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Really concerned about extremely anxious year 11 Dd.. school not much help... advice please(14 Posts)
Hello! I apologise in advanced; this is most likely going to turn into a massive rant, i'm lost at what to do next.
So, DD is in year 11, gifted but dyslexic... now that is about all i can 100% say she is as some teachers tell me she is
the work of the devil challenging, where as others say shes quiet and anxious. Anxious i agree with... she has always been a worrier.
At the end of October she sat
a hell of a lot a full series of exams.
Her results looked as it they were sat by 2 different people they are: 2 9s, 2 8s, 2 7s, 1 and 3 Us.
She did not cope with this at all; her anxiety went sky high, worst it has been since changing schools in year 9. Her body focused repetitive behaviours returned , scratching and lip biting, as well as regular panic attacks. After this period of mocks her 'bad' / 'coping' / i've no idea as everyone wants to call it something different behaviour returned. In the form of truanting lessons, avoiding situations she finds difficult (e.g assemblies, English lessons, social situations) and refusing to work. These have not gone away and are causing her to get in a lot of trouble at school (some quite rightly so) however DD is getting extremely stressed and building higher barriers.
We had parents evening last Thursday. Not one teacher could say the same thing about her... it went from "the barriers need holding and she needs to realise she cant get away with this, needs to work harder and revise more" to "she needs support, take the pressure off herself and relax". Honestly i felt like every teacher i spoke to was talking about a completely different child, and they're are all taking different, conflicting approaches to dealing with her.
I spoke to the year 11 SEN lead and all she basically said was "she's in the top pathways, getting ok results there is not much we can do to support her. She has her exam access in place and uses it. She needs to toughen up and buckle down."
This was completely different from the weekly chats i'm having with DDs mentor, who is telling me she needs support.
Now if i'm honest i'm not really sure what i'm asking. Any ideas or advice on what to and where to go next? . All i know is i have an extremely stressed, anxious DD who does not want to go back to school and, in my eyes, is not coping.
Thanks in advanced, was nice to let it all out.
Have you spoken to the GP about the anxiety?
My dd is in Y11 too and this all came to a head for her around February in Y10. We, with the school, made a decision to put her on a reduced timetable as she was skipping a lot of lessons anyway. So we stuck to the essential subjects and the ones she is good at and dumped the others. She won’t need them later in life or as her education progresses and it wasn’t worth the stress she was under.
FWIW I think a lot of kids in Y11 are struggling under the new curriculum.
It maybe worth considering an ASD assessment. My DS is 11 and suspected ASD and he struggles to cope with too many exams, English imaginative, will avoid lessons etc. The schools Senco should be supporting you with this, assessment via doctors but senco can put support in place for anxiety / asd without diagnosis. If they are reluctant I have found contacting the LEAs SEND team very helpful in shifting them. With my son its best to cut back what he has to cope with.
I would be very wary of school putting too much pressure on her, its support she needs not discipline. My DS is allowed to leave situations were it gets too much and work 1 on 1.
Is she under CAMHS? I’d take her to the gp to start off with
Hmm. Have you ever looked into ASD? Aspie girls can be very Jekyll and Hyde. I would definitely be wanting to see someone about that level of anxiety poor girl
Does she have an official identification of dyslexia? If so they need to put support in based on that. anxiety can be linked with dyslexia so a support package should be provided to support all of her needs & behaviours based on her dyslexic identification.
Unfortunately schools do not have money available to provide all the support that may be needed, especially if the student doesn't have an EHCP.
Do they have a counsellor in school? Is so, get her in the referral list. Also, insist that school do a CAMHS referral too. You need to pinpoint exactly why she is anxious, and in which lessons. There could be myriad reasons, and unless you know, you could go down the wrong path. My DD was similar and I took her to the GP, who pretty much said it was just a phase she was going through. We noticed that she was a dream student in the lessons she excelled in, and she loved those teachers. Where she didn't like the teacher, she was a nightmare and did badly. There's a fine line between supporting and enabling, but only you can judge this as you know her best.
ASD is something i raised with both her secondary schools, as well as her primary, was told in all cases it is unlikely as she does not struggle socially. School are very reluctant to allow her to drop the non core subjects, due to progress and attainment 8 figures!
She does have an official identification of dyslexia, which was done privately as the school (not current; previous secondary and primary) were utterly useless. She does not receive much support in the form of in class support or interventions because she is in the top sets, pathway and "these classes are not supported due to low numbers of SEN kids"
She refuses to go to GP, always has done, hospitals ect. She is hard to talk to too, there are very few, and far between, adults she will talk to and trust (which takes long enough for her to trust)
My dad (13) has v bad anxiety, she also has Aspergers. She was put on Risperidone which helped a lot with the irritability from the ASpergers, but her anxiety then showed more and seemed to get worse (but could just have been hidden by the anger previously).
Two weeks ago she started on Fluoxetine, it’s like a miracle. She is so much happier and her terrible anxiety/ocd has retreated massively.
I know what you mean re conflicting advice too, we had ‘you need to be harder on her’ and also ‘you must be softer, she can’t help it’. Last 5 years have been miserable, the guilt feelings no matter what you do are terrible. And the camhs route - might be good but it took 3 months for initial appointment and will be at least another 3-6 months for follow up appointment. We went private eventually as were desperate for her to be happy again (or at least not anxious).
Hope it gets better for both of you x
I think some good advice here, I would also telephone or email school with regards to inconsistent approach. Teachers need to be aware of anxieties and a plan put in place going forward. If you suggest that results will be affected by anxiety they will want to act. You will both feel better with a plan in place.
My dd also has ASD diagnosis, didn’t mention earlier as possibly not relevant.
The school are not qualified to say if she is ASD or not, an Ed Psych also can't say by us at least but would have a much better idea. My DS is suspected Aspergers and very similar behaviour to your DD - Ed Psych report on him initially wrong diagnosis of anxiety then second one brought in when first failed and said suspected ASD.
You could push for Ed Psych referral. We were refused help initially with the there's no budget / he's very bright argument but LEA said all schools have a SEN budget (its not ringfenced though) and I phoned LEA SEND team who pointed out to school all the things they could and should be doing. Since October we have had Ed Psych, 1-2-1 for 1 hour a day, him let out of non-core lessons, felxibility re homework etc. Only person who can diagnosis ASD is via referral from GP. Often missed in girls and co-occuring with dyslexia is not uncommon. If you think she may have this I would go to GP alone if needed and get a referral. Quite how you get her to appointments after that I don't know, we have same with school refusal.
School can also get someone in from the specialist teaching service to observe her (she won't know) and make recommendations on a way forward. ASD diagnosis is slow - 2 years here - CAHMS pretty bad too but Ed Psych can come through in a month or so. It's very hard to get schools to help with SEN at times but I've always found they do if you keep asking politely but firmly. They are better if you say I want x, y, z than a vague I want help. You may need to go up from person you spoke to or involve SENDIASS or LEA - LEA don't have power any more but know rules and I have always found them effective at getting things done. Hope you manage to find a solution.
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