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do I step in or leave ds to it?

(65 Posts)
sisyphusisalive Wed 22-Jan-14 14:36:27

ds1 is having mh issues and last week the GP told him he has anxiety and paranoia issues and prescribed ad. he thinks (and I sort of agree) it may be related to autism and she told him it was very hard to get an adult dx but would find out. His db has severe autism and these issues are more like ocd/anxiety/panic or poss ptsd

last week (before he saw the GP) he rang crying as he was in the middle of what I interpreted as a panic attack - he was standing on the street unable to move and petrified not knowing what was happening to him

he told me he had been self harming and when on the tube wondered what it would be like to jump on the tracks though he didn't think he'd ever do it. he has missed some lectures and said we might get a letter home

I managed to talk him through going to the walk in centre by the uni but when he went in he came straight out and rang me crying again because he said everyone was looking at him. I then persuaded him to go up to the student services to see the counsellors there but when he went he just stood at the door unable to go in as he could see lots of people in there. that's when I rang his GP and got him an emergency appt when she gave him ad

I am trying to persuade him to let uni know he is having mh issues so that they can either support him or at least bear it in mind should his absenteeism get worse or he walks out of an exam with no explanation but he's too scared to email or go to see them because they will want to talk to him and he finds it too intimidating

Should I email his tutor or the disability department? I know he is over 18 and so it has nothing to do with me but I want to help him as he doesn't seem to be in a position to do it himself. He has said he doesn't mind but he won't talk to anyone from uni about it and I'm reluctant to be seen as a parent interfering

Sorry its long

creamteas Wed 29-Jan-14 17:56:28

Sorry you are not getting a more immediate response and hope they get back to you soon.

BTW the unistats website is only accurate if there are no options to choose for as the numbers are based on a typical pathway which can vary enormously.

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 29-Jan-14 18:56:28

I hope they get back to you soon. It seems like their disability department is currently struggling a bit, which is not good. If they don't get back to you soon there might be someone within the students union who could help a bit, maybe? Mine has a VP for welfare who would try and help if the disability department were being useless.

Unfortunately it is unlikely he will be allowed to resubmit any coursework unless it is agreed due to extenuating circumstances (and even then it would not usually be the same piece of cw).

WRT exams that number sounds possible. With exams it is more that arrangements like not being able to cope with being in an unfamiliar room with lots of other students (many of whom may be from other courses) and invigilators who he won't know. Some people with anxiety find this very triggering, and are allowed to take their exams in seperate rooms elsewhere in the university. However, this does need to be organised well in advance if at all possible. If it's not something your ds would have a problem with, then hopefully you don't need to worry about these just yet.

UptheChimney Wed 29-Jan-14 19:17:44

Some universities also have specialised autism/neuro-atypical support. There can be procedures in place around exams, anxiety, dealing with melt downs, time out, silence etc.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 31-Jan-14 12:54:51

Slow the starting point for DD getting support was the GP writing to the Tutor. She put in place the process for extenuating circumstances to be taken into account and then for a year out to give her the time and space to recover, and DD followed her suggestion to switch to two different modules which she attended uni part time to study in the final term (one of her issues was with two particular courses that she had allowed to over face her when she was feeling vulnerable, and she had not been able to catch up and gain the understanding, she is a Scientist) . They also referred her to a Counsellor for treatment. We only involved the disability people in the context of getting her some better equipment for taking notes in lectures, she is dyslexic, before she went back. She is now doing very well, as I mentioned before.

It was the universities GP practise and it was their Counsellors she was referred to, but I see no reason why the same would not have happened if it had been our GP.

Can you circumvent this non functioning unit?

And please take all the advice, supporting and acting on behalf of a DC with mental illness is not helicopter parenting and no one will think it is. It is right to leave them to fight their own battles but not when they are ill. If he had a serious physical illness you wouldn't think twice. Whilst they may not be able to reply without his permission I am sure his tutor would be grateful for the information they need to make sure he gets the right support.

sisyphusisalive Wed 05-Feb-14 14:20:54

I had a response from the disability unit and they can support him via email though they said they would need to see him at some point and asked for his mbl number so they could contact him rather than the other way around. He has also had an email back from his tutor though I don't know what she told him but it can only be positive.

He did also say he got an email from someone asking him to fill in some forms so I assume that was the disability unit and he must have given them his name which is a step forward. Filling in the forms himself though he thinks is too much for him at the moment so I told him I would do it with him. At least things are moving in the right direction. The ad medication doesn't seem to be kicking in so that will be the next thing to tackle.

creamteas Wed 05-Feb-14 16:32:30

It sounds like things are moving forward, hope it all goes well

PenelopePipPop Wed 05-Feb-14 19:09:01

It is a relief the Uni are aware and you are seeing to some action Sisyphus. I hope the medication starts to help soon.

sisyphusisalive Mon 24-Feb-14 18:18:07

Not sure if any of you are still out there but have another question. ds has refused to go to pick up his essay for one of his modules. After getting the 2:2 in one of the other modules he seems to think he is crap at english. The feedback he is waiting for is for one of his favourite authors and so he is worried if he can't get it right on that one, he won't ever pass anything.

I don't know how these things work but would there be any negative repercussions if he left the feedback unfed?

PenelopePipPop Mon 24-Feb-14 18:46:20

This is an amazingly common thing for students to do - loads of research has been done into it because students complain we don't give them enough written feedback on their work but studies have shown that depending on course 10-33% of all written feedback goes uncollected.

I have never heard of a sanction being applied for not collecting feedback. Your son should have a course handbook which clearly specifies any sanctions which would be applied for academic offences like plagiarism etc and I'd be amazed if this was in it - punishing people for being anxious would be a bit counterproductive!

