By the way I forgot to mention we are also getting a neuropsych eval done – finally – basically the only test the kid has never had. It is going to help us sort of put final pieces of puzzle together as to how his brain works and what strategies he can use to help him. (my personal opinion -anyone suspected of having adhd/autism spectrum/learning disabilities/or struggling to be successful and unable to figure out why- should have a neuropsych eval done)
And what Penny said about Dr. Greene is so true – kids do well if they can. So if a kid is struggling we have to find out why. That is why we are finally getting the neuropsych eval because up until now our son has also seen psychiatrist (for 10 years now sees child psych one of best in our area anyway for medication mgmt only though), has had several therapists over the years – but he refuses to talk pretty much, did a stint at our local psych hospital in an intensive 4 wk ouptatient group therapy program – just made him realize there are other kids out there like him but other than that didnt really do too much.
Learned helplessness – look that up if you haven’t – we were told we have at times allowed this to manifest in our son over the years. We are better now with therapy but it is soooo easy to let it happen.
I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know because it sounds like we are in very similar situations.
I had posted earlier in this thread about my therapist’s advice on what to do with my 17yo son and his school refusal this year. I actually had an appt with her yesterday and this was her latest advice – slightly different from what i originally posted. Hoping some of this can help in your situation
Sit our son down and say in the most loving, supportive and therapeutic way possible – your dad and I love you very much but we have realized something this year, we can’t make you do things you don’t want to do. We are not going to fight with you anymore (this whole year has been constant fighting which his 2 younger sisters have had to witness as well as take a backseat to because of all the time we have had to spend on our son, and I was afraid at one point I was going to lose my job because I called in so much having to deal with his school refusal, meetings at school constantly to figure out what to do, a 4 day inpatient hospitalization and the 4 week intensive outpt program we had to drive 2 hrs to 3 x/wk so I had miss work for that). Always fighting with you to go to school has strained our relationship with you and we don’t want that anymore. You are 17 years old and you should be able to make your own decisions and choices. But due to your significant struggles this year attending school that going back next year is just not an option. So we have decided that next year you can choose to do one of the following:
– drop out of school completely – but you have to have a full time job if you choose this
– obtain your high school diploma in alternative way – but must hold part time job as well (GED program or our local community college he can also do this)
– go full time to the local comm college – do not need to have a job if choose this – apparently you can finish your diploma that way and start taking college courses
– go to special program at the high school for kids with attendance issues/mental health issues etc – basically kids like him – 24 kids, a psychologist, 1 teacher and TA per class of 8, later start to day, daily therapy and meditation, etc etc (he has already told his he will not choose this option as it is “social suicide”)
So when I asked her what if he says no to all of them and says he’s just going to drop out then because he doesn’t like any of those options – she said we tell him that we will never kick you out and we will never not feed you but if you decide to drop out (and not work) and just sit home – then you won’t be able to have any privileges – tv, video games, cell , car to drive.
So, we haven’t had this talk with him yet and like I said not sure if this would work for you or not. Also if anyone has any comments on this plan don’t be shy – bc I’m still tossed up myself.
Her feeling is that once he sees what sitting home and doing nothing feels like it won’t be long before he picks one of the 4 options. And when I bring up the working full time and how he wants to be an astrophysicist how is that helping him attain his goals she said that after awhile when he realizes what not having a high school diploma gets you in the way of work options he will make a different choice. He will then likely FINALLY have that MOTIVATION to go to school.
I guess my hesitation though is that it’s still not teaching him the skills he needs – dealing with feeling overwhelmed or not wanting to get up in the morning to go to school etc – so have to think more on this. I posted a question by the way not long ago here about my son and a very nice young man responded to it – you should read it – it gave me some hope for my son.