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to just give up on DS (15) getting an education and let him stay at home playing on his XBox all day?

(59 Posts)
PorkyPandora Tue 18-Apr-17 14:13:32

He refused to go to school AGAIN today and I am sick of all this stress and worry angry. He was complaining last night (due to today being first day back after Easter hols) that he had a massive headache and was feeling 'crap' so I told him to go to bed. He was awake most of the night and this morning refused to get up saying he was ill. He is 6ft 3 and said he would run away if I made him.

We had arranged with school before the end of last term that he only goes in for mornings as he has had almost a month off as he was refusing to go to school and when he got there he was hiding in the toilets and missing lessons. GP signed him off with anxiety.

He has been referred to the Emotional Wellbeing Service but as he is not at risk of harm to himself or others, there will be a long wait and he won't engage with anyone about his feelings anyway.

He has severe learning difficulties combined with ADHD which has caused a lot of behavioural problems with repeated fixed term exclusions and threats of permanent expulsion. He is still working at least 4/5 years behind the average on paper and forecast to fail all his GCSE's, although his 6 year old brother is academically ahead of him so it's worse than that. He is a social outcast and even his twin brother won't hang with him as he does things to embarrass him.

I have tried to get him into a SEN school but it very unlikely that the LEA will agree to it. We have a long awaited meeting about this at the end of the week and I just know what the outcome will be. I'm not sure if an SEN school will be right for him anyway as his issues aren't as 'visible' as the other kids who attend there are and there is concern that he may be disruptive. Moving him to a new mainstream school will just be the same crap, different school.

I have had 10 years of this shit (since Reception) with calls from school, meetings, and feeling like I am being blamed for being a shit parent (have low self esteem anyway) because I just can't get him to 'conform' and I am at the end of my tether!

I have had to battle the system to get him extra help and I am just exhausted especially as he either won't or can't help himself. I understand why he doesn't want to go to school, he doesn't want anyone to see him to take the piss out of him. We managed two days out during this school holiday and he insisted on wearing his big coat with the hood pulled up covering most of his face in hot sunshine, making himself even more visible, constantly saying he wanted to go home. If he could, he wouldn't leave the house.

I don't know what to do with him. 'Homeschool' him until he's 18 and then let him claim ESA with his DLA for the rest of his life? I want so much more for him and I dread to think how he's going to end up sad.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Tue 18-Apr-17 14:16:54

It sounds so difficult OP. I don't really have any advice for you but have a hand to hold if that will help.

Have you tried posting on the SN board?

Justanothernameonthepage Tue 18-Apr-17 14:17:20

Is he open to online courses? Are there any subjects he's interested in (computer programming? Game design?)

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Tue 18-Apr-17 14:18:59

Failing all of his GCSEs doesn't really sound like a good thing for his self esteem.

SaltyMyDear Tue 18-Apr-17 14:20:40

You should def homeschool him!

He clearly isn't learning anything at school. You have a far better chance of teaching him at home.

twofloorsup Tue 18-Apr-17 14:22:38

I'm in a similar situation but my son started refusing in year 8.
I've just been taken to court for his lack of attendance and been fined.
All well and good but it hasn't addressed his issues and he still doesn't go to school. As he is now 16 I have explained to him that he will regret not going to school and it will impact his employability later on but he thinks he can just walk into a job as a labourer.
Sorry I'm not any help just want you to know you're not alone.

PorkyPandora Tue 18-Apr-17 14:32:01

Thanks Hearts hope my grip is not too tight!

Justanother the problem is he is not interested in learning at all. He is insistent he will be games designer and we have obviously explained to him what he will need.

Salty He actually has full on tantrums (jumping up and down, rolliig on floor) when we try to get him to do homework and would rather sit for hours not doing it than get it over with and do it so that will be a nightmare.

Twofloors Sorry you're in the same boat. When I remember DS as a bright, happy toddler chatting to everyone and anyone, I never imagined things would turn out like this.

Domino20 Tue 18-Apr-17 14:37:00

Does he have a passion for anything​ at all? Animals? Music? Pretty much any interest can be turned into a career if someone is passionate!

millifiori Tue 18-Apr-17 14:42:31

YANBU allowing him to stay away from school if he has reacted so badly to it for so long. But don't give up and let him play XBox all day just yet.

