Glorious weather for this morning’s run?

Looks can be deceiving. Looks good with a creative but of zooming. The actual full picture taken seconds after the first photo tells a different story.

Actually it was a cold, dark and damp run. Only seeing part of the picture can make such a difference.

One of the current on going battles with school relates to our sons dyslexia. What support does he need when answering written class questions or when he’s taking tests. At present he receives no help with reading questions or is given no additional time. The schools argues that because his marks are generally really good then he clearly doesn’t need help. Interestingly school seem to think his marks are too good to warrant help and yet he is classed as low attainment. The other reason school argues for not providing any help is that he doesn’t put his hand up and ask for it. Seriously which kid is going to put his hand up in a class of 30 plus pupils and announce that I can’t read this. It’s not going to happen. I don’t think I would put my hand up if I was in that position.

Let’s look at a few of questions our son has got wrong recently.

How many sides and angles does a parallelogram have?

The teacher was surprised he got this easy question wrong. Now let’s look at how our son reads the question. Remember with his dyslexia he can pick up no more than about half the words with the other words he fills in with educated guesses or leaves them blank. So the question he worked with was

How many sides and a……. does a p………………….. have? He correctly guessed the missing a was angle but the p was more of a problem. Is it parallelogram or Pentagon. He guessed Pentagon as he thought parallelogram would be too easy a question. He answered his maths correctly but got the actual question wrong. No marks. So let’s look at another maths question.

In a sale, the price of a notebook is decreased by ten per cent. What is the new price if the old price was one pound twenty pence?

Need my calculator for this one. Now let’s see the question our son read.

In a s…, the price of a n…………. is d…………. by ten per cent. What is the new price if the old price was one p…….. t………. p………? Suddenly this question goes beyond a calculator. He guessed the d was discounted which was ok but the price he used to work out the answer was one pound thirty pence. He used the right calculation method in his head but on the wrong amount. So he got no marks. His mathematics was perfect but he was penalised for his reading skills. Ok let’s look at a science question.

Tissue is a structure made of many cells performing a similar function and different tissues do different jobs. Which tissue carries the fluid containing nutrients, oxygen and waste products?

This question made me think. Now let’s try to answer the question our son could see

T……. is a s……….. made of many cells p………… a s………. function and different t……… do different jobs. Which t……. c……… the fluid c…………….. n……….., oxygen and w…….. products? To me that now becomes almost impossible to answer. He correctly guessed the T was tissue but was not sure as it could be tongue. He guessed the W was water. Unsurprisingly he didn’t answer this question just leaving it blank. Let’s look at one more question.

Refer only to Paragraphs 3 to 9. How is the author trying to build tension. What emotions are the two Detectives experiencing?

I will address the elephant in the room soon but our son read this question as

R….. only to P………………. 3 to 9. How is the author trying to build t………. . What e……… are the two D………………… e…………………….? Son eventually worked out roughly what the question was asking but it took him quite a bit of time. That’s limited exam time used up before he can even start thinking about answering the question. And the elephant in the room. That’s someone with dyslexia expected to read two pages of literature without help…..

This just does not feel like a level playing field. Not a fare chance. I know school argue that he’s doing ok in tests. But how good could he do with support or with straightforward adjustments. We just don’t know at the moment. Maybe this is his level. Maybe his level is higher. What’s the harm in giving him and kids like him a chance. That question is aimed at school and more importantly the Schools Minister. I wonder if they properly see the big picture.

79 thoughts on “Need the full picture

  1. In Canada many schools have class sizes of 25 students or more. Governments keep cutting back on monies for services such as education and many children, like your son, do not receive the help they need. It makes me wonder what kind of world these kids will be living in when they reach adulthood. A lot of people who bring their children to the library have opted to home school their kids, but that means they lose out on socialization and much needed social skills. Yet politicians spend tax payers money on things that only seem to help the 1% get richer while the rest of us continue to struggle. Ugh!

