You have fought your school long and hard to get your dyslexic child some extra help. The school has finally agreed to implement a structured dyslexia intervention which you are hoping will help your child to read or write better than they do at the moment. You are just starting to celebrate when you realise that your child is becoming increasingly unhappy.
What is a common problem?
A lot of parents on various dyslexia forums complain that their child is missing out on something they love. What is your child missing out on? Dyslexia interventions can be scheduled in for any time of the day but they usually miss the time when your child is studying the core subjects of maths, English and science.
Therefore, your child is most likely to be taken out of one of their other lessons - perhaps for quite a short period of time or for the whole time. My students get taken out of all sorts of lessons - geography, music, art, PE, history ........
This can become a problem for your child if this is a lesson that they absolutely love at school. Your child is an individual just like everyone else is, so you need to ask your self 'What lesson are they missing?' and 'Would they want to miss that lesson?'.
Now I wouldn't have minded missing all PE lessons personally, but your child may be sporty, sociable and really enjoy being part of a team. If they have to miss out the lesson that makes school bearable, then you are going to have a problem on your hands.
How might this affect self esteem and confidence?
We all get our self esteem and confidence by doing things we enjoy and are good at. School can be difficult for a dyslexic child because a lot of the lessons focus on skills that they are not so good at such as rote learning and spelling. Imagine then, that you have been stopped attending the lessons that you are good at and everything you do relates to your weakness. How do you think you would end up feeling?
It is important to identify your child's strengths and understand where their talents lie. If they are creative, then it is important that they attend art and probably drama. They may love history, in which case missing that lesson will be a no-no.
The problem comes when you know they are missing the lesson that they love. What do you do then?
Talk to your child's school.
A lot of advice starts with 'talk to the school' but it is so important to keep up an open dialogue with the school. The school will have a lot of pupils needs that it is trying to look after, therefore viewing your child as an individual can be quite challenging. If your child is missing a lesson they love or have a talent for, then you must bring it to the school's attention.
It may be easy for the school to reschedule the intervention so that it clashes with a lesson your child dislikes - a win-win situation for you all. If you are too scared to ask for this change, then you will never know if it is possible. Some schools are able to do their interventions before or after school which may be a good option for you and your child.
I would urge you not to allow an intervention to happen during their lunch break. Dyslexic students have to work harder to keep up with what is happening in the classroom with the load on their working memory being quite high. This means that they become quite tired during their school day. Your child needs all of their break times to rest and get some exercise and fresh air - so that they are ready for the next lessons and can do their best.
What happens if the school can't reschedule the intervention?
This is when some difficult decisions have to be made. You know your child the best and as an individual. You have to weigh up whether there will be any benefit to them doing an intervention which means they are missing out on a lesson where they can demonstrate their strengths. Your child may resent the intervention and not pay any attention to it if they are upset about missing art or PE.
In my opinion. it is perfectly OK to pull your child out of an intervention if they are becoming switched off to it just because of the timing. There is more than one way to skin a cat - so can you put any interventions in place yourself after or before school so that they can do it all? Can you afford to pay a specialist or get in a specialist programme yourself? It is important that your child receives the intervention to help address their problems but if it isn't working out at school you will need to look at the alternatives.
In summary it is best if your child's dyslexia intervention takes place at school, at a time when they are not missing out on a lesson they enjoy or are good at. If it clashes with their favourite school lesson, then you might need to think about how they can receive the intervention - before or after school or paid for privately by yourself.
If you would like to read more about whether the school is doing the right intervention, click here to read my article about this.
If you would like to know more about your child's strengths, click here to read my article about this.
In September, I am launching a programme called ' Smashing Dyslexia' which will explain to your child what dyslexia is, how it affects them and how they can identify their strengths to help them with their weaknesses. If you would like more information about this programme, please click here.