ASD and school anxiety/ refusal in 7 yr old

(30 Posts)
Wondergirl100 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:41:46

Daughter is 7 , one of the younger ones in year 3 - summer born. Cries every morning this term going in, heart is pounding clinging to me - this morning got even worse, kicking screaming refusing to leave the house.

It is a kind and caring school, they are helping us with paediatric referral for ASD she is currently due to have her first appointment re. that in several weeks time.

Does anyone have advice ?? Every morning my own heart is pounding with anxiety. The teacher says she is fine in the lesson.

OP’s posts: |
Wondergirl100 Fri 08-Oct-21 10:43:29

I know I shouldn't feel this but I feel totally embarassed and like a parenting failure at the school gate as every other child trots in happily and she is waling and clinging to me. If I ask why she doesnt want to go she says things like - it's too long away from you, I dont like school.

She talks a lot about games in playtime with friends so I think socially things are okay.

OP’s posts: |
gobyegbert Fri 08-Oct-21 10:52:47

Can you arrange to go in slightly early when it's calmer, or slightly later? That's a typical adjustment. Let go of what other people think if you can, it just makes things feel worse. Some of us understand what's going on and those that don't aren't worth worrying about.

If they're really distressed I'd wait it out until they're calm rather than dragging them in distressed (from experience).

I'd look at calming activities too for before and after school, things that make them feel calm and happy.

It's horrible, so distressing for everyone.

gobyegbert Fri 08-Oct-21 11:40:26

And you probably want to post on SN chat too. 'Not fine in school' is a website you want to look at.

At bottom, she's not feeling safe in school, and more needs to be put in place to help her feel ok without you there.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Fri 08-Oct-21 11:56:34

I don’t think that it’s a case of not feeling safe in school. If she is fine during lessons and is coping socially and speaks about friends, then I think it’s more to do with the point of leaving you.

I’m sure you do this, but plenty of reassurance that you’ll be there at the end of school, that she’ll have a lovely time with her friends, that the teachers will look after her. I agree with the suggestion of going in a bit earlier to ‘help’ the teacher, which is, indeed, a typical adjustment.

soapboxqueen Fri 08-Oct-21 12:03:24

Foxyloxy1plus1

I don’t think that it’s a case of not feeling safe in school. If she is fine during lessons and is coping socially and speaks about friends, then I think it’s more to do with the point of leaving you.

I’m sure you do this, but plenty of reassurance that you’ll be there at the end of school, that she’ll have a lovely time with her friends, that the teachers will look after her. I agree with the suggestion of going in a bit earlier to ‘help’ the teacher, which is, indeed, a typical adjustment.

The OP has said that her dd is being referred for an ASD assessment.

A common thing in children with ASD is parents will be told 'they're are fine' once in school. They aren't. They are just masking, holding in all their anxiety until they are home and safe. This doubly so for asd girls. Hence the behaviour before school.

It might all seem fine and normal for NT children but can be very difficult for ASD children.

Mrsrosetta Fri 08-Oct-21 13:16:36

My dd is year 4 and still gets so upset about school. She also being referred for an autism assessment.
We are still finishing our feet with it all but things that have been put in place at school that have helped some days are, going in 5 minutes after everyone else in the morning, also being met by a trusted teacher who has spent time gaining her trust. Also things like keeping the same seat in the classroom.

Hope some of that helps

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Wondergirl100 Fri 08-Oct-21 13:20:57

Thank you everyone I really appreciate every comment - feel quite emotional even talking about it - and I agree I have to let go of others thoughts, I've started to get paranoid that other parents won't want their children to be friends with her because she is a bit different.

@soapboxqueen thank you for saying this - it's so hard, I vacilate between thinking maybe she is being naughty because she is fine in school but then I wonder if she experiences school in a different and more tiring way to my other child.

I like the idea of her going in early actually to help teacher I will ask them that.

OP’s posts: |
soapboxqueen Fri 08-Oct-21 13:29:11

How is she when she gets home?

SummerOrAutumn Fri 08-Oct-21 13:37:43

May be not what you want to hear, but we ended up removing both our DC from their schools. They are both autistic, and have been home educated. DS came out of school in Yr4. He was very anxious, school refusing, and masking whenever he was able to be there. School did nothing to help or support him. They wanted him gone. DD came out of secondary school in Yr7, completely unable to cope. She's now on final leg of HE before going to College next year.

Both have really benefited from not being in school environment.

Wondergirl100 Fri 08-Oct-21 13:50:12

@soapboxqueen She is okay sometimes very tired and ratty. She likes having friends to play but I feel like that is a different part of her where she is just relaxed.

@SummerOrAutumn I can imagine HS would be great in many circs but as a family it wouldn't suit us - from a selfish perspective I loathed home schooling with all my being. To add to this situation I have ADHD and just cannot do things I find boring and that includes most school learning! During lockdown my daughter became incredibly anxious to the point of speaking in baby talk and headbutting us if people tried to talk to us in the street.

