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What would you do next? Ds school anxiety

(30 Posts)
flowwithit Wed 03-Oct-12 21:13:48

He is 12yrs and has a ASD dx HF but has more difficulty in some areas than others. He is in ms secondary school but is really struggling with terrible anxiety at school again.
I am really worried because he ended up on mess last yr due to panic attacks. It's all the changes too mant people and noise different classrooms and rushing around and germs he finds so difficult. I don't know what help to ask for. We didn't get statement because he doesn't need extra help with his work at the moment.

flowwithit Wed 03-Oct-12 21:14:47

Sorry that should read he ended up on meds last yr

wasuup3000 Wed 03-Oct-12 22:18:15

bump

cornsconkers Thu 04-Oct-12 18:30:02

apply again for the statement.
Did school apply last time?
do you have a report from an OT regarding sensory needs?

joencaitlinsmum Fri 05-Oct-12 13:36:12

Hi Flo

My DS is same age as your DS with exact same DX, he doesnt have a statement either but really suffers with anxiety as well.

Sometimes we are at a real loss as to help him with his anxieties his are mainly being left without an adult, the school he is at we choose for its exceptional pastorial system we were lucky last year as him and his head of house really hit it off and she was great with him well above anything that was expected of her, this year they changed the system a bit and I was dreading it, but its been ok so far in I dont know if this is because he is learning to cope better or is just used to the routine now?

He has a designated quiet place and often takes himself there or to the library when the noise levels get too much. He also carrys around a stress toy in his pocket as fiddling with it calms him down.

My DS had CBT about 18 months ago, he doesnt seem able to use the strategies himself but I found it usefull in how we tackled things with him trying to reason the logical explanations behind his fears and what really would happen and how he can deal with it. Sometimes it works other times it does'nt!

Sorry I dont have any real answers, but wanted to offer some practical advise.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 05-Oct-12 13:43:02

"We didn't get statement because he doesn't need extra help with his work at the moment".

Statement criteria is based on need for one, not receiving one because of the abvove reason should not be accepted by yourself. Reapply for the statement asap. Statements can also be put in place to address social/communication needs.

joeandcaitlin - would suggest that you also apply for a statement for your son.

flowwithit Fri 05-Oct-12 13:57:18

Thank you for your replies.
I think we will probably have to apply for a statement even though the school don't want us to. They have been ok at understanding but I think it needs a more formal arrangement. I'm going to see the senco next week.
Does anyone know if its possible to reduce his subject size just to core ones as that might take some pressure off him.
I am seeing him go down hill at the moment and I'm really worried so I need to try and do something to help him.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 05-Oct-12 14:05:21

There's no probably about it, I would put in a request to your LEA for a statement asap.

Your DS should already be on SA plus as he has seen professional people over the years and they would have given him an ASD diagnosis.

Have the school actually tried to explain their stance over not wanting yourselves as parents to apply for a statement?. This seems daft to me as apart from anything else you can appeal in the event the LEA say no to statutory assessment, school cannot.

Your son may well end up doing all core subject papers for GCSE but I do know that at my son's school this process has not yet started and will not do until next year.

joencaitlinsmum Fri 05-Oct-12 14:41:29

Maybe I am being naive but I dont actually see what good it would do in getting my DS a statement, he has been offered support at school in lessons and apart from where he struggles with his fine motor skills doesnt want the help.

He is getting extra help with his english and is in top set for most other subjects. Teachers and his mentor help him when he feels anxious but they cant take away every aspect of life that makes him feel the way he does.

I have to say that I work in school and dont believe that all children with statements get the right help they need anyway and often TA's are employed on a low wage and have no experience of SEN unless they are in or have worked in a special school. And as for ed pysc's dont get me started on how incompetant most of them are!

This may come across as being negative and I could cry myself when I see him anxious and I cant do anything about it but just dont believe its the right route for us.

flowwithit Fri 05-Oct-12 20:50:17

Yes it sounds like you are in a good school and if he is getting support there is no need to change what you are doing.
My ds is only getting a few nice chats with the senco but no other formal support so I think need to do something to ensure he gets a bit more. I've got a meeting now so I hope the school will understand that despite them trying to be understanding it's just not enough and he is still very anxious.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 06-Oct-12 08:26:35

joeandcaitlin

I can see your point.

