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Children & School Refusal

"What do you do if your 9 year old is refusing to go to school ever again? Do take her kicking and screaming?"
 
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31 comments:

FreeAsd said...

It might be a mistake to just assume that School Refusal in AS is always about seperation anxiety.

50 years experience as an Aspie has taught me that my mind much is more direct and literal than that:

*If I don't want to leave my familiar environment, then I don't want to leave my familiar environment.
*If I don't want to go to school then I don't want to go to school.

...and I do not mix the two concepts up, at all, ever...

I can still tell you, cartegorically, that 40 years ago I most definately did not want to go to school, for the very simple reason that school was a distressing ordeal for me. Some of that ordeal was caused by bullying, some of that ordeal was caused by the same, incredibly stressful, interactive difficulties and incompatibilities that make me socially avoidant to this day...but it was all related to going "to" school, not seperation anxiety. I would have been no more enthusiatic about hanging around either parent...I just wanted to be left alone in a safe place.

As Aspies we tend not to attach to people in the same way as others and are more likely to experience seperation anxiety towards objects or places, especially our safe places and refuges (and a "special interest" often serves the same purpose as a refuge).

If your Aspie refuses to go to school, ALWAYS check what might be making school deeply unpleasant for him, and if there is anything you can do to change that.

PrincessRobbie said...

Hey, thanks so much for you comments. I am a mum of an 11 year old boy recently diagnosed, although I have know for sometime. We are all struggling at the moment, especially his siblings. I know what I need to do it's just remembering it at the worst times :)

Anonymous said...

What if there is nothing that can be done? I feel as though I have exhausted every opportunity and stretched the IEP to his advantage.

I don't believe it is separation anxiety, but absolute refusal. At 15, 155 lbs and 5'9" I can't force him at all after the rational pressure starts to turn argumentative and counter productive.

Help me please!

dsky said...

We go nuts every year with our aspergers son who is now 13 years old. No one would understand unless the also had this problem that I wouldn't wish on anybody. You have to think out of the box and sometimes that doesn't work. I am not sure how long he will be in school, usually by Jan he is being home schooled. Just a lot to handle and wonder what his future will be.

Anonymous said...

After two years of struggling to get my son to school his therapist and psychiatrist kept digging. It turns out he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from how his fourth grade teacher treated him. Now we are starting therapy for that as well. Hopefully I will "just" have an Asperger's kid after that...

Esty said...

My son is 15 with Asperger's and also school refuses. I also do not think it is SA - he just doesn't want to go to school. He doesn't see the point and no amount of discussion will change his mind. He is another one who is 6ft tall so there is no way you could get him there against his will (and I don't think that would be appropriate even if I COULD just pick him up.)He currently attends a small support unit with only 10 other students and all the understanding you could give a child but some days he just doesn't want to go in.There is no fear there for him, and no attachment problems as he happily would go to his friends' houses. The way I see it, he weighs up rewards and costs. Some days he wants a reward (eg cinema trip) enough to go in, and on other days you could offer him £500 and he wouldn't budge. Although he's very clever, the promise of a good GCSE result seems too abstract and too far away to be a motivator at this moment in time. He thinks he can learn anything important and worth knowing,from a computer or the TV. Of course, none of this understanding actually helps get him into school or gets him the results he's capable of or gets the LEA off our backs when he doesn't attend! Also, being threatened with court action for non attendance makes life very stressful for us but makes no difference to him - he has AS, he would only notice when the internet gets cut off or his dinner wasn't made!

Stressed Out said...

I feel your pain. My 13 year old AS boy will not go to school either. He hasn't been there for 6 weeks now and everyday he says he will go tomorrow. But when tomorrow comes he has a headache or stomchache or just will not get out of bed. If you push the issue he gets very angery and only leads to a fight and him running away or hidding. I know school is overwhelming for him, to many distractions. He also has ADD so every little thing he hears or sees is more interesting to him then the teacher lesson. He also thinks the teachers do not like him because he just can't understand people very well. Because they push him to complete his work, he thinks they hate him. I really do not know what to do anymore and I can not home school him I must be at work. Any ideas are welcome.

Anonymous said...

my son is 12 and he has only just been diagnosed with aspergus and add and he also refuses to go to school.i have had meetings with the welfare who are threating me court action if he dont go what am i meant to do i can not physically remove him from his bed as he is a big boy and he will just go off in one i need help but dont know where to start

Anonymous said...

i have a 12 year old son who is waiting diagnosis adhd nurse who did all tests is 99% sure so is consultant by looking at all paperwork but needs to see him, he is on school refusal since feb work sent home via email, camhs cant deal with him because of extreme anxiety, all authorities say get him back to school, but how? we think he cant deal with main stream school, crowds, he walks out of class when other students arrive, been home schooling but struggling, any advice.

dsky said...

