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Old 03.10.2019, 23:10
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Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Our local school will not make allowances for my child's dyslexia and I would be grateful for any help with where I can go from here.

The cantonal law states "1 Schüler der Sekundarstufe II mit vom Amt anerkannten besonderen Bedürfnissen, die das Potenzial haben, die Anforderungen ihrer Bildungsrichtung zu erfüllen, können für das Absolvieren von Prüfungen von Sonderbestimmungen profitieren. Die Anforderungen des Lehrplans und die Beurteilungskriterien sind hingegen die gleichen wie für die übrigen Schüler."

(... the curriculum requirements and assessment criteria are the same as for other pupils.)

Which they say means that they cannot mark any differently from other children and so all writing errors typical of dyslexia must be marked as errors. So far every piece of work is being marked as a fail even though the content is up to the required level.

Until gymnasium none of the errors were marked because the rules allow for differential marking, which made it possible to pass all the entrance exams.

Any suggestions? The current school is a state school and there is no other gymnasium in the area.
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Old 03.10.2019, 23:28
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

What I read is that there can be accomodations for exams. That often means more time, I don't know much about dyslexia but is it possible to write with less spelling errors with more time (and the right strategies)? Or maybe with some other solution.
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Old 03.10.2019, 23:39
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

It is a disability. A dyslexic can look at the word "hawse" a thousand times and not see that they have written anything wrong because they see "house" written clearly. And if your write down "house" and ask them to copy, they will write "hawse" again. This is a crude example, but you will get the gist. It is a programming error in the brain. The school offer 10 minutes extra and a dictionary which is fine for someone with a spelling problem. For a dyslexic a dictionary is a form of torture. The decision we now have is from the responsible inspector for our region.
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Old 04.10.2019, 00:32
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

  1. Is there a list of "vom Amt anerkannten besonderen Bedürfnissen"? If so, is dyslexia on that list? If not, that may be part of the key. If you need to prove that it ought to be on the list, then it seems to me you'll have to argue that it is analagous (in the extent to which it inhibits one's performance) to some other need that IS on the list.

    Next, you'll need to prove that an extra 10 minutes and access to a dictionary does not constitute adequate "Sonderbestimmungen" for a dyslexic.

  2. Have you asked at the various interest groups / vereine, etc. for the rights of dyslexics?

  3. What does your child think that he/she would need (evidently not 10 minutes extra and a dictionary) to be able to use the exam to prove that he/she has, indeed, mastered all the material being tested?

  4. What do you think would be a reasonable special condition for exams? (Sorry, I don't know.)

Last edited by doropfiz; 06.10.2019 at 22:05. Reason: typo
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Old 04.10.2019, 00:33
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Hmmmm, really sorry to hear that, our exams here allow for much longet extra time and more lenient spelling errors (when documented by a med certif).

Have you talked to your cantonal dept for post obligatory schooling?

Good luck!
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Old 04.10.2019, 10:05
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Perhaps contact the Verband Dyslexie and see what they say. It's essentially
a lobby group for the interests of those suffering from dyslexia or dyscalculia and their parents.
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Old 04.10.2019, 12:27
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

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It is a disability. A dyslexic can look at the word "hawse" a thousand times and not see that they have written anything wrong because they see "house" written clearly. And if your write down "house" and ask them to copy, they will write "hawse" again. This is a crude example, but you will get the gist. It is a programming error in the brain. The school offer 10 minutes extra and a dictionary which is fine for someone with a spelling problem. For a dyslexic a dictionary is a form of torture. The decision we now have is from the responsible inspector for our region.
Got it. The time allowance certainly seems insufficient. "Beurteilungskriterien" sounds general and to me it should allow real parification. Since it is a disability, I would try to get medical certificates from a specialist clearly outlining what needs to be done to give him the same chances as other students and escalate as much as possible. A school inspector is not qualified to evaluate a disability (not a doctor) and would have to accept it in my opinion. Defo get involved in dyslexia and dyscalculia groups in the area, they probably have had similar experiences.
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Old 04.10.2019, 22:07
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

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"Beurteilungskriterien"
As I understand it (I'm not a teacher, just a native German speaker) the work is graded using standard measures, as if produced by a non-handicapped person.
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Old 04.10.2019, 22:28
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Yes, allowances are made at compulsory school level- but then it is considered that Gymnasium is for academic students who will have to face the real world. where few or no allowances will be made. How did he get into Gymi?
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Old 06.10.2019, 21:51
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Because at compulsory school level the appropriate and individual allowances are made. For my child that meant a light touch on spelling and grammar (which are in fact coding errors), a verbal check through together with the child by the teacher on all texts being graded, some verbal exams rather than written, and when required, a scribe. I think at university some of these kick in again.

Dyslexia is a recognised disability. The argument that academia is not for the disabled is discriminatory. There are loads of people in business with dyslexia - Bill Gates, Richard Branson and plenty in academia with dyslexia. Dyslexia is noted when there is a gap between intellect and writing ability.

I have since been pointed to this site
www.namgym.ch

And to answer a question above, yes, my child has been tested 3 times over the years. The dyslexia is confirmed by medical professionals Most recently for a whole day at Klinik Lengg in Zurich. I provide this info and the website above in the hope of helping anyone else finding themselves in a similar situation.

