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Looking for other options for DS, with AS 'traits', who hates school

(15 Posts)
SenSationsMad Wed 12-Oct-11 15:18:12

Hi, I've posted about 13 yr old DS before, maybe under this name or another.

Don't even know where to post, under secondary ed, special needs, teenagers etc.

He was diagnosed with Aspergers at 6/7. He's had a statement at school since he was 10, to help with conforming confused; staying on task; doing any work.

He's a lovely, bright boy at home but at school, if he doesn't want to do something, wild horses or bribes can't make him do it. I like this school he goes to, they understand, they accommodate him, provide him with a shared one to one. But it doesn't help and things haven't become any easier in the last 7 years.

At home he'll refuse to do his homework, sulk, slam doors. I'll give him all the help he needs to do his work, support him, nudge him in the right direction, praise him etc. If he won't do his homework I'll tell him to go to bed ( at 7pm) and I'll see him in the morning, and he will choose this option even though he hasn't a tv, games console or computer up there.

He's been banned off the family computer (roblox and minecraft mad) and his xbox until Thursday as it is, so I don't know what else to take off him!

So I'm asking, what to do? He doesn't want to be taught at home but I don't know what else I can do. Thinking about taking him to see GP for depression, or maybe I'm over reacting. What do you think???

SenSationsMad Wed 12-Oct-11 15:44:14

Shameless bump.

I'm thinking depression because he's teary, frustrated sad. No bullying go on he assures me.

CAMHS have taken him off their books because he seemed to be doing fine and because apart from not doing homework, he doesn't have any problems at home.

oldmum42 Wed 12-Oct-11 17:00:46

my 14 year old DS3 has Asperger's, very bright, very similar issue until quite recently but now doing better at school (now he's started 3rd year and the Standard Grade curriculum - we are in Scotland). He has minimal SN support at school now.

I will take deep breath and say, your DS is obviously NOT fine at school, so why is support being withdrawn from him? I am is Scotland and the system is different so I have no Idea how it works in your part of the world, but should you be meeting with Tutor/HT/CAMHS to discuss the fact your DS is unhappy and still in need of support, get them to explain why support has been withdrawn?

He may be depressed but you need to find out why, and I am going to take an even deeper breath and suggest that your discipline methods may be making things worse (sorry, do not mean to offend, but we have been there!).

Putting him to bed at 7pm and taking away all his entertainments is too tough IMO, it is too punishment based and IME, this just creates a vicious cycle of bad temper and behaviour (as a family, we have been there, and done that, it didn't work).

In the end we realised behaving well at School is hugely stressful for our DS3, and that he needs home to be a safe, happy place to (sometimes) let off steam, kick back and do his own thing. Short punishments work better (10mins per incident), or house work chores, and rewards of small payments (a few pence each time) to earn pocket money towards buying computer stuff.... worth a try?

SenSationsMad Wed 12-Oct-11 18:07:14

Thanks for your reply. I was just telling a friend of mine today that I never know if my parenting is too soft or too strict. I honestly think I'm soft on him and he gets away with murder, but also feel that since he's lovely at home, its hard to punish him again for something he's done, or not done at school.

Regarding punishments, I feel as though I want school to see I'm doing something about his behaviour, but I also know that banning him off the computer / xbox for a week doesn't help, cos he seems not bothered.

How much of this behaviour is down to Aspergers and how much is down to being a teen? I have no one to compare him with!

Today, he has walked out of two classes and not turned up to one at all. (not happened before)

Can I ask what input do you get from CAMHS? Even when he was 'under' them all they did was ask to see him once a year to see how things were, they did some testing on him hmm which told them he was very intelligent, but had problems with social situations. The only good thing to come out of our contact with CAMHS is an educational statement.

