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Old 09.07.2012, 17:08
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Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

One of my boys has been in Sondeschule for 6 months, he has dyslexia, ADS / ADHD and mild Irlen Syndrom, but is a bright and intelligent kid. We learnt last week that he has been refusing to do any reading and or writing for six months now and he seems to have a block in German, although his spoken German is good. The Sondeschule says that they haven't the expertise to deal with him, since he needs 1:1 support to keep on task. We have an appointment tomorrow regarding putting him on medication for ADHD, but it appears that children with dyslexia aren't really catered for in Switzerland. Any comments / ideas welcome, please note that we cannot afford International Schooling.

Last edited by telandy; 09.07.2012 at 17:24.
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Old 09.07.2012, 18:24
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

How old is he ?

What does the school psychology unit say ?
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Old 09.07.2012, 19:04
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

He is nearly 9 - would be going into third grade from August. Wall of silence at the moment from the school psychology unit. I don't think they know what to do. It was quite hard to get him a sonder school place. The school has also gone silent on us. The head was going to get back to us, but nothing as yet. I will give them a few more days to get their heads around it. We are now dealing with the authorities at senior kanton level! The school will need extra funding to support him, if he continues there. We have asked, how about schooling in English, since he will read and write in English, however what opportunities do exist in Switzerland for such children.
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Old 09.07.2012, 19:10
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

It seems to be a big gap - with kids with dyslexia - and I'm not sure what intensive therapies are there to help a child at that age...

I'd be pushing for more testing, building a better picture of what he can and cannot do, and working on some behaviour management or other therapy stuff for the hyperactivity.

I do know of kids who have managed to get funding to subsidise the cost of private schooling - however, you first have to identify a school that is interested in taking his case, and then do they actually have the support strategies in place to meet his needs...

There are some intensive therapies that can help with the reading/writing stuff, but I'm not sure how you get around the bilingual/trilingual language requirements. What has actually been suggested by the school / teacher / principal / school psychologist ? - It's going to be hard to pin anyone down this close to the end of the school year, but they definitely have an obligation to make a placement for him for the new school year...
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Old 09.07.2012, 20:01
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

There's a dyslexia software programme recommended by children's psychiatrists at KJPD Zürich and Kinderspital Zürich called Dybuster. Perhaps something to look into.

http://dybuster.ch/int/



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Old 09.07.2012, 22:18
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

This is so hard Telandy and I am very sorry. Switzerland is miles behind still when it comes to special needs I'm afraid. And the Gemeinde/Commune has to pay a large part of special educational needs (and language support, etc) - so it is not always easy to get proper support.

Perhaps not what you want to hear/read - and yet. I do believe that if I was in the same situation, I'd consider going back to UK - both because of the expertise there, better support AND so that your child can battle through these difficulties in his own language. I do hope you find a way forward for all your sakes.
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Old 09.07.2012, 22:28
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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This is so hard Telandy and I am very sorry. Switzerland is miles behind still when it comes to special needs I'm afraid. And the Gemeinde/Commune has to pay a large part of special educational needs (and language support, etc) - so it is not always easy to get proper support.

Perhaps not what you want to hear/read - and yet. I do believe that if I was in the same situation, I'd consider going back to UK - both because of the expertise there, better support AND so that your child can battle through these difficulties in his own language. I do hope you find a way forward for all your sakes.
We are also looking at options in the UK as a boarder, we can always be cheaky and ask them to pay for it.
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Old 09.07.2012, 22:37
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

I don't know if this would be of any help at all, but this site (in German)

http://www.elpos.ch

has some information about ADHD (ADS)/dyslexia etc.

http://www.elpos.ch/beratung.htm

lists regional contacts - I think you'd contact the folks in Gossau (Ostschewiz) They might have some information about advocacy, I don't know. It seems that advocacy is a weak point here - with chronic disease and with issues like dyslexia, ADHD.

