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How to Support Your Dyslexic Child
- AuthorNathan Davies
The SEN solicitors at HCB are often instructed by parents who are worried about their child who has specific learning difficulties (dyslexia). Parents often seek the assistance of the special educational needs solicitors within the department at various times, which may either be before or after a formal diagnosis has been obtained.
Below are a few helpful pointers to any parents in this position who are worried about their child’s education:
1. Educational Psychology Assessment
The initial concerns a parent has regarding their child’s progress or education is often a very difficult time as they are unable to determine what support they would need without expert assistance. The most useful tool to do so is obtaining an assessment of the child by an Educational Psychologist. Cognitive testing is very useful in understanding the strengths and weaknesses in the child’s profile but crucially, the expert instructed by any parent should also conduct attainment testing. This is very important as it gives further information in respect of what areas of their learning they struggle with and how far behind their peers they currently are.
Not only is it useful for parents to have more information as to their child’s needs but the input of an expert also helps with indicating what support they would require at school, such as specialist dyslexia teaching.
2. Requesting a Statutory Assessment
Commonly, a child with specific learning difficulties will struggle to make progress within a mainstream environment. Even with targeted intervention and differentiation of the curriculum, this environment is often not conducive to assisting a child with dyslexia, therefore it is imperative that further assistance is obtained. The relevant next step therefore is to proceed with an application to the Local Authority that they formally assess the child and determine special educational provision for them given they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of their peers. This assessment process (if agreed and duly conducted by the Authority) will ensure that advice is obtained from a number of professionals, such as school staff and an Educational Psychologist to give a full picture of the child’s needs and what support they would require. This process is a fundamental aspect of securing an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) for the child; a legal document setting out their difficulties, provision to meet their needs and a suitable school that can enable them to make progress.
3. Transfer to a Specialist Dyslexia School
Once an EHCP is obtained for the child, the parents will have the right to indicate where they would like their child to be educated. This could be a specialist dyslexia school and our specialist education law solicitors work closely with a number of excellent specialist schools across the UK and have assisted parents in obtaining placements for children at them. Once named in the EHCP, the Local Authority is required to fully fund the placement fees and provision to meet the child’s needs. Without an EHCP however, if a parent wishes to transfer their child to a specialist dyslexia setting, then they would be required to bear the costs of doing so.
The specialist education law solicitors at HCB have years of experience in reviewing expert reports, making requests for statutory assessments on behalf of parents and also obtaining specialist placements for pupils with SEN whilst advising and supporting them throughout this process. If you require assistance, please do not hesitate to call the SEN solicitor department on 02920 291704.