I already posted here before and now my son is going to be 14 this Saturday and yes we are still going through hell with his schooling. We are at the point now that we will have to try an anti anxiety med because of the trauma that he puts us through every day of school. How much can we take of this, now he can't even look at an "image" without anxiety. He has gotten worse. I wish someone would help us.

Julie said...

I would, firstly like to say that I dont feel so alone after reading this. We are in exactly the same position as most people on here. Olivia has AS and was diagnosed with Seperation Anxiety at 6 yrs old. Her mainstream primary school failed to help us and we applied for a Statement of Special Educational needs and got it when the refused to help us. olivia is now in a Special Needs school but even they are struggling with this as she refuses to go most days, we got her in a routine and she was attacked by an Autistic child, not his fault but she simply refuses to go back for long and I have to stay with her all the time..it is sheer hell, for her and us. i think Homeschooling is the only answer but we have been advised against this...Olivia now has depression and so unhappy some days...just so unfair as we all seem to be saying the same things on here and you feel so alone...people do not understand it atall other than us few, it seems

Anonymous said...

im the same position as julie.. im lost, she doesn't want to go to school. she is being bullied.. we still dont have an official diagnosis yet.. i have advised against home schooling as well, why is that?

Anonymous said...

We have a 15 year old son who we are loosing to outside influences from his friends-his choices. He went to an all boys private school last year, while he came a long way, he is fighting us to not go back. He played football, wrestling and lacrosse. He finally learned how to get his homework and take his tests, he brought his d's up to b's. He is fighting us to go back to the private school. He wants to go to the local High School, Agoura High School, where he has friends who are good and bad influences and a lot more freedom.

Our concern is we are going to loose him. We tried to take him the Crespi (the private school football practice which I spoke to the coach and got him back on because he hasn't showed up and when it was time to leave, he left the house.

We have turned off his phone, taken his computer away, x-box and tv. He is disrespectful to his father and I, not to other people. We really want him to stay at Crespi, we just feel the public school he will be lost and another statistic. He has also told us he will fail if we send him to Crespi. I realy think it has a lot to do with his friends and telling them he is going to Crespi and them calling him a whimp etc.

Tracey said...

Getting an Asperger child to school, young child, or teenager is tough. I have a 17 yr old with Asperger and ADD. He was going to high school fine, until he felt kids are teasing him. I put him in a small private school, but he refused to go to class, because a fear of something new. Both schools were giving him more than enough support, but he refused. Now he wants to go to another school because other kids saw him breakdown. The school he wants to try (or at least says) tomorrow is s over 2000 kids and he doesn't know anyone. If he doesn't go, he will be in trouble for truancy and may have to go to court.

With my son, it's all about social issues a refusal to try.
Even though I understand why he is doing this, he is still capable of trying.

Sometimes I think that as parents we enable them not to try by either giving in or offering to much help. Just a thought.

hopeful said...

I am in the UK. My son transferred to secondary school last September. Within six weeks, he became so aggressive and frightened and started refusing to go to school or leave the house. He was 11. Since then, he has been diagnosed with Aspergers and Turrets.

We are waiting for a special school, which, he says he won't go to. He will only leave the house for his CAMHS appointments. I am dreading the next chapter of this journey. I would love to feel that it will be an easy transition. However, if challenged, he become verbally and physically aggressive.

It is such a difficult situation to be in and I just hope that things get better for him.

nily said...

I am another parent with a teenager of 15 years diagnosed with AS since February. He learnt he has AS about 2 months ago, as his physician (psychiatre) had advised us not to tell him right away as he suffers also with severe depression, delusions, hearing voices and has suicidal thoughts. During this summer, after a panic attack he had during a long distance trip (airplanes and train), he won't get out of our house. He now doesn't want to go to his psychiatre (hospital) and of course it's for him out of the question to go to school. He simply refuses. And doesn't want to talk about it. Here in Greece, the educational system won't help, and I really believe that home schooling would increase his fear of getting out of home. The only place he feels safe is his room, playing x-box and drums. He also is under medical treatment with Zoloft for his depression, but till today (after 6 months of medication), we haven't seen any difference -maybe he's a little worse. It really hurts me to feel his anxiety and I understand how stressful school has always been for him, but I do not know what to do...

dsky said...

I am starting to wonder how long I can deal with my son and his refusal to participate in his future, which is schooling. Again it is about to start and already he is acting anxiety ridden. I am wondering how long we can babysit our soon to be adult child that seems to not care about his future or the future of our family. I wish he would be placed in a residential school so that I could have my life back. Sorry if that sounds selfish but I can't live forever like this.

Anonymous said...

