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11yo DD Aspergers and extreme anxiety re school

(17 Posts)
sugaraddict Tue 02-Jul-13 23:30:41

My 11 yr old DD was diagnosed with Aspergers at the beginning of the year. She seemed almost relieved to have an explanation for her difficulties and things weren't too bad for a while. If anything the ASD traits became more pronounced as if she felt it was ok to be herself for the first time.
However she's in yr 6 and will be going to secondary school in September. Just after the Sats she developed extreme sensory issues to the point of her not being able to wear any of her clothes. She had to miss a day of school while I went to get her new soft leggings and Tshirts which is all she's worn since. Also started having real difficulties with the school environment, the noise and all the social stuff especially as there's a lot less structure after the Sats. She's withdrawing from the couple of friends she had and says she only wants to be with her family.
It's been getting harder and harder to get her to school. She just keeps saying that she doesn't like school and doesn't like people and getting really distressed.
Her new school is one she very much wanted to go to but no one from her primary is going. She found the day for the new yr 7s last week extremely stressful and said she couldn't speak to anyone and doesn't know how to make friends.
Basically everything is too much for her and we are seriously worried for her mental health. She was up until after 10 tonight crying and saying she was weird. Now she's in bed and I've been crying because I just don't know how to help her.
Has anyone been through anything similar with the transition to secondary and did it get better? I'm at my wit's end and don't know how we'll get through the rest of the term.

whenwilligetsomesleep Thu 04-Jul-13 08:01:26

You should move this tithe special needs children section. Sure there would be lots of replies and advice.

Eyesunderarock Thu 04-Jul-13 08:49:21

Poor love, she is responding to the huge changes in her life at so many different levels, and she seems to be overloading.
So, suggestions and not certainties, all children on the spectrum are different.
Transition needs to be handled much more specifically for her as an individual.
They need to sort out a couple of visits with a TA or support so that she gets the chance to explore with 1:1 adult and not have to interact with other students at the same time.
How good are her current school at meeting her needs in and outside the classroom?
What are her favourite subjects? Has she met her form tutor 1:1? have you begun a relationship with the SENCO at the secondary, to know what sort of support is available? How is she getting to and from the school?
You need to let her see that she only has to tackle one thing at a time, or she'll overload and meltdown, and you need to give her a clear structure and sequence of what she needs to do, one step at a time. Try not to get impatient or over-stressed yourself, she will pick up on that and worry more.

Eyesunderarock Thu 04-Jul-13 08:50:36

Do her new school operate a buddy system?

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 04-Jul-13 08:58:57

I would speak to the Learning Support Department of the new secondary school and ask them for some advice and ask what they are planning to put into place in terms of transition support.

I am shock that the poor girl had to dive straight in to an induction day with the whole of the new Y7. DS2 has been to five transition afternoons with a small group of other children with additional needs (or 'differences' as he prefers to think of it). This has (hopefully) equipped him to cope with the induction day next week.

ThreeBeeOneGee Thu 04-Jul-13 09:00:22

I don't mean I'm shocked at you. I'm shocked at the lack of provision the secondary school have given her to enable her to cope with the transition.

Eyesunderarock Thu 04-Jul-13 09:05:06

That is the problem with so many schools though, and I'd dump the majority of the blame on the Primary TBH. It was their responsibility to flag up the needs of any child coping with transition, and much earlier in the year.

sugaraddict Thu 04-Jul-13 18:36:26

Thanks for replies everyone. I'll try and get this moved to special needs children.

Lots of good ideas, we are new all to this so the timing of the diagnosis was a bit unfortunate in that we didn't really know what to expect in terms of transition help. Assumed that the primary school would know the ropes but apparently not!

She had her post diagnosis review with the paediatrician today, the poor man didn't know what had hit him! Was very helpful and supportive, we're getting referrals to CAMHS for the anxiety and occupational therapy for the sensory issues but obviously may be some time.