I've asked him to do a few things for school tomorrow, if he's managed to do these, I might reward him with an hour on the computer? Is this fair or should I stick to my guns? (seeing as it Thursday tomorrow anyway)

2marys Wed 12-Oct-11 22:35:38

I recognise the teen and depression bit, tho our DS has different problems from AS. Slams and sulks are completely teen as well as AS. Also, a friend with two boys and I realise that our DSs follow a pattern; things trot along for a little and then there is a tipping point. Sometimes it's because I am tired and things not being put away sends me over the edge; probably more often it's because something has happened at school that other boys would appear to get over more easily. And if I threaten to take away the electronic equipment including the TV, at some point DS - normally obsessed - just opts out. Obedience is not a word that works here.

What has made a difference is ensuring that we do things together where there is no eye contact between us but we have time to talk, usually about nothing in particular. But then something will come out, either then, or a bit later. Some tv programmes have been really helpful --Educating Essex (where we both wanted to weep for poor Vin), commenting on the stupid (but funny) behaviour in the Inbetweeners; Sheldon's complete lack of emotional intelligence in The Big Bang Theory (really recommend it -nerdy needy AS astrophysicists at UCLA), and also eg me acting as sous chef for him chopping veg for his masterpeices, driving together either the regular trips or preferably a long one somewhere, just the two of us. This hasn;t necessarily meant that things get done, but that the communication is less stressful and he's able to talk and reason things out his own way.

That sounds perfect - it's absolutely not. But the punishment cycle just doesn't work any more - I leave punishments to school although regretting if things incur them.


2marys Wed 12-Oct-11 22:37:10

PS - DS loathes school too.

SenSationsMad Thu 13-Oct-11 08:30:19

Thank you 2marys.

Another tip I had last night from a friend who does inclusion work for another school, is to try not to sound like a broken record. Apparently, she had a lad in her school who was over anxious, and this was made far worse bu parents praising every little bit and talking non stop about things coming up.

So this morning, change of tact. Instead of "Do your best/ be good/behave/please listen today.....". I've sent him off to school with "enjoy your day, see you later"

He wrote his apology letters last night so was rewarded with some time on the computer, I've also written to the school and I was rewarded with a medicinal wine grin

oldmum42 Thu 13-Oct-11 09:06:29

We have a different system in Scotland, and different names for some of the professionals and groups giving support, but my DS3 got the following - at primary school, aged 5 to 12, several meetings a year with class teacher, teaching assistant and ed phycologist to discuss progress, plan next few months, and on a daily basis, teaching assistant support, sometimes Ono to one, sometimes shared with a group of 3 or 4 others.

At secondary, 1st and2nd year, couple of meetings a year with SN dept, and DS3's Guidance teacher (like form tutor in England I think). Some social support lessons in the SN unit of the school and use of SN unit base room as a "safe place" at break times as and when needed. Use of the Units loos instead of the general school loos (horror of dirty loos). Learning support assistant in most classes first year, about half of classes 2nd year, and only a few classes this year, 3rd year.

Primary school was by far the worst time, especially for the last 2 years, when we got into this awful adversarial situation with him due to the school insisting we carry out the same discipline at home as at school, it became a constant round of stress and he never got the chance to recharge his batteries, too too complex and long a story to go into here, but the basic problem was the HT thought he did not have Asperger as an other pupil had it but was worse looked physically a little different to 'normal', so lots of negative comment about him being an annoying shit...... I eventually said enough, I am not doing this anymore, whatever happens at school, the punishment will be at school, and I will talk to him about it, then draw a line under it........ No punishments at home for anything that happens at school. He quickly went back to being his usual self at home. Don't get me wrong, he gets pep talks daily "remember to listen to the teachers, do as they say" etc. And we go over events and tell him how he could have reacted better, why the teacher was cross, how to spot if the teacher is getting cross.....

He has blossomed in the past year, is much more mature, but still can't always spot when it's time to stop talking and just do as he has been asked....

Your DS is walking out of class, this indicates stress or boredom to me... My DS used to do it all the time at primary school, usually due to being fed up, sometimes he'd sneak into another class or hide in the loos. Certainly I think it means he's not engaging in the work so again, I suggest a meeting with the school to discuss. Write down a list of your concerns and ask how they plan to help your DS engage and reach his potential.