I have a son who is 12 years old. I have always known he was a bit different, he has recently been diagnosed with Aspergers. I live in the UK.
I Have such a problem getting him to school,he will half get dressed, and then get back into bed. He will completely shut down, if I try to talk to him, he goes blank its like there is no one there. He will say he feels sick or he has an upset stomache, the list is endless.
I am a single Mum, and find it so difficult to cope. He sometimes says he will go tomorrow because it's a cooking day, and then he won't because there is PE after that.
There is no reasoning with him. If he says he wont go that is it. He will cover up under the bedclothes and that is it for the day.
He has missed so much school.
I am now thinking about getting him into a school with smaller classes instead of main stream school.

Anonymous said...

I feel so much better in some ways after reading this article! My daughter ( nearly 13) has taken two overdoses in school, has a cahms worker and consultant and is a non mainstream school. Her consultant is now saying maybe they should put her on a part time school timetable, which I feel will not do any good. I have to work full time as I am the main wage earner for our family and all the stress from dealing with work, my other children and her is severely affecting my whole family. I have been offered no help on how to deal with her, they just talk to my daughter. We have had to make it that she is always looked after, she can never be left alone and the thought of her only going to school part time scares me as I feel I have lost so much of myself already that I have nothing left to give. Then I feel guilty for feeling like this :-(

Anonymous said...

School is so hard for my 7 yr old. The process is so demanding to him. He used to love the idea of it and now it is like pulling teeth everyday to get him to go. Any suggestions on how to help him? I've got an IEP meeting tomorrow. Suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I used to joke about my son he would be a 1st grade dropout if he could have been. After getting an IEP and moving to a better school he enjoys school more but still has a struggle. What we did was highlight the breaks for him to help he see it's not a never-ending process. By Wednesday we would say only 2 more days to the weekend & breaks are his favorite so we would do a countdown on the calendar. Some of his best behavior days were on the Thurs/Fri before breaks. We also kept tabs on special events at school that he liked so he would find things to look forward to at school.

Anonymous said...

It almost seems like because he is high functioning and can speak, the schools insist on treating him like everyone else. Some days I feel like just pulling my hair out. How did you incorporate breaks into his day?

Anonymous said...

I feel like I am not alone after reading these posts. My son is 13 and he hates school. He is Dyslexic and has Asperger's. It breaks my heart every day. He text me over 20 times today begging me to come get him. He is not being bullyied and receives modifications. He has hated school from the beginning. I have no idea if homeschooling him is a good or bad idea. I'm just so glad to read everyone else has children with the same issues. My fear is what will he do without a high school degree. DeeDee

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have two boys one 14 and one 15 and they both have Aspergers, ADHD, add, odd, pstd and bipolar disorders. They as all the rest hate school and as a divorced mom with five children it is very stressful and heartbreaking to know you want your child to get educated, but do you want the school to file a CHINS on your child who really doesnt know any better? Where I live the school is still trying to remove my 14 year old from my home. Schools, social services and the courts all work together to destroy your family, not really help them. I would suggest strongly to homeschool, I know if my exhusband wasnt fighting me on this my two boys would not be in a school system that doesnt try to help these children, but put the parents through hell. I know, been there done that and still am going through it. My 15 year old is quiting school in Dec 2012 and I am going to home school him and help him get his GED. I don't need a uncaring school system to threaten my kids anymore. I am going to put the stress to rest and put my energy into teaching him everything he needs to know at home in the comforts of his world. Both can get the socialization with people that are not as mean as kids are at the schools. And many teachers are not as patient, they want to be known as doing their job, and if a child cannot learn from them then the teacher cannot shine from them. We are the parents to these special children, we are the ones who should take on their education too. Don't let anyone in the school system tell you anything else. The schools don't want to spend extra money on these special kids so they put them into special classes and push them along and turn the other way. I know what you are all going through because I have been fighting my two boys to go to school for the past 9 years. All I've heard this whole time is "If you don't get them into school, we will take them away and put them into a foster home" IS this what you want the school system, the courts and social services(kidnappers) to do to you. HOMESCHOOL, it is the right choice and you will find all this stress from your fearful and stressed out aspergers child will deminish immediately. GOD bless you all and my prayers and thoughts are with all of you on this decision. A caring soul in Milford, MA

Anonymous said...

