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DD year 8 feeling panicky about school

(7 Posts)
pollycazalet Mon 07-Dec-15 09:45:35

Any advice for what support to ask for from the school?

She's got to the point where she feels unable to go in, feels physically ill with stomach aches, light headedness etc. She has had a panic attack at the thought of going once, but hasn't had one in school - she's worried about that happening. She says she feels like this two days out of five.

There's no obvious issues, she's a high achieving girl with lots of friends but i worry she's beginning to isolate herself. She's very sensitive, over thinks things. I think year 8 is tough for girls generally and she's just finding it all hard at the moment.

emanon Mon 07-Dec-15 11:02:46

I don't really have any advice, but I'm in a similar situation. My DD is in Year 9. Not sure if your DD is 13 yet, but I have found it an 'interesting' age. My DD is also sensitive and over thinks. She is at a large school and finds it quite overwhelming. Interested to hear if anyone has any advice.

pollycazalet Mon 07-Dec-15 13:12:00

She is 13 Emanon. I actually think it's anxiety generally and is focused around school as that's the focus of so much of her time at the moment.

zippyzloppy Mon 07-Dec-15 14:49:33

Explain to the school what is happening. It may well be that she is terrified of being stuck in a lesson/assembly etc and having a panic attack and unable to get out of the situation. If so, ask for her to be sat at the back/at the end of a row or somewhere that enables her to get out without a lot of kerfuffle or social embarrassment.

I had a similar problem in year 8, and so my parents explained to my head of year what was happening. They then wrote a letter for me to show my teachers explaining that due to a medical condition, I may need to leave the classroom in haste. I was a good pupil like your daughter, so it's unlikely it will be perceived as an excuse to skive out of lessons. Just the having of the letter gave me a means of escape, which in turn reduced my anxiety and so I only ever left 2 or 3 times.

Warmworm Mon 07-Dec-15 21:50:14

I've had to deal with similar anxiety/panic in a younger child. Having an exit plan that we and the teachers all knew about was key to her relaxing. Let her decide what steps would make it possible to go to school and talk it through with her form teacher. For example, as part of our plan my daughter had to go every day (that was her side of the bargain). If she felt anxious the teacher would let her sit in the quite area. She would promise to use breathing techniques to try to feel calmer. If she was still bad the teacher would call me (teachers side of the bargain) and I'd come to school(my side of the bargain). We'd do the techniques together at school to calm her. If she felt calmer she was to return to class. If she still couldn't calm down I'd take her home.

I only had to go in once and she went back to class when she was calm. With her it was a control issue- the plan, once she'd tested it and saw we were true to our words, gave her a sense of control and she started to improve very quickly after that.

I hope she improves soon.

Waitingforsherlock Mon 07-Dec-15 22:36:04

Hi pollycazalet I would try to get the school to assign a member of staff who is full time to 'meeting and greeting' your dd if the transition into school is difficult. I say full time as it is no good if they don't work certain days and are not there to maintain this approach. Mentoring by an older pupil may also help as sometimes children respond to that kind of input. Make sure that the school take your concerns seriously. Is there an on-site counsellor who might be able to see your dd?

I say this as a parent of a now school-refusing 12 year old dd. The above were recommendations I found whilst researching and trying to find help for my own dd. HTH.

pollycazalet Tue 08-Dec-15 09:32:16

Thanks this is all really helpful. Warmworm glad to hear things improved for you.

Sherlock I'm so sorry to hear your dd is finding it tough.

I've got her a key member of staff and she's got a note in her book which means she can just leave class if she feels panicky with no questions asked. She's got two safe spaces to go to to calm herself down. I think next next step is some techniques to help her cope with her feelings. One thing we did last night which seemed to help was to go through exactly what lessons were happening today and draw out the room layout. She also drew how she was feeling which really helped mr to understand.

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