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Sigh - DS is hysterical at the mention of school

(16 Posts)
Barmymummy Wed 02-Sep-09 14:54:27

DS (4) is due to start school in Janaury. We have deferred him until then as he has some ASD traits.

Anyway, one of his traits is anxiety about new places, particularly school. OMG he is absolutely hysterical about it. You only have to mention it and he screams nooooooooo, bursts into big genuine hysterical crying and looks truly terrified.

His big sis has been going there 3 years so he goes there every day, is familiar with it etc. I took him into his new classroom at the end of term and he was desperate to get out. He eventually settled down with the dolls house opening and closing the doors...but wouldn't talk to the teacher and refused to look at the work on the walls.

You could see that it was just way too much to take in. He is due to have some settling in sessions after half term where I intend to stay but I am beside myself that by the time xmas comes he is just going to be hysterical again about going in. Have visions of him screaming the place down (literally) and me sobbing my way home.

I know its still 4 months away, really I do, but I was telling myself the same thing back in February and things are no better. SENCO is fully aware, she is lovely, met her for a 1:1 meeting but DS is not and will not get diagnosed (paed refused as he is way way too mild) so he has no 1:1 support so to speak.

Chances are once he is settled he will prob be OK (had the same experience at playschool) but the settling in process is just keeping me awake at night in cold sweats.

Any tips? Any words of experience? sad

mysonben Wed 02-Sep-09 15:19:57

I can sympathise with you. But have no experience of this particular new school issue as ds will not be starting until september 2010.
Not sure how he will react, atm he still has no idea about new school, starting reception, ... what it all means.
He did however settle in at nursery very well at age 2, never looked at me for a second, not a goodbye, not a tear, ... he went straight to the train table and forgot all about me. shock he was non verbal at the time and didn't understand much.
Next year will be different i expect.

Maybe you could take some photos of his classroonm and teacher and make him a visual album of his future school. ?

Take care.

Barmymummy Wed 02-Sep-09 15:35:25

Hiya smile, yeah thanks I will do that when we visit. I have got their usual pre-school handout thingy that shows pictures of the school etc but its not personal enough.

I have just lost my rag a bit with him about school and said to him "instead of saying horrible things about school why don't you say nice things?!" I made him copy me and I said:

"Schooooooool is lurrrrrvly, schoooooool is fuuuuuuun, schoooooooool is friendly, schoooooool is much better than home, I will be happpppppyyyyyyyyy at school, mummmmmmyyyyy will alwayyyyyyyyyys come and get me" etc etc etc in a really silly voice and you know what he was absolutely laughing his head off!! Said again again!! So maybe I have the answer, make it funny, less frightening by making it jokey to talk about but on the other hand its making him talk/think about it without getting upsetting scary feelings. What do you reckon???

mysonben Wed 02-Sep-09 15:49:14

Yes, that 's a good approach, turn it into a fun game and repeat it often (they like that don't they!wink)

Wanted to ask you, how do you feel that your paed said "no dx as your ds is far too mild" ?
Do you think your ds could do with help , support at school?
Does he get salt?

Sorry about the questions, it's just our paed reckons my ds is very mild too, but still refered him to Camhs, he has salt too, and the ed.pshy will will do a nursery assessment to see about his needs for a statment maybe.

Barmymummy Wed 02-Sep-09 15:58:40

Its no probs re questions, any time smile

I'll send you a facebook email as don't really want to go into too much detail in view of the old DM lately hmm

mysonben Wed 02-Sep-09 16:04:29

OK, good idea, that DM business really is a pain! Grrr wink

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 02-Sep-09 16:56:10


Your paed refused a DX as he is way way too mild?!. Balls to that, this is an appalling state of affairs!!!!!. I would seek a further referral via your GP back to the paed and question him further as to why there will be no dx. No dx does not help either your son or you.

BTW have you as yet considered applying for a Statement for DS?. It may well go some way to making his day to day school life easier (not just to say perhaps yours too) as this could access him some support over and above what his peers are receiving.

Making it funny with him was a good idea of yours; perhaps you can also do social stories with him too in order to prepare him. Perhaps photos of his future class teacher, the TAs, his lunchbox, cloakroom, toilets, playground, dinner-hall etc could be provided in advance for you to go through with him and to give him visual cues as well. I would also consider doing a personalised folder re your DS to give to his teacher in advance.

