The following is based on many true experiences, name is fictional.
Frida is a friendly and happy 10 year old girl who has a lot of friends. She enjoys singing and dancing and is part of a hip hop dance group. She is soon to enter Standard 5 but her teacher and parents notice that her grades are not at the level that she should be and they are worried about her preparedness for writing the SEA exams. She attends lessons but they still do not think she is progressing quickly enough. She appears to have always had reading and spelling difficulties, which was noticed since Standard 1. She has always been a persistent, hard worker.
Frida’s parents decided to see a psychologist to have an educational evaluation done, because they think that she might need extra time to help her in exams. The psychologist collected early childhood, social, medical and school history from parents. A family history was also done and it was discovered that Frida’s father did not like school and dropped out in secondary school. Despite that he became a successful business contractor.
After the evaluation was completed, the psychologist spoke to Frida’s parents about her learning profile. Whilst she was considered intelligent, Frida met the criteria for a reading disorder diagnosis, more commonly known as dyslexia. Frida can read, but with greater difficulty compared to another children her age. She read slowly, had poor spelling and this also made writing a challenge. The psychologist also told her parents that Frida has insight into her difficulties and was sad for not doing well in school despite trying.
The psychologist made many recommendations to parents to help her manage her school challenges. Remedial intervention was recommended. It was discussed that she repeat Standard 4 to strengthen her skills and be more ready for standard 5 and SEA. The psychologist made a school visit and spoke to her teachers. Her parents along with teachers decided that she repeat Standard 4 and get remedial intervention. Frida became more confident about her academics and progressed steadily.
She eventually wrote SEA and was given concessions which included extra time to accommodate her slow reading and writing and spelling leniency for poor spelling. Frida passed for her second choice, which was chosen because it was a small school that understood and manage learning disorders. Her parents continued to ensure that she got the help and support that she needed in secondary school.
Submitted by: Lena Jogie
Lena Jogie is a Clinical Psychologist in Trinidad and Tobago offering confidential services in psychoeducational assessments, mainly in children and young adults. Her interests are in promoting awareness and education, and sharing her experiences. This is the third of four articles she will be sharing through Social People.
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