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School Refusal

(22 Posts)
Boo2323 Sun 16-Dec-12 02:57:17

Hi all very new to all this but needed some help and advice in this area. DD started secondary school in Sept went for about 5 days in total became increasingly more distressed, anxious and scared by the new experiences, situations, friendship groups and changes. Anxiety caused panic attacks, fight/flight reactions, aggressive, abusive behavior. Ran away from DH when he dropped her off one morning, talked about taking her own life so she didn't have to be so scared and anxious. All "normal" family life stopped and things got very distressing. Very quickly I was signed off work with stress and so was my DH for a short time. Other issues going on were DD's social anxiety when going places, her loss of friends and the terminal illness of her paternal nan and aunty. DH referred to CAMH's been assessed and on waiting list. Just completed a CAF form with school and at them moment DH is getting up every morning for school getting dressed, and to school I drop her off in the car park and then she walks into school as far as she can. This has been a form of exposure to her fears, taking tiny steps and from a point where she refused to even get dressed 2 months ago this is an improvement. School has a pastoral year group teacher who meets DH and me 3 times a week so we can discuss home learning assignments as I am trying to help her do school work at home. Also the same teacher meets DH occasionally in the mornings to help her to get further into school. Her target set by myself & DH is to get to Registration where she can start to build new relationships and friendships with her form group. Very much at a loss of what to do next!!! Wide awake tonight worrying about the future and how our life has changed so dramatically in three months and how much I miss my own work but know I need to be home to support the family and DH get through this sad time. Any advice or just thoughts from such a wide and experienced group of parents would be very much appreciated. /emo/te/3.gif

MrsMushroom Sun 16-Dec-12 07:03:20

Can you not home educate? Or is that far from what you want? I really feel for you all.

Boo2323 Sun 16-Dec-12 10:54:48

Hi MrsMushroom, I have considered HE but I love my job, I am a Primary School teacher and could do it if it came to that point but feel that DDs underlying issues need sorting through CBT support and increased support from school first. If things don't improve this is an option, also worried about financial considerations if I have to give up my part time teaching. Big scary leap for me not sure if I can go that route or whether DH feels it is the best way to go. But I agree it is a possibility if we need to go there. Thanks for your kind message.

MrsMushroom Sun 16-Dec-12 12:08:14

Would it be a thought, to maybe change schools? What if you were to tell her "No more school...that one's done with...we'll have a fresh start at Easter."

So she's got a completely new environment. Could you take time off till then?

Boo2323 Sun 16-Dec-12 12:51:42

Thanks I have considered it, but not given the idea to DD yet, as she is very determined to beat the issues she has and is making progress steady without any CAMH's or psychiatric help so far, so we do have a few other options to try and I know that School Refusal is often a symptom of other underlying anxieties and they, I feel will override the opportunity to go to a new school with a fresh start. Thanks for the suggestions it helps me to look at all our options and work them through.

happygardening Sun 16-Dec-12 12:58:47

OP I'm so sorry to read of your problems you are obviously all going through a difficulty time. I work sometimes with school refusers and know how difficult it can be. Fr

happygardening Sun 16-Dec-12 13:07:40

OP I'm so sorry to read of your problems you are obviously all going through a difficulty time. I work sometimes with school refusers and know how difficult it can be. From reading your posting as you haven't actually seem CAMHS yet my advise is for now just keep doing what you doing, don't move schools or change the current goal. Remain positive rewards her when she takes a further step towards getting into school and try not to get upset/angry/stressed if she relapses. Do you have work she can do at home? This is important not IMO because she'll get "behind" but to help her realise that education can continue anywhere. Has she been a happy normal (I hate that word but yoiu know what I mean) child up until now does she have friends at the school and does she see them/contact them on face book etc out of school?

Boo2323 Sun 16-Dec-12 14:39:03

Hi happygardening, thanks for the support, DD had a few difficulties in Year 5 her friend choice is boys rather than girls and they don't seem to have the caring attitude that she has. She often says that she cares about them, but they don't care about her. She is thoughtful and kind, likes boys games and activities rather than make up, best friends, shopping, pop music etc. At the end of year 5 DD had a sickness bug and was off school for a bit. We went to pick up older DS and DD was sick in the playground with everyone watching her this made her anxious about any situations where she thought she might be sick. Travelling eating!!!! birthday parties, large crowds when she would get anxious then tummy issues and panic attacks. CAMH's helped her with this phobia and towards the end of year 6 we began to see our happy DD again. With the change of school her fears and worries re-appeared we even had to come home form our summer holiday early as every day and night she would feel sick, anxious about the activities we wanted to do as a family caused her so many difficulties. She has one good friend who is a boy who sicks by her, but her next group of friends drop her or talk and play via x box, swimming or play date round our house infrequently. She struggles so much in social situations. When she isn't in school we are trying to reduce her separation anxiety from me by staying with her nan for a couple of hours at a time, also visiting shops, car journeys and helping her to manage things more calmly. I have never had to deal with anything so complicated and distressing before as well as being there for DH who is struggling to come to terms with DD's issues and the loss of his mum and other family illness. What a struggle 2012 has been one way or another. Thanks for reading this and sorry its is a bit long winded but it really does help to just write down all my thoughts on the issues. Many Thanks.

happygardening Sun 16-Dec-12 16:36:00

Have you tried CBT unlikely to be available quickly if at all on the NHS so you will probably have to pay. It is definitely beneficial for school refusers/those with high levels of anxiety. I've seen a significant improvements with it. Finding counsellors specialising in paediatric CBT is not easy I do know of one who works with the children I work with PM me I you would like and tell me where you live. CAHMS cane be really good again it depends on your area.
How supportive are your school again I've found help can be erratic?

