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DS1 meltdown this morning ......Advice

(15 Posts)
time4chocolate Mon 22-Nov-10 12:09:13

HI All

Not a regular poster, more of a lurker and taker of expert advice and tips, however, son ASD (9) had his first meltdown on the way to school this morning. Just as a bit of background, the school requested a statutory assessment for him which was turned down, the reason given that there were a couple of gaps in provision that they felt the school could be providing for him and these have now been put into place by the school. He has clearly been struggling since the age of 5 and is approx 2 years behind academically. Anyway to fast forward to this morning he had his first ever meltdown on the way to school and was absolutely beside himself begging me not to send him in and if I loved him I wouldnt be making him go, he also got really angry and threw a bottle of water around the car. I knew he wasnt happy at school and has high anxiety and is struggling in all areas but this has really shaken me. I got him into school and had a word with the headteacher to let her know what had happened. I cannot let this be a regular occurrence as I am worried about his mental wellbeing.

We have a three month window to get through before we can even apply for another statutory assessment. I am not thinking straight this morning so would be really grateful if any of you mums out there could let me know what options or ideas we can put in place in the meantime to help him. Thanks.

Mustbetimeforwine Mon 22-Nov-10 13:10:24

Hi time4chocolate.

I'm afraid I don't really have advice. My dd is nearly 4 and is possibly on the spectrum but we're right at the beginning so i'm certainly no expert. What I would say though and this is only from what i've heard on here, 9 is quite old to have his first official meltdown. Not that that is going to be much comfort, but i'm sure so many parents will sympathise with you and have this sort of behaviour to deal with on a daily basis. My dd has megga tantrums on a regular basis and will often make a scene wherever we go and it's just such a horrible feeling, I know.

I understand about you wanting to decrease his anxiety levels and school can be a scary place for anyone let alone a child with an asd.

I would say just keep asking the school what they are doing to calm his anxieties. More importantly is it working?

He's not got long before he breaks up for christmas and I don't want to paper over the cracks but i'm sure a break from worrying about how he is doing in school will be much needed. Even if it's just to sort of re boot yourselves.

Try and relax. So much easier said than done I know.

Did he say why he was so reluctant to go to school this morning?

Sending a virtual hug anyway.

time4chocolate Mon 22-Nov-10 13:28:20

Thanks for replying Mustbe - obviously this is not the first meltdown that we have had, as these generally go with the condition, however, DS is very compliant and very quiet in school and if he could would just sit at the back of the class and let it all wash over him. He will suck up whatever problems he is having and keep them to himself, rather than discuss anything with me (finds it difficult to communicate his concerns). Going to school was just part of the routine that he has to go through, hence, this sudden outburst this morning was an indication to me that he cannot take on anymore.
I think you are probably right that being this time of year there is a lot going on ie. last thursday was a children in need day and all schoolchildren wore their pyjamas to school and friday was a fund raising no school uniform day.

Has anyone found their school open to the idea of flexi-schooling when it gets to this stage?

Roll on the Christmas break!!

keepyourmouthshutox Mon 22-Nov-10 13:57:19

Hi time4chocolate

My ds was like yours but less able to explain himself. He was usually very compliant and and quiet but then last year things got quite intense for him and he developed eczema (sp?) and behavioural problems eg. hitting and kicking in school. My ds has a statement but school still treated the problems as behavioural. We are trying to get that sorted out (understatement).

It looks like you are going about it the right way in trying to get a statutory assessment. In the meantime, perhaps you should start trying to keep a record of all meltdowns. See if you can see a pattern. It might also help in your application for assessment. You might also want to keep a record of any behavioural problems at home as it might indicate how stressful he is finding school.

Try to talk to the school about flexi-schooling. Sometimes they are quite open to it. Your school sounds quite supportive and will probably give you work to do with him at home. I know mine would because they can then use his TA for help with other children.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 22-Nov-10 14:41:51

Hi time4choc,

re your comment:-
"We have a three month window to get through before we can even apply for another statutory assessment".

Who has told you this?. I will stand corrected but I thought you could reapply to the LEA straight away if refused.

BTW make the second application yourselves this time around, do not let school do it. School cannot appeal if the LEA say no to assessment but you as parents can. You have far more power than they ever would in this regard. IPSEA would also be helpful; their website is www.ipsea.org.uk.

Seek independent advice from the National Autistic Society as well. If DS is under the care of a developmental paed or CAMHS get them on side now too and inform them of these latest developments.

