What can you do if your child seems to have dyslexic tendencies and is struggling with some eleven plus work? You know your child and you believe in his or her ability. You feel that your child could cope in a grammar school environment – with some support of some kind.
You know that `The Authorities Behind the Eleven Plus’ do not go out of their way to help children with one sort of learning problem or another. You have heard stories how parents, in the appeal situation, have had their pleas for clemency and justice rejected.
Some of you may even have spoken to your child’s school who have intimated: “If he / she manages to pass the examination then he / she would find the work very demanding.” This is the polite way, used by some teachers, of saying that first of all there is only a slim chance of your child passing and secondly that your child may not be able to cope with the pace and complexity of the work at grammar school.
It is very unlikely that the spectre of dyslexia will suddenly come up in year five – because most parents will have had some inkling that all is not well – but the content of eleven plus work can provide a wake up call and thus trigger a reaction. Some parents have found that working through verbal and non verbal reasoning questions shows when their child can nor read the question confidently. Other children show that they can not absorb what the question is asking. Other children demonstrate reversals, difficulty with the order of letters within a word or a tendency to substitute letters or shapes.
It is essential that as soon as your instincts are alerted that you drive into action. Ask for straight forward answers from the school. Do not allow any obfuscation. You may be remarkably fortunate and have contact with a sympathetic and knowledgeable teacher. Treasure the input that you are offered – and listen with both ears!
Seek professional advice from outside. An educational psychologist should be able to answer most of your questions about the nature of the `dyslexia’ and the ability of your child.
Talk to your child and try to understand where he or she is experiencing difficulty. You may find that some of the discussion appears to be incongruous and inconsequential – but you may gather gems that will offer some insight.