Good luck!
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Old 09.07.2012, 22:47
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

Telandy, from the bottom of my heart- I'd say a child with such difficulties is not suitable for boarding a long way from his family. Hope you understand this message is totally non-judgemental, just my heartfelt 'opinion'. Bonne chance.
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Old 10.07.2012, 00:14
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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He is nearly 9 - would be going into third grade from August. Wall of silence at the moment from the school psychology unit. I don't think they know what to do. It was quite hard to get him a sonder school place. The school has also gone silent on us. The head was going to get back to us, but nothing as yet. I will give them a few more days to get their heads around it. We are now dealing with the authorities at senior kanton level! The school will need extra funding to support him, if he continues there. We have asked, how about schooling in English, since he will read and write in English, however what opportunities do exist in Switzerland for such children.
Maybe finding him a private (bilingual?) tutor with experience in the dyslexia/ADHD/ADS/Irlen Syndrome field would be an option? This way, he could receive help in a familiar environment, have someone patient deal with him and maybe he'd open up to his tutor more easily than at school, because maybe he senses that they can't/won't help him.

Good luck
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Old 10.07.2012, 08:58
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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This is so hard Telandy and I am very sorry. Switzerland is miles behind still when it comes to special needs I'm afraid. And the Gemeinde/Commune has to pay a large part of special educational needs (and language support, etc) - so it is not always easy to get proper support.
Sorry Odile, that's simply not true anymore. There are treaments and schooling options for virtually any special need you can imagine and the communes are quite willing to pay for it.
By checking the homepage of the canton Thurgau I found this link: http://www.heilpaedagogik-tg.ch/
Best advice I can give the OP. Wait till the Psychologists come up with their assessment and discuss the options wth them.
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Old 10.07.2012, 09:24
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

Sounds like your child may have 2 situations. you will need to treat both. 1st if he has ADD or ADHD, treat that immediately. It's pretty easy to treat with drugs - don' be afraid to experiment to find the best working drug for your child. amphetamines work very well, ritalin also works but may lose effectiveness after being used for a period of time. other drugs work too. you will unfortunately have to try different ones for your child. different people react differently to different drugs.
2nd. try tinted glasses. there is plenty of research to show that the tint may help with reading skills for dyslexicics. there are other approaches but those should be tried before being ruled out - as they are relatively inexpensive and easy to administer.
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Old 10.07.2012, 11:15
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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Sounds like your child may have 2 situations. you will need to treat both. 1st if he has ADD or ADHD, treat that immediately. It's pretty easy to treat with drugs - don' be afraid to experiment to find the best working drug for your child. amphetamines work very well, ritalin also works but may lose effectiveness after being used for a period of time. other drugs work too. you will unfortunately have to try different ones for your child. different people react differently to different drugs.
2nd. try tinted glasses. there is plenty of research to show that the tint may help with reading skills for dyslexicics. there are other approaches but those should be tried before being ruled out - as they are relatively inexpensive and easy to administer.
As a person with ADD and dyslexia, I take ritalin, and I totally agree that these treatments can be effective. But I think it's a misperception that it's really easy to treat with drugs - drugs don't work in everyone. They're worth trying, absolutely. With kids, it requires a lot of observation, adjustment too - so teachers in the classroom need to help. THe other problem is that in the US, at least ADD has been framed as a "disability" in order to allow for advocacy - but the fact is, it's just a different way of processing information and really needs to be seen as such. It's just that we have such inflexible systems - (and I suspect the system here can be inflexible as well).

Last edited by edot; 10.07.2012 at 12:06.
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Old 10.07.2012, 21:16
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

Th
Quote:
I don't know if this would be of any help at all, but this site (in German)

http://www.elpos.ch

has some information about ADHD (ADS)/dyslexia etc.

http://www.elpos.ch/beratung.htm

lists regional contacts - I think you'd contact the folks in Gossau (Ostschewiz) They might have some information about advocacy, I don't know. It seems that advocacy is a weak point here - with chronic disease and with issues like dyslexia, ADHD.

