My son is 14 and dyspraxic. He has been using a laptop for school for most of his secondary school life. Although he has learnt some ga coping mechanisms for his dyspraxia he has never really been able to write. Now he is entering the exam period and all of sudden the school says he will need to write in exams but they will allow him more time! This feels highly unfair and smacks at him being disadvantaged. increased time allocation does not sole dyspraxia and the fact that his writing is practically unreadable. Just puts him under additional pressure. Has anyone got experience of exams and dyspraxia and what our rights are?
Hi, Diana, as a dyspraxic who recently took his Leaving Cert, I know the frustrations and limitations it can bring. Tests are fundamentally undermining the ability of the dyspraxic. Even as an individual with poor-co-ordination and limited memory I was expected to learn verbatim, Maths formulas and how to draw circles. Now, although my English isn't the best, I still excelled at it in school. I have use of the laptop much like your son. Prior to having my laptop, my English was a disgrace. I could never read my hand writing and never understood what I wrote. In effect, I was writing blind. Because of the lack of discernible symptoms, dyspraxia, largely goes unnoticed in school. Hand-writing is usually the indicator, but sometimes dyspraxics are just accused of laziness and sloppiness and it continues to go unnoticed. As for our right, as you mentioned above, we are entitled to the Laptop, but that is it. I was 16, when I was diagnosed and I felt I could have had a better education. It left me at a disadvantage. Because we dyspraxics can't remember things well in the short-term , unfortunately have to begin to study in September, otherwise we are ineffective and clueless. It is unfair, that most students who take the exam, can come along a few week beforehand, and do better or the same than the dyspraxic who has spent months toiling. As for your son's rights, he has the right to a laptop. If you say your son has trouble reading, then he needs to get a reader. For the leaving cert, you should apply to the DARE scheme, which grants a 10% in points for course. However, there is inequality, as people who are in the HEAR scheme(for financial difficulties) get 20% off. Maths will be tough, no doubt, but tell your son to work at from day one. It can't be a deceptive subject. Our test this year was a snake. Good luck, and I hope your son survives the JC and goes on to defeat the unfair tests of our country.