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My year 11 child is not coping at school . Can any teachers advise please?(11 Posts)
I have posted elsewhere but was advised to post here too.
DC is miserable about school, nightly meltdowns , very anxious, started to wet the bed, grades dropping. Can't cope with the noise in class or other pupils. Has had issues with bullying in the past and there is a kid there at the moment who is seriously worrying them.
Masks at school perfectly so no one will help us, been to the GP, Young Minds and school and Senco. GP refers to Camhs and Camhs refuse us Has diagnosed conditions but I feel is probably on the spectrum too.
I feel I either leave school with a mentally broken child who scrapes grades or a happy and secure child with no grades .
Things are awful and no one seems to want to help us because at school they just nod and say nothing and then explode when they get through the front door .
What if anything can or should school be doing and how do I get them to listen
Just to add anxiety about exams and mocks has been horrendous.
Have you considered home education? You can still do gcses although reduced number, and you pay to enter as an external candidate. Some you would need to switch to igcse like English Language because of spoken element.
And I'd be pressing gp for help with anxiety, and depression.
If they are masking well at school then that's going to add an extra level of complication as what you see will be different to school.
The threshold for CAMHS in some areas is increasingly high so I'm not surprised you're struggling to get seen.
It might be worth asking school directly if they have in house mentors who can help. I would try to contact a member of staff your child gets on with well, say you know they aren't their tutor (unless the person is), but they're an adult in school your child really trusts.
I've had a few chats like that from parents and then I've followed it up with a 1-1 with the students and passed on what I've seen (along with the parent). Sometimes that can be quite helpful if a child is masking in school as sometimes it just takes a trusted adult in school and then lots comes out.
Sounds like my DC, but fortunately we've got the support of our GP. We're waiting for a referral to the medical education service of the Council, who will apparently send a tutor 3 times a week for up to 14 weeks.
Our local college will do a GCSE course in a year for kids who have had medical problems - is it worth looking into something like that to take the weight off?
The transition can be hugely stressful. My dc1 experienced the same. Eventually the school educational psychologist became involved and that has helped. I first looked at a private speech and language therapist and asked the school if they would accept them coming in to observe. I got fed up waiting a year for the EP. Once I mentioned the SALT the school offered the EP and we didnt need to proceed. We still don't have a diagnosis but with dc1 it may not be essential.
School should be interested in the bullying. I'd persist with the head of year. Some form tutors seem to pass these things to them anyway. I'd also persist with the SENCO. Ask what can be done for him at graduated response. (SEN support).
In the meantime maybe look for ways to relieve the pressure on your ds? Sensory sensitivities can be a considerable stressor. These aren't always understood in schools. Maybe explore these with ds and pass them to the SENCO? You may have done this already. It's so hard when they are this miserable. I moved dc2 after 2 terms in secondary as he just didn't settle. He's much happier now. But this may not be the case with your ds and it wouldn't have been ideal for my dc1. I hope it improves.
You need to go back to head of year or house at school and SENCO. Arrange a face to face if you can. Talk about the bed wetting etc
I am positive they will listen. If it was a child in my firm I'd want to know. It's part of our job to be that trusted adult.
May be worth trying to get a private diagnosis of you can afford it.
How much money can you throw at it?
Up to 5k one off private ed psych to do full assessment
£300 one off private consultant psych consult at somewhere like great Portland street hospital.
£20-30 a week private counsellor
£3000-4000 a year, pull the kid out school and sign up to an online school like inter high.
Nothing. Talk to college about the possibility of doing the GCSEs there
The online school would be the best option imo and would offer continuity onto GCSEs
I had the same problems with my DS, he had already been diagnosed ASD in primary school & had been treated for anxiety & depression with a psychologist for his first year at secondary, we have now been on a waiting list for more psychology for 18 months, been rejected by CAMHS as he "doesn't fit their criteria" He had an awful first 3 years at secondary, was badly bullied, couldn't cope with the change from primary to secondary, has cut himself, run away from home & has now cleared off to live with his dad, he's 15 next month & in the middle of his GCSE's, if they don't get him some help soon he will probably end up failing them. He's a bright kid but he isn't getting the support he needs. Mental health services for children are falling apart, most schools are useless & turn the blame on the parents, they won't admit that one size doesn't fit every child, you have to fight for every tiny thing that your child needs.
