Mum, I don’t want to be different!

Attending Secondary School

It was my sons first parents evening since starting his secondary school and, like all the other parents, I was looking forward to finding out how he was getting on with his studies but also how he had settled into year 7.

He doesn’t attend our local school, instead he travels to the next borough. His older brother had attended the same school and he wanted to follow in his footsteps and go to the same school. My son started school in year 7 whilst his older brother was in year 11 – his final year at school.

Dyslexia screening

Although, I had appointments with his subject teachers I really wanted to talk to the SENCO.

Back in junior school – year 4 – I had been told by his optician that he was showing signs of dyslexia after they had done an intensive eye test on him. I had mentioned it to his school, but nothing was done about it as his reading age was beyond his years.

In the first couple of months of starting secondary school they put the children through a few tests including dyscalculia and dyslexia screening. I was eager to know the scores because of the previous test he had done, but every time I called the school I was informed that the results wasn’t through yet. A few months had passed and I received a letter from the school regarding the results. It had come back that my son was showing signs of dyslexia and they wanted to put him into intervention groups to help him with it. Of coarse, I wanted all the help he could get so he started to attend a special programme called Alpha to Omega and had extra Literacy lessons.

The struggles

As I mentioned before, you couldn’t fault my sons reading. At the age of 11 he has a reading age of a 17 year old. You could have a very intelligent conversation with him and his choice of wording would be very detailed, he was articulate and detailed. He would use a wide range of vocabulary when explaining things to you but this was not evident in his writing.

He struggled with his handwriting, spellings, taking more than one order, tying his shoe-laces, confusing his direction, forgetfulness and mixing up letters and numbers, such as ‘b’ and ‘d’ and ‘9’ and ‘p’.

He found it hard to get to grips with the times tables, recalling the days of the week and months of the year in order and remembering mathematical facts.

Learning to adapt

As the years have gone on, my boy has learned to deal with it himself. He has been persistent and resilient in his learning. He would choose the easier way out when it came to writing – simplifying his sentences omitting difficult words with easy words.

He wears his watch on the left wrist so he knows which is left and right, without it he can be lost -literally!

We have spent years practicing his times tables and we spend at least an extra hour a week just going over sums. He has learned to love maths and this has helped him.

He is given chores around the house to do, telling him to do one thing and following it with another order. For example; asking him to go upstairs to find a book and to put it back in another place.

Back to Parents Evening

Even though we have always believed him to show signs of dyslexia we have never actually been told by someone in education that he does have it.

My son has been attending two sessions a weeks for the past 4 months in school, missing out on subjects that he really enjoys to get the extra support in specific areas of need.

As we sat down with the SENCO and she went through his scores from the tests taken earlier in the year.

Mild in Dyslexia

Scored very low in Dyscalculia

We sat and talked about his struggles or signs and she agreed that he needs extra support, but what has been given to him may need to be at the next level as he says he is finding it too easy within the group.

Dyscalculia test

We are not sure that the results reflect his ability. As part of the test he was asked to answer by pushing the right or left button for the correct answers but obviously not being able to identify his left and right didn’t reflect the true answers.

SENCO have agreed for him to sit the test again in October with the new year 7’s coming up into the senior school and this time they will label the buttons with L and R to help him.

I don’t want to be different

It was the first time that my son had been told he was dyslexic and had dyscalculia. We had discussed it before but it had never been confirmed by a test.

As we walked out of the school, my son turned to me and said

“I don’t want to be different!”

My heart broke.

I told him that he isn’t different. He is still him. Nothing has changed.

I reminded him that we are all different and that the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. We all have something that makes us different from one another, but now we can work on his as we now know what he is struggling with.

Nothing changes for us, we will keep encouraging him to achieve and we will keep on spending time with him going over his spellings and times tables.

I understand that he just wants to fit in with his friends, that he needs to feel secure and safe within his environment. He reassures me that no one is picking on him for attending interventions, but it’s just painful to him to finally hear that he has different educational needs to his peers.

