View Full Version : Jinxed it, trouble getting to school today


JenE
04-11-13, 10:18 AM
He did awesome yesterday!

I've been taking him this wk instead of DH. Today I had a presentation at work I could not get out of. It usually is in the afternoon but today it was morning so DH had to take him. I thought he'd be ok with such a great day yesterday but it may have been too big a change too quick. DH called me to talk to DS and he was wailing he wanted me to come. :(

I just finished my presentation and checked. DH said they were sitting in the office so at least he got in the building. SIGH.

Guess I'll try taking him tomorrow. DH and I are going to have to change our work schedules to accomodate the rest of this year so I can take him and DH pick him up (we did it the otherway around the rest of this year). I am out of vacation and my work says I'll have to start taking FMLA unpaid to cover this.

SquarePeg
04-11-13, 12:12 PM
Sorry I can´t keep track of all the stories but how old is your son and does he cry when he is dropped off at school? Do you always go and get him?

sorry he has had a bad day.

JenE
04-11-13, 12:18 PM
He's almsot 11 and in 5th grade. He is suffering from anxiety. DH is sitting with him in the office trying to get him to go to class. I've not heard anything in 2hrs so probably still working with him. He did well yesterday, hesitant but did go to class and had a good day but I took him yesterday and DH took him today so it was a change in routine. We've been battling this since the first of Feb.

JenE
04-11-13, 01:28 PM
Well, DH said he is going to keep taking him. I don't know. He's hard on him, I'm soft on him. I don't know what works better. We just have to get him back into school!!!

silivrentoliel
04-11-13, 01:36 PM
maybe the "soft" approach though helps with his anxiety.

Lunacie
04-11-13, 01:38 PM
Is there something different in his schedule between Wednesday and
Thursday? Something that is more difficult and more stressful for him?

Maybe if you asked the same boy who walked him to class on Wednesday
to meet him at the front door or in the office and walk him to class, that
would help?

dvdnvwls
04-11-13, 03:51 PM
Sometimes a "hard" approach can be too much - but don't forget that a "soft" approach can also be too much, causing extra stress etc. Any time you can manage a non-hard non-soft "just simple" approach, it might be a good thing.

JenE
04-11-13, 04:16 PM
They do a different schedule on Monday, Thursday and Friday where the class mix up based on advanced classes. They call it middle school schedule. He doesn't like it because its different. They started this before Christmas and he did ok with it until Feb but he started complainining about it in January. But he didn't mention that at all this week and he wasn't able to go on Tues which was regular schedule. I think it might have been the switch in who dropped him off since I've done it this week. And it might have just been him and it wouldn't have mattered who did it today.

I have cautioned DH to be softer (no yelling/threatening) and I'm being harder (not giving in easily and pushing more) so hopefully we are both falling out somewhere in the middle.

The buddy system is something we discussed yesterday and it is an option, we just have to set it up. DH was even trying to get DS to find Luke but DS was so upset I don't think it would have mattered today.

DH and I and yes DS too are all just so weary of this and honestly depressed too. I just wish we could all get some relief.

SquarePeg
04-11-13, 05:00 PM
Well, DH said he is going to keep taking him. I don't know. He's hard on him, I'm soft on him. I don't know what works better. We just have to get him back into school!!!
I think you need to try and stick to the same approach. Is it ADHD anxiety or something else?
My son had problems when he was younger with school, he cried at playschool, he cried at school, then we moved to Spain and he cried even more at school. I used to take him in, his teacher used to let me settle him in, it was awful. His friends would be there and try to console him and help him but he just ignored them.

Then he had a new teacher, she told me to leave him at the gate and walk away, I wasn´t allowed to come in with him. He has never cried since.

My daughter who is 17 has anxiety problems she can´t even order a drink at a café, she gets sweaty palms at the mere thought and can´t/won´t do it.

I have forced her to do stuff, like take the bus on her own 1 stop and she called me every five minutes before she actually got on the bus and then she was fine.

her doc says it´s part of ADHD for her, when faced with a threatening situation her brain is unable to overcome this fear and complete the task. Concerta has helped her a lot with this.