Good luck!
Thank you for all the comments and replies. The school has come back and said that they cannot meet his needs and proposed a meeting early in September with the Kanton.
What really upsets me is that we have a report here from the Psychiatrische Dienst in November 2011 which clearly states that he needs 1:1 support and other members of the same department put him into a school which cannot offer this. Six months later i.e now the school is saying that he needs 1:1 support. We will start on the ADS / ADHD Mecidine shorly, then another Irlen irlen.ch test later this week and then the dyslexia.
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Old 11.07.2012, 15:48
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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Th
Thank you for all the comments and replies. The school has come back and said that they cannot meet his needs and proposed a meeting early in September with the Kanton.
What really upsets me is that we have a report here from the Psychiatrische Dienst in November 2011 which clearly states that he needs 1:1 support and other members of the same department put him into a school which cannot offer this. Six months later i.e now the school is saying that he needs 1:1 support. We will start on the ADS / ADHD Mecidine shorly, then another Irlen irlen.ch test later this week and then the dyslexia.
Did they give you a reason for this delay? There might be a very simple but nevertheless annoying reason: With a 1:1 support they need at least 33 additional lessons, means two more teachers. And teachers for children with special needs are even rarer than "normal" primary teachers.
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Old 11.07.2012, 17:03
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

Looking into this deeper the Sonderschule is receiving CHF140K / year for the schooling, which I guess is half a teacher once you factor in overheads etc. CHF70K has so far been wasted telling us what we already knew, 6 months later. I am fuming that they can just 'waste'this sort of money. They believe that 7% of the school population has some kind of dyslexia, I come back to the question, where is the support. Surely a Sonderschule / Forderschule should be able to provide support, hence its name, but that doesn't appear to be the case, which I find quite bizarre. We won't mention the behavoiur which he has learnt since he's been there, children watching pornos on their mobile phones in the taxis. The taxi driver leaving him 2Km from home, because there was a problem on the bus. Luckily my child managed to get a postbus home. He has learnt hand gestures and sexual movements etc etc... Welcome to the world of Sonderschule!
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Old 11.07.2012, 17:14
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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Looking into this deaper the Sonderschule is receiving CHF140K / year for the schooling, which I guess is half a teacher once you factor in overheads etc. CHF70K has so far been wasted telling us what we already knew, 6 months later. I am fuming that they can just 'waste'this sort of money. They believe that 7% of the school population has some kind of dyslexia, I come back to the question, where is the support. Surely a Sonderschule / Forderschule should be able to provide support, hence its name, but that doesn't appear to be the case, which I find quite bizarre. We won't mention the behavoiur which he has learnt since he's been there, children watching pornos on their mobile phones in the taxis. The taxi driver leaving him 2Km from home, because there was a problem on the bus. Luckily my child managed to get a postbus home. He has learnt hand gestures and sexual movements etc etc... Welcome to the world of Sonderschule!
How the **** did the taxi driver justify this?! You can't just leave a kid and disappear

So sorry for your situation.
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Old 11.07.2012, 17:22
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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How the **** did the taxi driver justify this?! You can't just leave a kid and disappear

So sorry for your situation.
Apparantly he had agreed with some parents, (not us) if a child misbehaves they they have to walk part of the way home as a punishment. The school came down on the driver like a ton of bricks!! There is no teacher or support on the bus.
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Old 11.07.2012, 17:24
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

Maybe you can here for guidance: http://www.verband-dyslexie.ch/
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Old 11.07.2012, 17:25
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Re: Sonderschule can't meet our childs needs

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Apparantly he had agreed with some parents, (not us) if a child misbehaves they they have to walk part of the way home as a punishment. The school came down on the driver like a ton of bricks!!
Whoa - good on the school! But I don't want to know how those parents would react if something happened to their kids on the way home....
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