It’s time now for him to shine as now he is receiving the support that he deserves. I have reminded him that he has already acquired and developed skills to get him to where he is now. He is already in top set for Maths and English. We just need to be positive about this, I want him to know that it’s Ok to be different!

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Let Me Learn football maths games review

Times Tables Games

Help your child with their maths with Let Me Learn downloadable Football maths games.

Joseph is in year 3 at school and although it is at a national level for maths he struggles with learning his times tables. He gets there in the end but it does take him time, he still uses his fingers to count and he sometimes misses out one when recalling his times tables which results in him getting the rest wrong. In year 3 at school they are learning their 3,4 and 8 times tables, he is ok with times up to 5 but anything beyond that and he struggles. We have tried learning from memory and are always recalling them so that he can try to remember but Joseph is quite an active boy and he has low attention so his mind will then wonder and he loses interest pretty quickly.

Let Me Learn is an online learning resources website for teachers and parents. Sue Kerrigan the founder of Let Me Learn believes that for a child to ‘learn effectively is when they’re having fun. Education is essential for a fulfilled life and the process of gaining that education must be fun and enjoyable because that is the best and easiest way for anyone to learn.’ Repetition is so important for children with learning differences – they need to over learn essential skills for reading, writing and maths.  This is why are own products are all about ‘fun learning and repetition without boredom’.

We was sent a CD of Football maths games to review, The CD has 58 games in total, covering basic maths skills and facts:

Number Bonds, Odds & Evens, Doubling, Halving, Addition, Subtraction, Teen & Ty, Place Value, Bridge 10, Rounding, Times Tables, Division Tables, Fractions and Comparing Fractions, Decimals & Percentages.

You will need 10 counters, 1 playing piece per player and 1 dice (these are not included with the disc) Print on paper for instant play or print on card and laminate for durability if desired.

Who are these games for?

Avid football fans 7-14 years who are struggling with basic maths skills and facts and need lots of fun repetition to secure this knowledge.  Learn with the extra support provided with most of the games or practice without the support.

  • Motivational football gamesRepeated fun practice
  • Practice basic maths skills
  • Easy to learn – games follow similar rules
  • Follows curriculum learning objectives
  • Learn a memory technique
  • Supporting resources for learning
  • Ink saving low colour printing options

We first read through the memory technique, which is a way of remembering what you are learning. I asked Joseph a series of questions about what we had done the day before, whilst thinking he looked up to the sky to try to remember our day. When we practised the 3 and 4 times table, I told him to the look to the sky where his memory cloud is. This seemed to help to visualise the times table as he only got stuck once. It takes Joseph a while to remember things but given time he does answer and is normally correct.

We printed out a couple of board games to play in colour but you are given the option to print out in low colour so that your child can colour it in by themselves, this is so that if the game is personalised it will motivate the children to take ownership of the game. Each game comes along with a set of rules and visual prompts.

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Nearly a winner

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Board game with rules

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Board game with visual x table prompt

 

As Joseph is learning his 3 and 4 times table, I thought that this would be an ideal game to start with. The disc is easy to find your way around with everything clearly labeled to find. We practised his times table first and then started to play. he chose to be on the blue team which was the 3 x table side, which left me to be on the red team, the 4 x table side. Joseph was quick to point out that he would be Chelsea and I would be Manchester United, noting the colours of the teams. He rolled the dice and landed on 0x3 “easy” he said and placed a counter on the correct football. After an interesting 10 minute game, we had a very happy winner….Joseph. We did have moments where Joseph got stuck with persistence, encouragement and time he managed to remember the correct answer. I am sure with time and practise he will be able resite his times tables as quickly as I or his big brother can.

 

Before we played the game he was moaning about playing and saying that he didn’t enjoy maths, by the end of the game he was smiling and asking to play again. The games are simple but fun, Children don’t realise that whilst they are playing they are also learning aswell.

The football maths disc cost £14.99 and can be ordered online here Other games available are Hockey, Basketball, Rugby and Sports.

We was sent the disc for the purpose of this review

 

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