12 year old son with school refusal

Beth - posted on 03/12/2016 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My son is diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and Anxiety. He does not have any close friends at school, has constant peer rejection and is presently being bullied. He started refusing school in 4th grade, made it through 5th alright but was sent to a behavioral school (a nightmare for him) in 6th due to school refusal. Now back at public school for 7th, he is refusing again. He is beginning to show severe depression and experiences panic attacks at school. He's home now nearly 2 weeks straight and I can't get him to go. We have him in therapy and medical treatment. Is it time to pull him from public school and start homeschooling? How long do I keep pressuring him to attend public school, when in my heart I think it will always be a problem for him. I would love to get any opinions and advice.

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Dove - posted on 03/12/2016

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Look up online what K12 options are in your state. It is public, so you might not lose his services. It won't hurt anything just to see if you HAVE other, feasible options. I know the K12 program has different options in various states, so it might be one where you have to take the lead (which may or may not work for you guys) or it might be one w/ a teacher directed program. You would still have to be involved, but 'you' would not be the teacher.

Sarah - posted on 03/12/2016

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A child with a complex psychological history should be getting services from the school. Even if he is not in s BD or SN classroom, he should be seeing a behavioral therapist and have an IEP in place to help him cop with the stress of school. Have you reached out to the school for help? IMO homeschooling would not go well unless you had a very strict routine and he was complaint. He's already been home for 2 weeks, what does the school say and what does his physician say about the matter?

Dove - posted on 03/12/2016

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Public school is not always the answer. I swore I would NEVER 'home school'. I don't have it in me for many, many reasons. But... my daughters are in 9th grade at public school this year and it's just not working out (different reasons for each kid). Next year (if they get in... likely, but not guaranteed) they will be doing our local K12 option. Our program is not 'home school' or 'online school', but it is a blended learning, teacher directed program that they 'mostly' do at home and online. I really think it seems like the perfect fit for us.

If what he is doing is not working... it is absolutely OK to research all your options to find what you (and hopefully his therapists) feel will be the best fit for him. What DO his therapists recommend about his school situation?

Carrie - posted on 03/12/2016

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I would absolutely consider an online school for him, and/or homeschool. School shouldn't be torture. If public school is causing panic attacks and severe depression (and it sounds like he has had issues with school for a while), it is time to look at other options. Are you able to homeschool him? Is he involved in any groups outside of school where he feels comfortable, liked, and accepted? Is he willing to put in the effort and work if you homeschool or enroll him in an online school program?

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Beth - posted on 03/12/2016

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Thank you for your replies. He has an IEP and the school has made mods to reduce the workload/stress, but they can't fix his social issues. They try, and have him in social groups, but with his ODD it is difficult for him to be accepting of the help he receives. He doesn't want to be branded as Spec. Ed, and tries to fit in to the cool kids groups, but they end up telling him to shut up and go away and have had some really terrible bullying incidents in Jan/Feb. He's traumatized now and feels he can never make any true friendships there because nobody gives him a chance. Between my husband and I, the therapists, the doctors and the school, we are all trying to coax him back but he is truly unable at the moment. I am able to homeschool him, although terrified of the thought. I can educate myself and do it though, I'm sure it will be tough getting him in the strict routine at first, but not out of the question. It pains me to see his fear and trepidation at the thought of going to school now. I just want to let him off the hook and enroll him on an online accredited school for the remainder of the year. But that would mean withdrawing him from public and all the services stop. I am so unsure what to do. I think once therapy and medical treatment can heal his anxiety, maybe we can revisit him attending private school sometime in the future? These are my thoughts. I haven't spoken to his therapist/doctor yet about homeschooling yet, we're still in the "get him back to school" phase, and it's a stressful, frustrating time for us all.

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