We certainly have all the evidence required, but so far it is not changing minds. Thank you for your answers.
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Old 06.10.2019, 22:24
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Is there a school psychologist, social worker or medical doctor attached to the school ? They should be more aware of the law and also your child's disability/learning difference.
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Old 06.10.2019, 22:29
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

I'd be interested to understand what the medical professionals would regard as adequate measures to be taken, during testing/exams, so that your child is not penalised by the results of the disability.
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Old 06.10.2019, 22:35
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Oh, a few years back I went to a seminar organised by 'All Special Kids' and they had a lawyer speaking about the Swiss law.


It was clear that parents need to be aware of the law and to advocate for their child (with the help of a lawyer if necessary) - the laws are fairly new and how they are implemented is not always clear at a school level.
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Old 06.10.2019, 22:56
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

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I'd be interested to understand what the medical professionals would regard as adequate measures to be taken, during testing/exams, so that your child is not penalised by the results of the disability.
I have seen a few diagnostic reports from professionals in Switzerland, and generally the diagnosing psychologist will recommend specific allowances to be granted to the child in relation to assessing their written work, including exams. This is true of any disability assessed for schools.

For example they might recommend that spelling errors are not considered, or the child has a set amount of extra time, or can have a person read the exam questions to them to ensure they understand ...
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Old 06.10.2019, 23:52
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Thanks, araqyl. I asked my question because it seems that penelopy is up against a system that may be speaking a different language (I don't mean German as opposed to English) or rather be in a different paradigm from what she needs.

While I am sure that Swisspea is completely right, that one needs to find out the law (and the directives which follow from that law, specifiying how to apply it), I imagine that there may still be a gap between that and what the actual school teachers understand.

Therefore, I think penelopy's position is likely to be stronger for every box she can tick:
  • there are n doctors'/psychologists' reports all confirming that the child has diagnosis x
  • x is on the official list (in which Swiss law?) of diagnoses which entitle the child to adequate measures
  • a Swiss authority (which? e.g. an association of educational psychologists) has published this list of possible measures for diagnosis x
  • of these, the n doctors and psychologists attest to this specific child's needing measures a, c and f.
  • a, c, and f differ from the school's idea of "10 minutes extra plus a dictionary" in several aspects, namely...

Last edited by doropfiz; 07.10.2019 at 15:26. Reason: typo
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Old 07.10.2019, 14:57
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

I was under the impression that dyslexia is a learning difficulty, not a disability. Dyslexia does not affect intelligence levels. A learning disability does and implies, IIRC, an IQ of less than 70.

You're not telling me the average Gymnasium teacher never encounters very bright and able kids who nonetheless have SEN?
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Old 07.10.2019, 15:21
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

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I was under the impression that dyslexia is a learning difficulty, not a disability. Dyslexia does not affect intelligence levels. A learning disability does and implies, IIRC, an IQ of less than 70.

You're not telling me the average Gymnasium teacher never encounters very bright and able kids who nonetheless have SEN?
The term learning disability says nothing about the IQ of the person.
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Old 07.10.2019, 15:29
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

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The term learning disability says nothing about the IQ of the person.
Well in my line of work it does and as such is not used lightly. There is a world of difference between disability and difficulty . Perhaps the definitions I work to are different in other countries?
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Old 07.10.2019, 16:06
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

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. The argument that academia is not for the disabled is discriminatory. There are loads of people in business with dyslexia - Bill Gates, Richard Branson and plenty in academia with dyslexia. Dyslexia is noted when there is a gap between intellect and writing ability.
A claim stated over and over, even from otherwise often reliable outlets. Unfortunately, I have never seen an actual citation. So, from where does this claim come from and is there actually a reliable primary source which could be cited?

Bill Gates about the joy of reading book at a young age:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMMXdzti3-E

Bill Gates about his early childhood teacher and his dysgraphia:
https://www.gatesnotes.com/Education...hanged-My-Life

Dysgraphia vs. dyslexic
https://www.understood.org/en/learni...a-and-dyslexia
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Old 07.10.2019, 17:52
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Re: Compensation for dyslexia in gymnasium

Do I remember rightly that you had a similar issue with another child a few years back. So you know the system quite well.

Switzerland is very 'behind' the UK, or at least very different, with Post compulsory education. Gymnasium is for academics, who will be automatically accepted into academic studies if they get matu/Bac. Not sure where you are from Penelope- but it is hugely different to 6th Form in UK. And in UK 6th Form, students choose 4 subjects only for Year 12, and 3 for Year 13 and A'Levels. And they can choose from many more subjects than in Switzerland or Europe in general. They can choose all 4 then narrow to 3 - subjects- and those subjects, + depending on results, would only open certain doors. Can't go and do Medicine if you have taken IT, PE and business studies- even if you get straight 'As'. A Bac/Matu in Switzerland is proof that you can handle a large number of 'classical' subjects at a High Level and independently. Same in France, Germany, etc.

And in Switzerland there is a very large number of good alternative options- and also 'bridges' to link back to Uni at a later stage. As said, no idea where you are from and what the system is there. PS- so you are from UK, so you know all the above- and I agree that the UK system would probably suit your child 1000x better. Any chance he can go and study there- in one of the State boarding schools, or staying with relatives? (PS I used to teach in a 6th Form College in UK).
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