I hope your doc can offer some help as it must be awful, not only for you but for him.

dvdnvwls
04-11-13, 05:10 PM
Then he had a new teacher, she told me to leave him at the gate and walk away, I wasn´t allowed to come in with him. He has never cried since.

JenE: There is always this possibility with your son. You and your husband should talk about this together and see if you can come up with a strategy that makes sense.

JenE
04-11-13, 08:28 PM
Thanks everyone. Got more info from DH.

DS broke down as soon as he woke up and realized I wasn't taking him. Gave Dad a horrible time all morning and cried all the way to school. He got him into the building but said it wasn't easy. Said he cried a lot and just kept saying he wanted mom. Somehow at some time they asked his buddy to come up and see if he could help. DH said he went right with him but I think they must have been coming back from lunch and the whole class stopped to go to the bathroom and DS fell apart, got very upset and came back up. I think that is when they decided to just come home.

DH still wants to take him. DS says he just can't go with Dad. I think it is because DH has lost his temper with DS over this in the past and also recently and treated him poorly over this so he is kind of afraid of him. I understand DH's stance. He has been taking him all year with no problems until now and that is our schedule. I go to work early so I can get DS at dismissal. BUT if he is more comfy with me and will go, I think we should switch and DH go in early and pick up at dismissal. The goal is to get him in school whatever it takes. DH also doesn't want to use the buddy system. Says it brings too many people into it, isn't fair to the other student and what if that student isn't there one day.

Wish I had a magic wand.

dvdnvwls
04-11-13, 09:28 PM
What would honestly happen if your son was dropped off somewhere near the school and you (or husband) simply left? Would he run away, wander away, or simply decide to go in?

CanadaMom
04-12-13, 12:21 AM
Uggh being a parent means you never know what the "right" thing is. Unfortunately it is all just trial and error, because all kids are unique.

I have heard that there are some meds for ADHD that also help with anxiety. Has your doctor mentioned anything like that?

zette93
04-12-13, 09:09 AM
Something about your son's situation just resonates for me. I feel like we were in such a similar place six months ago. It took me a long time to come to the realization that DS7 was expressing something through his behavior that he was unable to convey in words. Every kid at some point says, "I hate school" or "I don't want to go today" or "Can't I just stay home?". DS would whine and complain on the way into the classroom, but once I got him settled in it seemed like we would eventually figure out how to make it work for him. He would have good days and bad days. It's hard as a parent to know when things have gotten so bad for them that they Just. Cannot. Bear. It. Any. Longer.

Behavior is a form of communication. Your son can't express, perhaps can't even identify, what it is about the classroom or the school that is so wrong for him. He just knows that it is intolerable at some fundamental level.

In kindergarten we spent most of the year finding a combination of meds that would enable DS to focus and be calm enough to learn without sedating him. We next tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for 3 months without seeing any difference. The school had a behavioral specialist from their autism group observe him in class for two weeks and help the teacher make changes that actually seemed to work for awhile. The kindergarten teacher did not push him academically and he really did not learn anything that year. In first grade, the teacher pushed for DS7 to do things like copy 10 spelling words one time (the other kids copied them 3 times) and to write his last name on papers. Not unreasonable, just barely a stretch academically, when added to all the stress (for him) of a classroom with 24 kids, and constant interruptions to go to circle, go to small group, start this, stop that, he was in a pressure cooker. He had mildly disruptive behavior at some point every day, and huge physical meltdowns (hitting, kicking, throwing objects, running out of the classroom) at least once a week.

I kept thinking the solution was just around the corner. Find the right combo of meds. Suggest accommodations and new approaches to the teacher (who *was* trying). Push the school to provide a 1:1 aide for his safety. Push the school to have the aide be a consistent person instead of someone new nearly every day. Push the OT to teach him to form his letters so that writing would be easier. Find the right social skills therapy. Push the district to get that behavioral specialist back in to help again.

In the end the other parents in the class rebelled and starting putting enormous pressure on the principal to get my son out of that classroom. (They actually staged a two day boycott.) The principal caved and called an IEP meeting to move him into the special day class with Downs Syndrome kids. When we pushed back for a more appropriate placement, the principal took the next meltdown as an opportunity to suspend him for 3 days to put pressure on us.