OP’s posts: |
Grimbelina Fri 08-Oct-21 13:57:52

You might find the PDA society helpful - lots of children with ASD who have issues with school refusal have ASD with significant PDA traits and the strategies are different. Masking is a huge feature (and a terrible strain...)

Ilovechoc12 Fri 08-Oct-21 14:06:31

Can a ta meet you
Different entrance to enter school not with the masses
Breakfast club to ease transitions
Is it noisy

Moonface123 Fri 08-Oct-21 14:20:42

Most young teenagers get to a stage where they can't mask it anymore, school anxiety is a very complex issue and in my own personal experience even the so called professionals are out of their depth, and at a loss on how to treat it. Most parents eventually have little choice to de register and homeschool. Thousands of parents are affected by this and l second going on the Not Fine At School website.

yellowdigsaur Fri 08-Oct-21 14:27:22

If she is autistic and a girl, it's highly likely she's masking hugely to get through the day. This is why girls can look 'fine in class' and 'not struggle socially' - all their efforts go into watching and copying others and keeping a lid on their issues/emotions so they only come out at home after or in anxiety before going in. She likely needs significantly more support in school to feel less demands and be able to be herself, then she won't be as anxious going in.

If everyone pretends she's fine because she 'looks fine', it won't get any better for her. She's telling you through her actions how school makes her feel.

yellowdigsaur Fri 08-Oct-21 14:28:24

@Foxyloxy1plus1 please read up on ASD in girls and particularly masking.

soapboxqueen Fri 08-Oct-21 14:33:49

Just to add, my asd/pda ds has been out of school for coming up to 4 years. Sometimes it's the only real solution.

Ask the school for strategies or accommodations they can make and try them out. Keep a diary particularly if get behaviour after school and at weekends. Sometimes the fallout is delayed.

Beakerandbungle Fri 08-Oct-21 14:33:51

Hi OP

I just wanted to offer some sympathy - I have this atm with my year 5 DS who has ADHD and anxiety ( he has many ASD traits). I understand how draining it is ( although mine is at the point of leaving the house - I had a neighbour actually come round the other day to ask if everything is ok).

It is definitely worth trying the going in early, that helped my son when he was younger, also as he then spent 10 mins with his teacher which helped build his trust and relationship with her and made school feel ‘safer’ to him.

I would also at least question whether she is fine in school - what adjustments do they have in place for her ( is she on the SEN register)? Although I think for many SEN children school will always be somewhat difficult, it can at least get to a place that feels ‘safe/safer’ with the right adjustments in place for at least some children ( if the school is willing). I’ve seen this with my son - he had an amazing teacher last year who did so much work to help him and with whom he had a real bond - although he still didn’t love school he had a whole year where he went in happily nearly every day.

Beakerandbungle Fri 08-Oct-21 14:38:18

Sorry x posts with lots of more knowledgable posters re girls.

Noting how many have ended up taking their children out of school - this so something I have started wondering about myself ( but as a single parent no idea how I would do it).

soapboxqueen Fri 08-Oct-21 14:40:49

Beakerandbungle

Sorry x posts with lots of more knowledgable posters re girls.

Noting how many have ended up taking their children out of school - this so something I have started wondering about myself ( but as a single parent no idea how I would do it).

There are loads of groups on Facebook which can help generally about Home educating but also lots and lots for specfic requirements such as people working around HE, being single parents, having SEND themselves, having some children in school and some out.

There really is a wealth of info and support.

gobyegbert Fri 08-Oct-21 14:54:19

Facebook groups are an excellent call too. I'm unsure why for kids that mask, anxiety with certain triggers isn't part of the diagnostic assessments rather than the reliance on reporting social issues or appearance of anxiety in the school day. Perhaps/hopefully it is.

LER83 Fri 08-Oct-21 14:59:43

I completely understand how you feel. My 6 year old is in year 1 and has autism. Since going back in Sept he has hated going to school. Every morning I have to drag him in screaming the place down. I absolutely dread mornings as I never know how its going to go and it makes me soo anxious, it's really draining. It takes a good few hours for him to calm down in school, he tries to escape etc. We are waiting to see if he gets awarded an echp. His school have been pretty rubbish and I'm contemplating home schooling.

gobyegbert Fri 08-Oct-21 15:02:55

I've done a spell of reduced time table / home school to reset things whilst changing school for my younger dc - I don't think there's a lot of educational value to be had from dragging in really distressed kids - I did it with dc1 for a while as 'she's fine in school'/must be you/your parenting etc and I wish I hadn't.

Wondergirl100 Fri 08-Oct-21 16:01:49

Thank you everyone - I like the point aboutbreakfast club or different entrance - post covid with everyone suddenly together the playground seems incredibly busy

All 60 children in her year line up together! so it's v full on. The teacher is at one end and doesn't even hear or see her distress as we are always at the back struggling to get her calm.

I have a meeting with them Monday so will discuss these ideas.

OP’s posts: |
Beakerandbungle Fri 08-Oct-21 16:59:45

@soapboxqueen - thanks, I will start to take a look.

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