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Hello ….. I need advice

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Helplessmama

Hello ….. I need advice

Where to start……
My son (15) started to disengage from school last year so we finally started the process to reach out and get some supports.
We are now awaiting the official assessments for him for a diagnosis of autism, ADHD and social anxiety. This has been confirmed by the pead just awaiting the Psychological assessment.

My son is just feeling lost, like he has no friends and everyday he is waiting for the kid banter to go to far and get into a fight. He has constant stomach pains when at school and texts me every few minutes. I am so worried that he is missing out on his education, meeting friends and that I am letting him down.

We have only been in Australia for 5 years (from the UK) and I know school is not going to work for my son but I am totally clueless on what his other options are and how to explore (he will be year 10 in January)

Any advice on what he can do instead of traditional classroom school? Or who I can ask for help
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Stormy-RO

Re: Hello ….. I need advice

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Hi @Helplessmama,

I'm sorry to hear about what's been happening with your son at school. It sounds like his pending diagnoses of autism, ADHD and social anxiety have really been affecting his education and taken a toll on him and yourself. It's concerning that he is starting to disengage from school and is struggling with friendships, conflict and feeling lost. I can imagine how hard it is to know he is having stomach pains and needs your support throughout the day. I wanted to say how commendable it is that you've taken so many steps to support him, from seeing a paediatrician to a psychologist and considering his options for school in the future. After all of this you should know that you're not letting him down when you're doing everything you can to look after him.

You mentioned that your son is disengaging from school and that this has been going on since last year. We wanted to ask whether the school is aware of the situation or his diagnosis? Some schools may be able to offer personalised support or start a conversation as to whether home schooling may be more appropriate. This is also something that you could bring up with his treating professionals if you haven't already.

While it's reassuring to hear that your son is still going to school, I wanted to highlight the risk that stressful life events, peer issues and mental health can have on school attendance. In case this is something you start noticing, ReachOut has a number of articles on school refusal which might be of interest to you.

Finally, I wanted to check in on how you've been coping in this situation. Do you have any networks of your own which you can lean on in this time? ReachOut has a one-on-one coaching service for parents and carers which is free and available online to support you. It might help you to navigate this experience as a parent.

I hope things can start getting easier for you and your son soon.

Parent/Carer Community Champion
Birdwings

Re: Hello ….. I need advice

Hi Helplessmama,

Thank you so much for writing into the forum and seeking support and advice. To me that shows resourcefulness and such love and concern for your son within this terrible confusion of what's going on. I am Mum to a 19 year old son who left school at 17 at he start of Year 12 and has a diagnosis of lvl2 ASD. My daughter is 17 and in Year 12 but has missed so much school w2ith lockdowns, a chronic health condition and also wants to pursue a career in the performing arts. So last week, she dropped all her ATAR subjects and were aiming to reduce her anxiety. 

My first question would be whether you have been in touch with the school. Our school has a deputy in charge of each year and I have got to know them well on our pathway through high school. I would go into the school and meet with that person and tell them what you've written here. The school is well resourced and experienced with things like school refusal, bullying, not fitting in anxiety etc. The careers advisor could also be helpful and maybe leaving at the end of year 10 to do an apprenticeship might be the go. The other option could be to go to TAFE and giving them a call. My friend's son did year 10 at TAFE and did really well and so much better. 

I hope that helps. I need to duck off and pick up my daughter. She works at MAccas.

Best wishes,

Birdwings

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Helplessmama

Re: Hello ….. I need advice

Many thanks for your reply, we have had meetings with school and he has been very well supported with time out cards and linked in with student wellbeing team. The main goal at the minute is just really being led by him. Although I worry about his education I am now more focussed on ensuring that to much pressure to attend doesn’t impact his mental health.

I have also done some research on alternative education for year ten and placed his name down on a waiting list for a “school” that isn’t the traditional classroom setting and more hands on approach that he would be best suited too. Now he’s linked in with all the supports it’s just a case of go with the flow and support him to make it as easy as possible for him 🩵
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Zig_RO

Re: Hello ….. I need advice

Hi Helplessmama,

 

It’s really good to hear that the school has been supportive with your child’s needs as well as their willingness to help out, and it would be great to hear how that continues.

 

Your dedication in finding time to do personal research on alternative education options is really positive and it’s wonderful to see that you have found some options, I wish you the best of luck in hearing back from them. Remember to also allocate time for yourself too, as your own wellbeing and care is just as important to you and your son.

 

I also just want to commend you on the steps you have put in place for your child, you can really tell just how much you care for him and his wellbeing.

 

If there is any additional resources or support you need, please don’t be afraid to reach out to supportive friends or family, as well as talking to a professional if needed.

 

Please know you are welcome to reach out to us on the forums whenever you need.

 

All the best from the Reachout team.