We've been through similar situation in some respect, but already with a diagnosis and a statement/ EHCP.
I am sorry I don't have any good answers, even for my DC. I would just share what I can say. It is not necessarily the case that the school and CAMHS won't help, but that you will have to work very hard on them helping your DS. ASD is always an uphill long term struggle.
In my experience once anxiety and meltdowns start, you need to deal with that first, remove the triggers, otherwise it might escalate to school refusal and crash out. Tell the school that you are trying to prevent that situation, that the stress and demands of GCSEs have triggered new needs, a developing crisis.. I am not sure it is possible to have 'a happy and secure child with no grades ', the grades situation will feed the insecurity, anxiety and low self esteem for years ahead. Ideally, you need to have a plan that salvages both. Do you know what triggers the problem? He might be used to doing little at home, while new GCSEs require a lot of practice and homework and writing in lessons, so he is falling behind. Can you make a revision and homework schedule and revise with your DS? It might just give him the confidence and control he needs. It might be the only quick fix. Can you afford tutoring?
Try reading the 'starting secondary school' thread on this board, approaching 1000 posts, Penguinpanda's posts might give you some ideas of what the school could do that works.
You need to put ASD on the table. Try to calm down and make a plan. Do you have local parents support group / networks for SEN? Or at least Parent Partnership? Try to find out what can be done in your area for ASD/anxiety in year 11, what the dx threshold is, who are the gate keepers (names) for diagnosis and for SEN support, for anxiety support, what has been done successfully in your situation. You don't have to take what they say, but it will give an indication of what the system for ASD is in your LA. Talk to SOSSEN, they always have very pertinent advice. You need to figure out what you need the school to do, what you need the NHS to do and what you have to do to make it happen.
First Senco, they don't have to have a diagnosis to start helping. In addition your DS already has a diagnosed condition, so they ought to be talking to you. Dropping grades should be visible at school, bed wetting is a very serious symptom, they can't just ignore you saying it. Masking and meltdowns at home are typical for ASD. Go back to Senco. Expand the conversation to ASD and anxiety. As Maisy said, find teachers who would see things, but just can't put a name to what they are seeing, help them to understand it could be ASD and it is anxiety. Meet with them or ask a joined meeting with the Senco. Document all problems, show there is a pattern for ASD, show what the triggers are, show what helps, put it in writing in a letter to Senco. Does the Senco understand ASD? Talk to her passionately, touch some emotion. Sencos usually have children with SEN. Do they have a school counselling service? If necessary get a meeting with the head of year and the headteacher. You want to get through to them that you have a DC possibly on the spectrum that has an escalating anxiety and is not coping, and you need an emergency action plan, to prevent your DS crashing out of GCSEs. You may need to define what you want them to do. Do you need an urgent sensory diet (OT), provisions made in form of small group and 1:1 support, safe space at school to calm down and do some work, revision and homework support, anti bullying action? Do you want them to write something about failing grades, call EP and OT assessments? Take notes, document everything. You will need to go step by step through the SEN processes.
Make a diary of what happens every day, does it show a pattern for anxiety and ASD? Go back to the GP ask a referral to the paediatrician, to the psychiatrist re ASD. Continue keeping your diary.
Obviously an independent diagnosis and assessments for Psychiatry, OT, EP, ADOS are available and could be the way to go...
Is there youth counselling service in your area? Would you be able to pay?
Unless you are prepared to home educate, you need yourself at home and then the school to diffuse the triggers and put your DS back on track and this means you need to go through the SEN processes.
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