Bear in mind though that a statement gives legal protection which other things like SA plus simply do not do. Also such support can be too easily pulled or simply withdrawn. With a statement they cannot just change the level of support as and when they feel like it. Also they can be used to address social and communication needs, not just academic ones.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Sat 06-Oct-12 09:34:56

It is in the interests of schools/LEAs to focus on academic needs but we as parents need to see the bigger picture. It would appear that your DS is suffering extreme anxiety (requiring medication) as a result of school failure to meet social and communication needs relating to his ASD dx. This situation can not be ignored or tolerated. The fact that he doesn't need additional help with his work at the moment is irrelevant. There are things that can and should be done and it is important that interventions are formalised in a statement not least so that all teachers over his entire education understand his needs.

I don't know how bad things are for DS and you at the moment but you have to consider that things are not going to get better unless the school do something different. In my personal experience - and in the experience of many - the consequences of severe school anxiety have increased (impact on self-esteem, impact on family relationships, impact on ablity to attend school) not reduced. We all hope that the worse will not happen. However, where anxiety has developed and may potentially impact on ability to attend in the future, you will be in a stronger position if you have applied for a statement or are in the assessment process or have a statement.

I don't have the link but also google the 'sensory processing disorder checklist' (add 'pdf' to print)

whatthewhatthebleep Sat 06-Oct-12 10:50:34

I think a visit to your GP about the meds again would be a good idea too.
I'd also be talking about 'in the meantime' for your DS within School and whether it is possible that he can be still doing his work but perhaps not need to be in every class...does the school have a support base/somewhere quiet where DS could retreat to when he feels overwhelmed?....this may help with whats happening right now for DS
He should have a contact/support teacher or someone he can check-in with regularly...especially if he is feeling anxious at particular times and a time out would help him. Can your DS go anywhere quiet/relaxed during breaks/lunch, etc...this may help too....somewhere he can be out of the environment so he can relax and have a break from the anxiety...maybe sit with a friend or something?
Maybe this is already happening but if not there are lots of things and flexibility is needed if DS is going to be able to manage better at all at school.

I hope things can be agreed and put in place for DS that really help him.
For my DS none of these interventions helped him, we are seeking a specialist provision now and my DS is not in any school at the moment. He is S1 like your DS and the advent of HS has proved too much for him to cope with at all.

I hope you can turn this around for your DS soon. It's awful to see our children suffer in this way and impacts so heavily on everything for them.

flowwithit Mon 08-Oct-12 15:27:43

I just want to say thank you all for replying to my post. smile
All advice and opinions are important and I am trying to face up to my Ds difficulties. It is not easy to help him and he is not happy at all since starting at secondary school. There is also the impact on us as a family and the stress it causes too. It's now his second year so I had hoped things might settle down a bit.
I realise now that isn't happening and it is affecting him badly so I am really worried about the long term result of this now. I will be formalising things with the school and asking for SA then a statement. We might have to ask for a reduction in his subjects as well and possibly just do core ones?
I know I'm not the only one having trouble like this so thanks again for your support and advice.

flowwithit Mon 08-Oct-12 19:33:42

Difficult day today not sure how I'm going to get him back in tomorrow

whatthewhatthebleep Mon 08-Oct-12 21:46:53

flow I'm so sorry for your Ds...poor boy he is so overwhelmed and upset.

Is it just feeling like it's 'everything' for him or did something happen today that threw him off kilter?
Maybe the last straw...sort of feeling for him?

It's so difficult a situation and very hard to know how to handle it tonight and into the morning...the routine of getting up and getting there....etc and not knowing how forceful to be about it when he is so obviously suffering.

I'm so sorry for you all....my Ds just locked himself in the bathroom in the end and had a huge meltdown ... I had to completely back off then and we are at home now until we have secured a suitable specialist provision for him. Ds is taking meds for severe anxiety and I'm walking on egg shells most of the time and just trying to support him as best I can.

Sending you big hugs and much strength xxx

flowwithit Mon 08-Oct-12 22:33:49

Thanks whatthe... For words of support you are obviously in a very difficult place too and I hope you are coping ok.
You know where I'm coming from as your poor ds sounds quite similar. I'm so sorry to hear he is having such a terrible time, and it's heartbreaking to see and feel them suffer like this. Ikwym about egg shells and not knowing what's best to do. As you said there is no one thing that can put it right because it seems to just be school environment whatever i do doesn't seem to make much difference. Just got to keep trying and not give up!
Sending you hugs of support backsmile

cornsconkers Tue 09-Oct-12 08:16:32

Flow have you looked at any other schools? If the environment is wrong you won't be able to change that.

