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School avoidance 12 yr dd with nausea retching etc

(93 Posts)
cestlavielife Thu 11-Oct-12 23:01:05

Dd 12 has had dizziness and nausea since June missed last half term of school. On and off in summer possibly vestibular neuronitis but not recovered. ENT and paed suggest psych issues. Referred to CAMHS but seems they fighting between hospital based cams and local team where we finally got apps for some family issues (separated moved from fami,y home with dc 2008) contact has been difficult with ex with mh issues and bullying behaviours .

Dd doesn't wish to see dad. So doesn't.

Got her to school a few days; tutor was helpful, send her in once she here she fine .
But since last Friday she is retching, says is more dizzy, pallid, slumped literally can't get her up. Tutor says drag her to school .she needs to be here. The medical reports don't justify her absence because they don't say she is too ill for school. They say lack of recovery may be due to psychological symptoms. But even if psychological her symptoms are "real "

I really don't know how much to push shout scream drag physically or if that is the wrong way ?
Cajoling doesn't work

Threatening " if you don't go you gong to fail the year " just causes more anxiety.(school is not a lea school so not same level of pastoral care or support it would seem....

If can get appt with CAMHS what can they do and what can they write to justify her absence from school ?
If is anxiety (she loves school, no issues it makes no sense... ) then is still "genuine" reason. ?

Don't know what to do really...

Alonglongway Fri 12-Oct-12 21:19:13

been through a couple of years of this with similar age DD

To answer your questions:

child needs to be able to cope with school - all the dragging and cajoling won't help. We did loads of that on the school's advice and it just made things worse

"if you don't go you are going to fail the year" - well when they are really anxious they can't see beyond the moment, so failing the year means nothing except maybe an extended horizon of misery

My DD was diagnosed with anxiety and has been receiving CBT from a specialised CAMHS clinic - has gone very well and she is coming on leaps and bounds. But I had already taken her out of mainstream school by the time we got to CAMHS and so I don't know if the CBT would have been enough to get her back.

I didn't go down the road of trying to categorise it as genuine illness. I never understood it well enough myself and I always thought the school saw it as weak parenting so I just didn't try to argue that.

Sorry...not sure I've helped. Happy to discuss on DM if there's anything you want to talk about. I do know how stressful and isolating this is

cestlavielife Sat 13-Oct-12 21:04:54

Tks. . This has been five months since June. . Idea of couple years is a bit ugh...will pm you.

HappyStreet Tue 16-Oct-12 16:50:27

My daughter has been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks since May 2012. She has had it before and the trigger seems to be that she cannot cope with feeling ill in front of people and having to tell someone that she is not feeling very well. My daughter started with a heavy cold and felt sick at school. She was uncomfortable telling the teacher and school nurse who was not very sympathetic and didn't seem to notice that she was there! My daughter is very sensitive and this reaction had a lasting effect with her and from this she developed anxiety and panic attacks about going back to school in case she felt ill again. She hasn't been to school since May due to her anxiety and panic attacks and initially it was a nightmare. It seemed to take forever to get any help and this made me anxious which made my daughter even more anxious. We seemed to be going around in a vicious circle and family life was a nightmare. I didn't know how to cope, whatever I did or said was wrong and ended in us shouting at each other. I was always pushing her and trying to make her see sense which I now know is completely the wrong way to go about anxiety. We were eventually referred to CAHM's by our doctor and who have been brilliant. She is now having CBT which she loves as it gives her the chance to talk to someone who really understands how she feels and between them they have worked out the route cause of her anxiety and are now trying to help her deal with her feelings which will hopefully help her in the future if this was to return again. The ironic thing is she also loves school and really misses her friends (she hasn't seen anyone since May). She has a home tutor who is brilliant and who next term is going to help reintergrate her back into school. This will take very small steps at first until her confidence returns and she could even go backwards for a time but I am confident that she will get back with the help of CAHM's and her home tutor.

It is very frustrating as a parent, you don't know where to turn and you feel so alone but at the same time you have to try and stay calm and understanding. It has been one of the more stressful times of my life but now I feel that she has gained lots of confidence and the pressure is off me and my daughter and we are now functioning as a family again.

