The following is a letter I got from a mother who was having difficulty getting help for her son.
To whom it may concern.
My son started the local primary school in September 1995, at the age of 5 years. During his first year at school when he started getting homework I found it difficult to get it started with him and some days were better than others.
As I attended the parent teacher meeting that year the teacher told me that my son would have no problem in moving on to the next class in September.
In Senior Infants my son found great difficulty in coping with the work inside of the Classroom. As the year went on my son was not bringing home books that I had bought for him. For his reading he used to bring a little book that was photo copied and had four pages in it, the parent teacher meeting that year the teacher told me that my son was not up with the rest of the class which meant he was falling way behind in reading, writing and maths. He was shortly assessed after the parent teacher meeting in May 1997 in which the conclusions of this report was my son was said to have a Severe Expressive Language disorder and a moderate oral/verbal Dyspraxia. This report was send back to the school which my son was attending shortly after that I went down to see what sort of progress my son was making and the teacher said that there was no change. I had asked if they had received the report she answered "Yes" but they couldn't understand it. In March 1998 my son was assessed again and the conclusions of this report was my son was functioning at low /below average. It was also recommended that he received extra help at school. He was only getting half an hour.
The following September my son went into first class. I had gone down and explained to her that my son was slow and told her what the teacher had said from the year before that, he was behind in reading, writing and Maths. She told me that she would work on a different programme with him I still had found him difficult to cope with homework. The parent teacher that year told me my son should have never gone into first class as he was not able.
My son attended second class in a different school, which was a struggle for him Monday to Friday. He did not enjoy going to school. He had remedial class three times a week it was not enough for him. I had made an appointment to meet both his teacher and his remedial teacher.
As they told me my son was not able for the schoolwork we agreed that he should be assessed again. While waiting for this appointment the teachers worked on a new programme with my son. He coped well but at a very slow phase. We found at this stage,if there was no pressure he was good but any sign of pressure he would not do a thing and got very upset.
This time he was assessed in August 2000 in our Local Health Centre. The conclusions of this report was he was at risk for dyslexia, which indicates a Specific Learning disorder and Speech and Language disorder he also has poor visual and verbal reasoning this makes it difficult for him to hold information he also requires a teaching Strategy that aims at improving his reasoning skills and his short term memory.
At this assessment it was also recommended that my son attends a school for Special Needs for him to get all the attention that he needs for to help him consolidate new learning
I was shocked to hear that my son was like this. I was also disappointed that it was not picked up sooner. Moving him to a new school I have found that my son has improved a little but there is no pressure on him and his behaviour has changed for the better.
Thank you, Concerned Mother
PS In the assessment in August 2001 it was also said that my son was four years behind in his work.