school refusers

a resource for parents 

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School Refusal
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Re: School refusal

Hi Jane

My heart goes out to you.
I wrote a long reply to you last night but it disappeared into thin air.

Have you had a meeting with CAMHS yet? Any further on diagnosis for ASD?
Is there a teacher at the school that your son has got along ok with in the past who you can approach to ask for advice or just to talk to them? It sounds like the head has just gone off on a tangent and labelled this as 'bad behaviour' when there is obviously a lot more going on with your son and either he has anxiety or on the spectrum. They both have similar symptoms although School Refusers suffering anxiety tend to want to be invisible rather than make a scene.

Do you think there might have been any bullying?
I can't believe they didn't let him go on the residential, with your offers to be there, or pick up or whatever. You have been doing all you can - the school needs to change how they are viewing this.
It also reminds me of a friend of mine's son who initially would lash out and put his fist through a wall, throw a laptop...when normally a quiet and well behaved child. With him - it was a matter of not taking a label and necessarily going just down that line - but seeking medication that would help, which he is now on and much better.
It might be early days for you yet in terms of looking at medication as you have other options to work with first.

I don't have any magic answers but if it was me, I'd be fronting up to the head and demanding to know what they are going to do for you. Can you get a doctor's opinion regarding anxiety at least? And then you can explain this is not a behaviour issue but a mental health issue. The school has a duty of care and they are slipping away from that by just punishing your son. Write a list of questions and dress up and go with someone else if possible, so that you don't feel intimidated.
Meanwhile - re-build your son's confidence in activities at home and try and somehow get him to remain in touch with his friends. Can he visit them before they go back to school and talk all about the residential? The school should be looking at a transition to help him - not excluding him.
Do take care of yourself - it is so draining - and you need your energy. Let us know how you go and if you are able to demand more from the head or find a teacher who understands.
take care,

Re: School refusal


Thank you for your reply.

He has seen CAHMS once and has a follow up meeting next week. We are still awaiting ASD assessment, I filled the form out a few weeks ago and haven't heard anything yet.

He hasn't mentioned anything that would suggest bullying.

I asked if he could spend some time with the teacher he had in Year 3, who is now a teacher in the same year group as my son, but they said she already had lots of SEN children to deal with.

Yes, he is seeing a classmate on Saturday.

I've just had a letter from the school. They have come up with a plan for his reintergration into the school. They have said to avoid repetition of the behaviour that led to the exclusion, my son is required to commit to
the plan and make a fresh start. Any physical abuse to himself, property, pupils or adults is
unacceptable and will be sanctioned and he will be excluded. I'm not sure how he is going to cope with the return to school, so there is chance that he may not be able to commit to their plan or meet these demands. Also, the teacher that they have arranged to greet him and spend time with, he is not keen on. But I'm not sure if he really trusts any of the teachers at the school.

I will speak to our GP.