HANNAH (AGE 15)
From her pre-school years, Hannah was different. She didn’t conform and was often labelled by teachers as naughty. In comparison to her siblings, Hannah needed to be parented in a different way including being presented with very little or no choice to avoid her from feeling overwhelmed. The language used had to be simple and if Hannah couldn’t make herself understood, she was left very frustrated.
Within weeks of her starting school, Hannah’s teacher approached her parents to suggest Hannah receive assessment. This led to one to one support but they realised it was not going to be enough. Hannah is really bright and they knew she would need specialist, long term help to ensure her difficulties did not affect her happiness and confidence at school. They were able to secure an evaluation from the Local Authority Educational Psychologist who provided a two page report. This was simply not adequate to secure the help Hannah needed.
Hannah’s parents were able to secure a private Educational Psychologist and the result highlighted the level of the complexity of her difficulties caused by a speech and language problem that had not been understood. Up until this point, the focus had been on Hannah’s severe dyslexia, dyspraxia and on her behavioural problems which were a manifestation of the frustration of not being understood.
Having been diagnosed, Hannah’s parents went onto fight for Hannah to get the right help and specialist teaching. Their emotional and financial commitment to challenge what was being offered by the Local Authority caused significant stress and resulted in debt. It was worth it when they heard they had won the appeal for Hannah to attend Moon Hall a specialist school for children with dyslexia with the right kind of teaching for Hannah combined with Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy.
Within a few months of attending Moon Hall, Hannah was so much happier. She learnt techniques to cope with her frustrations and ways of being understood while at the same time. She began expressing herself more clearly and taking time to listen, rather than talk over people. Most importantly, Hannah has learnt to cope in social situations outside the home, ask for things in shops, and has developed the confidence to stand up and talk in front of others at school. To her parents delight, Hannah went onto apply and be successful in becoming Head Girl at Moon Hall.
Today, Hannah can articulate and argue her point, she reads and comprehends complex books. In the past she used to hide under the table due to frustration at school and to avoid failure, while now she loves school, has great friends and spends a lot of her own time reading and learning. She is happy at school and home.
Vicki, Hannah’s mum says
“We never thought that Hannah would ever be as confident as she is today. I remember every single day of Hannah hiding under the table rather than deal with feeling like she was failing at school. Her difficulties held her back from being able to communicate and understand what was being said which made it a nightmare for her. Having been diagnosed with DLD, Hannah was able to get specialist help which transformed her communication skills. She has recently been made a Head Girl at her school and is blossoming into the person she ought to be due primarily to her having the right educational support as well as home support.”
“I have loved Moon Hall School and especially that I was able to study with others with similar problems. I used to get so cross – I always wanted to read and learn. I am doing GCSE’s and my teachers understand how I learn.”