I wanted to post you this message to give you some hope. I hope your daughter is feeling a little better. Don't push her as I did with mine as it only makes them worse and get some help from your doctor and a referral to CAHM's. In my opinion schools need more understanding about children with anxiety and should not be making you get her into school as this will put pressure on her and make her condition worse.

cestlavielife Tue 16-Oct-12 23:19:02

Tks happy. It is good to know others have been thru similar. It has been a big step for me to accept that this won't be solved soon and yes I am now resigned to this being something that could take all this term to resolve . Or settle. Or something...

Had first assessment with CAMHS today and was helpful but they not yet decided next steps I think will discuss with paed. I asked about cbt for her, hopefully they will come up with a plan. But there is a good reintegration officer n the lea who Ispooke to andnwas v helpful he can organise tutors (is up to ten hpurs per week apparently ) or refer as day pupil to hospital school (but there is a wait list ) and liaise with school.... I am still pissed off with school attitude...

Paed following up referral for MRI and to physio for vestibular exercises for the dizziness....

Onwards and upwards....

HappyStreet Thu 18-Oct-12 09:21:02

It took a while for us to get any structured support set up but you will get there. I think that was half the problem in our case. We didn't know whether we were coming or going and the longer it went on the more anxious we all became and this fed my my daughters anxiety until she became really depressed. I know what you mean about school. Our school seems to have backed right off now that we have CAHM's. We can't get in touch with anyone at the moment. It's so frustrating!

Just wanted to post to offer some support.

As a family we've experienced school issues with two of our DCs. The first time the transition to secondary triggered General Anxiety Disorder and Emetophobia in DC 1. We intially followed all 'professional' advice in terms of strategy. Our DC had 96% attendance in year 7 even though he was a wreck, spent large chunks of his day with the school nurse in the medical room, suffered multiple panic attacks every day, had disrupted sleep most nights and not surprisingly was becoming increasingly depressed. We allowed this to continue because we were constantly told by teachers, SENCOs, GPs and educational psychologists that the only way for our child to get better was to be supported in school. Then one day we realised this was actually ridiculous and no adult with similar symptoms would be in work, yet here we were epecting our 12 year old to cope with levels of stress few adults ever experience. We took him out of school the next day.

When we finally got an appointment at CAMHs, ( I rang and pleaded for advice if not an appointment) we were quickly refered to a psychiatrist as the psychiatric nurses realised we had already exhausted every therapy: CBT, hypnotherapy, relaxation techniques, classical music, exercise, distraction techniques etc. So basically after 18 months of hell DC got what he had actually needed all along: medication. Within three months we had our son back. Within six he was back at school. He has never looked back - academically, socially, everything. He has just gone away to uni and although it's early days, he is coping well. He still takes meds, although there have been periods where he hasn't needed them.

When I look back I understand the reluctance to medicate the under 18s and I think as a parent you want to exhaust all other possible options first, but when I think about the level of his suffering in the 18 months prior to the drugs I honestly wish he could have taken the damn meds sooner. When a child has no life, when they can barely function, the negligible risks of meds are put in perspective.

I just wanted to add our experience for anyone who is at the end of their tether with 'talking therapies' or battling to keep a seriously distressed child in school because it is the accepted wisdom that 'once a child is taken out of school you will never get them back.' Trust your instincts. You know your child better than anyone else. Children need to be well before they can be, in any capacity, successful in school. Oh and in my opinion medication shouldn't always have to be the last resort.

Good luck to everyone who is battling with these issues or similar at the moment.

cestlavielife Fri 19-Oct-12 00:05:16

Followed up with psychotherapist who assessed , she not willing to give a diagnosis or label just yet. will need to set up some sessions with her .

Dd still complaining of Physical symptoms dizziness etc and not able to do much at home. If was just school linked anxiety would be ok ? Or now it all so entrenched and mixed up eg guilt at. Not going to school ?

My work have agreed I can work from home In the mornings, in office in the afternoons which will ease my stress levels ! For one month then review .

I am still finding it hard to get my head around fact this likely will take months to resolve... Some part wants to say oh after half term she will go back and all will be fine.., but seems unlikely.

So first option to try is after half term likely to be local small tutor group For kids not at school... three times per week held in local school there is another year eight pupil attends and try and get her back doing some English and maths at least... See how the physical symptoms manifest... See if some Cbt will help...

Emphatic I would not be opposed to drugs... But we still have MRI outstanding before going down that route.

