Just been told DS has Aspergers. How would you deal with school refusal?

(9 Posts)
lborgia Sun 16-Dec-18 21:42:17

Just that really. Had a call to confirm that DS has Aspergers (she said it's not called that now, but will explain more when I see her again). She rang because we won't see her again for a month, but she knows we've been struggling so just wanted me to know I was right to get this assessment.

Following a term away from school with illness, this last term had been a nightmare trying to get him to go back. He had become incredibly anxious about it, even though he enjoys school once he's there, and is generally liked. His teacher is fantastic and extremely helpful.

He has at least 2 friends who are always delighted to see him, and the whole class was happy when he came back after the term away. He says he gets to the gate and his brain just says "Nope, no way".

We only have a week left, but I was determined to try and end on him going on because otherwise next year will be a nightmare (we are about to have the summer here, so six weeks off).

I am now unsure how much to push because I now have a diagnosis iyswim... plus, the more I read, the more I recognise myself, and I LOATHED school. blush

Help? Oh, he's 9, extremely bright, and just loves being home. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
OneInEight Mon 17-Dec-18 07:48:40

To be honest this late in the term i would not even try but start the holiday's a week early (i) Because any gain you accomplish is likely to be lost with the six week gap and (ii) The last week of term is generally chaotic so attending could do more harm than good in terms of anxiety.

When you go back to school next term you could try things to ease the transition like (i) Being met by a staff member, (ii) Having a fixed (and liked) first thing activity in the day (ds2's was feeding the birds) but could be tailored to your ds's interests (iii) Going in early or late to avoid the crowds. You could also discuss with school strategies to reduced overall anxiety about the school day like having a staff member spending 5 minutes with him each day to discuss any changes that might be happening in the timetable and trying to reduce any sensory problems that might be occurring in the school environment.

lborgia Mon 17-Dec-18 11:04:14

one thank you so much, that all makes perfect sense, and yet most of it is new to me. Oh, I'm going to sleep better tonight! Thank you so much!

OP’s posts: |
LightTripper Mon 17-Dec-18 13:07:54

DD is only 4 so I don't have any good advice from experience as she only started in September, but I had to comment because I identified so much with your comment about seeing yourself in the diagnosis (DD was Dx'ed earlier in the year). I think that is common to lots of parents! I loved the school bits of school (natural swot) but loathed all the bits around that (break times, lunch, arriving and leaving, school trips - all the chaos!)

I would totally agree with taking a pass on the rest of this term, but can you use the fact that teachers etc. are there this week (if they are) to have a chat with them about how to make things easier next term, and agree a plan with them and DS for how to make it less overwhelming?

I think lots of autistic kids do go in early so they can get settled before the chaos of everyone else arriving as OneInEight suggests: having a job to do early in the school day to help set things up etc. can be really helpful for "getting in the groove". Transitions are hard for most autistic people, so there's a good chance that once he's in school he'll be fine if it's his normal routine: it's just getting in (and possibly breaks/lunch) that may be hard.

Another good source of ideas if you're on Twitter is the #askingautistics tag. If you post a question and use that tag then lots of autistic people will see it (many of whom are now adults with autistic kids, so have a parent perspective too). You could also try #askasenco and #sencosolutions to get feedback from SENCOs.

Your Local Authority should also have an Area SENCO who goes into schools to help them put accommodations in place. May be worth giving them a call in parallel with talking to school SENCO to see if they have any advice/ideas (and maybe in due course could do a school visit and make suggestions?) They will probably be at work over at least some of the holidays too.

If you look up your local authority name and "Local Offer" on Google you should get a web page listing all the various support services that are available, so take a look and see if there is anything else that may help.

Good luck!

BlackeyedGruesome Wed 19-Dec-18 07:20:07

small steps. going to the gate and seeing friends.

backward chaining. go to the gate to see friend s in playground at the end of the day.

lborgia Thu 20-Dec-18 06:53:39

Thank you so much for this, both of you. Did you mean " backward chaining "? if so I don't know what that means!

At least once they're on holiday it takes the pressure off but I'm just not handling it at all well. I'm pissed off with feeling guilty, I'm really sad for him, and I'm just plain sad. I'm finding it really difficult to buck up, but your answers have helped me think forward, I will try and pull myself together!

OP’s posts: |
LightTripper Thu 20-Dec-18 11:53:21

Don't feel guilty, you have nothing to feel guilty about!

Another thing that might help (well, helped me!) is reading Neurotribes. It's an amazing book and a great insight into the idea of Neurodiversity and autistic culture. Although it's a hard read in places (a lot of the early research on autism is intertwined with the Nazi era/eugenics/holocaust) it also has lots of very interesting stories on how we've ended up with our current understanding of autism and how autistic people are starting to take that identity and shape it for themselves. It gives all the background to why they are now no longer referring to Aspergers, PDD-NOS and all the other "sub-categories" they used to have and just defining everything on the spectrum as Autism. Overall I found it inspiring. It is a big book so I got it as an audiobook and listened to it while I was walking places.

lborgia Fri 21-Dec-18 07:15:35

Thanks Light - someone else recommended it to me. Audio might be a good idea right now, reading just doesn't get a look in at the moment...fblush

OP’s posts: |
LightTripper Fri 21-Dec-18 10:38:44

I know - I think I've read 1 book in the last 4 years and that's because a friend wrote it. I've managed several as audiobooks though ... I'm even thinking of treating myself to an Audible subscription in the New Year!

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in