How-long-should-my-child-have-a-tutor-for?

How long you engage a tutor for will very largely depend upon the outcome or purpose of the tuition and the academic starting point of your child. Tutor My Kids provides tutors in Ely, Cambridge and surrounding areas and work with a huge variety of students from age 6 to 18.

Purpose and outcomes of tuition

There are many reasons that you might choose to engage a tutor to work with your child. It might be because of upcoming exams where you’ll need a GCSE tutor to support your child through the exams, or following a dyslexia or dyscalculia screening or assessment or concerns raised by your child’s school teacher that they’re below expectations for their age. The length of time that you work with a tutor can vary hugely, depending on the reason for seeking help in the meantime.

For GCSE tuition, we tend to suggest that year 10 is a good time to start looking at this. It’s not unusual at Tutor My Kids for all our GCSE tutors in key subjects to be fully booked by September of the year preceding the exams, so it’s good to think about this sooner rather than later. It may be that in fact, your child doesn’t actually need help until year 11, but by getting in touch with a tutor or tutoring company early, you can get on a waiting list early. Equally, if they’re struggling and not keeping up, there may be value in doing some groundwork in year 9 to put them in the best possible position to succeed in years 10 and 11.

You may find out at a parental consultation or end of term report that your child has fallen behind and is below age-related expectations. This means that they’ve not attained the knowledge and skills that would be expected for their year group. There may be many reasons for this: summer-born children can be behind because they’re younger and less mature when they start school, your child may have missed school due to illness when some key areas were taught – this is particularly prevalent with maths and can create maths gaps (take a look at maths gaps – why they occur and the problems they cause). There may also be general or specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, global delay, ADHD, Autistic Spectrum disorders which make it much harder for students to concentrate, process information, retain information and therefore be at or ahead of age-related expectations.

Dyslexia, dyscalculia and other learning difficulties can make it really hard for students to learn at the same rate as other students.

Length of tuition

The length of time that you have a tutor is really largely dependent on their academic starting point. For GCSE tuition, if they’re just a grade off where they need to be, to start in year 11 is usually fine. If they’re well below the level that they need to be in year 11, then earlier intervention is invariably better.

If your child is behind because of gaps, and no learning issues, then tuition usually fills those gaps and no further tuition is needed after that initial period, unless other gaps in learning occur.

Learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia can make it incredibly hard for students to keep up at school and it’s not unusual for attainment to remain below expectations for many years, through no fault of the student, teacher or parents without help. Additional tuition can make it easier for your child to learn and retain the information. One-to-one tuition can make a massive difference in situations such as this, but often this help will be needed for many years in order to get the students the grades they need to pursue their goals.

If you’d like more information on dyslexia or dyscalculia screening, or tuition please contact Tutor My Kids at hello@tutormykids.co.uk or call the office on 01223 858421.

If you’re a teacher who is interested in beoming a tutor in Ely, Cambridge, Newmarket or Huntingdon, please take a look at our tutor page and get in touch by email to arrange an informal chat to discover if it might fit with your present commitments.

What-dyslexia-tests-are-available-and-which-is-best?

There are various red flags that can point towards dyslexia or dyslexic tendencies. Take a look at our recent blog for more information: What is dyslexia.

Which tests are available?

There are 3 options in order to get more clarity if you think your child has dyslexia:

  • Dyslexia Screening
  • Dyslexia Assessment with a Patoss approved specialist
  • Full educational assessment with an Educational Pschologist

A dyslexia screening is a quick, inexpensive way to assess if your child is showing the signs of dyslexia. The results are worded as low ‘risk of’ dyslexia or high ‘risk of’ dyslexia. The reason that these dyslexia screening tests are worded this way is oddly not testing dependent, but dependent on the person doing the test. Only an Educational Psychologist or a Patoss approved specialist is allowed to say definitively that an individual definitely has dyslexia or not. It is, however, fair to take it that if your screening test shows a high risk of dyslexia, then your child is dyslexic. It gives information as to the areas that your child finds difficult which enables you to share this information with teachers and other professionals to get additional help for your child.

A Patoss (Member of the professional association of teachers of students with specific learning difficulties) assessor can formally diagnose dyslexia. These tests are a little more involved than a dyslexia screening and can be a good next step if you want to have your child’s dyslexia formally diagnosed. If you think your child may have a number of issues, such as ADHD, ASD and OCD, as well as possible dyslexia, an Educational Psychologist may be more appropriate.

An educational psychologist is able to conduct tests to assess across a fuller range of issues, such as delayed development, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder, ADD (attention deficit disorder), ASD (autistic spectrum disorder – Asperger type traits). So this is a good option to review your child in the whole.

Which is best for my child?

This depends entirely on the needs of your child.

A dyslexia screening is perfect if you think that dyslexia is the only issue for your child and you want a quick and economical test to quickly count it in or out.

