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secondary school son struggling- advise please if you can?

(10 Posts)
starfish71 Wed 28-Sep-11 15:20:11

Hello, do post albeit rarely but frequent lurker and really need good advise.

Have two DS's DS2 (7) ASD is now at a ASD unit attached to small mainstream primary and fingers crossed is doing well for now (started this month). Had to fight a bit to get him there but did it and he seems happy! DS1 (12) nearly 13 has diagnosis of Dyspraxia and social and communication difficulties but not enough when he was last assessed for ASD diagnosis.

DS1 coped quite well with year 7, few difficulties with some of the teachers, he is a bright boy but if he want to say something out it comes even when it is not always appropriate. Had a great Head of year who really helped smooth issues out.

During the summer DS1 didn't want to socialise at all and it was very difficult to get him out of the house at all, though we did get him out he couldn't wait to get back home. I was really upset when I was suggesting to him that maybe we could arrange for one of his school friends to come over when he said that he didn't need friends.

I knew this year was going to be harder for him as he had to start catching the service bus to school, gets dropped by bus station then picked up by grandpa from bus stop on way home, he has also fallen out with his longest lasting friend who just seemed to have grown up more than DS and has moved on leaving DS1 behind.

DS1 goes to school then comes home exhausted and sleeps on the sette, wakes for food then either sleeps again or goes on his laptop. He is finding the noise of school increasingly difficult to deal with, teachers keep commenting in his planner that he is making silly comments, even meowing in class, something he sometimes does at home but have not known him to do this in school before.

We had a meeting with his head of year yesterday (luckily same one as last year) and have got a few things in place for him. She is going to get him seen by the EP next month, arrange a new IEP (which hasn't been renewed since he went up to secondary), given him a time out card if he is feeling stressed, arranging a room where he can eat at lunchtime with some of his classmates instead of eating in canteen or going outside (which they aren't allowed to do until they have eaten), arranged a homework book so teachers can let us know exactly what he needs to do for homework, he is really struggling to complete homework at present.

REALLY sorry this is looking really long...

He really didn't want to go yesterday and we found out that he fell asleep in his first lesson - head in his bag- subject he is struggling in - and was sent to the office where he was allowed to relax for a bit before going back to class.

I really feel I have dropped the ball with DS1, last year was very hard fighting for DS2 and the placement he needed but I thought DS1 was coping and I feel really awful that DS1 is clearly not coping.

Apart from what his school is putting in place is there any thing else I can do? Spoke to CAMHS and although he is still on their books they won't reassess him until they get more evidence from EP etc.

Feeling really crap and stressed. If you have read all of this thank you very much, any advise welcome.

starfish71 Wed 28-Sep-11 15:23:31

I of course mean advice..oh my head is in the shed.

bigbluebus Wed 28-Sep-11 15:54:56

DS is 14 & has a diagnosis of HFA - but only just! He too makes inappropriate comments at school but in DS's case he fully intends to say it - he just thinks it will be funny and get a laugh from the other boys. He doesn't feel he fits in so tries to 'entertain' the class so they don't think he is a geek!
He is in yr 10 now and has never invited any of his 'school friends' over during the holidays - nor has he been invited to them. He does have a friend in the village that he went to primary school with though but he has to be encouraged to contact the friend rather than it always being the friend contacting him - so I think he is quite happy to play on computer/PS3 by himself anyway.
I did organise a number of activities for him over the summer as the thought of 6 weeks on PS3 was too much for me to bear - but he actually quite enjoyed the activities and admitted the holidays went quickly.
My DS doesn't have the issue with lots of noise but does go to computer room at lunchtime rather than go outside. DS did used to make silly noises in class but this stopped at secondary school - thank goodness.

It sounds like your sons school are being supportive which is one less worry for you - but I think I would be concerned about the amount of time your DS is sleeping. Is he sleeping at night or is all the stress of school preventing him from getting to sleep? If he is sleeping at night and still falling asleep on the sofa and in lessons, I think I would be paying the GP a visit.

Is there any activity that your DS would like to take part in outside the house - maybe something that is an 'individual' activity or something he could do with you. My DS goes lane swimming - everyone just ploughs up and down and noone bothers him. He also goes indoor climbing with his dad (DH learned to''belay' so he could take DS).

