Teen refuses to go to school


New Member
I have a 15yr old boy who was diagnosed with Asberger's syndrom when he was 13. I home schooled him until the 9th grade. This year was his first year in high school. He was doing real well up until a couple of months ago. He hates getting up in the morning, but it has gotten worse. He now refuses to go to school on some occations. He is only allowed to miss 16 days out of the school year and he's already missed 13. I really don't think that this problem stems from his asberger's..At one point he got so bad one morning that The law was called in, and he was taken to school in handcuffs. I was told the next step would be juvie. I don't want him to go there but I don't know what else to do. He has been to a counsler to no avail. All they wanted to do was dope him up...it only made the problem worse. He won't talk to anyone, and the only thing we can get out of him is that he hates getting up, when he does speak. At this point, he doesn't have anything left in his room but a bed, everything else has been taken away. I'm at my wits end, he believes that the problem is not his fault, it's because we don't get him up in time. He has even called 911 on me, because I dumped water on him one morning to get him out of the bed....it was my last resort..I had warned him, but he stated that I could not do anything to him....so I did it. Help...I'm out of options..I know I probably sound like an awful mother, but sometimes I wish he was 17 so he could leave. I never thought I would feel this way about my child, but I do.


Well-Known Member
Sorry you are having such a hard time. You are not alone. Alot of us have had problems getting teens up and out in the morning
and many of us have discovered that there was a real reason for
their reluctance. In some cases it has been drugs. In some cases it has been the awful trauma of the school environment for
a kid who is not perfect. In some cases it has been hormones that triggered defiance. In some cases medication was necessary
and proved to be the answer.

Why don't you check in on the Teen and S.A. forum? Maybe by reading other posts you will be inspired. Everyone is very supportive.

I, too, have as Aspergers teen with ADHD thrown in. Without medication he was destined for failure. With medication and a
bunch of support at home and with a therapist, he is doing quite
well. He would like to have friends etc....but he is learning to
accept his differences and capitalize on his strengths.

in my humble opinion your son may need a full evaluation to make sure he is getting what is appropriate at school, home etc. Also in my humble opinion you
should try every avenue to avoid "the system". "The system" is
NOT what you grew up with or the generations before. Your son
could very easily be destined to a lifetime of grief if he is
left to flounder and the Juvie system is asked to solve his problems.

Welcome and good luck. DDD
Hi there, I have no experience with AS, but I can say this, you do not sound like an "awful mother". Sounds like you're trying very hard in a very difficult situation.


New Member
<span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style="color: #6600CC"> hmmm, i have a few questions for you.

first, where do you leave that he can leave/you can ask him to leave at 17???

you say he's been homeschooled until this year. why did you stop homeschooling him? are you willing to pick the task back up & with-draw him from school? when is he scheduled to graduate?

</span> </span> </span>


New Member
I never said I was going to ask him to leave...but my first child was doing great up until she turned 17 and then just left.
When we tried to get her back via the law I was informed that at age 17 they are considered adults and can leave....My son has ran away twice....so I guess I am preparing myself for the future. I was shocked and broken hearted with the first child, I will try not to be that way with the second. I live in a small town right outside of New Orleans, what services we had in the past are no longer available due to Katrina. I took 2 years off from work to homeschool my son, I can't take off anymore time if I want to keep a roof over our head, and food on the table.


New Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: bangalee</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Hi,
I never said I was going to ask him to leave...but my first child was doing great up until she turned 17 and then just left.
When we tried to get her back via the law I was informed that at age 17 they are considered adults and can leave....My son has ran away twice....so I guess I am preparing myself for the future. I was shocked and broken hearted with the first child, I will try not to be that way with the second. I live in a small town right outside of New Orleans, what services we had in the past are no longer available due to Katrina. I took 2 years off from work to homeschool my son, I can't take off anymore time if I want to keep a roof over our head, and food on the table. </div></div>

I really feel for you. We're in Louisiana too, and I'd say that 75% of the services that I see people talking about here just don't exist in this state. We're actually moving to Tenessee in a couple of months so that I can get better care for my son.


New Member
<span style='font-size: 14pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> ahhhh, now i understand. i cannot believe how devestated the area hit by katrina continues to be. it's our greatest national shame.

i clearly misunderstood. i thought you were saying you can ask him to leave when he's 17. it's true pretty much anywhere that if you call in a 17yo as a runaway the police pretty much shrug thier shoulders & say, "and.....?'.

</span> </span> </span>


in NY state it is really stupid because CPS can be called on you if you do not know where your 17 yr old kid is (mine was just not coming home, hanging with "friends") but you are right, the police don't really make an all out effort with a runaway 17 yr old. The good thing is that CPS totally understood that we had no control over this kid's comings and goings (I think her ex-therapist called CPS on us) and the police understood that as well. However, we had to go to the police each time she left home to report her missing. I guess it all worked out--she eventually really was considered missing and was picked up and taken to juvie and from there court ordered to drug treatment.

Also, in NY state you cannot ask your under 21 yr old kid to leave your home--well, you can, but if they try to get services such as shelter or help from DSS then DSS can take you to court and sue you for child support. You have to prove that the child has "abandoned" you. I guess the reasoning behind this is that the taxpayers of NY state shouldn't have to pay for services for other people's children but good grief, those people who made up this law must not have had a difficult child! Talk about enabling these kids!!
Thanks for letting me vent, sorry!


