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Dealing with school refusal

Dealing with school refusal

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Blue_fire

Dealing with school refusal

Hi my daughter is almost 13 and started High school this year, we had a hard time getting her to school everyday last year and I got her in to see a psychologist who said she had anxiety and depression. The first month of year 7 was ok she made a new friend and then the not wanting to go to school started again she said she felt suicidal and she started on antidepressants. Then came Covid19 and she was so happy to not have school, she loved lockdown and would be happy to stay in her room for ever. Now School is back on and she is totally refusing to go to school at all.. I don't know what else to do to help. We have a meeting with school tomorrow. Help

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Taylor-RO

Re: Dealing with school refusal

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Hi @Blue_fire, welcome to ReachOut and thanks for sharing. It sounds like attending school has been a point of conflict in your family. You are not alone - a lot of kids refuse to attend school for a wide variety of reasons. Is your daughter still in touch with the psychologist she was seeing? Also, does your daughter have a safety plan for when she is feeling suicidal? BeyondBlue have an app called BeyondNow where you can draft a safety plan.

 

It sounds like the COVID-19 situation has made your daughter even more reluctant to attend school. That must be such a difficult situation to be in. If you are interested in some support for yourself, there is a service called ParentLine which offers telephone counselling. It also has a number of referrals and resources that may be helpful for you. We also offer a free professional service that provides one on one support. You can read more about it here. 

 

What is the meeting with the school about? Please feel welcome to keep us updated Heart

Active scribe
Blue_fire

Re: Dealing with school refusal

Thanks for the reply I will check out the links. Yes she is still seeing her psychologist she has an appointment tomorrow arvo. The meeting is about how they can try and help her to get back to going to school. She said she's not going to go back that she hates school and would rather die. She said she isn't bullied. It's hard as her dad and I work full-time and I won't leave her home alone so it's a combination of sick/holiday leave for us and her going to my parents house some days to look after her.
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PeteNorthside

Re: Dealing with school refusal

>She said she's not going to go back that she hates school and would rather die.

 

That is really tough Blue_fire, and I have been struggling with son's school refusal too. It is very difficult and stressful.

 

Have you considered after school programs or other activities that your child might like to go to other than school as well? Mine is too old for all that which makes options far more limited. 

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Blue_fire

Re: Dealing with school refusal

Hi

Yeah she was doing drawing after school 1 arvo a week but that stopped due to covid19.

We had the meeting at school they asked her what her favorite subject was and asked if she would just come for that subject she said yes but when it was time to go she shut down and refused to go.

So still zero days at school post covid19. The school also wanted a diagnosis from her psychologist which I got, social anxiety. She also said possible autism but I don't think that she has that she was fine till last year.

Since she won't attend school at all due to her anxiety the school said the next step is a school at the local hospital mental health day unit 😯 I didn't even know they did that. She can do that for 2 terms if accepted in but it is closed till term 3 due to covid19. So what we do till then I have no idea....

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Sophia-RO

Re: Dealing with school refusal

Hi @Blue_fire , thanks for updating us. It sounds like you have had a few different things going on. Hopefully you are able to get some more information and support from your daughters school. Have you had a chance to talk with the psychologist to let them know how you are feeling about the possible autism diagnosis? Hopefully you can also get some more information about what you can do for your daughter until the hospital mental health anxiety unit school opens up. My fingers are crossed for you. How are you coping at the moment with everything else? Heart We are here to listen.

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Blue_fire

Re: Dealing with school refusal

Thanks, I'm ok, just worried for her. I had a bad start to this week I dropped a wooden pallet on my foot at work and broke my big toe so I've been home all week.

I'm worried her not going to school will rub off on her sister who is 11, lucky she loves school atm. I did tell her psychologist I don't think it's autism, she said it presents different in girls than boy and she doesn't specialize in autism and recommend we see someone else to find out. I have made an appointment at a new pediatrician to get her assessed for autism but can't get in till October.