(Usual caveats it would be best if he could get the feedback even if he didn't feel like reading it now etc but you know all that.)

MariscallRoad Wed 26-Feb-14 01:30:05

Sisy my son has a number of disabilities . He has great anxiety too. This is common. He is kept awake from worry. he missed classes sometimes and projects but this due to extreme fatigue and his condition. He has a mentor in addition to a tutor and such should be provided by the services at the uni. Not all student supports work at the same rate. Not all unis are the same.

You can tick the box any time. It does not matter he is over 18. he needs you. A mentor is very good service to have. Surely he is entitled to dsa which is some help.

I have found very many differences in competence between people who assess disabilities of students.

Now, since the EA 2010 universities are obligated to make reasonable adjustments for students with special needs. This means unis - after the student has disclosed his needs - must anticipate and make those adjustments. This I know from my son’s uni policies. Alternative your son needs to contact his student support service and request help. My son tells me some students have alternative arrangements to exams
It might be a good idea if you speak to the student services yourself because they will know how to help students.

UptheChimney Wed 26-Feb-14 07:12:02

I don't know how these things work but would there be any negative repercussions if he left the feedback unfed?

Short answer: no.

Longer answer: like PenelopePipPop, I find it extraordinarily frustrating that the lengthy time taken to write constructive & helpful feedback goes to waste.

Students fixate on the number/mark/grade, which is frankly the least useful thing, and which I don't actually count as "feedback" -- it is simply the number.

And as someone said on this thread ages ago, sometimes we do less well when discussing "favourite" books or authors. I really dislike the fiction of D. H. Lawrence but if I have to teach his work, I give brilliant classes. I find other far more congenial authors harder to teach because I don't have such easy access to an analytical point of view. Studying/professing literature isn't about "Oh I love this book." That's for book groups ...

When we give essays back at my place, students have to sign up for a 10-15 minute one to one tutorial to discuss feedback -- he could ask for that via email maybe? His tutor is unlikely to want to mention the mark, but will want to go over ways he can improve his writing.

But honestly -- I really wonder if he's ready to cope with university. It gets much tougher ion second year -- NT students find that, so for someone who's NAT, it's likely to be really tough, until he has support in place and has started to learn (be coached?) in coping strategies.

MariscallRoad Wed 26-Feb-14 08:51:39

I agree with Shoot when the DC has a condition parent needs to help. I do the same. There is no substitute for a parent. Several other conditions can also produce panic attacks. I have given up a lot of my time to help ds.

I have seen several feedbacks on academic work of students before their diagnosis of a med problem and afterwards. For a feedback to be of benefit l feel it depends on whether the student has disclosed his problem and the tutor knows the difficulties. I had taught in US Unis. Students informed me of their problems so I had to take this into account in my feedback.

I understand the concerns of your son. Some unis in UK - i experienced this - have a policy 'fit to sit’ but can take account of undisclosed extenuating circumstances even after the exams.

UptheChimney Wed 26-Feb-14 09:04:19

The real crux of the OP's issue is that eventually her DS will need to disclose to the University, and probably have a face to face discussion with the student disability support people. Until he can do that (with or without the OP's support), academic staff and administrative support staff really cannot do anything officially. And while academic staff can be sympathetic, it would be inappropriate to act on our own judgement of the case.

I've recently seen a personal tutee of mine for a progress supervision. I first saw him almost a year ago, when I suggested that he may have a specific learning disability, and that he needed to go & get himself tested. He did, and yes, I was right. I could have been wrong, however. And until it's all signed & sealed with an official indication of how we now assess this student's work, we can't change anything.

So my recent conversation with this student was explaining the mitigation process, in which students can make a retrospective claim for adjustment, particularly if results are on a borderline number, that is, between class marks (eg 59%).

So OP, your DS may still be able to have learning or other disabilities taken into account for past work. But -- and you know this, it must be so frustrating -- he needs to disclose & submit expert ed. psych. and other specialists' diagnoses.

sisyphusisalive Wed 26-Feb-14 12:18:09

Thanks for the replies. Ds has officially registered with the disability support unit now (albeit by email) and they want to see him face to face before March 20th as that seems to be a deadline relating to exams.

His ad medication is having no effect and he has stopped taking it. I have told him that is very unwise and potentially dangerous so I am going to his next GP appt with him as he has said he sometimes can't articulate to her how he is feeling and I don't trust him to tell her he's stopped the tablets. I will ask her to write to the uni if she hasn't already done so. The uni sent him the forms for dsa but he is reluctant to fill them in as it involves seeing someone face to face. Not sure why he would be entitled to any extra money though, his prescriptions are free as he's living off a full student loan. In the meantime he is on the waiting list for CBT at Guys.

I think it has come to the point where I just have to take the reigns, make the appointment with the disability unit on his behalf (if they let me) and take him there myself although I risk going all the way to London to sit in front of someone with a ds who remains mute. My only hope is to have prepped them first. In the back of my mind too though is the thought that it sends him into meltdown and he ends up gnawing his arm again.

Re the feedback - what upthechimney said about DH Lawrence makes a lot of sense and I will pass that on to ds. He is quite buoyant at the moment so I am going to seize on that positivity and draft an email for him to send to the tutor asking for a feedback tutorial appointment and explaining why he has not collected his work since before Christmas.

Can anyone tell me what a learning mentor's role is? I need to have an idea of what type of support he should be asking for at the meeting.

MariscallRoad Wed 26-Feb-14 14:41:30

son sees mentor once a week. he is important for many functions and helps son organise many things. They are trained and great support. Grateful they are in place. Encourage son to apply to get a mentor asap. smile

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