HappyStreet Sun 21-Oct-12 20:54:27

Don't worry. The first time my daughter had anxiety we were taking her backwards and forwards to the doctors and hospital for blood tests constantly It originally started with swine flu and nausea in Year 6. We still don't know at what point the swine flu became anxiety but it took 3 months just to find out that there was actually nothing physically wrong. It was from this moment that we could actually start treating her for anxiety and got CAHM's involved! It took 6 months to get her back into school full time.

This time around however, it started in Year 9 with a heavy cold and feeling sick and had similar symptoms to the swine flu. This triggored all the feelings of anxiety and panic. We couldn't believe it! It has been much more stressful this time around. She is very hormonal, gets really depressed and is paranoid everytime she feels ill. It has affected our family life and certain family members just can't get their heads around the fact that she is mentally ill. They think she is just being silly and should pull herself together. This really gets me annoyed as it makes the situation much worse.

We have just had a nightmare week as she has had a cold and her period has started and she just cannot cope feeling ill in front of people. I have had to cancel her tutor twice, her CBT sessions twice and hopefully tomorrow she is going to get back to doing some school work. CAHM's are going to try and reintergrate her back into school next term so thats going to be so stressful for everyone! Can't say I'm looking forward to it but at least it's a start and we have to start somewhere.

Hang on in there things will start to get better but it is hard and I do have an idea how you are feeling. I have felt ill this week with stress but at least the holiday is coming up.

cestlavielife Mon 22-Oct-12 16:22:08

yes at least half term next week means less pressure...bu a recognition she has lost half a term!!!
have meeting at school this week and meeting with reintegration officer tomorrow see how she feels about the tutor group...

hope your dd is back to felling ok and working, happy.

mindfulmum Wed 24-Oct-12 22:13:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cestlavielife Thu 25-Oct-12 16:26:08

tks mindfulmum.
we had a meeting today at school with teacher and SENCOtype person and school were v keen on drag her here at all costs...i said i would bring dd tomorrow to talk to the SENCOtype person.

also school said that so far the medical reports/letters dont say specifically "she cannot atend school" tho have said "she is having trouble attending school" so from their pov she is unauthorised absence! however as you say i am sure we can sort out the paperwork... they have to complete their evaluation forms for her for the term and so far obviously they cannot fill n anything. if was appendicis/broken leg of course they would be fine but throw in somehting MH and they dont know how to handle it?

i called psych again to follow up and they said they thought we "were talking to the paed as it was medical not psychological" (aagghghg) and that dd "didnt want to see us". pushed from pillar to post... i said no, she needs to be assessed properly - they have a new child psych on board n november so happy to give her dd as case number one it seems... so hopefully this will happen.

i will take on baord what you say about other provision - it is there and on offer; dragging her to school doesnt feel right; she is a clever girl and needs help to make that decision to want to go to school and to be able to cope physically /emotionally - persuading her to get to small group with only one or two other children is a much easier step to push... dumping her at school in hope they will care for her is risky...

HappyStreet Sun 28-Oct-12 10:18:31

This is really useful advise. It always takes such a long time to get the help you need with this and by the time you get that help you've been through so much stress and turmoil. I'm sure that if you could get the right help right at the beginning and schools had a better understanding it would prevent your child developing a deeper case of anxiety and depression. I don't know whether it's right for schools to be saying that the child "must be made to get to school no matter what" as this only adds to the situation and puts so much pressure on the child and in our case appeared to deepen my daughters anxiety.

We have currently got a tutor for 5 hours a week and my daughter has therapy for an hour and a half a week. Next term they are going to try and get her into school for the first time since May. This is going to be very stressful for my daughter but the only thing is that she really wants to be back in school so I suppose she has to start somewhere. They are going to take her somewhere very quiet to start with where she will not see anyone but can get used to being back in school and then she will have a friend to come and sit with her and very slowly they are hoping to reintroduce her back to the class environment. She is a bright girl and wants to be back with her friends desperately but faced with any pressure and she crumbles. As parents we don't get our hopes up anymore as we have had so many lows with this situation that we have been left feeling numb. We have been offered a therapy session with CAMH's and a family liason person to help us as a family as at the moment we are really struggling with various aspects of her anxiety and the roller coaster ride that comes with it.

We have also decided that our daughters life may not take the route we had expected so that has taken some pressure off. It is good to hear about your daughters experience and I hope she is happy and successful in all she wants to do.

