Assessing support needs – Chloe’s story

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Chloe is 12 years old and lives with her mum, step-dad and little brother. Chloe’s family are really important to her. Chloe loves drawing, especially pictures of her dog, Shadow.

Chloe goes to a mainstream secondary school and has been finding it hard to keep up with her school work. Her parents have asked the school for an assessment of her additional support needs and think Chloe might be dyslexic. Chloe finds it difficult to talk about what she struggles with at school. Chloe’s brother has complex physical needs and needs a lot of support so Chloe doesn’t like to make a fuss.

Making a referral

The school spoke to Chloe and her parents. As part of her assessment, everyone agreed that it would be good for someone separate from school and family to work with Chloe to share her views. The school contacted Emma from the Children’s Views service to check they were able to provide this support. Emma confirmed that the Children’s Views service could help with this and sent a referral form. The school, Chloe and her parents filled in their parts of the referral form and sent it back to Emma.

Building trust

Chloe asked if Emma could come to her house for the first meeting so that Emma could meet her family. This gave Chloe and her parents the opportunity to ask Emma any questions they had about My Rights, My Say and the work Emma and Chloe would be doing together. The visit gave Emma the chance to get to know Chloe and her family and agree the best way for them to work together.

Finding out Chloe’s views

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Emma’s second visit to Chloe was at school. At the meeting, Emma explained what’s involved in an assessment for dyslexia. She also gave Chloe the chance to ask any questions. Emma helped Chloe understand that the school wanted to know what Chloe found difficult about school. This included which subjects or classes Chloe thought she was falling behind in. Chloe said she finds it hard to remember everything from class. She also doesn’t manage to write down all the things the teacher says. She struggles the most with Science and French but really likes Maths and Art.

Chloe explained that she doesn’t like making a fuss when she finds things difficult. She also doesn’t like having to tell the teacher she is struggling to keep up with the work. Chloe and Emma talked about what might make this easier. Chloe said it would be good if her teachers could ask her how she was doing. If it’s up to her to say she’s struggling, she gets shy and doesn’t say anything. She said it might be useful to have something, like a green and red cards on her desk that she could use as a little way of showing if she needed help or not.

Sharing Chloe’s views

Emma wrote down everything Chloe had told her in a short report. She sent it to Chloe to check it. Once Chloe had agreed she was happy with it, Emma sent a copy to the school and gave Chloe and her mum a copy too.

What happened next?

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A few weeks later, Chloe’s school sent a letter to Chloe and her parents to say that following a dyslexia assessment they thought Chloe was dyslexic. They arranged a meeting with Chloe and her mum to discuss support for Chloe. They said they would use the report Emma had written to look at what would help. Chloe said that she was happy to go to the meeting with just her mum and didn’t need Emma to go with her. After working with Emma, Chloe now feels more confident to tell the school what she needs.


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