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Aspergers Children & School Refusal


What do you do if your 9 year old with Asperger's is refusing to go to school ever again? Do take her kicking and screaming?


Some Aspergers (high-functioning autistic) kids experience fear or panic when they think about going to school in the morning. These kids may tell their moms and dads that they feel nauseous or have a headache, or may exaggerate minor physical complaints as an excuse not to go to school. When the Aspergers youngster or teen exhibits a developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from their home or from those to whom they are attached, they may be experiencing a Separation Anxiety Disorder. Separation Anxiety Disorder is characterized by the youngster exhibiting three or more of the following for a period of more than four weeks:
  1. persistent and excessive worry about losing, or about possible harm befalling, major attachment figures
  2. persistent and excessive worry that an untoward event will lead to separation from a major attachment figure (e.g., getting lost or being kidnapped)
  3. persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation
  4. persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a major attachment figure or to sleep away from home
  5. persistently and excessively fearful or reluctant to be alone or without major attachment figures at home or without significant adults in other settings
  6. recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated
  7. repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated
  8. repeated nightmares involving the theme of separation

In addition to the symptoms described above, Aspergers kids with an unreasonable fear of school may also:
  • display clinging behavior
  • fear being alone in the dark
  • feel unsafe staying in a room by themselves and frequently go check to find their parent or have a need to be able to see their parent (e.g., a teenager in a shopping mall who feels a lot of distress if they can't always see their parent may be exhibiting a symptom of separation anxiety)
  • have difficulty going to sleep
  • have exaggerated, unrealistic fears of animals, monster, burglars
  • have nightmares about being separated from their parent(s)
  • have severe tantrums when forced to go to school

School Refusal Warning Signs—

While one student may complain of headaches or stomachaches, another may refuse to get out of bed, while a third repeatedly gets "sick" and calls home during the school day. Symptoms can run the gamut and may even include combinations of behaviors. Here are some typical warning signs that an Aspergers youngster is suffering from school refusal disorder:

• Anxiety or panic attacks
• Depression
• Drug/alcohol use
• Failing grades
• Fatigue
• Frequent physical complaints such as headaches, stomachaches
• Physical aggression or threats
• Risk-taking behavior
• Social problems

Many symptoms, particularly physical complaints, can mimic other disorders. When these occur in combination with a pattern of not attending school, a complete evaluation should be made by qualified professionals to determine whether a student has school refusal disorder or another psychological or possibly even a physical disorder.

Separation Anxiety Disorder can be exhausting and frustrating for the moms and dads to deal with, but it is worse for the Aspergers youngster who feels such intense fear and discomfort about going to school. If moms and dads are unable to get the youngster to school, the youngster may develop serious educational, emotional, and social problems.

Because the anxiety is about separating from the parent (or attachment object), once the youngster or teen gets to school, they usually calm down and are OK. It's getting them there that is the real challenge.

School avoidance or school refusal may serve different functions in different kids or teenagers. For some Aspergers kids or teens, it may be the avoidance of specific fears or phobias triggered in the school setting (e.g., fear of school bathrooms due to contamination fears associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, fear of test-taking). For other kids or teenagers, it may serve to help them avoid or escape negative social situations (e.g., being bullied by peers, being teased , or having a very critical teacher).

When school refusal is anxiety-related, allowing the Aspergers youngster to stay home only worsens the symptoms over time, and getting the youngster back into school as quickly as possible is one of the factors that is associated with more positive outcomes. To do that, however, requires a multimodal approach that involves the student's physician, a mental health professional, the moms and dads, the student, and the school team. The same therapeutic modalities that are effective with Panic Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are also effective for school refusal, namely, exposure-response prevention (a form of cognitive-behavior therapy that may include relaxation training, cognitive alterations, and a graded hierarchy of steps towards the goal).

There is some research that suggests that education support therapy may be as effective as exposure therapy for treating school refusal. Working with the school psychologist, the student talks about their fears and is educated in the differences between fear, anxiety, and phobias. They learn to recognize the physical symptoms that are associated with each of these states and are given information to help them overcome their fears about attending school. The student is usually asked to keep a daily diary where they record their fears, thoughts (cognitions), strategies, and feelings about going to school. The time of day that they arrived at school is also recorded, and the record is reviewed each morning with the school psychologist. Although it might seem like a good idea to incorporate positive reinforcement for school attendance, that may backfire and merely increase the student's stress levels and anxiety.

Parent training in strategies to work with the Aspergers youngster in the home is also an important piece of any school-based plan to deal with the student with school refusal.

When it comes to school refusal, accommodating the Aspergers youngster by letting them stay home is generally contraindicated, unless there are other issues. So what can moms and dads do? Here are some tips:

• A youngster's reluctance to go to school can be irritating to moms and dads. Expressing resentment and anger is counterproductive. And you won't feel the urge to do so if you adopt specific strategies to assist your Aspergers youngster.

• Be open to hearing about how your youngster feels. However, lengthy discussions about the youngster's problems are not always helpful and can be experienced as a burden by the youngster. The focus must always be that you want to help your youngster be free of worries and fears.