TeenProbsSolved Wed 31-Oct-12 15:40:13

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

cestlavielife Wed 31-Oct-12 18:29:37

right now she wont go anywhere eg wont come out trick or treating even tho she wanted to. v pale grey dizzy.
is interesting that symptoms might point to control issue yet at same time v physical, which could be a serious mh illness.
will update after MRI on tuesday which presumably will show nothing physiological.

mindfulmum Thu 01-Nov-12 10:31:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mindfulmum Thu 01-Nov-12 10:41:32

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mindfulmum Thu 01-Nov-12 10:46:00

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HappyStreet Sat 03-Nov-12 10:41:44

I sense we have some similarities between our dd's situations although you are still going through the initial stages and I wish you all the luck. My dd used to love going to her grandparents for sleepovers but because they know about her situation she wont go anywhere near them now which is causing so much trouble between us. I have tried explaining the situation to them but they just don't "get it" which is starting to really frustrate me. If they could just back off and accept that this is the way things are for now it would take the pressure off my dd but it just gets bigger. Many times we have arranged to do something which my dd has been looking forward to but when it comes to doing it she backs off at the very last minute which can be so frustrating but you have to try and keep cool and be understanding which is really hard. I hope everything goes well for you on Tuesday. We also have a "big" week next week. Up until now CAHM's have home visited my dd for her CBT but next week they want her to go to them. I just know this wont happen as she just wont go to any appointments anywhere - I can't even get her in the car. She goes into her bedroom, wont talk, looks pale and dark under her eyes and is very clammy. Her whole mood changes - she almost becomes another girl. Usually she is very happy, friendly and loving. Afterwards when she has failed to do something she either wants constant reassurance and love or she is very angry, constantly cries and lashes out. Anyway good luck for next week and remember you're not alone even though it may feel like it.

mindfulmum Sun 04-Nov-12 11:04:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JuliaScurr Sun 04-Nov-12 11:13:23

youngminds.org were very helpful with my anxious school refusing dd. Def. agree - do not push, cajole, trick - home ed if necessary until she's better. Dd fully cured by changing to primary wi th Head who understood psychology and based whole approach on dd always having an escape route

Oncebubbly Tue 06-Nov-12 13:56:40

Hi I have just found this site and found it most helpful reading your experiences. My 12yr old suffered pain and dizziness amongst other things and has not been full time in school for over a year subsequently not going at all now since the start of s2. Diagnose anxiety but I feel this stems from various illness and peer pressures since having swine flu and appendicitus. Anyway I have togowith anxiety. Very little help getting work from school. Very little support altogether. Do those of you who have tutors have this organised thro school or have you sought tutor privately. I am at the end of my tether because for the last twelve months during term times I have spent nearly every day putting pressure on and trying to convince d to go to school. I am exhausted and she is very low. Not sure where to turn now. Child welfare officer involved, ed phyc. Youth worker physiologist to help pain management also. My main concern is getting her some education and helping her cope. What do u think is the best way forward. R u in England or Scotland?

cestlavielife Tue 06-Nov-12 14:46:22

I am in england and when i rang LEA they put me onto the "reintegration officer" who is in charge of all young people not attendng school for whatever reason and needing some form of tuition.

ask if there is such a person where you are? is a separate post to th EWO. we have now visited the tutor group and hoepfully wil start next week see how many hors she manages - dd still dizzy nausea, had mri today and seeing ENT consultant next week for results .

still awaiting individual psych appts to assess how much is anxiety -dd says no it is physical ... tho she lacks motivation to do school work i am hoping tutor group will get that back..

there is a good link from another thread which gives best practice -
Access to education for children and young people with medical needs
https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DFES-0732-2001.pdf

JuliaScurr Tue 06-Nov-12 15:49:57

your LEA should offer home tutor
I say 'should' - good luck
keep up using correct stage/level materials from library until you can find a good school
recovery is the priority - academic stuff can catch up

HappyStreet Wed 07-Nov-12 19:21:44

I have come to the conclusion that the LEA and CAMH's that we have are offering an excellent service compared to what some of you out there are getting. Initially it seemed to take forever to get any help for my dd but once the doctor and school had referred us to CAMH's this seemed to automatically kick start home tutoring and I haven't really had to chase anything up! They have both been brilliant and this has taken the pressure off us as a family. CAMH's have even been on home visits and given my daughter CBT at home which has been invaluable to her slow recovery. I feel really sorry for anyone out there who is struggling to get this help - it must be so hard for you.

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