IUsedToBePeachy Wed 02-Sep-09 17:04:16

Hi BArmy

Firstly, neer say never: ds1's Paed said it was pointless to dx with As as there was no cure (!) but a different one was happy to do so thankfully, and thank goodness as he has gone from problem to problem ever since.

Secondly a dx isn't all and isn't needed for a school support system to be activateed. Consider somewhere ike BIBIC which is not dx dependant, priovides reams of LEA friendly paperwork, actually offers solutions and is happy to work with mild children (they have a website)

debs40 Wed 02-Sep-09 17:31:03

I would take a break from mentioning it for a while. You have a few months and at this age, they are not really going to get their heads around anything that isn't fairly immediate (i.e. counted in a few sleeps!!).

You are not putting the problem off but simply not creating anxiety by mentioning something that is too distant away for a child to get their head around. It is clearly causing you distress too.

When it gets nearer to the time of his settling in sessions, i.e. within a few days, mention it to him and promise him a treat for being a good boy. Try and work out a strategy with his teacher for how this can be handled and what you and the teacher will do if he gets hysterical.

You won't be the first. Lots of children scream their way through the first few weeks at school even when there is no suggestion of ASD. It does usually get better but some kind of comforting routine can help.

My DS is 6 and will be really nervous goign to his new class tomorrow so I do sympathise but I have tried to put off discussing it until about a week before hand and then looking through things to familiarise him, talking of what might help him e.g. taking in a favourite thing and repeating the routine to him.

Everything changes when they go to school - for us and them sad - it is so hard to predict what will happen but you can prepare. However, don't let it ruin your time with him before you have to!!

Barmymummy Wed 02-Sep-09 17:52:05

Thanks everyone smile

The reason he has no dx is because he has no sensory issues, no sleep issues, no eating issues, no ritualistic or obsessive issues, no withdrawl etc etc. The only hmm problems he has is clumsy imaginative play, slightly delayed language skills that involve some echolalia from the TV, reversal of pronouns & struggles to relate clearly his experiences etc and awkwardness in social situations involving strangers. He does tend to be slightly 'awkward' around his peers but engages well with them. Hence the paed said he has "a touch of ASD" and there wasn't alot they could do to help as he was doing alot of things they help kids to do all by himself anyway. We are due to go back in March to see the paed for a review once he has started school to see how he is going.

School SENCO has been lovely and very reassuring and says that they will watch him and should they feel he needs a statement to help him when he goes to middle school then they will help me get that in place. Got to suck it and see really.

Barmymummy Wed 02-Sep-09 17:59:04

Debs40 - really hope your little man gets on OK at school tomorrow, let us know smile

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 02-Sep-09 18:12:03

Hi Barmy,

Re your comment:-

"School SENCO has been lovely and very reassuring and says that they will watch him"

This is good news.

"and should they feel he needs a statement to help him when he goes to middle school then they will help me get that in place".

Hmmm. Is he going on anything like School Action Plus to begin with?. Has this been mentioned to you?. My counsel here would also be that if he needs a Statement you apply for it asap and certainly long before he reaches Year 3. You must also make the application yourself to the LEA at that time. You don't need them to do it and you will have more rights than they would. You can appeal if the LEA say no, they cannot. It can become more difficult to obtain the further they progress through the school system. Early intervention, particularly if there are social and or educational difficulties is vital.

Barmymummy Wed 02-Sep-09 18:28:56

Yep Senco said that they would talk to me before/at end of year 1 if they believed he would need a statement which should give us plenty of time to get going with it. DS will be in the system already as I will make sure we are diaried on for another year to make sure. There is no point going back to hosp before DS goes to school as we will get same old troll we had before. She deals with preschoolers. Once he starts school he will be under CAHMS so get new paeds etc.

Its such a hard thing to figure out because they are still so young with so much growing to do.....could do with a crystal ball to see how he will be like at end of year 1 tbh wink

Barmymummy Wed 02-Sep-09 18:32:12

Sorry what I should obviously have said is that if he shows signs of struggling in reception then of course we will get going with statementing asap smile

debs40 Wed 02-Sep-09 18:55:59

Barmy sounds like everything is in hand. Communication is sooooo important between school and home about these issues and I'm glad your school seem so on the ball.

Keep posting as you get nearer. The people on this board are so fab. I've had so much help and practical advice. grin

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 02-Sep-09 19:18:12


Good on you, keep on being proactive and keep an eye on things!.

You are your child's best - and only - advocate.

with best wishes


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