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DD Y9 - extreme anxiety- Home Ed??

(7 Posts)
MarthaSF321 Fri 09-Dec-16 11:36:54

Hello, some advice please or good / bad examples !!
My DD 13 has been having panic attacks at school leading to her being under CAMHS and referred to early intervention. Her attacks happen because she says school is too full of people, too noisy and she can't cope. They have been getting more severe and involve her seeing visions/ voices / screaming /banging her head and running out of the school building. They only seem to happen at school and can happen in any lesson. I have taken her out of school until after Christmas to give her a break from it. The school agree. We have got a meeting next week to look at EHCP for her. She doesn't want to leave as she enjoys some aspects of it and has lots of friends. But it looks increasingly like she won't be able to deal with the environment.
I am thinking about Home Ed or Interhigh, but she is not very motivated and it will be a struggle to get her to focus on Home Ed . (very easily distracted ) I don't know if I can be her teacher / motivation long term. I can teach her some subjects, but certainly not Maths (I haven't got a clue even with her current year 9 homework.) It's just such a battle to get her to even complete a simple homework project I don't know if we could ever be disciplined enough to do it successfully.
I hear loads of stories about kids who have flourished and become really interested in learning once home schooled but I think it must be easier if your rather stroppy teen doesn't want to spend their entire time watching Netflix/ you tube / social media.
Any advice about how to motivate a lazy teen without having pitch battles?

ommmward Fri 09-Dec-16 16:37:41

It doesn't sound as if school is a particularly healthy environment for your DD, if she's having panic attacks on a regular basis.

Things to think about:
- ask the school about whether flexi schooling might be an option, where she goes in just for particular lessons? (that would cut down the stress, but wouldn't remove it altogether)
- it should be possible to maintain the friendships outside school. We have
friends who go to school who we see regularly at weekends. We have other friends who we never see from one end of term to the other, and then as soon as school finishes, we see them lots through the holidays. Some people have home ed children who do lots of after school activities with schooled children.
- I hear nothing but good things about Interhigh if you are looking for a structured environment in which someone else takes responsibility for the education bit. The only bad thing about it is the cost, though if you've got CAMHS involvement, it's possible that you could make a case to your LA that they should pay for it since they aren't managing to provide a suitable educational environment on school premises.
- at year 9 level, people often use tutors for the bits they can't cope with themselves. (work out the likely cost and compare to interhigh?)
- if she's not motivated, it's possible that she's so busy trying to hold herself together in school that she has no idea what her passions are. If you do take her out of school, give her a proper long recovery "deschooling" period where you don't impose academic work at all. Go to museums, the zoo, local heritage places, swimming, trampolining, art classes, whatever she is interested in. If she's interested in fashion, find a local designer she can do some work experience with, or an evening class she could attend to learn the basics. Once she has settled and got her confidence back, she'll discover what her own passions and goals are, and then you'll have no problem at all motivating her (intrinsic motivation is much much better than the extrinsic sort!)
- meet her on her level. Watch netflix together. Ask her questions, have conversations, find out what's so fascinating about what she's doing. Some people don't limit screen time at all, and say that their children need to learn to self-regulated, and there's no time like the present. Others have rules about when screens can be used and when not - you'll find your own balance.

Any advice about how to motivate a lazy teen without having pitch battles? Don't try to MOTIVATE her. Instead, help her discover her passions, and then help her realise her dreams.

user1471537877 Fri 09-Dec-16 22:54:22

Hi op

We had a very similar story with our DD in the end we applied for an EHCP moved her to Interhigh and she's been there ever since

We now have a relatively calm and happy 14 year old who adores her school and an EHCP that funds it

MarthaSF321 Sat 10-Dec-16 10:43:33

Thank you for your advice. It's all very new to me as we have only really started thinking about it for a week or so and it's such a big deal. My DH is concerned she's missing school at the moment, but there is no point in sending her in when I get a phone call by 10:30 asking me to pick her up because she's shaking and crying and experiencing voices and visions. Some days she was managing to stay in school in the support unit or medical room, but has only managed one day in the last three weeks where she didn't have some sort of "episode".
I have just decided to give her some time out from the environment until after Christmas (they break up next Friday) She has got a couple of projects to finish by the end of term and she has been reluctantly doing them with lots of input and help from me. Lots of staring at the screen saying what shall I put and me saying why don't you do this or that. She needs a lot of direction to get anything done. I'm not sure whether to just leave it all and let her do whatever she wants but I don't want her to think she can just doss about at home watching screens. It seems like a reward for her school behaviour. That sounds harsh but there is some doubt about how much of her panic /crying she can control. There was certainly a time in the past when she would use her timeout pass to get out of a French test for example. There have been texts to and from her friends about this. I think her anxiety has moved onto a more genuine level but its hard to know exactly. She needs to know there are options for her but they all involve working towards exams and getting an education however we do it. Staying in bed 'til midday and then watching Zoella all day doesn't really count. I'm concerned if we deschool for 6 months this is exactly what will happen.

homerboy12 Fri 06-Jan-17 12:50:52

My DD (14½) also had hard 2016, now reviewing possible home ed with oxford online learning/oxford home learning. A friends daughter is currently doing this for GCSEs and proving effective.
Health and wellbeing will now be paramount to the right decision for my DD. We can simply support, love and encourage and provide other options to progress.

MarthaSF321 Fri 06-Jan-17 13:41:21

We are still considering home ed for my DD13, but pretty much everyone except me thinks its a bad idea!
School are keen to keep DD and have put some things in place for DD like going to their support unit instead of certain lessons that trigger her panic attacks, she's allowed to wear ear plugs to cut out some of the noise during particularly noisy lessons. She is meeting the Senco twice a week and we are reviewing it all in 6 weeks time.
Her main trigger lesson seems to be maths (it would be the most important one ..) so she's not going to go to any maths lessons at the moment.
I would still like to take her out, partly because I'm so stressed about it, waiting for yet another phone call from school. It feels like my life is on hold. But that's a bit selfish and not necessarily what's best for DD so we'll give school a bit more time to see if their plans help with an improvement.
DD really wants to stay at school so she's a bit different from a school refuser, but school can't be about sitting in the support unit for half the day reading or colouring.. Really not sure what to do or when to do it...
Any advice or experiences welcome!

crankyhousewife Tue 10-Jan-17 12:11:13

We withdrew our 13 year old from school in October having spent a year suffering from anxiety causing her to miss most of the previous year and I can honestly say it's the best thing we could have done. She was very much against it initially because of missing her friends but we've enrolled her at Interhigh and she's already made lots of friends and even met them at Christmas. Life is a lot calmer for everyone now.

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