    As you point out, the rationalization your son’s school administration uses makes no sense at all. And it is rather cruel and emotionally abusive in my opinion. I think of you both often and I do pray for you both. I do not have any bright solutions or wisdom in the matter, but I do hope that things improve somehow. Your son deserves so much more and so much better and so do you.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It is disheartening this move toward a less than humane world with its emphasis on the temporal. I am trying not to let it get me down – and I hope it doesn’t get to you either. Keep fighting my friend. I wish you strength and courage to keep on keeping on.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My daughter is in special education and struggles with reading. I had a bunch of educators tell me that she can’t get help from a reading specialist because she is in a “life skills” class. (Educator’s logic?!) So, I asked (much to their dismay), “Isn’t reading a life skill?” I had a bunch of dumbfounded faces who went on to say how well she did at arithmetic, but struggled with math problems (yep, gotta READ those). It makes me so angry — it took us years (and an atty.) to get the help, but she gets 1:1 reading help daily. It’s made a world of difference for her. Reading test questions is such a simple accommodation that would make a world of difference for your son — ugh. So sorry you are facing this — it is SO frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i know this is going to sound stupid, but here in the U.S. we have the option to homeschool. Where as in years past, the requirements for doing so were very strict and there was hardly any available resources, now there are an abundance of parents taking advantage of this( including my daughter, thank goodness). I had wanted to do this with both of my children growing up but as i stated, it was much more difficult in the past. How are things in your country regarding this? is it an option for you? It sounds like you are highly intelligent and motivated…just wondering…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We can here but the government is trying to make it less attractive and more rules based. It’s the finance side which stops me. Can’t find a way of teaching, paying for the additional teaching costs and working. If we were still a couple it would have happened years ago. x


      1. aww, man that sucks..i hear your government is now making some maybe they will eventually see the benefit of encouraging home schooling ( our current one is awful but the changes that did happen happened over a period of 20 years)…all i can say outside of that is that my daughter spends next to nothing..and is still able to exceed the requirements here…so, here’s to hoping that will be an option for you at some point…hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Strange how your boy is classified as smart or struggling as it suits the school’s defence.

    If I find Aladdin’s lamp, I’ll rub it and get the genie to turn all the teachers there into dyslexics for a week, and make them take exams that week too. Hopefully a week in someone’s shoes will resurrect their conscience.

    No matter what fool of a PM has comandeered the top roost, there’s always room and opportunity to rebel against injustices and weaknesses in any system and create one that works better.

    It’s up to his teachers to care enough to do it.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. This argument doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. If he is getting good results generally, then it should be clear that spelling is a specific issue that needs to be worked on separately.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I so feel for your son and recognise his struggles. The other point to make is although he way be able to guess or work out the majority of the questions doing this all day is stressful and exhausting. It’s really not good enough to give him not support just because he is managing to scrape by, what level of attainment would he be at if he had support with his dyslexia? He is obviously highly intelligent and far more capable than his grades currently suggest.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The NHS tried to do something like this with Autism and they went into schools to work with the teachers. They came back saying it was a complete waste of time. No one was interested. At his school they never got asked one question by the teachers. Most were doing other things and not listening

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That says it all, Gary. I still believe the policy makers have the main responsibility for forcing these groups together. Teaching is one vocation; teaching children with such difficulties is another.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My mum taught elementary age kids with dyslexia for about twenty years. She found it so rewarding. This must be so frustrating for you! And your son. Knowing that if he only had all the words to the questions properly formed in his head, he could finish the question! It sounds like NZ has a better system in place for children with learning disabilities. That said, I think the kids that came for lessons paid privately. I’m not sure what schools do now for support. I ‘hope’ all the kids get an even playing field. Good luck with this problematic, quite possibly very frustrating journey, to get the support your son needs. And I have just come to this site and read the top post and this one. It seems like you have the single parenting thing under control – although I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that. Sorry for your loss. xx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sadly, people don’t see the big picture because the big picture usually requires more work, and no one wants to do extra work without immediate gratification.

    I wish your son could get help, at the very least for those tests!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s going to take a whole new mindset from the top down. Here in the States, I think that’ll be impossible. As good as the teaching unions were fifty years ago, they’re practically a plague now.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s not going to happen here. We have 5 years of a government which is committed to increased discipline and less teaching freedoms. The aim is to get back to old school teaching. Those years means son will be finished with secondary education before we get any improvement. Basically kids like him are screwed. Desperately need to find a plan b. Just the plan b doesn’t fit with trying to work to keep food on the table.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And that’s the crux of it. Too often the right education is impossible to acquire, often because of money in some way. There’s a huge achievement gap in kids from different classes here, too, because parents who can’t afford private school can sometimes afford the after-school tutoring from all the learning centers that have popped up over the last twenty years. It’s like people depend on schools to be more like daycares than actual sources of learning.

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s