New Member
Get this,

The only place I was told I could go to in my area was a place called youth services bureau. The councilor at school didn't even have time for me...anyway, I found out the hard way a couple years ago before my son was diagnosed with AS that this was not for us. In Junior High They considered my son a trouble maker and so I was sent to YSB. In order for me to receive help for him I had to sign a contract that stated that if he did not follow everything that they wanted him to do I would be in breach and they could take legal action against me. Such as jail time. Now how stupid is that If I could get him to do what I wanted him to do, do you think I would need help from them? And it's like we have come full circle. He missed the bus again this morning. I had to take him to school, I found out that he hates his first 2 classes. He said they were boring. I don't know what to do about this, He's only got a little while left in the school year so pulling him from these classes even if I wanted to is not an option. The classes are Art and English. He's very talented in both subjects, but not motivated about either.


New Member
For starters, the problem of him refusing to go to school, if calling the law will land him in Juvie and you aren't ready to go to that step, you could try and see if your son's school has a truancy officer. "usually" the truancy officer will come to your house and even get them out of bed and get them to school for you if necessary, and I don't think they will suffer the same reprocussions that they would if the actual "police" were called. I know that is what my difficult child's school has told us but....we haven't had to try that yet, although I have been QUITE ready a few times...

It will be a SAD time if ever a difficult child's parent is punished for pouring water over them to wake them up!!! Unless of course, you dumped mass amounts on their face trying to drown them, which I am certain is not the case in your situation. :smile: That can't be much different than me taking a piece of ice and placing it down my daughter's shirt in the morning to wake her up...


New Member
i am so sorry you are going through all this .mine is only 5 and every day i thinkof what things are going to be like when he gets older.where i live they had a school where children could go in the afternoon.of couse this was a school for promblem children and it was either do it this way or go to hicky.i hope things can get workedout.oh and you are not a bad mother.you are doing evry thing you can do.and that is all any one can ask for.


Active Member
I went trough similar things. Still do, to a certain extent.

It's a shame you can't keep home-schooling him because clearly, it's what he needs. But hey, that's life.

I had both my boys in mainstream far longer than I should have. Something I noticed, especially with difficult child 3, is that towards the end of each school year he got tired of it all, mentally exhausted and just not coping. I tried to get services in place to help and they just weren't available for us, either. And each year the problems would start earlier.

Both boys were depressed at school (which your son sounds like, too). They were bullied, especially difficult child 3. This made the anxiety problem much worse and this led to extreme school avoidance which, because our education authorities believe that any kid on the autism spectrum should be mixing it with other kids regardless, just made the problems worse and worse.

Can you talk to him about what he wants? Are there educational alternatives other than school? When is he old enough to get a job? It would be preferable for it to be a job that doesn't require him to interact with too many people - not working at McDonalds, for example.

We didn't know at the time but we could have got the boys into our TAFE college system as an alternative to later high school. They would have slipped in with the adult students and the support services are much better there. Someone who dropped out of high school can go to one of these colleges and complete their education, but while being treated as an adult and not demeaned the way some teachers treat students. Aspie kids are especially sensitive to even seeing someone else getting patronised or bullied. Our TAFEs can also give higher education qualifications which can springboard into university, if that's what the students want to do.

What about an apprenticeship? How much longer do you have to wait? Maybe this could be a path he could follow instead of school.

I don't get why the police took him to school in handcuffs - surely that is demeaning and bullying, just in a different form? Our cops only use handcuffs if they're charging someone AND that person is likely to be a danger. Merely to take a kid to school - I don't get it. If I were him, I wouldn't want to get out of bed either, I'd be so depressed. Not with you, but with LIFE.

This really does sound to me like depression and lack of purpose. If you live in New Orleans then it's likely he's still dealing with PTSD. It can go on for years. Throw in survivor guilt and I think you get what you're seeing now. People say that kids on the autism spectrum don't have feelings. They do! They often have stronger feelings, they just don't always express them in ways we recognise.

As for the water to get him up in the mornings - don't waste water by throwing it on him. I have a more effective way: get a water mist spray bottle. Set the nozzle on "jet" (test it in the sink). Then you squirt it up his leg, preferably inside the pajama leg. You use a lot less water that way, to a much greater effect (less need to change the bedding afterwards). If you can't get to the pajama leg, just try and get it on his skin somewhere under the bedclothes. It will feel cold & clammy and he will have a lot of trouble getting back to uninterrupted sleep. But warn him first - make sure you give him notice that you're coming in with the water bottle if he isn't out of bed when you get back from fetching it. Chances are he will soon learn to get himself up and dressed, just to foil you. Because that is what would happen with difficult child 1. (difficult child 1 sleeps with tracksuit pants on, which are great for squirting with water - you ease the elastic away from the ankle just enough to fit the nozzle there, and let fly. If you get it right the jet of water hits a home run).

Hang in there. I really don't know what you can do, he really needs you home to teach him but this clearly isn't an option for you. Life really isn't fair sometimes. But it's not your fault, so put guilt aside so you can think more clearly.



New Member
I tried talking to his school counsilor but she didn't have time for me...It didn't occure to me to call in a truancy officer until yesterday when a friend of mine from work mentioned it. But she lives in a different town...and I don't know if we have one in our town. But I will find out on Monday and if so, when I have another problem with him I will be calling.