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Athetoid CP Maths GCSE advice required please

KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
edited December 2018 in Education and learning
Hello I'm very new but looking for advice. My son has Athetoid CP speech and gross and fine motor skills effected but worse on his right. If anyone knows the tv show Emmerdale he's similar to Charity's son Ryan. 
He is currently working toward 10 GCSEs and is expected to do very well in all. His school has been a failing school which has very recently been taken over by an academy but despite all the inner wrangling teachers and students and TAs leaving etc, I have no doubt that everyone is behind my boy and wants him to fulfill his ambitions. He has 2 full time TAs who have known him since year 7 and cover the majority of his lessons and a few new ones who cover the rest but it takes time for them to understand his speech. He will get 100% extra time in his exams and school are pushing for 150% extra in maths and further maths however his maths teacher isn't convinced that this will be enough. His problem is that he has to write the maths problems himself to do the calculations (very messily) then explain his writing to a TA in dysarthric maths jargon who then writes it in neat, he then has to look at the TAs work to make sure it's correct. When you factor in tiredness hand pain, rest breaks etc this is going to make it a very long process and when it's slap bang in the middle of 8 other exams and has to be done twice as he's doing further maths as well it's going to be a bit of a struggle to say the least. 
Has anyone had any experience, are there any exam compatible software he can use to simplify his process or do the exam boards ever take these things into consideration when marking if given evidence? He really wants to do PPE at university so maths is pretty important and he wants to do it at A level too so it's really important we get this right as soon as possible. 
Many thanks


  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Member Posts: 5,856 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @KittyTinker, thanks for sharing this with us.

    This is a tricky one and I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this myself, but I'm tagging in @Andy_Assistive and @melaniethorley in the hope that they'll be able to advise further!
  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Thank you Pippa, it's much appreciated. 
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,180 Scope community team
    Hello again @KittyTinker
    It is a very frustrating situation. I would, in the first instance make contact with the exam board. As this situation is limited to maths and the mechanics of your son being able to complete the examination, the board should look at it favourably. I would be happy to help if needed.
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy
  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Thanks Richard I'll have a word with the exam coordinator at school and see which exam board it is as I know they deal with 3, and see if she has a contact for them however I once tried to contact AQA myself with regards to how they marked French Oral exams pre my boys options year and they would only reply to school based enquiries. I'll let you know how I get on. 
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,180 Scope community team
    Please let me know how you get on @KittyTinker
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 300 Pioneering
    Hi, my son has athetoid CP and no speech (uses AAC) He did 5 gcses and a couple of A levels and is now at Uni studying maths.  His school (m/s) were very good at getting enough and suitable exam access arrangements for him but it was essential to start doing it well in advance (years) and to have lots of evidence of "normal ways of working".  He had more than 400% extra time and did all his work on computer but yes some was quite laborious but there are some short cuts, ie Splash maths.  I could write lots more here but in the first instance you could contact Candle as it was they who supported my son.  Also I am aware  that there is an Assistive Technology All Party Parliamentary Group which has some people working with exam boards/ofqal on the needs of pupils who use a range of Assisitive technology.  Scope AT people should know about this but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't.  Good luck.

  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Many thanks forgoodnesssake it's wonderful to hear some success stories. Our circumstances just seem to be a bit of a perfect storm, failing school new academy administration lots of new teachers and TA's local opposition and we are just trying to make the best of a sorry situation. However I must say the school seem to want the best for my boy I'm hoping it's not just all talk and no substance. The timings problems have only come to light now that they are testing more and more often. The exam administrator is applying for 150% which she says is the most she thinks we are likely to get but I will certainly tell her about your sons case. Hopefully next week a TA with more maths experience is taking over as his other TA admits she struggles a bit with maths. I'll look into the parliamentary group. I'm already half dreading the idea of university but also terribly excited for him too. It would be interesting to know how your sons transition to university went. Did he move far away? We do have a very good university only 12 miles away from our home however my son has dreams of a uni which couldn't be much further from us. Maybe trying to tell me something!!! How did the exam period go for your son I can imagine we are all going to be in lockdown at our house get up, school, home, tea and bed for a while. I remember when they changed the exams so that course work was no longer part of the marking it felt like another blow to children with additional needs. But we'll get there, we've got this far after all. 😉
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 300 Pioneering
    Hi, sorry so long to reply!  Transition to Uni was extremely hard work, with many rather negative responses from Uni's!  However in the end he did get an unconditional from Bristol, and offers from Leeds, Sheffield Hallam & Newcastle.  To cut a very long story short Newcastle was head and shoulders above any others in terms of their positive attitude and realisation of the amount of adjustment that would be needed.  We had ongoing contact with the department, a nominated disability adviser and the accommodation people from about a year before he actually started (had done the the maths A level and then stayed on at 6th form to do EPQ and AS physics and so he had to wait for those results before he knew he had got in, but we made contact right after the A level result)  3 relevant staff came over in the January of the year he started to have a meeting with us and the school.  We are about 130 miles away so he is residential in adapted Uni room in flat.  Has a package of support jointly health and social services funded.  This eventually worked out but a huge amount of work and evidence gathering and of course extremely last minute final decision and much stress for me sorting out support agency (who are good in the end, but pricey)
    Exam period at school was tiring and intense and many exams spanned a few days and so we had to sign on the dotted line that we woudl supervise him at all times so that he couldn't cheat!