A Patoss test is more appropriate if you want to have dyslexia formally diagnosed and more specialist testing conducted and are not concerned that there are other issues affecting your child’s learning.

If you think a more wide-ranging screening is needed for your child to include a wider range of possible issues with learning, then an assessment by an educational psychologist can be a good choice.

Tutor My Kids offer dyslexia screenings. For more information, take a look at our Dyslexia page.

What-is-dyslexia

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which show as difficulty in three main areas:

  • Phonic Difficulties
  • Processing Speed
  • Memory/Working memory

The presence of all three is needed before a child would be thought to be dyslexic.

Phonic Difficulties

Difficulties in phonics (the sounds that make up words) can be around finding it difficult to learn the sounds, mixing up sounds such as d and b, v, f and ph and/or blending sounds together such as sp and fl. These problems can make it hard for children to read, understand what they’re reading, spell and write well.

Processing Speed

Processing speed is to do with how quickly children process information and instructions (written or verbal). It’s the time between hearing an instruction and the brain responding to it. It’s absolutely not about intelligence. It’s not unusual to find very intelligent dyslexic children with processing speeds that are slower than non-dyslexic child of the same age.

Memory and Working Memory

Difficulties keeping things in short-term memory and transferring them into long-term memory can be a part of dyslexia.

Working memory is slightly different – this is about keeping one thing in your head whilst listening to or processing another. Dyslexic children typically find it difficult to keep a string of instructions in their head and find it easier if those instructions are given individually. If you need to write down telephone numbers in groups of 3 or 4 figures, you may have this difficulty too.

Can my child have some of these difficulties?

If your child has all three of these difficulties, it’s possible that your child could be dyslexic.

If 1 or 2 of these issues are present, it’s likely that your child will find it harder to learn, but would not be felt to be dyslexic.

How can I check this out?

Tutor My Kids offers dyslexia screening which will allow you to quickly and cheaply see if dyslexia is a concern with your child.

Is-there-ever-a-reason-not-to-test-for-dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a cluster of symptoms which can cause students to find reading, writing, processing information quickly and remembering things tricky. Take a look at Could my child be dyslexic for more details.

Reasons to test for dyslexia

There are several good reasons to test for dyslexia. If you know the areas that your child is having difficulties, you and school can help with those areas. If there are processing issues highlighted as part of the dyslexia, this might suggest that investigating extra time in GCSEs and A levels – take a look at Could my child get extra time for GCSEs and A levels.

Potential reasons not to test

Some parents are concerned the by having a dyslexia screening, it may ‘label’ their child as dyslexic. Increasing numbers of well-know successful people (Jamie Oliver, Richard Branson) have helped to finally dispel the myth the dyslexia means stupid, which is a fantastic as this has been a huge injustice to people with dyslexic traits.

I think the only reason that I have ever come across for not testing is a child I taught once, who declared that he couldn’t do that (the piece of work) because he was dyslexic. However, this really isn’t a reason not to screen for dyslexia as much as a lesson in how you communicate that information to your child.

Many children find it hugely reassuring that there is reason why they find some things harder than their peers. This can be communicated within the context of ‘You may always have to work a little harder than your friends but there are things that we can help you with to make life a little easier.’

Take a look at our dyslexia testing page  , email Rachel or call Rachel Law on 01223 858123 for a chat about dyslexia screening and if it might be right for your child.

 

 

 

4-Reasons-to-Arrange-a-Dyslexia-Screening

1. You’re worried

You may be concerned that your child’s reading or writing is not where you or your child’s teacher might expect it to be. Often parents say that something just doesn’t seem right – maybe your child is bright and excelling at maths but comparatively weak in English. Maybe they’re very verbally articulate but can’t put their ideas down on paper well. Take a look at Could My Child be Dyslexic for typical symptoms.

2. You’d like to put your mind at rest.

A dyslexia screening is a relatively inexpensive and often quicker to arrange than a full diagnostic report from an Educational Psychologist. It gives a good level of detail to put your mind at rest that there are no issues in that area or give you information to help and pursue more detailed testing if needed.

3. You’d like school to help

Dyslexia is no longer a condition which the council will ‘statement’ for and there is no obligation for them to help. In our experience, however, schools do help as much as they can and find our screening reports on pupils’ strengths and weaknesses useful. If they are not already putting interventions in place for your child, they can (subject to school budgets) arrange these.

4. You’d like to help your child’s confidence

Children with dyslexia or dyslexic tendencies can feel that they are stupid because they’re not able to read, write or spell as well as their peers. This is, of course, completely rubbish but it can affect a child’s sense of self-belief very badly. Realising that there’s a reason why they find some things hard can be really liberating.

Get in touch

Contact Rachel Law on 01223 858421 for an informal chat or email Rachel. Rachel can advise if a dyslexia screening would be a good option or if other options might be better for you and your child.