Sorry. I've probably not been much help but wanted you to know you are not alone. Hopefully the EP appointment will open a few more doors. Don't beat yourself up over 'dropping the ball' with DS1 - you sound like you've had a lot to deal with for DS2 - and there are only so many hours in the day!

starfish71 Wed 28-Sep-11 17:39:26

Thank you bigbluebus for your reply, I am going to get DS to the doctors, just to rule any physical problems, I suspect it is more stress to be honest. He really didn't want to be in that lesson yest (revising for a test) and was more like he zoned out. But will get it checked, at least I will be doing something.

Am going to try and get him out this weekend, even if we go in the evening when it is quieter, we are lucky to live near the sea so will put the scooters in the back and even if it is a hour out it will do us all good.

Just wish he wasn't so stressed, awful to see a 12 year old so anxious, just had call from his head of year, he left school grounds today to go to the park with one of his friends, wasn't far from school and teacher spotted him but it is just another worry. He is so not streetwise, it is proving to be an awful week. There is a fun day on Friday too, he is not going to cope with that so may speak to teacher tomorrow and tell them I will pick him up early.

God, I sound completely unable to get a grip don't I?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 28-Sep-11 18:59:06


My son is in Y8 so can relate to stuff like planners!.

In your position I would write to the LEA requesting that your son is statutorily assessed with a view to obtaining a statement of special needs. You can do this; your son needs extra support which the school long term may not be able to give him on School action plus. I would also sound out the school and the SENCO about how they feel about a statement (but I would still apply for it in any event personally).

IEP is all very well and good but you need something more concrete than that alone. Its also known on this board as "Individual Empty Promise".

Good too see also that EP is going into see your son next month; that report will be helpful when it comes to statementing. It is clear to me that his needs are not being fully met by school although they are trying very hard to help him with his sensory type problems.

With regards to the GP I would see this person and ask him to refer you to a developmental paediatrician.

Use IPSEA's template letter on their website

squidworth Wed 28-Sep-11 19:27:52

My eldest is a year older his tiredness comes from in his words "being someone else all the time". He finds conforming at school exhausting add that to the ever long drama of puberty he is knackered. I allow him to be himself out of school, he still has the mentality that his friends at school (more like acquaintances) are school friends only. His home is his haven where he can be his own person. He is allowed to basically do his own thing once he has walked a neighbours dog and his morning routine is down to 15 mins a shower, toast and out the door so he can spend more time sleeping. He is allowed time out in class when exhausted to avoid the over loading he feels. He is improving but I put this down to puberty starting to subside. He also uses a laptop to reduce the effort he finds in writing so many notes.

starfish71 Wed 28-Sep-11 21:47:02

Thank you Atilla, I did apply for assessment when DS was in year 6 at primary and got turned down, I didn't appeal as really THEN he did seem to have lots of support and seemed he would cope in secondary. Stupid I know as should have known that DS's difficulties may well increase with the added pressure in a secondary school, especially going into year 8 where it all starts to get serious, work wise, what is expected etc.. Made a mistake in my OP post it is November that he should be seen.

Have typed a letter tonight to Head of year, just confirming everything we discussed at meeting and stressing how high his stress levels are this week, also asked to pick him up early Friday due to Fun Day.

Thank you too squidworth, DS uses a laptop too which does help alot. That sounds so like my DS. His life is compartmenatlised (not sure if I have spelt that right!) having a medicinal glass of wine...

Thank you all so much, really is helping that I am not alone.

starfish71 Fri 30-Sep-11 18:47:00

Just wanted to say that we had the ok from DS1's school to let him stay at home today as it was 'fun day' and they understood how stressed he had been this week.

The tension really visibly lifted from him last night when we told him and after a bit of a lie in this morning we managed to get him out for a run in the car, and although he is still very stressed about dealing with school and to be honest just being out he coped today and I know we have a long way to go but at least for now he is that bit more relaxed.

PipinJo Fri 30-Sep-11 19:49:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

starfish71 Sat 01-Oct-11 11:26:24

Hi pipinjo. DS has Dyspraxia and has always had sensory issues and has been assessed for ASD two years ago and they said although there are traits there wasn't enough for a dx.

DS has always had some difficulty with social interaction and friendships but is becoming more noticeable as he gets older. Has had OT input for the dyspraxia but not for sensory issues so will def look into that.

DS tells me no one is bullying him but just can't deal with the noise of school and that he doesn't need friends. I think he is saying this as he is struggling making strong friendships.

He doesn't have any 1:1 in school. School are looking into getting him counselling.

They are being supportive at present but I am going to be prepared to ask for statutory assessment even though we were turned down 2 years ago.

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