We were planning to move to a different district anyway, so instead of fighting through the legal system we just pulled DS out of school. Originally the plan was to homeschool, but then I discovered there was an opening in a non-public school that was specifically for kids with Aspergers. (We are paying privately, $15k/yr, and are fortunate to have the savings to be able to do so.)

The difference has been night and day. In just two months he went from constant low level resistance and weekly physical meltdowns to getting raving daily reports about how he is eagerly participating in class and performing all tasks requested of him. He's learning to read, mastering math facts, and his handwriting is improving. The staff is incredibly responsive. At the beginning, he would cry and yell about going into school in the morning, and have a screaming fit about getting into the car in the afternoon. When it hadn't resolved after 2 or 3 days, they immediately said let's come up with a new plan. A staff member now meets him at my car in the morning, and walks him to my car in the afternoon. They asked me to have him pick a toy or book to bring in the morning, and the first thing they do is give him time to look at the book or play with the toy before starting his day. It's not so much the specific technique they use, as it is their willingness to figure out what DS needs and make change to make it work for him. The public school with 24 kids in the class just cannot be that flexible and responsive.

If you can somehow change the setting to one that is a better fit for your child, I think a lot of the anxiety and resistance you are seeing will be greatly reduced. That was our experience, anyway.

LynneC
04-12-13, 09:22 AM
Oh Jen, I'm so sorry that your DS is still struggling so much with this.

What about a compromise? First week, you take him 4 days and DH takes him 1 day (the least stressful school day). Next week, You take him 3 days, DH takes him 2 days, 3rd week DH takes him all days.

Obviously you'd need to talk to DH first to see if he'd agree, but if he would, you both could sit down with DS and work it out...

I think your DH is being unrealistic in thinking that he can just resume the same schedule as before without any modification, given all that has happened...

zette93
04-12-13, 09:27 AM
If you can get your DS into the classroom, how does he do for the rest of the day? Have you gotten any real feedback from the teacher(s)?

They do a different schedule on Monday, Thursday and Friday where the class mix up based on advanced classes. They call it middle school schedule. He doesn't like it because its different. They started this before Christmas and he did ok with it until Feb but he started complainining about it in January. But he didn't mention that at all this week and he wasn't able to go on Tues which was regular schedule. I think it might have been the switch in who dropped him off since I've done it this week. And it might have just been him and it wouldn't have mattered who did it today. I think this is a big clue. In December he was just figuring out what this new class mix up was all about. By January he started realizing that this was not going away and started verbally complaining. In Feb, the verbal complaints weren't fixing the situation for him, so he started using behavior to say "I really really really can't handle this." It could be that there are a lot more transitions to different rooms or different teachers on this schedule, and that transitions are much harder for him than you realized.

DS broke down as soon as he woke up and realized I wasn't taking him. Gave Dad a horrible time all morning and cried all the way to school. He got him into the building but said it wasn't easy. Said he cried a lot and just kept saying he wanted mom. I could totally see my DS doing this. Our dropoffs had been going fine, and one day a different aide came out to meet him at the car (one that DS knew and worked with every day, so it should've been fine) and he went back to the crying and avoiding getting out of the car that he had at the beginning. The school is gradually introducing small changes like this to work on handling the unexpected.

Little changes that violate kids' expectations can sometimes be very hard, especially for kids with ASD, and transitions are notoriously difficult for them. You've mentioned you've noticed a few Aspergers tendencies -- I'd really encourage you to read the book Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn, just to see if there is an "Aha!" moment. The beginning has a whole section about how AS looks in different types of kids.

Would it be possible to arrange to take him to school earlier, allow him to enter the classroom before the rest of the kids, and have something he likes to do in his seat (drawing, a comic book, an electronic game) until the teacher and the other kids get there? I suspect he needs a handover routine from Dad to the teacher -- something like come in, get settled, teacher arrives and talks to him about what to expect that day, Dad says goodbye and leaves, other kids arrive.

I think you do need to pick whether it will be you or your DH who takes him, develop a routine that helps him transition, and stay very consistent for the remainder of the school year.

JenE
04-12-13, 03:56 PM
zette, you and I could be telling the same story!! They sound almost exactly alike.

