Here are the sorts of questions we are frequently asked, and what we can do to help.
If there is one piece of advice we can offer to parents/carers of children with Additional Support Needs of any kind, it’s to build a folder for your child where you keep a paper trail in date order. Please see our recent News article for more information.
My son has been diagnosed with ADHD. We think he has additional difficulties that have not been picked up. What can we do?
It is very rare for any condition that gives rise to learning difficulties to exist in isolation. It is far more common that conditions co-exist. As your son already has a diagnosis, you could request further assessment by the specialist who made the initial assessment, or ask for your son to be referred to an appropriate specialist. What is crucially important is that someone identifies just how your son’s difficulties affect his learning, so that appropriate support strategies can be put in place.
Our daughter, aged eight, has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. Do we continue to discipline poor behaviour or leave her alone because she can't help it?
A diagnosis of ADHD will have different implications for each individual. What is important is to work out exactly how the ADHD affects the child, and then set out clear behavioural expectations and strategies, so your daughter learns the boundaries and is helped to manage her behaviour. 'She can't help it' is not a useful approach. She will need to be disciplined in order to learn what is right and wrong, and what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. However, you will need to understand that, at times, her ADHD will make it very difficult for her to stop and think. Expectations need to be consistent, so her school needs to be involved by putting in place appropriate support strategies that complement what you do at home.
After three years of me insisting something was 'different' about my daughter, her school has finally agreed she has problems: socially, emotionally and academically. I fear the school will now try to have her removed due to 'lack of resources'. What are her rights? And what options should be available to her?
Your daughter certainly has rights and the school has a duty of care. However, the advice we can give you will depend on where you live in the UK. Policies and strategies for supporting pupils with additional needs vary in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Let us know where you live and we can provide appropriate advice and support.
My son is dyslexic. His school says he is doing fine, but could do with extra help. However, the school does not have the resources to support him. When he comes home, he takes out his frustration on us. What should we do?
Firstly, we suggest you arrange to meet the school’s Head Teacher and Head of Learning Support. According to Scotland’s Additional Support for Learning Act legislation, the school has a duty to find the resources to put in extra support. As your son has a diagnosis of dyslexia, there can be no debate about whether he has additional learning needs. Dyslexia can affect an individual in many ways. An assessment should provide not only a label but also a full inventory of how your son's dyslexia is affecting his learning and him as an individual. Any strategies put in place to support a child's learning can only do so if the specific need has been identified and appropriately addressed. Once your son’s learning is being properly supported in school, we would anticipate that the frustration he shows at home will decrease. Dyslexia Scotland has the best supporting information for you and for the school.
We think our daughter is having difficulties keeping up at school. The school says she is fine. What should we do?
In Scotland, the Additional Support for Learning Act is the best starting point. We would suggest you contact Enquire (0845 123 2303) and request a free copy of The Parent's Guide to Additional Support for Learning. This will give you the information you need to request that the school carries out an assessment, or refers you to an appropriate professional for assessment. Depending on the outcome of the assessment, the school will then need to put in place a learning support plan. In England, you should contact OASSIS.
Our son has been diagnosed with autism and dyspraxia and we feel he needs to be educated in a specialist school. How can we access funding for his school fees?
Before going down the route of trying to find private funding, you should pursue the route of making a Placing Request to the local Education Authority using the Additional Support for Learning Act. You may have done this (and even been as far as a tribunal) but, if not, Mindroom can offer appropriate advice. Subsequently, we can offer some suggestions for possible sources of funding.
My daughter is in the final year of her degree and is struggling even to get out of bed in the morning, let alone study. She has severe hearing loss and dyslexia. Can you help?
If your daughter will agree to meet with someone from the Salvesen Mindroom Centre's team, we can explore how things are for her, what the main difficulties are, the obstacles she has to overcome, and how we can support her to finish her degree. We would also be happy to approach the appropriate personnel in the college to ensure they are aware of her needs and are providing input.
My daughter was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome a couple of months ago. I have tried to educate myself as much as possible, but I am really struggling when she is extremely moody, full of temper and her OCD gets to her on a bad day.
We are very happy to help, but think that Tourette Scotland is better placed to provide advice and support. Regarding the OCD element of your daughter's challenges, check out OCD-UK if you haven't already done so. This organisation produces very useful fact sheets for varying ages and can offer advice for coping with her specific problems.
My 18-year-old son has been lucky to secure an apprenticeship as a grounds person (he has ADHD, diagnosed at age eight). He has been stopped from using machinery. Can you advise?
Firstly, there is no specific restriction relating to persons with ADHD and the use of machinery. However, risk assessments are a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Regardless of whether appropriate risk assessments have been carried out, it might be helpful for us to arrange an ADHD information session for you and the employer, and to show them how specific strategies can be put in place to support someone with ADHD.
I am a mature student in the final months of a PhD. I believe I have ADHD and am finding things very difficult. I need support, medication and advice. Can you help?
You first need to register with a GP. He will see you and, under the recommendation of a psychiatrist, may prescribe medication. He will also be able to refer you to local adult ADHD services.