Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Organisation Skills

Matthew's organisation skills are improving in every day life. We had a family meeting on the weekend where we laid out a few more things that are expected of him. He is now expected to make his own bed and tidy his room before he dresses to come down from breakfast. When he comes home he has to change out of his uniform (he was supposed to do this, but this wasn't happening) before playing started. We have had good successes so far, he iseven deciding to his Dore exercises as soon as he comes home before playing "to get them out of the way", -after school tiredness subsided a few months back.
Last night he even helped with making food(he likes to help htese days). Laying the table, carrying the food over, tidying up behind me, frying-pan in the dishwasher, excess food back in the fridge, he wasn't told what to do once, I felt very organised.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

What the Cubs Leader said...

I needed to confirm with Matthew's Cubs Leader whether she thought that Matthew was a liability to take on camping / education trips (as the school are suggesting - see post below). The leader pointed out that during the past 4 weeks, Matthew has been on a 4 day Cub camp weekend, and also a full day Cubs trip to London last Saturday. The leader said that Matthew is the best behaved child in the pack. During the London trip, and following instructions on where to go and what time to return, he behaved no differently to any of the other nine year old's on the day, and the constant company of 2 other buddies kept everyone safe. "He was at the right places at the right times". She also voluntarily offered to go to the school and speak to the head teacher to confirm this.
I think that the school may not appreciate that occasionally, nine year olds may be forgetful (and leave the school on the bus), especially when they are in a stressed situation (unable to find their bag due to someone covering it with a jersey). Six months ago, Matthew wouldn't have even remembered he had a bag to bring home from school, not to mention being interested in playing cricket!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Today's events

We had a very happy day today, Matthew came home having really enjoyed his day. Maths went well this morning, he put his hand up for every question, those he answered were all right. In the afternoon there was a sponsored penalty shoot out, Matthew scored 1 goal and saved a ball kicked by Owain the "cleverest boy in the class", Matthew thought that was great! We had lots of action replays of the save and lots of whooping.
Tonight we read our story Valley of Adventure and for the first time EVER he said "Can you read me another chapter?" I have to tell you that, as it is something special to me.

Months of the Year

Matthew now knows his months, we went over them on the way to swimming last week and I tested them this week, he knows them backwards as well!!

Monday, 18 June 2007

Charity Sponsored event.

Matthew had to name 26 flags in a sponsored event and got 26/26, brilliant.
The class teacher had to add 2 others to check who would know them, why oh why is there always a need to make some children stand above the others?

Another Worrying Occurence

Today Matthew forgot to attend after school cricket, he had lost his bag and was searching for it, somebody had put a jumper on it, in the panic Matthew became confused and ran off for the bus. I was not home, mobile was flat, my friend at the bus stop took him home, as she sometimes looks after him just in case my husband's train is late. The school was in a panic, but the head only found out because my friend had my mobile number wrong and phoned them to get the correct one. I went to pick him up, he wasn't there.
The upshot of this is that they are now considering not taking him on a weekend activity course in September as they believe he is unreliable and forgetful. The class teacher suggested I gave Matthew a row as he needs to start to be responsible (these educational professionals? know so very little about learning disabilties- it's scary). The class teacher went on that he has 2 years and he'll be in Secondary school and how they won't look after him there, -really useful information as if I don't already know this! Matthew had realised he should be at cricket and was very concerned, and more so when he heard that the Head was thinking of stopping him attending a trip. He really wants to go, and was mad at himself for forgeting saying "why am I so forgetful". I had to remind him how much better he'd been lately.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Bean Bag Tossing

OK, not perfect, but great fun!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

School Disco Night

I have just picked Matthew up from a school disco and took the opportunity to speak to his class teacher about his progress. She said that Matt is making great progress now since he has been receiving one to one support(just 3 weeks of 1:1 support for 1 hr a day). His confidence has picked up, and his work is a lot neater. She said to me though, when I asked further about his progress that the support teacher said that all the work is coming from Matthew, and she isn't actually prompting him that much! She also said that "we knew it was in there, we just couldn't get it out." She said that it(the correct in-school support) was a long time (2 years) coming! Result!!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Reading to Matthew/Increased Attention

Matthew has always hated me reading to him unless there was lots of pictures for him to follow the story with. I had to read Action Man comics to him (ughh) when he was 5 and 6 because he would just get restless and lose the thread with normal books. I read and read with my older son, and loved doing it. Even Noddy was a no go book (we have at least 6 Noddy books that belonged to my elder son) but we never got very far, there was no "lets read more of the story tonight, don't forget". I insisted on reading "The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe" to him last year before the film came out, one quarter the way through the unabridged version, I had to search out our abridged picture book of the story so he could look at it as I read, torture.
Happy to report that I am now reading "The Valley of Adventure-Enid Blyton" (a childhood favourite of mine) to him and he is listening and enjoying, can remember the characters names and looks forward to a chapter every night, as do I. There are hardly any pictures in the book, but he answers all the questions I ask at the end. I love it.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Evaluation progress -4th Follow up