So it's a waiting game for now and trying to get her to school or juggling her being home and her dad and I working fulltime . I won't leave her home alone.
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TOM-RO

Re: Dealing with school refusal

Hi @Blue_fire,

 

I can definitely understand why you would feel so worried about the situation and how your daughter's been, and I'm sorry to hear about your toe, as well! I hope that at least the break is recovering nicely.

 

I think in situations like this, part of what makes it so hard is like you said, a big part of it is a waiting game - waiting to speak to professionals, waiting to start treatment, but also waiting to see how your daughter is feeling and how she responds to everything because recovery is something that takes a lot of time as well.

 

It sounds like that you are doing all you can for your daughter at the moment, and that you are doing your best to be there for your other daughter as well. 

Parent/Carer Community Champion
PeteNorthside

Re: Dealing with school refusal

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@Blue_fire wrote:
 she doesn't specialize in autism and recommend we see someone else to find out. I have made an appointment at a new pediatrician to get her assessed for autism but can't get in till October.

As a man who took a long time to get diagnosed with ASD (and who still struggle to accept the diagnosis even now), understanding the diagnosis and strategies for autism is worth it. The strategies that may work for most people tend to not work for people with ASD. I am a lot more understanding of myself now than before the diagnosis. I have more of the "female aspects" of ASD so that does make it tougher to get diagnosed and to understand as well. 

 

https://taniaannmarshall.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/moving-towards-a-female-profile-the-unique-charact...

 

Hopefully you can find a local psychologist or therapist who is more skilled with ASD etc. If not search online and take advantage of telehealth. Paediatricians may have an earlier appointment before the October one too. You get much more Medicare support when she is seen before 13 years old unfortunately

 

https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/autism-children

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bglhome

Re: Dealing with school refusal

Hi,

sorry to hear about your situation. If it's any comfort, you are not alone!

I have 3 children, the older one sailed through school, despite setbacks and all his friends leaving after Year 10, he just put one foot in front of the other and pushed through it. He's in uni now and doing ok, though still quite isolated socially.

The next one has ASD and has always struggled a bit with anxiety, but also was pretty resilient. In fact SO resilient he kept going to school for 18 months even while getting bullied daily - he didn't tell anyone until it came to a moment where we discovered he'd secretly been self-medicating with drugs and alcohol and self harm - oh, he was brilliant at hiding things! He was hospitalized late last year and is still getting great support from a mental health nurse, and his current school AMAZING and let him reduce load and do the coursework by correspondence, but we know that's not sustainable, and he wants to make new friends and so we have him enrolled to start at an adult education setting to complete his VCE.

At about the same time as the middle one stopped attending school, the younger one began taking days off (at first pretending to be sick, but then blatantly refusing) and things snowballed in Term 1 this year. He was so happy when the covid shutdown happened he thought it would solve all his problems (as once he'd dug himself into a hole he was too embarrassed to go back, and thought when he went back everyone would have forgotten he was away so long). Well, he got in 1 day last week and since then has been in tears each morning at the thought of school (he's in Year 10). He is now also refusing to see the school counsellors as their safe space is now seen as a threat, because of course they are trying to talk to him and get him back to class.

Anyway, we have a meeting at school next week, to discuss "where to from here". I'd be happy to try him with distance ed, but know that's probably not such a good plan long term, as it's not dealing with the anxiety, and is enabling his avoidance strategy. We are worried he will continue avoiding uncomfortable situations into adulthood...In addition, we parents work and I fear he will not engage in the online learning...he will play computer games all day, as that's when he is happy.

It's so hard to know the right path for each one, and in hindsight, there's lots we could do differently. I'm also fearful my younger one will go the same escape path as the middle one, so I don't push him as much, whereas my husband can't understand him and wants to go the other way and thinks he's just taking advantage.

So, hang in there! It's certainly a rollercoaster and I have shed many tears and come up against many brick walls (such as getting the right help for my middle child...mental health support has many gaps, and until he actually articulated a thought of ending his life to the school nurse, we were on a revolving door from GP to psychologist and nothing was helping. Only getting him admitted seemed to make professionals really rally round to help us))

Good luck.