flowwithit Tue 09-Oct-12 09:18:47

Thanks corn... We have thought about that but he won't go on a coach and other schools would be too far.
He is HF so in ms school.
As far as local schools go I thought this would be most suitable for him and it is smaller than the others. The ideal would be a very small school and reduced curriculum. Nowhere like that here.
He has gone in today.
During the summer he was lovely and more relaxed but now since going back to school he is anxious upset and snappy again. All he wants to do is play on the computer when he's not in school when i try to get him off it he gets upset saying school is misery and he is reluctant to go out anywhere at all.
I have tried to put the windows live timer on it but it doesn't seem to be working so i will look at the settings again. I feel exhausted already but need to pick myself up and get things sorted for him.

whatthewhatthebleep Tue 09-Oct-12 11:08:47

I would be fairly sure that if another school in your area is going to suit your DS better in being able to meet his needs, etc, that the LA would be covering the transport costs to and from...by taxi or similar.
Has this not been discussed with you? I really think you need to push for a better schooling option if you have one suitable for DS...transport is not the issue and would need to be put in place if it was agreed that the school option was right for your DS...it's part of their duty to make education accessible to your DS and that means they must provide the means of getting to and from the provision.

My DS often uses his gaming/laptop to escape his day or whatever is making him stressed. He uses it to calm down...goes shooting up games which release his tension, frustration and anger...it's like self soothing for them. It's also the only way my DS has of socialising with peers/others as he has no friends and can't go out, etc. His gaming provides an awful lot for him...honestly, I wouldn't limit it too much if it is your DS's outlet for his emotions and soothing him from the day.....better to go a shootem up game for a while, than keep it bottled up iykwim

joencaitlinsmum Tue 09-Oct-12 13:29:34

Dear Flow

You say he won't go on a coach? Our goal last year was just to get our DS going on a school bus (he hates being without an adult) yet he took to it like a duck to water mainly I think because he knew he had to do it as it was the one school he liked and felt comfortable at when we did the visits so had to get used to using it in order to go as I couldnt drive him.

We started off by driving the route first so he could see where he was going, then he got the more local bus from town home (I saw him on one end and MIL saw him off the other 5 minute journey!), then we walked together to bus stop and eventually he did the walk himself a couple of times before the start of term.

I was so prepared for many calls saying come and get me, I had to talk to him on his mobile until he got to the bus stop every morning for most of last year but that has stopped now.

We have had a few panics along the way, other issues like kids throwing food etc , bus not leaving on time etc but it has got better.

Our next challenge is sorting his teeth/jaw out as he has severe problems that require orthadontist treatment at hospital, the anxiety starts days before we go and he is a nervous wreck waiting to go in for his appointment and we have years ahead of this unfortunetly.

HTH

Penneyanne Tue 09-Oct-12 14:18:46

Oh ladies,just marking my place here and watching with interest.My ds is due to start secondary next year and I know anxiety is going to be a huge issue here also.Unfortunately,we will also be heading for the orthodontists chair which I am not looking forward tosad.
With ds,the anxiety seems to be intensifying as he gets older,which I was not really expectingconfused.

flowwithit Tue 09-Oct-12 17:08:58

We did try that for a while with the coach as I thought it would eventually be ok because it's only a 15 min journey. He was so stressed and got teased etc so we stopped it and I collect him now.

flowwithit Tue 09-Oct-12 17:46:16

Btw hi pennyanne
like you I have found my Ds getting much more anxious now he is older and I thought it would get better too.
We have been told that now if you have average IQ it will be very difficult to get statement I feel we are going to have a real struggle on our hands.
I have read about what some people have been through on here and been put off trying! It seems like its always a nightmare and things are already stressful i wasnt sure i had fight in me sadBut I now think I have to at least try as I don't want him back on meds again. Think I might end up on the meds though instead!

Penneyanne Wed 10-Oct-12 00:14:36

Hi Flow,I was so sorry to see your ds was having a tough time-I came across another thread you were on recently and was dismayed to see things had gone downhillsad.As you say,all you can do is try -otherwise you will always wonder whatif.Its the same story here with the computer games.Such a stress-busting outlet-he comes in from school and once homework is done he is on the computer and the noise/shouts etc that come from the room is like a pressure cooker letting off steam as he gets engrossed in a game.hmm. But as someone else said,he could be doing worse things really, especially given how much pent-up anxiety these poor boys have each day after schoolsad.

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