Your child has just received their formal assessment for dyslexia from an educational psychologist or specialist teacher, but what do you do next?
1. Make sure you understand it and note down the accommodations it states your child should have.
Sounds fairly simple but these reports can be quite complex and fairly incomprehensible to a lot of people ( including teachers). Don't be afraid to ask for explanations from the assessor, especially when it has just cost you around £500!
The report will tell you what type of accommodations your child should receive from their school. The usual ones are extra time ( 25% extra), having a reader and a scribe for exams. The report should also advise which dyslexia programmes the school should implement for your child.
I would make sure you note these down somewhere accessible so that you remain completely aware of the accommodations/interventions it has recommended. These formal assessments remain in place for a long time and its recommendations should see your child through both primary and secondary school. Over time, you may forget what it has stipulated.
2. Request a meeting with your school's Special Needs Coordinator.
The key reason in obtaining the report is so that your school will help your child so that they can learn. Once you have an assessment for dyslexia, the school is governed by SEND regulations which states that 'all children have a right to an education that enables them to make progress' and that 'their needs should be met'.
It is this terminology which can still lead to frustration as opinions may differ as to how your child's needs are met. Your formal assessment can help you decide what is appropriate for your child and to put your case forward to the school. Hopefully, after this meeting you will be fully aware of the interventions and exam arrangements the school will put in place.
It may also help the school to request an EHCP for your child - more information on these can be obtained from IPSEA.
3. Monitor What is Happening
Schools are busy places and sometimes the teaching staff change during the year or they may 'forget' your child has difficulties, particularly as dyslexia is a hidden disability. Interventions can be cancelled without any notice ( secondary schools seem to be the worst culprits for this) meaning that you might think your child is receiving those extra reading sessions when in reality they haven't been taking place.
A lot of my clients find schools don't give the accommodations for end of term and other exams, tending to keep these just for the more formal ones such as SATs and GCSEs. However, that will mean your child can't show their true potential the rest of the time which can affect the sets they are put into, leading to them doing work which is below their intellectual capabilities.Check out how much more your child can write if they dictate to you rather than writing independently and this will show you the impact of a scribe on their results.
Schools are also fairly patchy as to whether they implement a dyslexia programme which has been stated on your formal assessment. They may not have the exact one recommended but they should have something similar. I also hear of them starting to work on one and then abandoning it because they don't understand why they are doing it or abandoning it once your child is working at 'age appropriate' levels rather than the higher level they may be capable of.
A lot of parents feel they are constantly hassling the school or becoming that dreaded parent walking up the school path, but monitoring and fighting for your child's rights to an education they can access is a part of you and your child's dyslexia journey.
To recap, once you have received a formal assessment for dyslexia: make sure you understand the report even if that means asking the assessor to explain some parts to you; note down all of it's recommendations so that you don't forget about them over time; arrange a meeting with your school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator to see how they are going to meet your child's requirements and then monitor the situation closely so that you know when something changes.
If you would like tips and ideas on how to help your dyslexic child then please join my Free Facebook group here.