I took him today. He was still not happy this am. Got almost there and he had to use the bathroom. Refused to get out of car and use it at school so I took him home, he used the bathroom and we went back. He was in a different state of mind, talking and seemed pretty relaxed. He went right in, got his tardy stamp and said he was going to walk in alone. Great, right? Nope, turned right back around and came back. Had his buddy come up TWICE to walk with him and he turned him down each time.

He kept telling me he couldn't do it but eventually said he'd try going to art. He was really positive and then it was like the devil flipped a switch in his head and he started saying how he couldn't it was too hard. I told him all he had to do was go to science, last class of the day, only 1 hr--and he could get his electronics back. He could NOT do it. Broke down, started crying. It was already 1:30 so we left.

DH is angry says DS flat out lied to him that he would go to school for me. He just cannot see how debilitating the anxiety is for some reason. I think the counselor is going to have to tell him because he wont listen to me.

The middle school schedule is over so that stress is gone. And the question about just leaving him? We've done that and he has a panic attack which results in aggression--throwing things and hitting/kicking.

zette93
04-12-13, 04:21 PM
I would suggest that you let go of the electronics consequence -- it's not working, and is only adding to his stress at this point.

Instead think of some positive, immediate rewards that he gets for entering the building, then the classroom, and then sitting down at his desk, like Chuck E Cheese tokens. (Have lots of opportunities to get a token from his teacher throughout the week, with a trip planned for the weekend to spend them.) Or the reward is getting to do something he really likes (for instance maybe he starts the day working on the classroom computer?)

Could you make a deal that if he goes into the class and sits for 10 minutes, if he's still anxious he can leave? (This worked for us when DS didn't want to go to swimming lessons. Once he was in the water he was happy to stay, this may not be the case with school.)

DS's old school set up a small room off his regular classroom for him to go to when he was feeling overwhelmed. Your DS probably needs a similar break location.

zette93
04-12-13, 04:28 PM
Another thought. When DS's new school came up with a new plan, they wrote the social story below and asked me to read it to him each day before we left for school. You could work with your DS to come up with a similar plan:



Mom drives me to school
I wait in the car with Mom
A teacher meets us at the car
I tell the teacher what option I want when I get inside. My options can include: Star Wars toy, looking at my Star Wars book, or looking at a science experiment book
I say, “Bye, Mom!”
The teacher and I wave at Mom while she drives out of the parking lot.
A teacher and I walk into school together safely.
I get the option that I chose. 
If I miss Mom, I can ask a teacher to call her at lunchtime.

JenE
04-12-13, 07:39 PM
DH is going overboard now. Wants to take EVERYTHING away. Told DS to finish his dinner tonight. He refused to eat the last 2 bites of beans and DH is all see, he refuses to do what he's told and that's the problem. Geez!

We definitely are not on the same page and thus us going to tear this family apart.

LynneC
04-12-13, 09:04 PM
DH is going overboard now. Wants to take EVERYTHING away. Told DS to finish his dinner tonight. He refused to eat the last 2 bites of beans and DH is all see, he refuses to do what he's told and that's the problem. Geez!

We definitely are not on the same page and thus us going to tear this family apart.
Jen, you must be so stressed out... :(

Do you think you can get the counselor to talk to your DH about how his reactions are only increasing your son's anxiety?

zette93
04-12-13, 11:26 PM
Any luck getting your DH to watch Barkley's video on youtube?

dvdnvwls
04-12-13, 11:55 PM
DH is going overboard now. Wants to take EVERYTHING away. Told DS to finish his dinner tonight. He refused to eat the last 2 bites of beans and DH is all see, he refuses to do what he's told and that's the problem. Geez!

We definitely are not on the same page and thus us going to tear this family apart.

Yes, you're right about that, if things keep on that way. Your husband just needs some basic understanding of what's happening.

He's reacting that way not because he really believes your son wants to do bad things - just your husband is really frustrated that none of the "reasonable, ordinary" solutions are working. He has to learn that this is because ADHD is neither reasonable nor ordinary. :( AND most importantly to learn that there are good and useful ways for him to help his son instead of being constantly frustrated.

