In each of the following three cases of students at Foxhills, a quick diagnosis using LASS 11-15 has assisted the school in being able to identify and target support for these students. Their success is a testament as to how important that initial screening and diagnosis is, so that support can be provided at the earliest stage.
John arrived at Foxhills School at the start of Year 8. We were informed that he had an IQ of 53 (WISC–III). As a result, and coupled with the fact that he had an EBD Statement, John was placed in a low banding. I tested this boy using LASS 11-15. John’s Reasoning centile was over 80, although his Sentence Reading and Spelling centiles were quite low. When all of the tests on LASS were completed, it was apparent that John had a dyslexic profile. I also knew that he had a diagnosis of dyspraxia, so I added dyslexia to that. However, LASS was giving a very different reasoning level of ability than any other tests had given this boy.
I worked with John for a few lessons and noted other problems as well. He was later confirmed as also having Asperger’s Syndrome. By using the information provided by LASS, I immediately put into place a support structure appropriate for this student. As a result, some 15 months’ later he has been moved into Set 2 out of 8, which is an A band class, and he is quite able to cope with the lessons. He has already completed for music, over half the GCSE course and played a solo on his electronic keyboard at the Christmas Concert, gaining a standing ovation. His knowledge and ability with ICT is phenomenal and he is a delight to work with. His parents are overjoyed. He is currently expected to achieve at least 7–8 GCSEs grades A–C.
This student was on the Summer Literacy Scheme in Year 8 and we were immediately aware that he was a student who might have challenging behaviour. However, when tested using LASS 1115, he had a dyslexic profile and a Reasoning centile of 82. Our immediate task was to encourage this student to enjoy an academic environment and when I spoke to him and noted his good intelligence, he was rather surprised, although very pleased. He worked very hard over the two weeks; indeed, he even spent three hours one evening making a mediæval hovel out of wood. It was impressive and the local museum service displayed it, along with the work done by the students during the Scheme, in local museums.
With this level of immediate co-operation, we put into place a ‘fast track’ support programme aimed at raising Malcolm’s confidence and self esteem, as well as his ability to read, write and access the curriculum with appropriate study skills and usage of ICT. Malcolm responded well. Some 15 months’ later, he has recently won a Bronze Medal in the World Championships for Karate; been given a gold medal by Kris Akabusi; been chosen by Leeds United Football Club to play in their under 14s and is due to meet their Chairman. Malcolm can now read at a level equivalent to his chronological age and is currently in an A band class. He is likely to exceed 6+ GCSEs with grades A-C, and is talking excitedly about going to university.
Jane arrived at Foxhills Technology School at the end of Year 10. She had previously attempted suicide and suffered from depression. I tested her using LASS and obtained a dyslexic profile. This student was in urgent need of help and support and a programme was immediately put into place. That programme included specialist teaching from me for 35 minutes per week, as part of a small group of three students, and a teacher’s aide to help in some lessons in order to gain access to the curriculum. ICT was part of the support and the school makes available its resources for students during the school day and in the evenings. Jane made full use of these and we managed to increase her reading age by some five years in 15 months. She enjoyed the progress she was making and soon gained in confidence and self-esteem. Indeed, when she left school, her examination results were six GCSEs all with good grades. As a result, she was able to start work with disabled adults in a specialist residential home, which was her chosen career path. She has since obtained, in only 18 months, an NVQ level 1 and 2. She is currently taking NVQ level 3 and enjoying the work tremendously.