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13 yr old ds School refusal

(8 Posts)
Sad5371 Mon 17-Apr-17 06:14:29

My 13 year old son refused to go to school before breaking up due to extreme anxiety and I'm pretty sure reading between the lines of recent conversations he's going to refuse again tomorrow when it's time to go back. It started with not wanting to go on the bus to school so I took him, then he started to refuse to get out the car so I then had to go into the school with him and speak to pastoral team or learning support lady! Now I think he'll just refuse to go altogether! At 13 years old I am physically unable to make him and with his anxiety I am reluctant to do that anyway. Mentally I have tried every angle I possibly can to pursuade him!

He has an ADHD diagnosis from the age of 8 but there is belief (by myself and the hospital) of other underlying conditions but this has never been followed up. We have moved house recently to a different area so ds has had to change schools which he has found difficult and we haven't had an assessment from the hospital in a while due to having to change to a different clinic with long waiting lists.

The worry is overwhelming me...I have to work but it's got to the stage where I am unable to when he is like this as he also won't stay anywhere else without me. Obviously my worry is ultimately for my ds but also for losing my job and our livelihood.

thethoughtfox Mon 17-Apr-17 08:42:42

Could you homeschool if you had to?

Sad5371 Mon 17-Apr-17 09:24:37

Not really an option as we couldn't afford our outgoings and would lose the house etc which wouldn't help anybody especially my ds

Goldmandra Sun 23-Apr-17 21:50:01

I have been through this with both my daughters and it's grim.

What I have learned:

Don't call it school refusal. It isn't a choice it's an inability to attend school due to anxiety. Calling it refusal allows people to blame the child.

This is usually the result of inadequate support in school. Being there is stressful and the child is simply no longer able to cope with the demands placed on them there. Ask the school to make the changes necessary to enable your son to attend.

If he doesn't have a statement/EHCP, apply for an assessment. This blog post can help you.

Ask for an urgent meeting with the school and other professionals if there are any involved to help understand why he is struggling and get recommendations for changes to support.

Make sure that any learning support plan/IEP is focused on removing barriers to his learning, not targets for him to change by not having ADHD/anxiety any more.

Ask him what school would be like if it could be anything he wanted, i.e. if he had a magic wand, what would he change about school. It can tell you a lot about what child finds hard.

Most importantly be supportive of him. You are on his side. Believe that he would attend if he could. Don't put undue pressure on him or criticise him for being unable to attend and don't let anyone else do it either.

Sad5371 Sun 23-Apr-17 22:18:10

Thanks for the advice...I've been into the school myself so many times over the last few weeks! They make promises of putting things in place and I ask my son on the days he has gone into school whether these things are in place and he says no. He did go to school on Thursday and Friday but Friday was a complete meltdown when he tried to leave me and this went on for 40 minutes before they got a friend who my ds trusts to help! I am going to start the process now to get a statement. May I ask if you did overcome the problem with your ds's?

Goldmandra Sun 23-Apr-17 22:28:23

They make promises of putting things in place and I ask my son on the days he has gone into school whether these things are in place and he says no.

This is why he can't attend. Until the support is consistent and effective it won't get any better.

My DDs are both very bright, have AS and are highly anxious.

DD1 was undiagnosed until the age of 12. She then struggled through high school with her support being withdrawn all the time, missing lots of time due to anxiety, moved to a lovely school for sixth form who put in consistent and properly thought out support. She is now in her second year of a biomedical sciences degree and thriving.

DD2 was gradually more and more traumatised by her school experiences and, following a SEND tribunal, is now at an amazing ASD specific residential school where she is also thriving and her future is looking really rosy.

Please feel free to PM me for more info. I feel like I've been round this block a few times and it's nice to be able to pay forward the support I've had from other parents.

Sad5371 Sun 23-Apr-17 23:14:41

It is so good to hear that both your dd's are now doing so well and gives me hope! In the last 2 days at school my ds seems to have begun to build a rapport with schools senco which I can only hope is going to develop but I fully intend to push for every bit of help I can possibly get for him! In hindsight I should have done this a lot earlier but he was always so well supported in primary school there was never the need!

Thank you for the offer of support which I'm sure I will take you up on.

Goldmandra Mon 24-Apr-17 17:02:18

I hope things improve now he's talking to the SENCo. If they don't, please get the ball rolling on the EHC assessment. It takes a long time and he could easily end up missing a year of school while you try to get the right provision sorted.

Message any time.

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