daughter with ASD — Problems in secondary school

(4 Posts)
jupp Thu 06-Sep-18 12:04:42

My 13 year old daughter is on the waiting list for an ASD diagnosis. She has just gone back to school and has found that she is sharing no classes with her two best friends, who she depends on to navigate to social challenges of school life. My daughter has severe anxiety problems and last night was in despair saying she could not go to school. We’ve had this issue before, with missing school because of anxiety, and switched schools so that she could be with her friends. I don’t know what to do: should I ask the school to move her? How do I explain? Any advice would be great as I really dread the conversation with the school...

OP’s posts: |
pannetone Thu 06-Sep-18 22:08:49

Sorry to hear that things are difficult for your DD. I have a 13 year old DD with an ASD diagnosis and anxiety - she would have been devastated to have gone in today to find her friends weren’t in classes or her form.

Yes you do need to speak to the school and explain what you’ve posted here. Your DD has anxiety. She is awaiting ASD assessment. She’s had issues with school attendance (as did my DD). She’s had to change schools. Spell out to the school why DD needs to be with her friends- and the likely consequences if she isn’t.

Try not to dread the conversation - you need to be an advocate for your DD and what you’re asking for is a ‘reasonable adjustment’ which the school has to provide. Your DD may not (yet?) have an ASD diagnosis but severe anxiety in itself is a disability - it has a substantial and long term affect on her ability to perform daily living activities (to paraphrase the Equality Act) Not that you need to quote the law at the school (hopefully) but knowing what you’re asking for is something that your DD is entitled to by law might help.

Are the different classes because of setting by ability or different GCSE options? Is your DD in the same form as the friends?

jupp Thu 06-Sep-18 23:37:24

Thank you pannetone! I have made an appointment and will speak to the head of year tomorrow. Her friends picked almost the same options and I think they are in the same set except math. It’s a big school — I think it was just chance they ended up apart. I will try to make the argument as clearly as I can. Your point about the anxiety being a disability in itself is really important.

OP’s posts: |
pannetone Fri 07-Sep-18 08:38:41

Hope your meeting goes well jupp. In a big school it’s important your DD is with her friends - and should mean the school have flexibility. A large secondary is hard enough for those with anxiety/ASD. My DD wouldn’t be able to manage mainstream secondary because of the size - she is in a tiny school with 150 pupils in total - and she still has her struggles.

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