If he wants to be a games designer, get him to ring, email or write to every single games company in the commutable area and ask for a work experience placement. Get him to draw animations, develop characters and plotlines and code for eight hours a day, five days a week and show you the results every night. Get him to draw up a marketing strategy for a game he's designed. Get him to read the autobiographies of all the big dotcom gamechangers. And so on. Great minds design games. Zombies are hooked on them. There's a world of difference between the two.

Are you around during the day? if so, can you at least get hom to engage in learning soem life skills while he's home: how to sort laundry, work washing machines, shop on a budget, cook a nutritious dinner from scratch, build flat pack furniture etc.

I have a lot of sympathy with DC who are school evaders. It's not a system that suits everyone. How could it? And we offer almost nothing as an alternative to people who don't fit the mould. There's no reason he can't thrive, despite being a school refuser. But he'll need to be doing something to expand his mind.

DuoTwo Tue 18-Apr-17 14:43:23

What happens if you limit his access to wifi/Xbox? Is it possible or would that be too big a battle. No access during the day then evening access until 11 if he has at least tried to go to school. You can set it up so you don't have to physically turn it on and off.
Sorry, I know that's lame advice and I bet you've already tried everything.
What about taking him to some local colleges that offer game design? Or will his LDs make it an impossible goal anyhow. Is there anything else that he is vaguely interested in that you can show him the end goal and what is needed to get there. If he sees the future as completely hopeless even if he dies go to school you can understand him not wanting to go.
What about trying to get him to really understand the realities of not working. Can you show him bills, food costs etc, etc. Does he know how much he would actually end up with. Perhaps show him some of those awful benefit programs - I've seen young guys choosing electricity to play their XBoxes over buying food.
I understand that these suggestions might not be the least bit feasible.

SaltyMyDear Tue 18-Apr-17 14:43:29

You don't have to get him to do homework if you home school him.

Let him take at least a term off to do nothing, and have no demands.

First get his anxiety better. Later you can try to teach him something - or better yet you can let him teach himself whatever he wants to learn.

The point is, going to school isn't achieving anything AND is making him anxious. Staying at home and learning nothing would be better than going to school, learning nothing, and being anxious.

Unless you can get him into an SEN school.......

SaltyMyDear Tue 18-Apr-17 14:48:13

millifiori and DuoTwo - are you taking into account how bad his SEN is? If his 6 year old brother is further ahead then he is, then he is probably barely literate.

He probably can't do what either of you suggest. Probably can't write code or go to college, because he's probably not literate enough for either of those options.

Although school are claiming he's working at a Y4 / 5 level. Which suggests he can read. But certainly not enough to either code or get on a game design course at college.

Dustanddebris Tue 18-Apr-17 14:51:05

I don't know if you can self-refer, but someone recently told me about this charity that provides online tuition for school refusers. The person I spoke to was very positive about it.

DuoTwo Tue 18-Apr-17 14:51:33

millifiori and DuoTwo - are you taking into account how bad his SEN is? If his 6 year old brother is further ahead then he is, then he is probably barely literate

Yes I am, that's why I acknowledged that his LDs might make it impossible.

Lynnm63 Tue 18-Apr-17 15:02:18

If he's that far behind I'd try to get him statemented or whatever they call it now. My dd has SN and was statemented at the end of yr 6. I'd threatened I woukd not send her to mainstream secondary school and would homeschool. She always liked primary school although she was way behind her peers and twin brother. She's now very happy at her SN school.
Good luck op.

PorkyPandora Tue 18-Apr-17 15:08:22

His IQ has been assessed at 70 and 69 is considered 'learning disabled'. He can read reasonably well due but writing, punctuation and spelling is at a lower level than my 6 year old. He only knows his 2 and 10 times tables at a push. Cannot tell the time and has little concept of it. There is no chance of him being able to carry out millifiori's suggestion, although it is a good one flowers.

He has little passion for anything other than playing PS4, XBox games. DH has now taken to putting the consoles in the car and takes them to work with him so he can't search the house for them when I've hidden them. He will tolerate them being taken away but constantly whinges about being bored etc.

