Anxiety and HE(6 Posts)
My 15 year old is currently in high school and due to take his GCSE exams in May 18. He is academically bright and very sociable, but suffers with high anxiety. We have been referred to CAMHS twice, but going caused so much anxiety that he missed appointments and was signed off last year. We are currently looking into private options.
School has always been challenging and he has had on average 80% attendance since starting in year 7. His anxiety is social and the triggers are very general, often centring being socially accepted, so he works very hard at being liked and fitting in. He is in no way being bullied and there is nothing unexpected happening at school that could be the cause. This year, possibly coinciding with the pressure of GCSEs looming, his anxiety has worsened - we are currently under 70% attendance already - he has missed one or two days almost every week since September and many days he does attend, he goes in late (he finds he has to build up to going in now and this can take anywhere between an hour and a full morning). I am at the point where I dread mornings - it is distressing to see him so upset.
The schools ability to deal with any additional needs such as my son's, has been very limited. They have no no school nurse, mentors or any teachers experienced in this area. My son will not go into the learning support room or seek out support, as he feels this draws attention to his issues - likewise, being picked up by the school attendance bus is not an option (these are the things the school suggested). His head of year has spoken to him twice and his deputy head one, but that is it and otherwise no one mentions it to him - like a great elephant in the room. A 'go-to teacher' has been suggested several times, but nothing has been put in place. It was suggested to me that he could use the student welfare office if he needed time out, but no one has mentioned this to him. Rules are inflexible and often work against his issues. Staff are sympathetic, but lack the time to follow through on suggestions.
I am considering HE but I am worried this will do more harm than good - by removing the problem rather than finding a solution, will this make him less resilient? Also, what options would be open to him come September (assuming he achieved 5 GCSEs), since I don't think he is ready for college or an apprenticeship, I had actually thought 6th Form would be the better option - but if that is not an option, what then? But on the other hand - what if school continues to have a negative effect on his confidence and wellbeing - am I just storing up problems for down the line?
Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated. Thanks in advance
Is it possible he could attend school on a part time basis, maybe just focussing on specific GCSE's. As for Sept maybe he could do an open university course online.
Not too sure but thought I'd reply with something.
Calamity, there are so many children at Interhigh ( mine included) who are just like your DS
For us it’s been a real game changer
The vast majority of home educated teens I know are either autistic or anxious or both.
I'm not a fan of the school of hard knocks philosophy, myself. If someone is in a situation they aren't coping with, I'd tend to remove them from the situation if possible.
There is no reason you can't HE him and help build up his resilience. It's as if he'd broken a leg: you wouldn't try to heal it by throwing him out on the running track the day after the accident and forcing him to compete: you would take it slowly and at his pace.
Thanks everyone - I am going to look into the HE options and see what is practical for us and what we can afford. I think I fell into the trap of thinking we were on a time schedule and we really aren't - thank you for all your advice
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