I would also be trying to seek emergency provision for him re school now, they ought to be able to do something to help your DS. It sounds like he is barely coping there at present by bottling up all his frustrations of the school day then you as Mum cop it all when he is at home.

Al1son Mon 22-Nov-10 14:44:50

This time last year we were in this place with our DD1 who was 12 and had just started high school. She has always been very quiet and compliant in school and we had never recognised how high her anxiety was nor did we know that she has AS. She just got to the stage where it was all too much to cope with. Up to then all her anxieties had been there but nobody had seen them and she'd kept it all to herself.

We tried forcing her to go and it was a very bad move which had a big negative impact on her mental well-being. It took her kicking me into a hedge as I tried to put her on the school bus to make me wake up and realise the damage I was doing. After that I told the school I would not try to force her any more and they had to make school manageable for her. It was the best decision I have ever made.

Our GP referred her to CAMHS who diagnosed severe anxiety and AS. They told us we were right to stop forcing her to go and eventually she got a place in the mainstream autism base on the site of her high school.

Now she has appropriate provision she loves school and can't wait to get there.

My advice would be to work really hard to get the provision at school changed to make it manageable for him. This is a cry for help and you need to be on his side. Don't make the mistake I did and feel that your job is to get him to school. It isn't. Your job is to help him to get an education in an environment where his needs are met. That could be in his current school with some extra support in place or is could be somewhere different.

I hope you find a way to sort this out for him.

time4chocolate Mon 22-Nov-10 18:07:24

Thanks for your advice ladies.

Attilla - I am fairly sure that I have read in my LEA literature that if you have been turned down for assessment then you are not able to apply for six months following the date that you were notified that your request was unsuccessful. However, I know that you are knowledgeable on these things so I will definately dig out my paperwork again and seek clarification from LEA. Do you think that this might be a bit dodgy if this is what they are saying?

Al1son - Sorry to hear about your DD's situation, and can see this could easily end up being us. Glad she is now in a good school and enjoying it. It gives me hope that it is possible that he could one day start enjoying school in the right setting. Will certainly start keeping a diary of episodes and seek some further provision at school. I definately see this as a cry for help so need to action urgently. Thanks for the advice.

Al1son Mon 22-Nov-10 20:29:29

Who applied for the statement?

If the school applied you can apply yourself straight away. If you applied last time you have to wait I'm afraid.

You can download your own copy of the SEN code of practice which has all those details in it.

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/docbank/index.cfm?id= 3724

You could also speak to your local parent partnership if you haven't already. Depending on which area you live in they can be really helpful.

Keep strong. A friend told me last year that it would all get better and I was really dismissive of her. I really thought we'd never sort it and was feeling really helpless. You've probably got quite a fight on your hands but it's worth it and there are plenty of people on here who can support you.

How is CAMHS in your area? Could they help with the anxiety? Ours did that and are still working with her but they also contributed to the statutory assessment and probably made the difference in her getting a statement. It may be worth a visit to your GP.

brandy77 Tue 23-Nov-10 16:12:07

Hi Al1son, can you tell me how CAMHS helped with your daughters anxiety please? My camhs have offered no support to me about my sons anxiety, other than phone support, which is frankly useless as i leave a message and they ring back and listen and suggest not a lot :0(

c0rns1lk Tue 23-Nov-10 16:14:53

brandy do you have any dx - saw your other thread about school refusal

brandy77 Tue 23-Nov-10 16:37:54

hi Corns1lk, my sons behaviour problems are apparently bought on by his hospital admissions, medications etc. his anxiety is very like asd anxiety, needs routine, structure, tantrums/aggression when things go wrong or he refuses school.Camhs just keep saying "he will suffer more anxiety than a normal child", which really doesnt help me with the problem

c0rns1lk Tue 23-Nov-10 16:39:04

was it CAMHS that have said that the anxiety is brought on by his medical appts?

brandy77 Tue 23-Nov-10 16:52:47

yes it was CAMHS. I dont know if they use it as an excuse for his behaviour too be honest or if it is actually because of the hospitals. Hes certainly been through a lot of horrible tests which would give me nightmares. His paed witnessed his behaviour at an outpatients and reported is as "severe emotional disturbance" and said that many of his patients have ADHD etc. Il definitely ask his advice about this again in december when we go.

c0rns1lk Tue 23-Nov-10 16:55:10

Yes paed sounds more helpful -may be able to give a 2nd opinion

brandy77 Tue 23-Nov-10 16:56:52

thanks corns1lk, apt cant come quick enough, will be finding out if they are starting my son on growth hormone treatment. thankyou.x

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