difficult child not going to school again don't know what to do

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by somerset, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. somerset

    somerset Member

    I really wanted to post yesterday but my computer died. I wrote here before about difficult child failing all last semester due to absences and not making up work, and how I tried to convince her that she needed to get on the school sleep schedule during winter break or she would feel too sick when she had to get up for school again. Also, she insisted her sleep medications (trazodone) did nothing and she wasn't having trouble sleeping anymore. She was in fact sleeping well without it so I let her stop taking it. Well, on Sunday she did all the things she needed to get ready for school on Monday, which was the first day of the new semester. But in the morning, she said she had slept really badly and was too tired, and within 5 min she got a migraine, or said she had one. I let her sleep an hour more, hoping it would go away and she could go, but it didn't, so I had to give her the fiorinal medications and this knocked her out and she slept til one and then seemed fine. I agreed it was pretty late to go and she could just go tomorrow. Well, Tues it was the same. I had tried to help by giving her one of her old sleeping medications, which is an antihistamine and couldn't hurt, but she still said she couldn't sleep, and got a migraine as soon as she woke up. THis time I just gave her the fiorinal and let her sleep til ten. Then she gave me the same " I can't go in late" thing. She refuses to go to school for a partial day and has a long list of excuses why it "doesn't work", none of which make sense to me. Both days she said she really did want to go to school and I could tell she really did, at least on Monday. So last night we tried again. COuldn't sleep again and too tired to even move. She claimed she was didn't even have the energy to sit up. No migraine though. Now she's asleep.

    I don't know what to do now to break this cycle. I can't stand it anymore. I just don't know what to do. This not going to school gives me such a feeling of horror and shame. I feel like hiding myself. We already tried homeschooling last spring and summer and it was a disaster. She doesn't want me to ask for a 504 because of what happened last year and because she has a horror of standing out from the other kids (I think her absences and fails have already made that happen). On Monday I agreed to give her a few more days of doing it on her own before trying for a 504. Now, I think to myself, how can a 504 or anything help if she never goes to school?

    I have chronic pain issues so I have a lot of vicodin. Yesterday it was so hard not to take one just to make the mental anguish go away, but my rule for myself is I can only take it if I have pain, and I didn't have pain. The last thing I need is a drug problem on top of everything else.

    I'm going to call the psychiatrist's office when they open and ask for a better sleep medication for her. I'm afraid to face the school but feel it's in better to stay in communication with them. I'm just so embarrassed right now and don't expect anyone to believe this situation or be willing to put up with it.

    Any ideas? Anyone want to contact the school for me? I'm too ashamed. What the heck can I tell them? THat she'll start coming tomorrow? Next week? I have no idea. Right now I'm convinced this will go on forever.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Take her to the doctor pronto and tell THEM how she's sleeping so awfully AND wakes up with migraines EVERY day. Ask them if there's a "shot" of something strong that is guaranteed to knock her out at night that you can give her EVERY night. If it is a behavior pattern developing, hopefully this will help a little. One can hope anyway. If she does this again tomorrow morning, don't give her the migraine medication and take her to the doctor. They can do whatever testing they need to see if/why the migraines are happening. This would also show that you are DOING something should the school put up a stink. Tell them about the migraines and that you will be taking her to the doctor. Period. They can't argue with that.
  3. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I may not be much help, but one thing we warrior moms need to do is let our children own their problems. I know what you mean about being embarrassed, but it is her behavior not yours. You need to feel good about reaching out to the school for help.

    in my humble opinion having had a child who refused to go to school etc, is that by not letting you ask for help she is manipulating you and not letting you do your job as a parent. If she were 18...but she is only 14. I think she needs more than a 504, she probably needs an IEP and there are probably some unaddressed issues at school.

    I know our kids are terribly afraid of standing out, my son was that way, but the alternative is just to let them crawl into their own little caves and become completely out of touch.

