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DS15 - possible Aspergers - School Sixth Form OR College - best choice?

(12 Posts)
GlassRed Sat 30-Jun-18 14:15:24

Considering this issue as concerned about my son at the moment. A bit of a chequered history at school because of some of his behaviour (detentions, occasional exclusions). Slightly above average academically, bright, but recently seems to be socially isolated and very lethargic at home with few if any interests. I'm at a loss as to what to help him plan for next year.

What to do? Any experience? Any thoughts? He himself seems to be neutral on the decision. (Will post this on secondary education too). Thanks and flowers to anyone who has been struggling with this.

OP’s posts: |
AjasLipstick Sat 30-Jun-18 14:21:37

How is he with change? How has he dealt with new situations in the past?

It's tempting to say that a new environment and new peers would be of benefit. But then again, it might be hard for him in other ways.

Have you spoken to the college? I would do that...and I'd ask specifically about support for students with social difficulties. Ask about what support is in place and about lunchtime clubs too...things which might interest him and give him a sense of belonging.

GlassRed Sat 30-Jun-18 14:37:55

Thank you so much for your post Ajas. I'm so stressed I'm on the wine.

I think part of the problem is no diagnosis. He might even be borderline. But the last week has been a nightmare of conflict really vicious - and I think I've had a bit of a lightbulb moment at the end of it.

Because "no diagnosis" its hard to request special help IYSWIM, whether from school or college. He's just seen as easily distracted and sullen and hard to motivate by the school I think (though some teachers like him - its all very confusing). He's OK with change I think, and can cope with some things quite well e.g. travel. Though has some strange seemingly random rigidities and problems e.g. what he has for breakfast, various tics like knuckle cracking, problems dealing with authority, no friends, blank expressions, flat emotionless voice, lack of energy, sometimes totally over-excitable and angry (World Cup!) etc.

The idea of aspergers (previously I thought ADHD) would probably not be welcomed by my son either. So I have to be careful there too.

As its borderline (possibly not easily diagnosable), I am not sure what to do.........

OP’s posts: |
GlassRed Sat 30-Jun-18 14:43:23

I'd ask specifically about support for students with social difficulties

I think you do have a handle on what I'm saying Ajas after years of people saying - its lack of a father, its normal teenage things, etc.

BUT, perhaps, unlike others with formally diagnosed or more severe Aspergers, I think he would reject the idea of social support/difficulties (at least at the moment). He thinks of himself as "normal" and its the world thats wrong confused sad.

OP’s posts: |
KateGrey Sat 30-Jun-18 14:46:09

I’d do a tour of your local schools. As well as looking academically I’d look for good pastoral support and those that have a Moreno inclusive and relaxed feel. I have two dc with autism. One in specialist and one in mainstream. He’s got a lot of friends though slightly below academically. I think it really depends on what your son needs and what is offered locally. You know your son best.

tixdy Sat 30-Jun-18 15:12:45

thank you Kate.

Not sure what "Moreno" means though, though I get the "relaxed" feel as important.

Yes will do a tour of local schools - have one in mind. Do you think might be best to leave his current school (not bad, but feeling some more negative 'vibes' re. my son).

KateGrey Sat 30-Jun-18 15:22:30

Sorry typo. More of an inclusive feel. I do think change can be a good thing. If it’s not been positive for your son there maybe he needs a fresh start. Where he isn’t known and labelled “the naughty kid” or “difficult kid”

tixdy Sat 30-Jun-18 15:27:48

thank you Kate.

BoneShaker Sat 30-Jun-18 15:56:00

DS has ASD. He tried out 6th form but it wasn't a good fit. He struggled with the whole ethos of needing to show initiative and take responsibility for independent learning.

He left at the the end of Yr12 and signed up for a BTEC at the local college. He's now coming to the end of his first year and it's been a very good year for him. They are directed a bit more about what needs to be done but he's also learning to work in his own time too.

He doesn't have a statement/EHCP so I wasn't sure what support he would actually get but the college have been really good. They did things like arranging for him to be able to use a laptop for exams, without me even needing to ask. He also has pastoral care/support from his course tutor.

I'm not sure how/why but he's even become a bit happier to mix with the other students. Group work used to be a particular bugbear but he doesn't seem to even mind that quite so much anymore.

He's gone from barely scraping a pass at school to getting merits and distinctions at college. I think it helped too that at BTEC he gets to concentrate on one main subject that really interests him (computing) rather than several different A-Level subjects.

It's worth contacting a mixture of colleges and schools to see what they can offer. Good luck. flowers

tixdy Sat 30-Jun-18 21:24:18

That sounds really good Bone, so glad to hear your DS's positive progress. It makes real sense what you say. Also helpful for me as gives me ideas and feel for what to aim for. I have to try and make the next 3 years as stress-free and comfortable as possible for him and myself. Especially given all the distress and confusion of last few years. Re. his current school, it is meant to be pastorally good, but whenever I have mentioned possible ADHD in last 2 years (in response to complaints or bad behaviour) I'm met with blank faces. I And I would probably get the same if he went to the Sixth Form there.

One more thing. Did your son happily accept your unofficial/official diagnosis? I'm not clear whether you got an official 'diagnosis', or was it just the Educational Statement you didn't bother with? (I will pick my moment to speak to my son about my thoughts, but have a feeling he could well be rejecting of the idea of ASD, at least initially, is why I ask).

Many thanks.

BoneShaker Mon 02-Jul-18 09:38:59

DS's school was a bit like yours. They were lovely people and individually I think they were doing their best to try to make DS' life a bit easier. As a school though, they didn't seem all that well-equipped to deal with things. When things went well, it seemed to be more by luck than design.

DS got his diagnosis just before he left preschool. I explained it to him when he was about 7 or 8 years old. Before that point he really wouldn't have understood.

He took the news of the diagnosis surprisingly well. I think it was probably a relief to know that there was a reason why everyone around him seemed so 'alien' to him.

tixdy Tue 03-Jul-18 12:30:02

thank you Bone.

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