Boo2323 Mon 17-Dec-12 10:33:41

Morning, DD had CBT stuff with CHAM's last time she had problems and it helped, everything takes so long to arrange, forms to fill mettings to organise. We update CAMH's every 2 weeks on our family circumstances but the waiting list is prioritised and she isn't a severe enough case to get bumped up the list, so are just having to wait. That is OK when you are not right in the situation and dealing with it day to day. School are OK but not pulling out all the stops to support her, she has no IEP School Action or ASchool action + inplace. We have just filled in a CAF form and I am expecting a meeting in the New Year.
She woke up this morning very sad and depessed knowing that she was going into school but not really going into school in the normal sense. Feeling isolated and fed up, so trying to take her out of herself, a bit of cooking, walk to the shop,visit fom nan and see how it goes tomorrow. Nearly at end of term can't believe it. I am so shocked and sad for her, you just wnat to make it better. So I try my best.

Delalakis Tue 18-Dec-12 16:14:29

If it's accepted that your daughter can't be in school for medical reasons you are entitled to help with home tuition provided by the local authority. Have you asked for this? It might help her keep up and also get back into the education routine.

Local authorities are great ones for telling you that you're only entitled to 5 hours a week home tuition, but that's not true. Government guidance says they must provide as much as the child can cope with, up to full time.

neolara Tue 18-Dec-12 16:17:05

Have you seen this book? It might give you and your dd a starting point for talking about her anxiety while you wait for some kind of CBT.

pannetone Tue 18-Dec-12 18:19:37

I just wondered if you'd want to post this in Special Needs Children section. There have been quite a few threads about school refusal and lots of supportive and empathetic replies. My 7 year old DD has been very anxious about going into school - and has selective mutism which is anxiety based. We have CAMHS involvement too. Thankfully, at the moment DD is doing well going in and getting on with school (so far we have managed to get her in eventually) - but we have had periods when it has been very difficult.

happygardening Tue 18-Dec-12 18:29:29

The good news OP is that children do get over this. It will take time and lots of patience on your part, hers and the schools but it is possible. I have recently seen it with my own eyes. But it's not going to happen over night you're looking at a good year of help and some days when you will feel your going backwards but it is definitely possible and realistic.

Inaflap Tue 18-Dec-12 19:30:34

The school seem very supportive which is good and your daughter sounds like she wants to beat it. There are schools for children who cannot sustain normal school. I know of one for girls which I think is in brighton. They are very small and the lea will keep very very quiet about it but it might be worth researching. Also there should be some level od provision educationally for her.

Boo2323 Wed 19-Dec-12 09:28:59

Thanks for the book recomendation we have got it and have just started using it. Thanks. Yesterday, DD expressed a big anxiety of being seperated from me while I went shopping and I could only go when she was alowed to play her for ther get together with school friends and my DH took care of her. She expressed real worries that something might happen to me while I was out and something might happen tho her that DH would not be able to deal with. She had not demonstrated or talked about the seperation anxiety so clearly before even though I had recognised that is was part of her wealth of anxieties. I did go shopping for an hour & a half an all was fine. It is hard to challenge this unrealistic worries when you are so worried about her too. DH sat and read the book recommened above and found it hepful. Now we are using It with DD. Thanks

Boo2323 Wed 19-Dec-12 09:34:18

many thanks for the advice so far, I am hopeful that as a result of the CAF meetings in the New Year might result in home tuition and other options that are avaliable to us. have asked school to arrange for DD to see the school councilor in the same way that she meets her year group tutor and also to put her on a course of sessions in school concerning protective behaviours with a small group of children about 8 that might help her. Thank You all xx

MrsJREwing Wed 19-Dec-12 09:36:29

I have not read all your thread. Request the school files. I just got them back. Apparently behind my back school were contacting ss demanding my children be put on cp, that I was mentally ill and abusing my children based on a panic attack by one child in school and the othrr school refusing.

The children have been seen by a specialist in our rare condition and the kids behaviour is a physical health issure.

Be very carefull.

Boo2323 Wed 19-Dec-12 09:46:15

Very sorry that your circumstances have become so difficult MrsJERwing but school & CAMH's and our family Dr are so supportive and understanding that I trust them to be diong the best for our family. I really don's feel worried that things are not heading in the right direction. Take care and best wishes to you and yours.

MrsJREwing Wed 19-Dec-12 09:50:25

I thought the same two years ago when all those comments were made to ss, I knew nothing about it back then. Get the school files and see if you still are confident. They have 20 days, ask for everything on record about your child not just school files.

Copthallresident Wed 19-Dec-12 11:54:36

Boo Just to reinforce Happy Gardening's point. My friend's son was a school refuser all through junior school. He only went to school on a handful of days in Years 7 and 8 but with persistence and patience by Year 9 things started to get better. No magic solution, just lots of encouragement and taking it gradually, support of GP and school , advice from Psychologist. He ended up being really happy in the sixth form, with a good friendship group and got A*AA. Now having a great time at uni.

Boo2323 Wed 19-Dec-12 12:15:47

Thanks so much, what a hopeful comment. Just had row, refusing to do home learning, shes gone to her room and I'm making a walnut & coffee cake would love to share a slice of my soothing 'scrummy' cake with all these lovely helpful 'mumsnetters' or should that be nutters i'm not sure sometimes! So new at this how do I add the smileys to my messages? What a novice!

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