He was of the opinion that as the primary school haven't given her any support and there's not much education going on at the end of yr 6 that we should consider if she really needs to go to school. So I'm having a meeting with them tomorrow to talk about possibly flexi schooling for the last couple of weeks and letting her just go in for the sessions she feels she can cope with. I think she needs to go in for some things (such as leavers assembly) to give her a chance to say goodbye. After all she's been at the school for over 8 years, shame it had to end like this.

Will also ask about a TA(there's one she would feel comfortable with) taking her for extra visits to the secondary school. She's only met her form tutor with 30 other children so I might suggest a 1:1. Also she loves music (got a music scholarship place) so I might see if she could look at the music department again.

They seem a lot more switched on, I have had a long meeting with the SENCO and she had loads of ideas. But having said that they really haven't suggested any extra transition visits so we'll see.

Thanks again, I'm beginning to feel I know a bit more to ask for, and have realised that if you don't ask you don't get! Just awful to see your happy little girl disappear and wonder how she's going to cope with life, but I'm trying to stay positive and believe that we'll get there.

Eyesunderarock Thu 04-Jul-13 18:41:34

There's usually someone around here to listen. Our virtual pub, the Goose and Carrot is open every Friday and acts as a drop in for the rest of the week.
As is usual om MN, some of us have been battling for decades, some have just started, some know the legalities and others are full of useful suggestions.
You are welcome at any time, it's a very supportive corner of the site. smile

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 04-Jul-13 18:46:09

Hi there OP: we've moved this to SN Children for you now.

Hope things start to look up for you and your DD soon.

MumuDeLulu Thu 04-Jul-13 19:08:50

Welcome. You're ahead of us, but lots of friends have done the y7 transition thing. Only one bit of advice. Insist very politely on the extra visits etc. She still has two weeks. Keep saying Equalities act, reasonable adjustments to yourself like a mantra.

If she had a wheelchair they'd let her test drive the loo, ramp and lift. Same for ASD. Don't ever ask for something they shouldn't refuse wink.

mumslife Thu 04-Jul-13 21:44:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sugaraddict Thu 04-Jul-13 22:18:40

mumslife that's amazing, makes me realise that I really should be expecting more from the secondary school. Am going in all guns blazing, I've still got a couple of weeks to make this better.

mumslife Thu 04-Jul-13 22:24:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LuvMyBoyz Fri 05-Jul-13 23:02:11

You could also ask that dc has a visit to the school on the teachers first Inset day so dc meets their form tutor and the SENCO before starting the next day. Also useful to go past the new school as often as possible in the holidays so dc getscused to being there.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 06-Jul-13 08:21:27


I would also now start applying for a Statement from the LEA for your DD. Use IPSEA's website and send that letter asap.

Is she on anything like School Action Plus currently?.

I see that you have met the SENCO at secondary; this person certainly needs to know about your DDs additional needs pronto because this could all too easily fall from September as well. BTW did this person mention the word statement to you?. Many secondary schools I think seem to have to address the additional needs that were ignored at primary school.

She was indeed let down badly at primary school and they have let her down with regards to transition. She has been treated exactly the same as everyone else.

You are her best - and only - advocate here. You are also best placed to fight her corner for her, this is because no-one else will do so.

sugaraddict Sat 06-Jul-13 21:15:04

Attila, do you think she would have a chance of getting a statement? The secondary SENCO just said 'of course she wouldn't get a statement, they're impossible to get now' but things have got even worse since then. She is on School Action Plus at primary but that seems to mean exactly zilch in terms of what they do for her.

Had meeting with class teacher and head at primary to discuss how to get through the next couple of weeks. They're very keen to keep her in school and have finally come up with a few strategies so we'll see how the next few days go, but have told them if her anxiety doesn't improve I won't be sending her in. And I am upset with her class teacher as he said that sometimes she doesn't help herself by standing out with her quirks (paraphrasing) and effectively that she needs to adjust her behaviour to fit in better. So she should pretend to be someone she isn't to make everyone else more comfortable! Just doesn't know the first thing about Aspergers.

Yes I am beginning to realise just how much we need to fight her corner for her, am going to be much more proactive from now on.

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