Help - 15yo DS curled up crying saying he doesn't want to go to school on Thurs

(51 Posts)
CuttedUpPear Tue 04-Sep-12 22:34:42

DS is 15 and undergoing assessment for SEN/ADHD/not sure.
He is very unhappy at school and has been for a long time. He has problems with focus and concentration, says he doesn't want to learn anything (I think because it all involves writing it down and he isn't good at this).
He was having private maths lessons for 3 months last winter and his tutor gave up, saying he couldn't teach DS anything - he just didn't retain it.
He doesn't really have any friends and is ostracised for being a loner/difficult.

I have talked to the local college and they won't take him until he either fails his GCSEs or gets thrown out of school for bad behaviour. He isn't badly behaved and all his teachers like him. He thinks he is disliked by everyone at school mainly for his strange behavioural tics.

Sorry for the uncoordinated posting, I just need to know what the heck to DO?
I haven't bought him new shoes for school as I was hoping that he wouldn't end up going back - now I know the college can't take him, I'm not sure.

I would home ed him if I could but I'm a lone parent and self employed - it would put me out of business and it would be hard to pick up again at my age after a year out.
Apart from that I tutored him through one GCSE in English last term and it was so hard. Like picking up soup with a fork.

Any suggestions?

3littlefrogs Tue 04-Sep-12 22:40:29

Poor kid, and poor you.

Have you got a sympathetic GP?

Could you get him signed off with anxiety and stress? At least you wouldn't then have the school and the LEA on your back.

If he is that distressed, sending him to school will only make things worse.

It sounds as if school is not the appropriate place for his needs. Can he stay at home until his assessments are done?

Ingles2 Tue 04-Sep-12 22:47:22

What a shame for your son sad
Is there another secondary you can move him to locally?
From what you describe he does sound like he may have some SEN. My son is similar in a way... He is dyspraxic, with poor fine motor skills/ writing, dyscalculic, struggles to retain maths and just doesn't seem to get it and has quite a
few ticks, most obviously hand flapping.
Who is assessing your son? Gp or school? if its the school you need to be on their backs constantly
Feel free to ask any question and I'll see if I can help.

CuttedUpPear Tue 04-Sep-12 22:48:44

I think seeing the GP might be an option. Although I've just discussed with Ds that school goes back soon, and he feels that if he is going to have to go back at all he should go Thurs as otherwise he'll just be drawing attention to himself.

CuttedUpPear Tue 04-Sep-12 22:51:07

It's the Local Health authority who are assessing him.
There isn't another school for him to go to - we're in a rural area and the only other one has a rough reputation and DS is concerned about the tougher kids at school, as he gets bullied a lot.

Ingles2 Tue 04-Sep-12 22:53:29

So who contacted the local health authority?

CuttedUpPear Tue 04-Sep-12 22:59:08

My GP did, or rather the ed pysc who we were referred to by the GP did after DS's meeting with her.

Ingles2 Tue 04-Sep-12 23:00:25

I have to go to bed now...But I'll be back tomorrow.

Ingles2 Tue 04-Sep-12 23:03:39

X posts grin
Ok, you are going to have to chase then then to speed things up and get a diagnosis. You need to speak to both the gp and the school about your sons unhappiness/state of mind. You might heed to get a bit bolshy because it's just not on that he is left with no support.
I can't type on this phone so I'll be back in the Morning

CuttedUpPear Tue 04-Sep-12 23:07:19

Thanks. I have to drive all day tomorrow and won't be able to check in much, but any suggestions appreciated.

RagingDull Tue 04-Sep-12 23:15:12

has he been assessed for autistic spectrum disorders? sounds very ASD to me, the tics, the whole kit and kaboodle...my son is now adult but suffers with AS, dyspraxia and dyslexia - he is however doing very well in higher education - had a very hard time in school and i took him out for a while.
he passed gcse with good grades however, did well in maths and science, now doing degree in computer science.....
what assessments has your son undergone so far?
by who?

anxiety is another symptom of ASD.....take the heat out for a while, but start banging some doors down for full assessment and diagnosis....then you and school know what your are dealing with

secondary school is so so hard for kids with special needs. for my ds it was the worst time of his life.

RagingDull Tue 04-Sep-12 23:19:37

some ed psyches have an agenda - and it can be to save money for their LEA.
you of course need them on board but i would go for an independent assessment if you can too - any psychologist could help - you need a referral from your gp but its urgent - could you afford to go private? if not get to the gp asap....get the ball rolling

have you met the SENCO at school?
what are they doing for him?

DameEnidSpink Tue 04-Sep-12 23:35:32

If it is an inset day at his school then there should be someone there. I would be talking to whoever has responsibility for pastoral care and the SENCO.

The more vulnerable students at DS' school do not have to go to all lessons, they can do their work in the SN base - would that kind of provision help him?

CuttedUpPear Tue 04-Sep-12 23:37:21

Ragingdull I have said upthread that Ds is undergoing assessment but nothing has come out yet, we are possibly some months away.
I have also said that I am a lone parent and self employed, so obviously no money to spare.

This is definitely the worst time of Ds's life - I feel I can't send him back in. If I keep him out of school then that might get things moving.

What are SENCO? DS has some help from special teachers.

