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It's just too much

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It's just too much

I am a parent to an amazing and intelligent year 5 student. He has ASD, ADHD, hEDS, slow processing speed, severe separation anxiety and various chronic health issues. He spends some days at his father's but this year has missed over 50% of school. I had to quit my career to stay home.

Behaviorally he is great and a meltdown looks like crying or well placed anger. He might go for a walk or hit a punching bag to regulate. I'm amazed at his problem solving skills there. But that doesn't meant the emotions aren't as intense.

Much of the missed school days have been due to chronic health issues. Abdominal migraines (now diagnosed and under treatment), never ending flus/colds, severe allergies and asthma, croup (yes still gets croup), and of course the general ASD meltdowns and anxiety. He swears it's not anxiety making him refuse school in the morning, but I don't see any other cause.

This morning we sat in the car for 30 minutes out front of the school and he went through his body explaining his complaints and why he can't go to school today. First it's a blood nose (only a small one in the night, fine now), a sore hip, a "hole in my throat", and a few more added on. I can explain all I want that those aren't reasons to miss school, that maybe its the anxiety of it that makes his symptoms feel stronger. He continues to refuse it is anxiety. He says "maybe I just stay home and study at home on the days I don't feel well" I say well that sounds like homeschool, he isn't interested in homeschool. I tell him I will do anything needed to help  him want to go. I even said if the chairs are itchy, I'll request  you get a new chair. Whatever it takes!

I know he doesn't like his teachers and they can be tough on him this year. I try to explore that and he says that's not it, that he's just sick. We go around in circles with him focusing on his illness. Psychologist thinks that the symptoms get stronger with the more anxiety he has, but again he starts getting angry when everyone is calling it anxiety and he disagrees. Recently he's told me I'm too controlling in telling him how he feels and what his reality is when he feel's my idea is not the case. I'm really taking a step back to be mindful of that, but anxiety is the only thing that makes sense and I'm not the only one coming to that conclusion. Regardless we are exploring all health avenues. We are seeing every specialist we can (GI, allergy, respiratory, OT, psych, pediatrician) to explore his complaints. I'm not going to pretend it is all completely made up. We are even doing exercise physio each week so that he learns to use his muscles in a way that won't cause any additional pain. He doesn't take too many of the details on yet at this age, a bit blaze about it all which is great. But at some point it could become a complex. I was really hoping we could explore these issues this year, learn from them and move on to a future without the specialists. We aren't making much headway though, aside the treatment for abdominal migraines.

He's refusing trying Ritalin which everyone thinks would help him out.

I'm so exhausted. I have a 6 month old and him who I can't leave in the same room together. He needs 24-7 supervision to do any self care and can't be in a room by himself. He info dumps on me all day and is upset if I try to establish any boundaries there. It's like he needs to talk constantly or he can't cope. His lips are dry and cracked from talking all day.

I only see this getting worse. I am absolutely willing to homeschool if that's what's needed. But it will be a huge strain on myself and my relationship with my partner. We are drowning financially and I was hoping to start working from home one day a week but that just doesn't look promising.

We have an SSG meeting this week to discuss his supports at school and what more can be done from all angles. But we've already done this and I don't know that more is going to help. That's how this whole thing feels. The more we try, the worse it gets. So every few weeks I breathe and think, maybe if I do less and just relax about everything things will fall into place. It doesn't make a difference.

It's all just a mess and I thought I would reach out in the few moments I have free. Thanks for listening. Any advice or suggested groups or classes is appreciated ♥


Re: It's just too much

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Hi @ciuinanam 

It sounds like you have really been struggling with your son's school refusal. It's great to hear that you have been trying to work with your child to find solutions, but that it has caused you a lot of stress and setting boundaries has been hard. It's reassuring that you've been in contact with specialists and the school about his physical and mental health. The fact that you've been putting in a lot of work to find solutions and give him support shows your concern and dedication as a parent, and it's understandable that you are becoming exhausted when things aren't improving.

Our services are for supporting parents of teenagers, so we are unable to provide specific guidance on your experiences. Raising Children, or one of the parent helplines listed on their website in your state, might be able to give you more advice.

You're doing the best you can in a difficult situation, and it's important to acknowledge your own feelings about this. Do you have any personal support systems to lean on? Thank you for sharing your experiences, and remember that you're not alone on this journey.