Click on the picture for a closer view.
Here are our results for today. Very pleased, normally 2 sets of results like these would trigger the move onto mental task exercises, but as Matthew had a big jump in scores between the 2nd and 3rd follow-up evaluations, they decided to stay with this easier level for another 6 weeks. We were told not to worry about the 2 reds as younger children often are slow to get these into the green but hopefully they will rise slowly. He has however 3 lightbulb exercises which are hard enough on their own without reciting things mentally e.g. alphabet or times tables. Probably want to see how he gets on with them.
Note the improvements in the COG! Eyes are also improving nicely.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Spelling Bee

Here we go some spelling as promised.

Literacy Support

Matthew reports that he is writing loads more with his 1:1 help, yesterday 3/4 of a page, today he finished his all his literacy work for the day. He is complaining about his hand hurting, but I just tell him to be sure to shake out his hand every so often (and the Ed Psych reported that he saw no distress when he was writing, -well writing only the title and 6 words isn't going to be that painful!?). He seems very pleased with himself and assures me that the LSA is only helping him with the physical act of writing and keeping his attention on his work.

Last night while reading we had words which he decided he was going to learn to spell there and then e.g countryside, he took a long look at them and got them. Seems to be taking loads more interest in words.

Phrases of the week " that was very civilised, wasn't it", "that's sarcasm Mam". He also asked me what "kinky" meant, - I told him curly ;).

Monday, 4 June 2007


I spoke to the school LSA today as I was picking up Matthew from after school cricket. Matthew had been telling me he has been having her every day, I thought great they're fitting some extra work in while the other children are practising for the concert.
Found out that he had actually been accepted for 1:1 support for 5 x 1hrs session per week. Fanatastic this should really bring him on.
We can now fill our plugged bucket with taps full on.

Just to reiterate, we were awarded this at second attempt, and at the same time we wrote a letter which went into his LEA file, I think it was sent with the letter to the Ed Psych requesting him to come out and observe. Here it is:-

Description of Concern

Our greatest concern is the amount and quality of writing that Matthew produces in a language lesson. Matthew’s class teacher has tried different strategies over the past 18 months, but still spends a large amount of her time assisting Matthew in class, as even though his test results are favourable, he is unable to write more than a few sentences independently. His needs in literacy are not being met.

The class teacher and SENCO have observed and assessed his progress over the last 18 months and are in agreement that although he is provided with 2 x 30mins of Speech and Language tuition per week and a 1hr group Reading Support session, this is not progressing Matthew at the required rate. The Educational Psychologist has referred Matthew to the Child Development Centre for investigation of possible dyspraxia (fine-motor and organisational problems) and due to the fact that the waiting list is unacceptably long, he has also referred him to the Child and Family Centre at Brynffynon, Tonteg Hospital, for investigation of attention difficulties, hoping this list will be shorter.

Through the school system for carefully observing and assessing Matthew’s progress, they have provided information to you about the areas that Matthew has made little progress in since Sept. 2006. This area is clearly literacy, where Matthew is not able to organise his thoughts and produce consistent coherent work. Strategies have been reviewed over an 18-month period, but progress is extremely slow. His class teacher has clearly stated to us that on several occasions that she has observed that Matthew is not reaching his potential. She feels that 1:1 support in language lessons within the class environment would be the most beneficial help for his particular needs. We as parents agree that his class teacher is the foremost person to determine his present needs and the SENCO has assured us that this is the way forward.

Also included is his Speech and Language Therapy Report following a short 6-week course for word recall. This clearly indicates that they believe that his Language problems are not severe and are not the overriding problem. The class teacher and SENCO believe that his needs are more complex, in that he can’t organize and write his thoughts independently, but when helped on a 1:1 basis has the potential to produce work which is commensurate with his obvious abilities.

In summary, Matthew is unable to process what he has just been taught and cannot produce reasonable written output. This seems to be locked inside and can only be released by the teacher sitting with him and initiating the process. He is then able to produce some work. The class teacher has observed that Matthew is compliant, is keen to do work, and is eager to impress, but unfortunately has some sort of barrier which prevents him performing to his obvious abilities. This frustrates Matthew, the class teacher and us as parents. No one seems to have the specialisation or the time and resources to be able to deal with the complex nature of his needs.

We hope that after revisiting his case once again, you will be able to offer him the support that he so obviously needs in order for him to gain full access to the curriculum, meet his full potential, and achieve the targets set for him.