  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Thank you forgoodnesssake for your reply it's much appreciated. I'll brace myself for all that stress but I'm delighted it's working out for your boy. Is he happy with uni and being away? I really just can't imagine it for my boy he's always been such a home boy but he's also really ambitious but how it will all pan out is anybody's guess! 
    Just a little update on our progress. I've been in touch with local authority to see if the inclusion officer can help either with extra extra time for maths or any technology advice. I tried emailing candle but as of yet haven't had a response. 
    The maths teacher sent home 3 papers over the holidays to do timed practice and they all came in on time with husband who is good at sums. School have changed the TA for a more maths knowledgeable lady so fingers crossed 🤞 we are moving in the right direction. 
    Many thanks everyone😉
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 300 Pioneering
    Just a word of caution about some ways the less they know the less likely they are to be, probably inadvertantly, giving some prompts or otherwise hints.  I have been an exam invigilator/reader (not for my son obviously) and it is actually very hard to remain completely impassive and not to give any, even subtle, hints when you know they have got something wrong are are going off in the wrong direction!
    yes my son loves being away from home and in a lively city! We live in a pretty small market town.
    Keep on at Candle!!  Good luck
  • ScoliFibroGirlScoliFibroGirl Member Posts: 46 Courageous
    Have they considered dragon software for a  laptop/computer? I use it to help me write essays, for when my hands aren't great due to Fibromyalgia it saves a lot of time, energy and if I am unable to speak due pain in the jaw I use my hands or make use of peoples hands. lol
    I am not sure if it's going to work for GCSE maths as it will be very tiring for him, it's not an easy software to learn quickly but once his profile is created the software learns his speech recognition, language..
    You can also install grammarly for his assignments.
    The software can be quite
  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Thanks ScoliFibroGirl and everyone else we are at the tail end of the exams now one everyday this week including Saturday and two next week then a big well deserved rest. So I can update you on how things have gone so far. School used several timed papers that he took at home and at school as evidence and managed to get 125% for maths and further maths. He did a maths paper today and didn’t quite finish but thinks he only lost about 11 points but was happy with his last paper. His further maths is Monday and Tuesday next week. His first exam was on the 13th May  Then one every day except half term so he’s beginning to get really tired now but the one good thing about doing exams in isolation is that (touch wood) no nasty bugs or colds, but life has been very dull for the last few  weeks in an attempt to preserve energy. So next week we might do something fun and buy his prom suit. We will look over the summer at all the ideas about software and get something better in place for 6th form. Many thanks for advice and support fingers crossed for results. Xx
  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Hi everyone who offered advice and encouragement. I just thought I’d give a little update on results day. My boy got 4X level 9s and 5x level 8s and an A in further maths. We are absolutely delighted. 
  • forgoodnesssakeforgoodnesssake Member Posts: 300 Pioneering
    Fantastic results, well done
  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Administrator Posts: 2,180 Scope community team
    Hi @KittyTinker
    They are fantastic results! Your boy and you must be very proud.
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy
  • April2018momApril2018mom Member - under moderation Posts: 2,882 Member - under moderation
    @kittytinker amazing results! You must be thrilled! 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 9,480 Scope community team
    That's amazing news @KittyTinker!! You must be both so proud!
    Community Partner
  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Thanks everyone, yes very proud he’s worked very hard and the exams period itself was finely tuned but really tough. The final two weeks of the exams he had really long exams every day including Saturdays. It might get even better though as 2 exams are being remarked as they are within 3 marks of the level 9. He has certainly come a long way from the little baby who had an apgar of 1 at birth and didn’t even cry until he was a week old. 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Administrator Posts: 7,401 Scope community team
    Hi @KittyTinker, sorry I'm late to the party but wanted to also say congratulations to your son! What amazing results! 
    When will you find out about the exams that are being remarked? 
    Senior Community Partner
  • KittyTinkerKittyTinker Member Posts: 70 Pioneering
    Thanks Adrian, I’m not sure, he starts 6th form next Wednesday so we should find out more then.
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