    Do you have a good therapist for her? I think it time to have a joint meeting and set some parameters around the school thing. One thing you might do is ask for a reduced schedule for her for the rest of the year, where she starts classes at 9 or 10,,, they can do something like that.
  4. somerset

    somerset Member

    What do you think about the migraines being so "convenient" (not my words)? When she's not golng to school, like on break, she never gets them unless she's on her period. When she has to go to school, they happen a lot more. I'm not even sure these last two were really migraines. They might have been psychosomatic pain.
  5. StressedM0mma

    StressedM0mma Active Member

    Somerset I am in your shoes right at this minute, and we are battling it out. It is not easy, and I have been in tears lots, but I am determined to get difficult child the help she needs. She is in a PHP program right now, but when it is time for her to return to school, and she refuses, we will be calling the police. every time. husband and I are done playing her games. Trust me I understand about the embarrassment. But, remember, you didn't do this. Hugs. ANd I hope things settle for you soon.
  6. somerset

    somerset Member

    Pepperidge - her therapist has been working with her since May on this. Obviously whatever she is doing doesn't help. The problem with a reduced schedule is that I work full time and can't go in that late. It takes at least an hour to get to work. There's no one else to take her.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I will agree that they're very "convenient"...

    Onyxx used to have "migraines" all the time. Her doctor Rx'd this, then that, then the other... "nothing" worked. Ever.

    I finally figured out that lack of sleep was causing them, because when she was out of school and sleeping in, nada. But of course, I was wrong, I didn't know anything, I didn't even know what a migraine was. (I called BS on this one. Yes, I do. And I'm glad I don't have them very often. VERY glad.)

    So I asked a few questions here, and a few there... All very nonchalantly... They were always worse when she stayed up and then had to get up. Allergies play a HUGE part (she refuses to take Benadryl, says it makes her hallucinate). And they weren't migraines. (OK, the docs helped me there, but I had to know the answers to the questions, too.)

    I agree. Next time, don't give her migraine medications, because she can't have anything on board if she's going to the doctor. See if they clear up... And watch how strong the medications "have" to be to "work".......
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ditto. Absolutely. Its up to parents to push this... not up to the kid to stonewall against it.

    Migraines? Well... headaches, in general, not necessarily migraines... can be anxiety-induced. If school is already that messed up, she just can't face it, and the anxiety "protects" her by generating a headache (or stomach ache, nausea, etc.).

    I'd be pushing for comprehensive evaluations - medical AND school. Don't ask for IEP - ask for full evaluation. AND get private evaluation on top of it. Get to the bottom of EVERY possibility - from LDs to mental health to developmental (adhd is on the lighter end, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is more complex, and there's lots of related stuff in this department)...

    Most common "drop off a cliff" points seem to be... starting school, about grade 4, and grade 8/9 (high-school ramp-up).
  9. somerset

    somerset Member

    I can't afford a private evaluation. With this school district, you have to be able to show evidence of possible learning problems or they'll just deny the request for assessment. Like, be able to point to actual problems in the classroom that the teacher would notice and be willing to say so.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Take this question over to the Special Education forum, and ask... something like how to get an IEP for a kid with these issues, when the school division takes this approach?
  11. somerset

    somerset Member

    As for medical evaluations, she's been evaluated by her current neurologist and she did diagnose migraines. She also recommended a sleep study which difficult child insists won't help because she won't be able to sleep during it. She's just in the middle of finally getting a complete gastroenterological evaluation by a very thorough specialist. The psychiatrist did a cursory evaluation. There's a psychiatrist in our HMO at another facility who has much more experience and actually teaches at UCLA who I'm going to request a transfer to, but it will be at least a month to get an appointment with her.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're on the right track with the medical stuff... keep pushing.
    As for the sleep evaluation... there's more than one way to skin a cat. Sometimes, they will do a sleep study "at home"...

    And even if it wasn't at home and she didn't really sleep? you'd be amazed at what they can find out even with that much data.
  13. myeverything04

