My 9year old Son doesn’t want to go to school.

Hello

its my first time on here, i really need some advice, my 9 year old son doesn’t want to go to school. We have a huge meltdown every morning and it’s getting worse and worse. I know he’s ok at school and not struggling but just hates it! He’s only been diagnosed a few months so it’s all very new. Thank you. 

  • Hi 

    My daughter is 8 and not diagnosed yet but this is what we get nearly every morning, once she is in class she settles but breaks down again after school.

    Has anything changed in the morning routine? Even the littlest thing could cause it. With my daughter we think it's that she can be herself at home but has this strict self imposed idea of how she must act In school which causes her reluctance I'm the morning 

  • Hi there, I too am in the middle of this situation and you literally typed word for word how it is for us. We have really had to unpick everything to work out what is going on (very difficult as he is not able to tell us when he has his meltdowns other than he is not going into school very loudly!) however sometimes little things come out days or weeks later about what is different in his world and how he cannot control it.

    It could be the fire bell, the lights on the school computer, the way the rain makes a noise on the roof... all sorts of things but what has struck us is that we have really had to listen to him and be guided from there on in. He likes being home as he can control his environment and broadly speaking what happens in it, what noises are made etc..... school is very difficult yet he may not show it there as he feels he must conform; he may show it in tiny ways like foot tapping or twitching, stimming etc but that can often only be spotted by the very vigilant of teachers or an Occupational Therapist who can do a school visit. The OT referral can be made through your GP/Paediatrician or SENco at the school. 

    What has worked for us is to sit down with the school (teacher, head & SENco) to look at planning together a way forwards, the last thing they want is for him not to attend or keep being late. My son was gradually getting crosser and crosser about going into school, he was refusing to dress, come down stairs etc etc. We have by no means solved this as I am sure we will get good days and bad but what was agreed at school was for him to have more sensory breaks, more quiet time to regulate himself and for him to have a 'safe' person to find if things are overwhelming. 

    My son sometimes comes home wired as he has been conforming and coping all day, so obviously he has to blow sometimes (in the morning or after school for us). It is very very difficult to imagine how difficult it must be for my darling boy but I once watched a very powerful video clip of what its like for an Autistic child to go into a supermarket which was a showstopper for me, all the noises, voices etc so I imagined what it must be like for him at school without me to support him.

    Yes he has to go to school (as it is the law) but the school must work with us to support and aid his needs; as it would seem yours need to. There must be something that triggers his anxiety which needs to be unpicked as we had to. 

    Very best wishes x

  • Hi Ann, 

    theres a few sections on the NAS website that you may find useful. 

    This link is to the behaviour and strategies section. www.autism.org.uk/.../understanding-behaviour.aspx

    And 

    The following article contains a lot of helpful information about education for a child with an autism. http://www.autism.org.uk/about/in-education.aspx 

    Hope this helps in some way, 

    SteveMod

  • Hi Ann, 

    My first time on here today, and I came on this site because I was wondering if I might find posts like yours. Firstly, thank you for posting and hang in there as there are things you can try. 

    I have a 9 year old boy too, our problems with going to school hit a crisis point last April. Cutting a long story short, we're in a much better place now but it's taken alot of work with a local BEHMS team, the School SENCO, teachers and ourselves adapting at home and developing our own knowledge and understanding. We are currently under a Paediatrition for an assessment process but it's unlikely that our son is at the threshold for a diagnosis. 

    My son wasn't even on the radar with the teachers and had effectively masked his difficulties until he properly crashed. It was quite distressing for him. 

    We had quite a rigid approach to getting him to school and it did get physical. It didn't feel nice though. The head teacher came out twice to our home and collected him personally. We only did this because when he was there it was fine and will say he's had a good day. I think the thought of school is just overwhelming for him. 

    At times it still isn't pretty (especially Monday mornings) and we still don't know if we are doing the right thing. On a bad day, one of us will take our daughter to school first and then come home to help the other with getting our son to school.  

    The message I suppose we want to give is that you are going to school but we'll do anything we can to make that experience as good and as easy as possible. We then cut him slack at home but it can be hard. 

    We are learning too and  now understand just how overwhelming the school day is for him. The curriculum is so packed, it's so fast paced, it's a really big school (5 classes per year), the sheer amount of people/kids and he has job share teachers and they also stream children for maths (so another different teacher for that subject), plus three lots of homework every week. He's utterly shattered by the time he gets home. 

    Essentially our little boy looks like any other kid, he's bright academically so therefore he's held to and judge against the same standards as any other child in the school.

    What we have in place with the school now has been driven by us and they're really obvious (no cost) measures which have helped immensely. We've also done alot with our little fella around understanding his emotions so that we can work together more.

    It's probably me being naive but the school seemed to be lacking in knowledge/strategies in how to help us at first but they were extremely willing to work with us and I'm really grateful for that.

    Explore as much as you can about how your little boy feels about school. What are his likes, dislikes, what is happening at dinner time, is he getting into trouble at all, which teachers does he like (what style of teaching suits him), does he need shorter periods of concentration, has anything happened to upset him (an event from a while ago?).

    The school SENCO and an independent BEHMS worker did some observations on our little boy to build a better picture of his school day. We were then able to put more of a plan together.

    Not sure what we can do next as we have other little challenges too but we're making small steps. Finding a smaller secondary school with good SENCO provision is a hope. 

    All the best. 

    X