what to do now?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sjexpress, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. sjexpress

    sjexpress New Member

    I posted a while ago about my difficult child who refused to go to school for a variety of reasons. He is in 7th grade, just turned 13 and had never had school issues before, only at home. I won't repeat the whole history but ultimately we saw a new psychiatrist who diagnosed him with anxiety disorder, mood disorder, and adhd. Of course there is plenty of ODD in there as well. She started on some medications and gave us the letter for home tutoring. ( I don't think my signature is updated) During this time I had a 504 meeting with the school to make some changes for difficult child. Every thing was set for his return.
    difficult child did great on home tutoring. Went to every session without problems ( had to go to the library), did all his work, and he got his grades back up to where they were before issues began at school ( he was an honor student). The home tutoring ended last week and difficult child was supposed to return to school today. We had meetings last week with the therapist we see and difficult child's guidance counselor. difficult child seemed eager to get back to school and his "normal life".
    Last night though, difficult child started with the I can't go to school....don't want to, it's too much, don't like changing classes, too stressful, etc....same stuff we began with 8 weeks ago! He was sobbing, holding his head, taking deep breathes trying to calm himself down saying he is so stressed. No matter how much I explained to him again about the changes we set up to make things less stressful for him at school, he just said no. I woke him this morning and he refused to go! I called the school who of course as usual told me to try to get him in and keep them informed.
    I called our therapist and difficult child will see him later today. I e-mailed the psychiatrist to see if we could get an extension letter for home tutoring. I am at a loss. Part of me feels he really is stuggling with the stress of a normal school day and the other side of me sees it as he just doesn't want to go because it is easier and nicer to be home. He really has no friends ( lots of aquantinces) but is very social and plays on lots of sports teams where he gets along fine with everyone.
    We went thru the "take everything away" deal...no electronics, sports, etc... but it made no difference, he still wouldn't go to school. Since everything went well with tutoring and he went to the therapist and took his medications ( in the past he had always refused) I let him have his video games and computer back. Things at home have been a bit calmer too.
    I just don't know where to go from here! I can't home school as I just can't do it. How long will the school provide home tutoring anyway? They are not so helpful as you can imagine. difficult child is not a behavior problem at school and is smart. So what kind of class can they put him in to alleviate this anxiety and stress? Am I doing the right things? This is all so frustrating. I am angry, scared, confused, you name it. Oh and of course husband just thinks difficult child is being his usual "i want it my way or else" so is just being defiant till he gets his way. husband is not on board with any of these diagnosis. difficult child and husband are like oil and water. If husband tries to speak with difficult child, it turns into a war. husband says difficult child should follow the rules and of course difficult child refuses. It's just a mess!! Thanks as usual for your advice and ideas.

  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    Sounds familiar. My guess? you're not to the bottom of the diagnosis list yet.
    Anxiety is often a secondary diagnosis - something else is making life difficult, and the kid doesn't know why, but they aren't coping well.

    The home tutoring went well... that is one-on-one in a quiet environment.
    School is noisy. Even the best-run classrooms are noisy - paper rustling, pens dropping, a cough, a sneeze, the hvac system, the janitor...
    Any way to test him for APDs? especially auditory figure ground?
    People with this condition have trouble filtering out background noise, or to put it differently, have trouble bringing the important sounds to the foreground. So, they fight just to "hear", which leaves less brain-power for processing. It can be mentally exhausting. They often "hear" wrong, which is discouraging. They are told they are not paying attention when in reality, they are trying way harder than anybody else in class.

    For us, the Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) diagnosis was the key diagnosis that started beating back my difficult child's extreme mental and emotional fatigue and the anxiety that went with it.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I truly sympathize from the bottom of my heart. Been there, done that, carry battle scars still, so does everyone else.

    Unfortunately I don't have much advice for you. We never worked out a good solution and I certainly don't know what services you have available. Hopefully other may be able to help with that. Only thing I have to say is, that looking back, I really don't believe punitive actions helped at all. And they certainly made some things worse. My kid wasn't able to voice his anxiety and appeared very flippant and rebellious, but I truly believe his stubborn and extreme truancy was more about anxiety and being bullied than anything else.

    We tried everything. Taking everything he enjoyed from him, restricting his life to minimum, boring him to death, humiliating him, corporal punishment (over the point of true abuse) and he got worse and more desperate. While especially husband's, but also my, attitude was similar to your husband's we certainly grew to regret those actions. They did horrible things to our relationship with our son and his ability to trust us or anyone. And there was simply no positive changes in his behaviour due all that punishing. In the end we understood we had gone so much overboard we didn't have any option but give up. We were lucky in our difficult child seemingly being able to produce the knowledge needed in any and all exams from thin air so in the end he just went to school when he felt like it, made deals with different teachers what he had to do to make up all the absences and ended up with excellent grades and really knowing the stuff he should. But that approach certainly can't be recommended.

    So my only advise is: build to positives, don't take them off. Try to make your husband to see, your difficult child is not having fun with it and is not doing it, because that would be easier for himself. And try to be flexible in how he could complete his schooling. Is there for example any kind of distant learning opportunities?
  4. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    it doesn't have to be all or nothing....it IS overwhelming to be expected to go back to a full day after being home.

    if it were me, i'd ask the psychiatrist and school to continue with the home school (for actual education) and modify his day to a single, in the actual building, class. just one. pick the one he either likes or excels at. there will be no changing classes as of yet...but I would try to do it in a way where this week is one, next week is two (where he has to physically change to a diff class) and so forth, with a ton of rewards and positive reinforcement to keep the momentum going.

    and since that will put you close to the end of the year, i'd request his 8th grade schedule as soon as possible to help him perhaps meet new teachers, practice the change of class or whatever else he's worried about over the summer--many schools are open longer than you'd think due to summer programs, sports and administration working there.

    but for now, start with an extremely modified day to ease him back in.

    and don't let anyone tell you that "it cant be done"...
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I think that ramping into it is a good idea. We did that after long absences.....part day, then more, then full.

    The one on one could maybe even be first, get him into some success and school mode....maybe even escort him into school.

    If it turns out that school is just too hard right now, but he is doing work one on one, what about an online school? They have teachers and individual help. Sounds like he gets social opportunities and online schools offer trips too......would that be an option?