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school Refusal - Carers UK Forum

school Refusal

For issues specific to autism / Asperger Syndrome.
Does anyone have any experience with children who may be on the spectrum going through school refusal. My son is 13 and should have started High School 3 weeks ago but has so much anxiety he can't leave the house to get there.
More common than you think. What discussions have you had with his school. Is your son able to articulate what his feelings are. What he feels may happen/fears etc. Schools are well adapted in such situations. And many things can be put in place to seek a smooth transition. At the moment Is your son doing any online lessons. How would your son get to school if he attended.
Is there a problem on how he is expected to get there. Is there a social media problem that needs addressing looking into.
I have had one meeting with the head of year who told me it was illegal for them to give him online work and I should consider home schooling. I have another meeting tomorrow with the SEN lead.

No social media issues.

His fear is around the crowds and toilets, the one day he did go the toilets were locked. But apart from that he can't tell me why he is scared. I think he just has a fear of people looking at him. If he were to go then I would take him so no issues there either. Multiple days he has got to the gates and then freezes and can't get out of the car.
head of year who told me it was illegal for them to give him online work
How unhelpful and totally unacceptable and at a later consider raising a compliant. Your son is displaying social anxiety so this needs still to be met. Your son still has a right to education which can be administrated in many different ways. The fact your son has managed to reach the school gates multiple times is showing he is willing to try to attend school. The toilet issue needs to be readdressed with the school. This would have caused your son a major set back. He has to be able to rely on all the adults around him and he was let down. No wonder he is anxious.

Does your son wear eye glasses. If he doesn't you can get tinted glasses without prescription lenses. It would be interesting to see if he would engage on wearing some. Which might help him see them as a coping/barrier mechanism between seeing/looking at other.

See if you can ask your son what does he feel when others look at him. What does he think will happen if someone looks at him.
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/condit ... l-anxiety/
https://www.youngminds.org.uk/
Tomorrow don't be fob off stand your ground.
Let's us know what happens.
Hi Nicola,
It sounds to me as if the school aren’t even trying/ prepared to try- the fact they are suggesting home schooling at such an early stage sounds like a cop out to me.

I hope the SEN lead is more helpful than the head of year - who quite frankly needs additional training.

As you suspect he has autism, are you seeking a diagnosis? Are there any other professionals involved?

Melly1
Talk to IPSEA.
Have you raised this at a higher level?
Your son needs to be in a school.
Under some circumstances an LA will fund a private school.
If you approach Education about this, they may well lean heavily on the existing school.
The suggestion of home schooling is ridiculous!
Nicola - I used to work as a Teaching Assistant in a Secondary school. There were a group of students who could not face going in to certain lessons due to anxiety. I know how difficult this is. My job was to try to encourage them to go in to a lesson and sometimes I would sit with them in the classroom.
If the student had been absent for awhile then the school would work out a much shorter timetable for them. Eg find out what there favourite lesson was and ask them to come in for just that lesson. Then - assuming this lesson had been successful - the school would gradually add more lessons to their timetable (over a period of time).
Another issue was break time. The students found break time a problem so the school gave them a room they could come to during break/lunch times.
I wonder if a shorter timetable would help your son?
Does the school have some sort of written prospectus for potential new students?
Is there a special needs policy?
Does your son have a care plan?
As someone said previously, school 'refusal' is more common than most people assume. My youngest had a short spell of refusal in Y7 and then began serious refusal in Y9. He was given absence on medical grounds, because he had a diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. My eldest stopped attending school formally when he went into a CAMHS unit at 15.

We had assumed that it was not possible for children to go without education in this country, but we were wrong. The LA sent a series of home tutors for my youngest. He locked himself in the bathroom and perhaps engaged for 30 minutes of the five hours a week of education they provided. In Y11, he went to a PRU for half a day a week and sat two GCSEs, to his credit, he came out with grade '2' in maths and English, but that is useless for employment.

My eldest son attended some education in the CAMHS unit, but one of the teachers said (in confidence) that he spent most of his time 'in his own world) (he had psychosis and autism).

My sons are now 20 and 22 and really, formal education stopped for them as soon as they stopped attending school. I just hope that they will engage a little in community education at some time.

This personal anecdote may not seem helpful to someone who is working with a child who cannot attend school, but I feel it is important to realise that sometimes we really do have to fight for our children's right to a purposeful education. I feel I did not fight hard enough with my youngest. Both my sons had (and probably still have) EHCPs and I feel I should have demanded more emergency reviews. Please investigate alternatives because, as stated above, it is easy for children to slip through the cracks in the system.
Janet how useful and informative I am sure this will help Nicola and her son.
Thank you for contributing to this thread.
The more we can help to support, signpost and empower people the better.