At four and a half I knew that there was something not quite right with Luke and reading. His nursery teacher had said to me "He doesn't know his colours mammy!" and I had assumed he knew them all. As time went on and he reached Key Stage 1 and 2 his teachers started to mention that even though he was a poppet he was lazy and didn't concentrate. I brought in a private tutor once a week but after 6 months there had been no progress at all.
I started to ask his teachers why he still couldn't read and received various answers from 'he will get there eventually' to 'he's lazy'. This final statement became a favourite and years later I realised no one could work harder than Luke did.
Firstly I tried to get some help from a dyslexic organisation, only to be told an assessment would cost me £400. I told them that was impossible as I was on benefits and as they were a charity couldn't they help in some way. The answer they gave me left me reeling as it seemed that unless you paid for something then no help was forthcoming.
By the time Luke was in year 6 I had managed to speak to another mother whose son was dyslexic and she informed me I could ask the LEA to assess him. Why hadn't the LEA told me this? The assessment went ahead 2 months later and his cognitive abilities were classified as gifted and talented but his reading level was at the 2nd centile. I found out through his SENCO that there was an intensive reading course ran by the LEA 2 mornings a week. It took 4 months to persuade the LEA to send him on it and at last after nearly 4 years he started to read. After this had finished I pushed for them to give him extra help only to be told there were worse children in the school. Hindsight is always exceptional and only 2 years later did I realise this had been a total falsehood.
Within the next 4 years Luke only received 20 minutes a fortnight reading classes and his reading age was actually going backwards. I was forced to remove him from school after he had said to me "You don't mind if I go to sleep in class mam do you? I don't learn anything anyway. He had always been placed in the lowest sets with other behaviourally disturbed children and had now given up. For such an intelligent articulate child this was criminal and home schooling him became the only choice.
After the first day of home schooling he said "At last something on my level!!" and I realised what damage school had done to him. I had written to the LEA on his Educational Psychologists insistence demanding a statement. It took a full year to come through and his school had offered help from a cleaner. I have no gripes with any cleaners but they aren't experts in dyslexia and Luke desperately needed expert help. We refused and took the LEA to tribunal as Luke needed to be in a specialised school. After a meeting with a concessionary group and the LEA where they had refused to answer my questions on why Luke had been left 6 years with no classroom help and no accommodation for his intelligence I rang my solicitor telling him we were going to take them to court. Two days later we received a letter from the LEA saying they would pay for him to go to a specialised school.
His new school completely accommodates his disability not discriminates against it like 'normal' schools do. The change in Luke has been fantastic and he's doing exceptionally well.
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