RagingDull Wed 05-Sep-12 00:12:15

Special education needs co ordinators - just seen ours as DD was dx with dyslexia at 15 and in the midst of GCSE - the senco should have had some input by now with your DS - if not you need to know why not....i was i am afraid the bane of the SENCOs life when DS was at school.

who is doing the asseessment of your DS? sorry if you ve said - im skim reading and very tired....

flow4 Wed 05-Sep-12 03:58:41

Oh Cutted, I'm sorry things are so bad for you and your son.

I empathise. I was also a self-employed lone parent when my son had his worst years in school. That meant I could cope with the occasional exclusions and frequent calls from school without losing a job, but I was always aware of the threat to my business. I had to give up a contract once, and that was a very bad experience for me. You do what you have to do, don't you; but sometimes the stress is hard to bear.

With hindsight, I think my son was quite damaged by his school experience. He under-achieved, but that was the least of it... His self-esteem is very low. He became more challenging. He started using drugs. He learned to expect to be in trouble all the time, and to tolerate being very bored. He is bright - well above average - but believes he is stupid. He is terribly afraid of trying. Today, he should have enrolled in college, and nearly did... but lost his nerve half an hour before we were due to go, and spent the afternoon face-down on his bed instead. Currently, he says he will get a job, but we have no idea what the future holds... As of today, he is a 'NEET', and I am trying not to panic.

If I had the time again, I'm not sure what I would/could have done differently. I did consider home educating him, but ruled it out for personality reasons. I find him so challenging that I need(ed) school as a break from him.

But your circumstances sound different. You don't sound like you find spending time with your son challenging or confrontational. I think, if I had been in your shoes, I probably would have withdrawn my son from school. If I had similar problems with DS2, who is very self-motivated and whom I find much 'easier', I would do it now...

Home educating at 15 is not at all like doing it at 5 - your son has already learned (almost?) everything the national curriculum says he must learn, and you will have a great deal of flexibility. He can be very self-directed. He can do his own chosen projects and activities. If he co-operates, you can plan his learning together, but he can do most of it by himself, leaving you free to work...

With home learning, all sorts of things 'count' that wouldn't in school: cooking lunch is a 'learning experience'; so is listening to a concert on the radio, or a podcast; so is planting and growing things; so is fixing and making anything; so is internet research; so is following any interest or hobby or even obsession... There is nothing to say he must do GCSEs, now or ever.

There is a strong home ed network in the UK. If you haven't already, you could get in touch with someone and have a chat to find out more. I have a couple of friends who have home educated teens, and if you'd like to PM me, I can find out a bitmore on your behalf, and perhaps get some contacts for you.

Sorry if you know all this already blush but maybe some of it will help!

sashh Wed 05-Sep-12 06:38:56

I was about to suggest hoome ed, or a part time timetable.

I'm appauled that a tutor said they couldn't teach him anything, that is a crap tutor. It can be hard, frustrating and slow going with some kids but no child cannot be taught.

CuttedUpPear Wed 05-Sep-12 07:56:04

Thank you flow4 for your kind words. It's very useful to hear your opinions in hindsight - of course I could do with a bit of magical hindsight right now. What is NEET?

On the subject of home ed - I do find it very frustrating trying to teach DS as he has every distraction technique in the book honed to a fine skill after years of doing it at school and in homework.

I really want DS to get some GCSEs as he's hoping to go to blacksmithing college next year.

I would love to do a part time timetable with school but I've been told this isn't possible - does anyone have any info regarding this?

TheFidgetySheep Wed 05-Sep-12 08:04:24

Our school uses a lot of pt timetables to keep kids. Coming through the door and not withdrawing from school all together. We seem to have a lot of intervention programmes for this.

I'd try the senco with vigour. Some of our kids do a days work experience off site (which gives them a taste of where they can get) plus smaller target groups for eng maths sci.

If he is in yr 11 he will count in their stats (which they will be very focussed on right now) and they have about 9months to support him.

Maybe a teacher or peer mentor could help too.

Perhaps studying for a more practical btec would give him a confidence boost and would be staight forward to timetable?

CuttedUpPear Wed 05-Sep-12 08:07:25

Asked this upthread - what is SENCO?

I have to make a decision this morning as if I don't go and get DS school shoes in the next 2 hours he won't have any all all tomorrow.

PetWoman Wed 05-Sep-12 08:25:02

Senco - Special Educational Needs Coordinator. In charge of SEN provision at school. If you haven't already, you need to urgently speak with the one at your DS's school. Explain the situation and ask what they can do to help.

CuttedUpPear Wed 05-Sep-12 08:29:43

DS has a special needs person who talks him at school but because he hasn't been assessed yet he doesn't have that status.

I've just emailed the school with my concerns about him returning.

PetWoman Wed 05-Sep-12 08:31:26

They might be able to lend him a laptop to work on if he can type well (means less handwriting and he can use spellcheck). They might offer more TA support, a reduced timetable, a lunchtime club so he's not as lonely. Make sure the school are aware of his difficulties and see if they can support you with getting a diagnosis or some practical advice from relevant professionals. Occupational therapist if he may be dyspraxic? A referral for counselling?

What are his target grades? What does he need to achieve to get on the course he wants next year? Explain this to the Senco and see what they suggest.

I'm a Senco btw - on mat leave atm though. smile. Good luck - I hope things improve for your DS.

PetWoman Wed 05-Sep-12 08:33:43

Well done. A phone conversation might be more helpful though.

School sound awful sad

Have to dash, so this may be completely inappropriate (haven't read thread) but interhigh? (have a google - it's an Internet school). If he's old enough to be left while you work.

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