Anyone else living the "get them to/thru school mess?"

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by remclick, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. remclick

    remclick Guest


    My difficult child is 12 and in 7th grade. He hates school with the passion but somehow hides that at school. At home he talks about killing himself so that he won't have to go to school. I respond with very little reaction to this. Occasionally I say that would be upsetting to us and isn't a good idea but no big reactions. We are back to me begging him/threatening him to get out of bed, dressing him, packing his backpack, putting his breakfast in his hand, putting his shoes on, combing his hair sometimes and then walking him out the door. I've pretty much given up on tooth brushing. He will walk to the bus stop but sometimes he threatens to just walk away from the school when he gets there.

    I have talked to the school about his intense dislike of school but they just don't see it there. He raises his hand, goes to class, and does enough of his classwork to get by. His grades are A-F, with lots of failed tests. I read anything to him that he has to read at home - novels, etc. He does his homework with A LOT of help from us and a lot of procrastination, crying (sometimes for 90 minutes before he will start the work), and anger.
    (banging kitchen chairs on the floor, knocking things against doors so you hear these loud bang, bang, bangs until I tell him to stop.)

    When I asked the psychiatrist if I should just back off and let him fail at school he said that generally turns out to be a bad idea because kids like this DO need help.

    I am just so exhausted from this fight everyday. He takes a lot of medicine and I don't know how his little mind just breaks thru that medicine and he is still such an irritable, frustrated kid.

    Are other people doing this exact same thing every morning and every night with their difficult children? Do I just keep pushing him out the door until he is too big for me to do that? If I rescue him like this everyday will he grow up and never learn to take responsibility and do things for himself? He can't drop out of school so what does the school district expect me to do? Do you just say he wouldn't get dressed or leave so he is refusing to go to school?

    This started in kindergarten and just gets steadily worse every year. The suicide threats didn't start until near the end of last year. Just looking for ideas and what to expect as he gets older.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    My difficult child 1 was like that until his learning difficulties were identified. I thought he was just being lazy and not wanting to go. Turns out he has some pretty major things going on. His brain doesn't process black letters on white paper. His brain doesn't register when his pencil is on the paper. He is a phonetic reader so mispronounces MANY words which makes him not understand what they are. In 7th grade textbooks, teacher's directions, reading, etc. became much more "higher order", using more complex wording, relying more on context clues and inferring, etc. THAT was WAY over his head and he got "lost". He could answer questions verbally that the teacher asked verbally. Reading and writing were another story. By the way, these issues were discovered by OUTSIDE evaluations. The school's evaluations for SpEd services said there were no issues except behavioral.

    I don't know what to say. Have you asked him WHY he hates it so much? Have you sat down with him and discussed HIS concerns? I, personally, would say he's starting to struggle with the work. He hates going because he KNOWS there's going to be homework to bring home. While he's in school, he's engaged. Raising his hand means he participates in VERBAL discussions.

    You need to find out WHY he hates school without any judgement or any doubt that he's telling you. One way or another, you need to figure out why. His behavior is telling you something is up.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    He's 12. Probably dealing with lots of missed dxes (yes, plural). And, due to those not being caught, the lack of interventions and accomodations has built up other secondary issues... these may well be where the "mood disorder not otherwise specified" comes from.

    Has he ever had an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation for sensory and motor skills issues?
    A comprehensive evaluation? (neuropsychologist, child developmental/behavioural team, etc.)
    Has his hearing been checked?
    Has he been tested for the full spectrum of APDs?
  4. remclick

    remclick Guest

    Thanks for the replies. I want all the ideas and options I can get.

    He was evaluated in 2nd grade and came up with high cognitive score in the superior range - and average educational scores. His classroom performance has never lived up to any of this but with me helping him at home he ends up with a lot of Bs and sometimes Cs for final grades. I do plan on having him tested outside the school but I just don't see how it will make a difference to the school. They will say (and have said) he is just too successful at school to be eligible for any alternative schooling or even an IEP in the public school.

    His mood, inflexibility, irritability, etc. persevere throughout the summer and in all aspects of his life so I know that contributes to these school problems greatly but I don't think that school causes the mood problems. It does make them worse.

    I would like to see the results of auditory processing testing because I feel sure he has problems with that. I also thought a hearing test would be good just to rule out a hearing problem. I am waiting for his psychiatrist to write a letter that may help to have some of the testing covered by insurance. I just hate the idea of spending all this money and having it make no difference.

    I am afraid after all the testing the school will again say that they just don't have anything to offer him that is different. I have fought for everything I could get on his 504 and I meet with each teacher at the start of the year to go over what has worked well in the past and what to expect. I'm sure they think I am crazy but it absolutely makes them more aware of him and many go above and beyond in some way to help him be more successful.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If your difficult child has a "major" diagnosis, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or Asperger's, it is much more difficult for the school to say "it doesn't matter". It isn't just about grades and passing school, it's about learning all the other things that go with school, including peer relationships. So, if the testing comes up with a major diagnosis, it usually has an impact at school. (but there are some schools and some SDs that really don't support anything...)

    We have found that Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) tends to get attention - because there is a standard little "box" that goes with it... if you have Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), you get certain interventions and certain accommodations. They actually know what to do for this diagnosis. But the testing will need to be done by someone who specializes in Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - ours was a PhD-level audiologist. Regular audiologists test hearing, and that is also important - a simple hearing issue can also cause huge problems. But regular audiologists don't test for APDs.

    We spent a lot of $$ getting testing done that the system wouldn't cover. Some of it, we had to do twice or three times. Until we got the right answers, we kind of wondered if we were crazy spending all that money. Now? it's worth it.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    remclick, here's a strategy to get the school to hopefully help if YOU and difficult child can handle it. Let him do ALL his own work with NO help from you. Let him not do his work if he doesn't do it. When, not if, the school starts saying anything to you, simply tell them "I've been trying to tell you!". Let them see how HE functions by HIMSELF. I know it's hard but as long as he can do the verbal stuff at school and gets help from you at home, they aren't going to see the WHOLE picture and also won't see where the problem lies. It would be better to do this now than wait until he gets into high school and all his grades "count". His grades start falling that much, they'll notice. When they ask you what happened, you can tell them "I quit doing YOUR job".
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    If "going" to school is horrible - but "being" at school is not so bad...

    what about homeschooling? or doing an online public school from home?

    Then, you will still be assisting with some lessons - but he won't actually have to "get ready" or take the bus or do any of the things that "going" to school entails.
  8. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Have you asked him why he hates going to school? Are there problems with other kids? Is there an undiagnosed learning disability going on? If he was evaluated when he was in second grade, maybe there is something there that was missed. Did he get evaluated through the school, or was is done privately?

    I would start not helping him do his homework. Stop reading to him. Stop fighting with him to get the work done. Let the school see what you are seeing and then, maybe, you will get some assistance. It sounds like he really needs it. I hope it gets better for you and for him.