• Do not deny the youngster's anxiety or worries, but acknowledge them and reassure him/her. For example: "I know you're worried I won't be there to pick you up, but there's no reason to worry. I'll be there."

• Do not quiz the Aspergers youngster about why s/he feels scared. The youngster often does not know why. By not being able to provide an explanation, in addition to being anxious, the youngster feels guilty about not making sense of what is happening. Better to acknowledge that the fears make no sense and that the Aspergers youngster has to fight them.

• It is most important to tell the Aspergers youngster exactly what s/he is to expect. There should be no "tricks" or surprises. For example, a youngster may be told that he should try to stay in school for only one hour, but after the hour he is encouraged or asked to stay longer either by the school or parent. This will backfire. The youngster will eventually refuse future arrangements for fear that they will be modified arbitrarily. Part of being anxious is anxiety about the unknown and the “what if?”.

• Punishment does not work, but kind, consistent, rational pressure and encouragement do.

• Try to find ways to enable the Aspergers youngster to go to school. For example, a youngster is likely to feel reassured if times are set for him or her to call the mother from school. In extreme cases, mothers may stay with the youngster in school, but for a specified length of time which is gradually reduced.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums


•    Anonymous said… Elizabeth Munoz. Try Wowbutter. It looks and tastes exactly like peanut butter but is 100% soya beans. It was made for school bans. My daughter can't tell the difference. And for me, the best thing ever (I developed an allergy after being pregnant!)
•    Anonymous said… Food is a major issue with kids I packed muly kids much everyday :)) that's what you have to do but depends on school cause he only liked pb and j sandwiches and the school wouldn't aloud penut butter so yes it a very difficult situation with food it sucks ://
•    Anonymous said… Food plays a huge part in upsetting my son and not wanting to go in he is only six of friends run off and don't wait for him to go in for lunch he doesn't go in and it's gone un noticed by dinner ladies !!thats a long time to go without food:( breaks my heart ,if I brought him home for lunch I wouldn't get him back in and he struggles with being different and standing out !difficult situation!!
•    Anonymous said… I had no choice, she wasn't kicking and screaming but her mental health wasn't right, we were abroad, since then I've worked with children and have a better understanding of myself and others with autism. We used to have units attached to schools (Weymouth had one) they were brilliant with good teachers and teaching assistants and environmental was geared to needs. That's what we need, we need to be allowed to decide main stream isn't always the way.
•    Anonymous said… I had this problem with my son, who has HFA, a couple of years ago. In the end I had to make the decision to keep him home, untill a meetting was set up with school and health care professionals, to decide how to proceed for his best interests. The reason being, he has autism related food refusal, and during the time he was do distressed about going to school, his food refusal got so bad that he started losing weight and became iron deficient. It took 2 years to finally get him settled and happy at school.
•    Anonymous said… I spent nearly EVERY day of my sin's first grade year with him refusing to go to school. The school told me he'd have to go to "truancy school", with kids from junior high! I completely freaked out and fought back, but basically we just struggled through the miserable year. Second grade was better--his teacher was AMAZING! Made all the difference.
•    Anonymous said… In my experience, you can only take them 'kicking and screaming' for so long before it takes its toll on the physical and emotional health of everyone involved. It might be helpful to keep in mind that behavior IS communication. Even for kids with this school refusal disorder, they aren't doing this just to make our lives miserable. Sometimes the school setting or routine just doesn't work for every child. Thankfully there are plenty of alternative schooling options these days!
•    Anonymous said… My sons school is great with the food issue. They always make sure he has something for lunch that he will eat. The problem was, he didn't transition very well from daycare to school, (I live in Sweden). When he first started he was fine. But three months in, he could no longer hold it together and the big change took it's toll, and he almost stopped eating all together, and ended up on specially prescribed drinks.
•    Anonymous said… No. Don't take her kicking and screaming. Find out why the child doesn't want to go. Wish I had done this with my older son back about 15 yrs. ago. Now I homeschool my youngest. Something I really wished I had done with my middle son.
•    Anonymous said… There can be all kinds of reasons why children on the spectrum suffer at school, from communication problems (and that covers everything from feeling bullied to not having a clue what is happening in class or what is required of them) to sensory overload. The drip drip of fear, anxiety and confusion may not even come out in meltdowns at school. Schools frequently refuse to understand or make even the simplist of accomodations. Forcing human beings into a situation detrimental to their mental health and ruining educational opportunities is abuse. It's power play on the adult side to never listen and accept childrens feelings.
•    Anonymous said… There isn't enough xaxax in this world for me to try homeschooling.
•    Anonymous said… there's no one fit fix for all. Know your child, hear your child and love your child and you'll know what the kick n scream is about.
•    Anonymous said… Unless the child is being abused, "why" they have problems in school is irrelevant. They are engaged in a power play with you. Do not let them win. Take it from someone on the spectrum who has taught and worked with autistics for years.
•    Anonymous said… We had this with Aspergers son. We insisted he go. We regretted that when he had a big meltdown at school and an altercation with teachers. He must have had a reason for the refusal.
•    Anonymous said… Also the school being proactive and setting up these meetings yourself really helps because alot of times things will go faster and smoother with us really involved, I kinda am learning as I go.