ZombiesAtYourCervix Thu 13-Oct-11 09:18:37

I could have written your posts (and have many times)! DD is 13, recently diagnosed AS, Hates school and everything about it (including the toilets). No input from Camhs as she is 'coping' (HA!). can hold it together in school so looks like she is ok, then lets rip at home. normal punishments don't work as she doesn't care if she is banned from computer - she just goes to bed.

I have no answers though. I just hope that as she gets older and gets to chose more for herself she will be a bit happier.

oldmum42 Thu 13-Oct-11 09:58:08

Hi Zombies, I do think the biggest reason my DS3 is happier at school - apart from his increasing maturity- is because he is now studying subjects he chose for Standard Grade, typically for someone with Asd, this is very science based, maths, 3 sciences, computing and tec studies with English and Classical studies as he is obsessed with Greek myths. It makes a huge difference to be doing things he likes, and even if his teachers find him difficult, at least they know he is keen on the subjects.... Usually because he goes off on a tangent and won't stop talking, but we are working on the rules of "Things the teacher might say when he/she really means Stop Talking Now".

I hope it's the same for your DD when she gets to chose her gcse subjects.

2marys Thu 13-Oct-11 15:47:26

Zombies, I wanted to cry when reading your post. DS just about copes at school ( heading to the library at playtimes, when possible) and from those teachers whom he rates we get the "such a nice boy, needs to know when to stop"; from those he doesn't we get a different response - and he too lets rip when he gets home. They don't believe in his depression and think it is done to manipulate me -and while a bit of that is true, much isn't. I now know that before the beginning of term, before exams, before any sort of match or public exhibition things will go pear shaped at home and our function is to be the metaphorical punchbags.

Oldermum, he too is science based and greek myths are important to him - rick riordan is the only fiction writer he is prepared to tolerate.

I do think maturity is making a difference (perhaps I am just heading for the cup that cheers more) and I keep telling him that people who say that school was the best time in the their lives are saddos. But he won't do anything outside school that involves school or anyone from school. He misses huge opportunitities, but if that is what is needed to keep him on a fairly even keep then that's the compromise we make.

OP, sorry to hog your thread but i think there's a grey area between AS and boy... let us know how the new regime goes... i too have gone for the "have a nice day" bit.

2marys Thu 13-Oct-11 15:48:02

keel - not keep!

SenSationsMad Thu 13-Oct-11 16:21:11

Today was a much better day, he's come home with great reports about keeping on task, completing his work and catching up with everything! Result! I don't know if it's anything to do with my attitude this morning but definitely do it again tomorrow to be on the safe side!

Someone on another thread has suggested I read this book "Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, Ocd, Asperger's, Depression, and Other Disorders " by James T Webb.

I'm not saying it's the answer, but it'll be an interesting read.

(((someone else has suggested looking into Indigo children - but I won't mention that on here in case you think me barmy!))). Don't know about you but I've read anything I can get my hands on, twice!

2marys Sat 15-Oct-11 00:22:51

only just caught up but brilliant and I hope it went well today too. Be prepared for some downswings, especially in my experience just before getting back into the swing of things - we'll probably face one towards the end of half term when gloom or rattiness will descend: the well known after holiday factor.

I'm going to follow up your book ref as having googled, DS has common traits with quite a lot of what has been said and any tips would be well received here. I've just bought cake mixes and am digging out a chemistry set where I can admire while he experiments.

Hope it goes well.

SenSationsMad Sat 15-Oct-11 10:27:46

I have ordered the book from Amazon. I used to tell people that DS ticks more charecteristics on the " gifted list ", rather than the " asperger's list".
He doesn't have special routines, he's not obsessed with one specialist topic, he has a fab imagination, he has a fab humor and can tell loads of jokes.

I guess I stoped fighting, and when people keep on telling you he's on the AS spectrum, it's hard to keep on fighting on your own.

Shall we meet back here to say what we thought about the book???

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