Homeschool - Homeschool - Homeschool. It is legal in all 50 states. Different states have different requirements and so some states or local school districts won't make it easy for you but some states it is very easy. For example a state may only require a notification letter. Another state you must have all of your cirruculum approved and document every hour and attendance and test scores or samples of work etc.
Talk to other homeschoolers in your state. Move if you have to. There are many ignorant, closed minded people out there that think they know better or will try to convince you that it will starve the child of social experiences or that you can't teach because you are not a certified teacher.... Think for yourself. YOu know your child better than anyone. This may be your last opportunity to Reach to them, connect with them, give them their joy of learning back that the school has stripped away. There are organizations to help you know your rights and education laws. They will arm you with the facts so that you don't have to feel threatened by the public schools once you decide to homeschoo;. YOu need to weigh the pros and the cons of what is best for you child but ensuring good mental health and a nurturing educational experience that you can tailor to you child's specific needs with 100% flexibility is something you won't find in any public school. You can do it. You should do it. Give it time, find what works, expect some ups and downs until you find a groove. You may need to undo all that has been done. Give them a lot of time to decompress once they've left the public system. Soon you will see your child smile again. Don't give up if it gets tough, just be flexible and find another way. Experiement with different types of learning styles, different cirriculum, different approaches. It will all come together. You most likely will not reqret it. If it doesn't fit for your family after a year, well then at the very least you've bought some time to think about another solution. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Our child is 15 and was bullied at her last school. We moved, hoped for a new start and our child still refuses to go to school. She hits, curses, self mutilates and threatens suicide. She was adopted, is in contact with her birth family, was sexually abused in seventh grade by another seventh grade boy. She's bi sexual, transexual. Today when my husband asked why she refused to go to school, she said that at her last school, she was noticed, they bullied her but she wasn't invisible. Here they just ignore her. She's in school for a little over a month and has been absent 5 or 6 times or once a week. When she started school, she was immediately advanced to first grade after a few weeks of kindergarten. Last year, she was taken out of school due to the bllying and went to cyber school. She did not complete enough credits so now is repeating 9th grade. She needs to get herself together about school because it is not an option to repeat ninth grade for a third time. I'm really not sure what to do to help my daughter thrive.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone my son is 9 he's had his problems since the age of 2 he is waiting to be assessed for aspergers but when that will be I don't no,I have been struggling to get him school since November... It is hard work and sometimes u just don't no who to turn too... His anger & aggression is scary he also finds it hard to talk its like he shuts off,doesn't give eye contact either,reading all the other post helps a lot and I no my son is not the only one suffering with his schooling etc... But whilst I'm waiting for his assessment is there anything else or anybody else I could seek help from

Sharese said...

I have a 10 year old who has Aspergers and for him the school refusal is not anxiety. He says he doesn't want to go because he doesn't see any point in it. He see's no connection to how the stuff they make him do is going to help him in real life. He says there is not point in showing his work, and why can't he do math in pen? Honestly....he's right on a lot of this stuff because once you get out of school, no one cares if you do math in pen. Certainly no one asks you to show your work on how you balanced your check book. Talking until your blue in the face doesn't nothing to change is perspective.

We have found some biomedical therapy (see FightAutismandWin.com) helpful which has gotten rid of anxiety and bad tantrums. So that any behavioral issues he has are far less. Now when he breaks down, he just goes off quietly and hides in his weighted blanket for a while.

It's certainly never easy. We did home school for a few years and I suspect we may have to go back to it if he's ever to finish school. It's very hard to convince him school has a purpose. And he doesn't care about consequences or getting privileges revoked. School is hard for my son because of the sensory component also. School says he doesn't have any sensory problems there, but he does at home. I do not believe he isn't having them there. I believe he's holding it in and exploding when he gets home.

Schools suggestions for these problems are medications. But anxiety medicine isn't going to make my son find a purpose for going to school or using pencil for math.

Unknown said...

I think home school is the answer formy son but how do you do that if you have to work full time.

pitomi said...

I wish all of you success in working with your children. It is nice to know that my wife and I aren't alone with this issue. We have an 8 yo boy who has been diagnossed with Asperger's and ADHD and he is refusing to go to class. He had considerable issues while he was in 1st grade, however, had made great improvements last year in 2nd grade. He had a wonderful teacher who he connected with and, even though he had issues, he spent almost the entire year in the class. Over the summer, we were informed that a new teacher was being hired in the third grade and since he was similar to his second grade teach, my son would be in his class. We spend the entire summer getting my son prepared for this teacher, only to find out a week before school starts, that my son would have a different teacher. I can guess you all know how this went over with my son. Since then, he has done everything in the student handbook that would assure that you would get sent home. He has been suspended twice. The school is refusing to move him to a different classroom, siting that that is exactly what he wants and he souldn't be rewarded for him behaviour. They also want to have him evaluated for ED and ultimately want him placed in an ED Cluster School. My wife and I both need to work so home schooling is not an option at this time. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Unknown said...

I am in the same boat as Etsy. I have a 15 year old who HATES school so intensely it boggles my mind. It isnt anxiety. He says its pointless and boring and nothing interests him at all. Getting him to do ANYTHING he doesnt want to do is torture. During summer break he turns into a happy child again but during the school year its torture for us all. He becomes deeply depressed. And just hides in his room when he gets home from school that is if I'm actually successful in getting him to go to school. He threatens to break his arms or legs to get out of school. He intentionally hurts himself to get out of school. I dont know what to do. Homeschooling doesnt work either, its the same exact thing at home. I'm going crazy!

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

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