•    Anonymous said… Don't put her through it... she may be losing much more than any wins......homeschool or special learning schools - small size classes small school.....
•    Anonymous said… Homeschool. Works for us.
•    Anonymous said… If you can, you change your life and take them out of school.
•    Anonymous said… In second grade my daughter begs to not have to go. She quit sleeping at night, vomited in the morning, cried getting out of the car at school. Teacher said all is fine. She got back in the car in the afternoon, started crying, vomited all the way home and has massive meltdowns until bedtime and then the cycle started over. She was fine in school according to the school. At six weeks in I pulled her to homeschool. She was evaluated with a high IQ, Aspergers, anxiety and depression. It's been three years and life is much better for her. She is coping successfully educationally, emotionally and with her anxiety.
•    Anonymous said… Is there a reason why the child is refusing? is child being bullied? Is child failing classes? Do you have a school that has a special ed department with small classes? i have a current 7th grader in public school. K-5 he was in regular classes. since 6st grade he has been in a special day class with minimal students. His teachers have taught special ed for years and work very well with him and the other students in the class. We are currently working on getting placement for high school as the public high schools do not seem to have small classes for our sensitive kids. We are mainly looking at charters/magnets that have special ed departments with small classes. While my son attended regular classes in elementary, we tried last year to put him into a regular class for two hours and it was a nightmare. He developed bad ocd which led us to medicate him...a HUGE mistake for us as it made him violent.
•    Anonymous said… My 13 year old has aspergers and high anxiety. She was bullied at school, and I just couldn't send her back. We discovered K12 online schools. We have done it for 2 years now, and it is working for us.  :)
•    Anonymous said… My daughter is 9 and ad the yrs went on it got harder and nearly impossible to get her to school. I had to resort to homeschooling to stabilize the situation get her evaluated, take a break and get proper personalised tools in place to help her feel comfortable going to school. The school referred an aid from a program that would come an hour before school and go with her to school and stay for 2 more hours with her. That helped her atleast try school again but she still was off and on about school. Then we got an IEP and she has daily access to the special education room even though she's super smart. Ever since she has been able to go to the special education room she has been going to school since it's been about a week but she's doing good and that may be the key for her to be calm and go.
•    Anonymous said… My oldest is 14 and we have a 11 yr old too. They both refused to go to school and disliked it. I literally have took them both, carried them, crying and screaming. I had enough. How can they be learning? We have homeschooled for 4 years. Things are so much better. Not worth their anxiety and stress for my "quiet" time.
•    Anonymous said… My son is high functioning autistic.. The beginning of the school year was super rough...The first couple of weeks we had to drive him and take him in kicking and screaming (transitioning is not our strong point) but once he got used to going back he was fine.. Hes in 5th grade we have an IEP in place he eats lunch in the office and if hes having a rough morning he goes into the Deans office and hangs out with him.
•    Anonymous said… Not if you want to maintain a trusting relationship with your child. They aren't mucking up. It seems that this is pretty classic for our special kids (including mine). The school refusal is a cry for help and letting you know the current situation isn't working. Dragging her kicking and screaming will just traumatise her further and fracture the trust she has in your relationship with her. From my perspective no education is worth that. See if you can find another option for her that suits her needs better.
•    Anonymous said… Same issue here but a long time ago now. Oliver didn't see why he had to go to school but I pointed out it was the law and if he didn't go to school I would have to go to prison. He accepted this and went to school because he didn't want me to go to prison. Of course it depends on your relationship. I know some children who would see this as a bonus. He did continue to argue the point on a regular basis but I would remind him that it was the 'rule'.
•    Anonymous said… Same with mine but we had to support this by discussion during periods of calm. This included the odd occasion when we 'agreed' to his having a day off from school BUT he would have to go along with my plans for the day including stuff like shopping (which he hated). Oliver knew I had to go to work to pay for his food and computer stuff etc and essentially learned to rationalise his own thinking to accept the status quo. He continued to hate school but accepted the rules.
•    Anonymous said… Same with my 10yo Asperger's son. We started homeschooling this year. Perfect for our situation:)
•    Anonymous said… She was homeschooled for about 7 months this school yr during the whole process. She has asbergers, anxiety and adult defiant disorder.
•    Anonymous said… This works for some kids and worked with mine for a little while. My sons anxiety was too high to be able to make rational decisions once he was in a heightened state.
•    Anonymous said… You really have to be their advocate. So many untrained individuals that don't really understand our kids. Believe your kids more. My daughter is now in her twenties and out of frustrations of not knowing how to handle the spectrum as a whole a lot of abuse takes place. Which of course comes in many forms so can be very discouraging for our kids. Over the years some were caught and fired. It's really about having a heart to want to work with them with proper training. Stay strong and love and encourage them. They need us.

Post your comment below…


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 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 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.

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

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content