trying to eliminate should be thoughtfully chosen and consistently administered.  The consequence should be one that a parent feels will work best for their particular child.  Prolonged time out is one method that has worked well when implemented consistently.  Negative token economy systems (where a token is lost every time the behaviour occurs) have also worked well.  In this system, once all of the tokens are gone the child's day is over.  Another alternative is to positively reinforce a behaviour that is opposite and incompatible to the one you are trying to eliminate.  For example, a child can not be doing his chores and be on the floor throwing a temper tantrum at the same time.

 

Once the negative behaviours have been eliminated, a positive environment needs to be established.  A positive environment is one in which four positive statements are given for every one negative.  It is interesting for parents to test this out on themselves.  For a period of time everyday, keep track on a piece of paper how many negative statements you make compared to how many positive statements you make.  Most of us fall short of the optimum positive environment, but you can use this test as a starting point.  Continue improving your positive to negative ratio until you have succeeded in creating a positive environment in your home.

 

Implementing a daily structure is also important for any expert schooling their child.  First, establish a routine that you will follow each day or week.  Next, go over this schedule with your child so that he can expect what the day will hold for him.  Your child can be involved in the process of developing the schedule, provided that the overall control of a child's schedule stays firmly with the parent.

 

It is important to remember that while the identification of labels such as ADD or ADHD is accomplished by looking at a list of symptoms, these symptoms are not the actual problem.  It is essential to look at what is really causing these symptoms.  Once the root causes are identified, they can be addressed, and hopefully eliminated.  The way to address and eliminate the causes is through specific stimulation.

 

The National Academy for Child Development (NACD) is an international organisation that exists to gather, evaluate, and disseminate information and procedures relative to human development.  NACD has conducted over 50,000 individual evaluations and designed 50,000 homeschool programs over the past sixteen years.  It empowers parents with the knowledge, techniques, and expertise that enables them to assume primary responsibility for their children's maximum growth and development.  NACD provides families with individualised home programs that serve as homeschool programs for children with labels like ADD, ADHD, Learning Disabled, Autistic, Mentally Retarded, Down Syndrome, Gifted.  NACD also serves other families who are committed to serving their children in whatever ways they feel are best.

 

References:

Doman, Child Management
Journal of the National Academy for Child Development (1983) Vol.3, No.1

Doman, Food Sensitivities
Journal of the National Academy for Child Development (1984) Vol.4, No. 2

"Guide to Child Development and Education: Miracles of Child Development" by Robert J. Doman Jr., NACD (1986)

"Guide to Child Management" by Robert J. Doman Jr., NACD (1986)

"Guide to the Parent Teacher" by Robert J. Doman Jr., NACD (1986)

Is This Your Child? Allergies and Your Family
Dr. Doris Rapp
2757 Elmwood, Kenmore, NY, 14217
716-875-5578

 

Why Your Child Is Hyperactive
Dr. Benjamin Feingold
The Feingold Association of the United States
P.O. Box 655, Alexandria, VA, 22306
703-768-FAUS

 

 

E)     Autistic Spectrum Disorder

The following article is from www.teachernet.gov.uk

 

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a relatively new term that includes the subgroups within the spectrum of autism.  There are differences between the subgroups within the spectrum and further work is required on defining the criteria, but all children with an ASD share a triad of impairments in their ability to:

       Understand and use non-verbal and verbal communication

       Understand social behaviour which affects their ability to interact with children and

       adults

       Think and behave flexibly — which may be shown in restricted, obsessional or

       repetitive activities. 

Some children with an ASD have a different perception of sounds, sights, smell, touch and taste, which affects their response to these sensations.  They may also have unusual sleep and behaviour patterns and behavioural problems.  Children of all levels of ability can have an ASD.  In recent years there has been an increase in the number of children and young people identified with autistic spectrum disorders.

The core areas affected in ASDs

There are several core areas affected in ASDs:

Non-verbal and verbal communication - Children and young people with an ASD have difficulty in understanding the communication and language of others and also in developing effective communication themselves. Many are delayed in learning to speak and some do not develop speech. Many children with speech have difficulties in using this to communicate effectively.  It is likely that they will need to be taught the purpose of communication, a means to communicate (using pictures, photos, gestures, spoken or written words) and how to communicate.

