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help for isolated, anxious teen

(9 Posts)
HarHer Sat 18-Nov-17 12:17:31


I am sorry if I have posted this question before. My 16 year old son experiences chronic anxiety. His father and older brother have Asperger syndrome and my 16 year old has a 'working definition' of autism, but he refuses to go for formal assessment.

The problem is that my son will not engage in anything apart from a very restricted set of activities. His school placement broke down in Year 9 and he had 5 hours of one to one tuition at home and then in a PRU until he left school this summer. He lost his college placement after a week and a half because he would not participate in activities and then he stopped attending. No other placement could be found, despite the fact that he has an EHCP.

I have arranged for two trial sessions at a car wash (which is something my son said he wanted to try), but became very distressed and refused to go on the morning of each session. I have made enquiries about voluntary work and about support groups for young people with anxiety, but so far there is little progress.

I am finding the situation hard to manage. My son goes to the gym (he is obsessed with fitness and nutrition) but he will do nothing else. He weighs, measures and calculates everything he eats, obsesses over tidiness and works out every morning (before he goes to the gym).

Has anyone any tips on how I can help him to start widening his life and his skills?


clairethewitch70 Sun 03-Dec-17 14:13:40

Would he be interested in training to become a fitness instructor/personal trainer. What about an online nutrition course? If he loves the gym and nutrition I would encourage to look towards a career in these. Maybe start with online courses, at his own pace and he may become college ready in a year or two if his confidence builds.

SukiTheDog Tue 05-Dec-17 20:21:10

What was your son doing at college and what help was he receiving to achieve this? What does his EHCP specify in terms of help? It sounds like college gave up on him before he even had chance to settle in and find his feet.

SukiTheDog Fri 08-Dec-17 12:45:49

How’s it going OP? Any change?

HarHer Fri 08-Dec-17 13:28:41


We are still waiting for an appointment with the Assessment and Review Officer to discuss the EHCP. The plan states that he requires substantial transition to education, a small environment and support for his anxiety. A meeting is arranged for later this month.

He has met a 'Prevention' officer who works with NEET teenagers and he has applied for four apprenticeships (two at gyms). We have heard nothing back from his applications, but I doubt he could cope with a full time (40 hour per week) apprenticeship if he finds it difficult to go to the local library to meet the Prevention officer.

I am seeking online courses and part time courses in video editing (which is something he has expressed an interest in). It is hard and his older brother has had a couple of crises so my time has been stretched.

I just wonder how many other young people there are who, despite significant needs, simply slip off the radar.

SukiTheDog Sat 09-Dec-17 10:47:54

That all sounds positive OP. If he could get an apprenticeship in a gym that sounds ideal but, under the circumstances, it would need to “matched” to his abilities. That’s the whole point of having and EHCP in place to age 25. In terms of education, it’s supposed to support the individual and their needs. Otherwise, if he’s going to be lumped in with everyone else and he fails to complete the “course” the EHCP has failed. The system has failed him.

My DS (17) does unpaid work experience at M&S. I organised this as it’s a tiny Food Hall outlet and the staff have been brilliant with him. Even so, he got there on Monday and was so anxious that we had to turn around in the car park and come home again. He’s at college doing entry level life skills, despite his intelligence, because School was a bloody shambles and he was unable to complete GCSEs. The system so far, has failed him badly. We’re looking at photography or something art based for him but his asd and ocd are insurmountable at the moment and I truly fear he too, will slip through the net.

I feel for you. And him. Does he have any treatment? CBT or medication? We’ve waited a year for an appointment at The Maudsley in London (we live in Cheshire) and it’s happening after Christmas for us. God knows what they can do, but it’s worth a try.

HarHer Sat 09-Dec-17 12:15:27


Thank you for the reply. My son was also doing an Entry Level course at college, but it didn't work out this year and I am sure that is because there was no transition or support. I will discuss this at the meeting later this month.

He is not receiving any treatment at the moment. He has had two sets of CBT from CAMHS, but both ended quickly because he could not stay in the sessions for longer than 15 minutes. My own opinion is that college and CAMHS gave up quickly with my youngest because he has no formal diagnosis of ASC and because he is very defensive.

My other son has a diagnosis and presents as a very open and childlike individual and I think this, coupled with his extreme behaviour, gets him the help that he needs.

We have an appointment at the GP in a week or so and I hope my son will receive a few tips on how to manage his anxiety.

Both my sons, like yours, are intelligent and have a lot to offer society. They just have a lot of barriers at the moment.

SukiTheDog Sat 09-Dec-17 14:22:37

Transition is key, in any change situation, for my son. He started going to college last April (one morning a week) for Sept 17 entry. He’s still not entirely settled but so, so much better than had he been thrown in at the deep end on Sept 8th! They are failing your son. They clearly have no idea of the term “individual”. I’d get in tough with the EHCP lead person and explain these failures. He’ll be 25 before you can blink and it sounds like no real plan has been drawn up and no real attempts made to enable it.

Hope you don’t mind my chipping in.... it’s just sounding so much like a familiar story.

HarHer Sat 09-Dec-17 18:40:18


At the meeting, later this month, I will tell the Assessment and Review Officer that if my son identifies a course at college then the procedures must be put in place as quickly as possible for assessment and transition. I will also mention to the college, that the lack of support and inflexibility of their provision could have led to the breakdown of the placement.

My 18 year old son was left for two years with no education and very little occupation. He was very unwell, but I had to fight to keep his EHCP open because the LA were saying he was not able to attend education and therefore it should be closed. The plan is for Health and Social Care too.

I have invited the Prevention Officer to the meeting because, I want everyone involved with my son to be present so that ideas and approaches can be shared.

You are not 'chipping in'. You are stating the truth.

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