JenE
04-14-13, 11:25 AM
Thanks everyone. I'm sorry, this is just so stressful! We are just at a loss. DH is ADHD also but he just doesn't understand. He has said he gets nervous too but he pushes through it and did it as a kid. He just doesn't see that DS is not at that, I'm a little nervous stage, he's at that, OMGosh the walls are closing in stage.

Today DS was really upset because he can't watch TV unless we do and he has to watch what we watch. I kept him off of it for half the day yesterday (DH was out) and then I made him watch home improvement stuff with me. :P This morning, he was really upset and I wouldn't turn the TV on as I had to go to work. DH was softening and asked him, will you not give mom a hard time tomorrow? Will you go to school? I think DS knew he would get TV if he gave the right answers but he kept saying he couldn't promise him he would the "right thing". As I was leaving DH was giving him an alternative of picking up the living room to get the TV so maybe he's starting to see where DS is.

We just don't have any other ideas. I am out of Vacation and am having to put in for FMLA to keep my job. I don't know at this point if we'll EVER get him back into school!!! Psychologist advises against homeschooling because with anxious kids, they typically never go back to a classroom. And if I homeschooled, I'd have to quit my job.

I guess we just keep on with what we are doing and see where that goes. School is supposed to be setting up a BIP with shortterm in-school rewards hopefully next week. He just gets so close to doing it and then breaks down. Every time says he can't I remind him he DID on Wed! But that was million years ago to him.

cathy2
04-15-13, 12:34 AM
Jen I am so sorry that you are going through this, it is a very difficult time for all of you.

I was also going to suggest trying a social story as well, they can really help children with dealing with changes and expectations.

Good luck and I really do feel for you.

TygerSan
04-16-13, 09:15 AM
I guess we just keep on with what we are doing and see where that goes. School is supposed to be setting up a BIP with shortterm in-school rewards hopefully next week. He just gets so close to doing it and then breaks down. Every time says he can't I remind him he DID on Wed! But that was million years ago to him.

This is not a long-term solution, but is there any chance you could work with your doctor for a long-term plan, including home & hospital? That way he'd still be able to do some schoolwork (with a teacher, provided by the school system, who comes a couple of times a week?) while working on a plan to get him to the point where he can re-enter the classroom.

JenE
04-16-13, 11:20 AM
If you mean getting a homebound teacher, while we continue to work on him getting into class, that is an option and one I am ok with. But Dad is adamantly against it because he is afraid DS will never go back to the classroom if we do. Dr also said with homeschooling kids with this issue, a lot of times they also never return to the classroom and continue to withdraw and let their anxiety rule them.

I really need to get to talk to his counselor but I don't want to take up too much time that he needs to talk with DS. He is very busy and we will have had to wait about 2.5 wks to see him. I now have weekly appts made through the end of the school year. I figured it's better to have them and cancel them than need them and not have them.

dvdnvwls
04-16-13, 02:05 PM
I really need to get to talk to his counselor but I don't want to take up too much time that he needs to talk with DS.

From experience: You should take the first few minutes of the next session. Don't wait till the end for the "parent talk time". One reason is that the ending of a session with his counsellor needs to be the best part for your son, so that he can go out in a good frame of mind. Another reason is if the counsellor is feeling rushed, you risk getting brushed off if you leave something important till the end.

JenE
04-16-13, 02:41 PM
Agreed. That's what we did last time.

We just found out his class has a field trip Monday. Thought it would be a great opportunity to help break the ice for him. BUT he has the counseling appt at 111am so there's no way to do both. If we don't see the dr, it will be another week before he sees him. Thought we might could use it as a prompt. If he went to class this week, he could go on the field trip. But after talking about it, we think we'll just see the dr because I'm not sure the field trip will help him get to class on Tuesday or even this week.

dvdnvwls
04-16-13, 03:30 PM
I don't know your son, but in general, promises of something that comes later are not very effective - ADHDers don't see 3 days ahead, can't think 3 days ahead. Even 1 day ahead sometimes. Any "reward" that your son gets for something should ideally be immediate. Any reward that comes several days later is not a reward, it's just a brand new thing - with that much time in between, he's already forgotten what good thing he did.

JenE
04-16-13, 04:27 PM
I agree. We are just going to go to the dr and hopefully get started on a plan to help him.