Social understanding and social behaviour - A key characteristic of those with an ASD is their difficulty in understanding the social behaviour of others and in behaving in socially appropriate ways.  Other children develop this understanding without being explicitly taught and do so fairly easily. Children with ASDs are very literal thinkers and interpreters of language, failing to understand its social context.  For the child with an ASD, other people's opinions may have little or no influence on their behaviour and the child may say and do exactly as they want. Children with an ASD often find it hard to play and communicate effectively with other children who may be confused by their behaviour and may avoid or tease them.  Adults who do not know the child or know about autism, may misunderstand the child's behaviour and view it as naughty, difficult or lazy, when, in fact, the child did not understand the situation or task or did not read the adult's intentions or mood correctly.

Thinking and behaving flexibly according to the situation — Children with an ASD often do not play with toys in a conventional way, but instead spin or flap objects or watch moving parts of toys or machinery for long periods and with intense concentration.  Their play tends to be isolated or alongside others rather than with others.  Some children develop a special interest in a topic or activity which may be followed to extreme lengths.  Any new skills tend to be tied to the situation which means that children with an ASD will need specific help to generalise skills.  They will also have difficulty adapting to new situations and often prefer routine to change.    

Sensory perception and responses — From accounts of adults with an ASD, it is evident that some children are over-sensitive or 'under-sensitive' to certain sounds, sights and textures.  This has implications for the child's home and school environment and may explain their response to changing clothes or food and their response to noise.  In addition, the child may not make appropriate eye contact, looking too briefly or staring at others.  In the past, there has been a focus on teaching the child to look when communicating but it may be that some children are unable to talk and look at the person at the same time.

Helping the education professional understand Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)

Autistic Spectrum Disorders: Good Practice Guidance

 

Guidance on restrictive physical interventions

Breaking down barriers to learning

Strategies for accessing the curriculum

Information for parents on the Early Support Pilot

Islington multi-agency integrated pathway for children and young people with ASDs

The effectiveness of early intervention 

Online training for ASD teachers

Definition of SEN

SEN Code of Practice

SEN toolkit

Removing Barriers to Achievement

Autism research

National Autistic Society

 

Mrs McKeown has a copy of “Autistic spectrum disorders: Good Practice Guidance.”  This provides far more detailed advice.  Should you have concerns about any child in your class please discuss these with her.

 

 

F)      Dysgraphia

The following is an article taken from [email protected]

 

“There can be many simple reasons for occasional poor handwriting i.e. not really trying, writing too fast, poor writing position. Sometimes there can be physical reasons such as a hand encased in plaster after a fracture. However there are children, who despite good teaching cannot produce nice neat handwriting. They may be able to if they write very slowly and concentrate very hard, but when asked to write at normal speed it looks messy and can be hard to read. This is called Dysgraphia.  It is a less well-known learning difficulty but it affects many people and is seen more in some families than others. There can be varying degrees of severity.

         

As well as poor handwriting there may be one or more of the following: -

  • An unusual pencil grip
  • poor spelling
  • poor sequencing
  • poor drawing
  • poor fine motor co-ordination
  • poor visual processing and visual perception

         

Dysgraphia causes huge difficulties. Adults with Dysgraphia will usually have reverted to printing (non cursive writing) or using a random mixture of upper and lower case letters when they write. Others will just write very slowly and or very small

         

Dysgraphia can interfere with a child's ability to express what they are thinking. It can prevent the child getting written work finished in time. It makes it hard for the child to write and also pay attention to what the teacher is saying. It makes it hard for the child to copy text quickly and accurately from one place to another i.e. from the blackboard.

         

Having dysgraphia has nothing to do with how clever the person is. Very often these children are bright with good reading skills. This makes it hard for teachers to understand why they don't seem to be able to produce the required standard of written work. They are often labelled as lazy or as not trying although in reality they are doing their best. Over time this causes emotional distress.

         

Dysgraphia cannot be cured. However there is much that can be done to help. The child should be referred early for occupational therapy. Ultimately though, the way forward will be the computer. In this modern age the computer is replacing the pen and transforming life for those with dysgraphia. Some parents and teachers are reluctant to encourage computer use for fear that lack of practice will lead to even worse handwriting, However research has shown the opposite to be true. The better the child gets at word-processing the more the handwriting also improves. Perhaps it is to do with confidence.  Once the child realises that they can produce work of high quality their confidence soars.”

 

For practical advice go to

 

www.as.wvu.edu/~scidis/dysgraphia.html

 

www.ncld.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=468

 

 

 

Review: Summer Term 2015