No interest in music and will not tolerate it being on in the background which is very annoying as the rest of us love it.

PorkyPandora Tue 18-Apr-17 15:09:59

He has an EHCP for the little good it has done him. Took me 3 years to get one with no support from his school.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Tue 18-Apr-17 15:12:10

An SEN school would be a lot more flexible on homework if they gave any at all, and would be far more focused on him as a person, getting his confidence up and meeting his needs rather than academic hoops. He's voting with his feet that the school he's in is not somewhere he wants to be, I'd use that and go for this goal with the LA. Plus an SEN school will have multiple links with post 18 placements and opportunities and will support you and him over that step. Don't worry too much about whether he's 'severe' enough, the peer groups tend to get bigger and broader in SEN provisions the higher up the age range they go as more and more children reach their limit of coping with mainstream, and there's often quite a broad range of needs being met.

Have you spoken to your LA parent advocacy service? They can give you a list of all the specialist provisions available in your area and talk to you about the process of applying for a place. Visit some of them (as many as you can) and get a feel for whether there are any you like and feel he would like, as you're in a stronger position with the LA if you have a clear view of where you want him to go, why and what they could offer your ds that he doesn't currently have access to.

whitetoast Tue 18-Apr-17 15:16:13

He certainly sounds like he would benefit from a SN school OP. Does he have an EHCP? I would recommend calling Ipsea who can suggest the best path for you, whatever stage you're at in terms of getting support. SN school places aren't widespread and funding is difficult to get, but they are out there and you need to fight hard to get them. You need an EHCP which takes time if you haven't got one already, then you might need to appeal to get a school place which takes even longer. But people do get there in the end (my DS attends a special school for autism).

Homeschooling is an option, but it's a huge burden on you especially as it sounds like he won't learn independently and will require a lot of prompting and support. It will also take you out of the system for support, so that when your DS needs to apply for PIP when he's older, he might not have any evidence from professionals like school staff. Same with ESA when he's older. All DLA awards will be transferred to PIP once a child turns 16, even if they have an indefinite award.

WomblingThree Tue 18-Apr-17 15:18:25

I don't understand why the school are expecting a child who has SEN and is so academically delayed, to be able to take GCSEs. Of course he will fail them if he is 4-5 years behind. No-one would expect an average 11 year old to pass GCSEs. There is no real wonder he doesn't want to go to school. I can't see how he could possibly cope with it.

I would remove him from school and go back to basics with him. The law states that a child must be educated. The school seem to be failing in their duty to educate him, so take him out. I'm sure there are groups and online help for home educators of children with SEN. Rebuild his self esteem. Get his reading, writing and basic maths consistent. Set small goals and reward them with X-box time.

Find out about programs in your area to get young adults with SEN into work, and start working towards that. My SIL has LD, and she went to a special college from 16-20, which taught life skills along with maths and English. Her LDs are moderate, but there's no way on earth anyone would have expected her to take GCSEs. She now in her 40s and works part time in a "mainstream" job, where her LDs don't make any difference, and claims DLA.

julesofdenial Tue 18-Apr-17 15:19:17

You may get more support if you post this in Talk - special needs chat. There will probably be more people who have similar experiences to you.
I'm not sure how to get it moved across though.

EatTheChocolateTeapot Tue 18-Apr-17 15:19:45

I am not very familiar with the educational system in the UK but could he try an apprenticeship? I would think he is too old to stay at home and would benifit more from getting out there and trying to find something rewarding to do.

notapizzaeater Tue 18-Apr-17 15:26:11

If he's an echp then he can should be able to access some colleges from age 14.

Cartman03 Tue 18-Apr-17 15:35:22

Is he having any kind of treatment or therapy for his ADHD? I don't know where in the country you are but our friend took her son to Dr Daphne Keen at St George's Hospital in Tooting (think she consults privately too but sounds like you would get an NHS referral) and she said he has been so much happier.

School must be a real trial for him - it's no wonder he doesn't want to go. Feel for you both.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Tue 18-Apr-17 15:37:07

You can get this thread moved to Special Needs Chat OP by clicking the report button on your OP and putting a note to ask MNHQ to move it for you.

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