    myeverything04 New Member

    I have a younger difficult child who refuses to go to school also (she is only 8 though) so I have no good, sound advice for you. I am basically a single mom when it comes to her issues though as my fiance says she acts up for attention so I understand what you are going through. Does your difficult child have a cell phone or any other device that can be taken away when she stays home? I have started taking the TV away when my daughter wants to 'play games' and for the most part it's been working. I know you can't possibly take the TV with you when you go to work, and I'm not sure that would effect a child at your difficult child's age anyways, but maybe start taking things away after her stubborn side gets the better 1/2 of her.
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I am so sorry you are struggling with all of this. I just wanted to say, please dont be ashamed. Your child has a problem and any decent educator will want to help. (we all know there are some yucky folks out there but that is not YOUR issue). I would actually go right to a counselor and start to problem solve. When I was in school I had good grades, a good set of friends and loved the after school stuff I did. BUT there were two people who bullied me and I started not sleeping at night, would say I had homework and put it on that ... then wanted to sleep all day (that is my depression symptom.... sleep during the day to escape, and it always has stayed that way even to my old age, lol) I never told my parents why I was doing that, and now looking back I can see the must have called school because I was pulled in by some psychiatric or someone and interviewed, but I lied and said I was just slow and taking time to do my hair and that is why I was always late (I walked to school) and when I missed it was just that I had stayed up late to do homework etc. I never got behind in school at that time so was always let off.

    I would rather die than let anyone know I was being bulled, I thought if anyone knew they would for sure kill me since that is what they said their plan was. I have no idea if this could be happening but that is the point of this board in some ways... we can share a variety of things and if any little thing can help spark an idea then it is worth the time to say it.

    So, while you are puzzling thru it, I would for sure seek a new evaluation of her and try to figure out what is up. I would never doubt her headaches, but would want to explore all angles to helping them, bio feedback etc... (since she has general anxiety it could only help anyway)... YOu say she is obsessed with Anime... is it all consuming or a normal hobby? I know one girl who loves it and the music and goes to events etc. and is adhd and some anxiety issues...but I know THREE kids who are into it and in that classic, all consuming Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/ Asperger's way. Has she ever been evaluated for Asperger's? You have said nothing that makes me think that other than this so it may not be a consideration at all, but given the anxiety and obsessive interest, just thought I'd ask. Does she have friends that she actually has back and forth conversations with, share secrets and really they can rely on each other?

    Re: if they stay at home, of course this is not usually my issue...unless I have to go get him and bring him home but... just to share one thing that helps our behavior challenges, (he has never forgotten this and even mentions it nearly weekly so I know he doesn't want it to happen again...they say it does depend on their currency if this kind of thing will help, of course there are many issues that make it so nothing like this would help but I will share.... )

    My son would rather literally die than NOT go to school but... I will say that if he acts up so makes it so he might miss his beloved bus I tell him if anything happens due to behavior then he has to stay home. And being home during the school day means the only activities can be what you do at school. (well actually he does get to use computer at school, I wont let him do that at home during the school day)

    so, one day last year he was awful and I called and cancelled the bus (yes I know it is crazy I can use school as a reward) and said I didn't feel safe sending him to school. (that is true, if he is so "off" in the morning, I just dont think it is worth sending him and knowing I will get a phone call in a minute to go get him).... If he can show me he is ok once medications kick in etc. will take him for half of a day. That day he was too nutso, I remember finding out he had a sore throat or something but at the time I thought it was all behavior so he sure enough had to only do legos, or read a book or nap. (yes he does get to nap at school too).
  15. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    somerset--I think if she is refusing to go to school there is a problem. She doesn't have to be on a 504 or a IEP to call a meeting. Write a letter requesting a full evaluation citing her refusual to go to school. Also ask if they have something like a Student team meetings for struggling students and tell them you want one for her. That might get the ball rolling.

    At a minimum the message to your daughter is that you are determined to get to the bottom of this, she is not running the show. When you go to work on the days that she stays home, is she home alone? One thing I did with school was to tell the school nurse that unless she actually saw my son vomiting I wanted him in school. Maybe in the nurses office but in school, I wasn't coming to get him.

    As for daughter refusing sleep study I would simply tell her it is not her choice. Take away electronics or what have you. No way she gets to run the show if you think there is medical info to be gained. Now she might not get in the car to go there to get one, but that's another issue. You are responsible for her medically, so it shouldn't even be much of a discussion.

    I would also ask for a review meeting with her therapist. What were goals, progress towards goals, does she need new goals, does the therapist think she is making progress etc. Frankly our work with therapists never got us very far but we tried many iterations. So don't be afraid to fire the therapist if you don't see some signs of progress or have a good sense that the therapist is really on top of things. Sometimes therapists let themselves be manipulated and sometimes therapy is just too divorced from the day to day things to make a difference with some of these kids.