16 year old Teenage with Social Anxiety Disorder School bus to sixth form — Scope | Disability forum
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16 year old Teenage with Social Anxiety Disorder School bus to sixth form

elanaoali Member Posts: 14 Connected
My daughter finished hospital Education and came out with very good grades of GCSE mostly B and One A. She has started main stream sixth form and has had a very rocky four  of weeks.

However now she is able to cope with her timetable and is doing 3 A levels. The gaps in her timetable can give her stress and she will retreat to the English Sixth form common room when she has a free period.

My husband and I agreed that to get her into sixth form and then tackle going on the school bus to school. So we started off with her and a friend in yr 10 who lives in our street going in the car. This has stopped now as this friend as gone back to getting the school bus. 

Her attendance has been as followed. 

 Week 1 She has missed two lessons at the beginning as she couldn't cope. The teachers knew where she was. 
 week 2 Two days off when she was ill with bad period pains and a cold. I had to get her from school as she was feeling unwell and had had a panic attack. One of her friends she made over the summer she met at the taster day in June who is in yr 13. She stayed with my daughter outside of school. On the Friday she got out of bed and even though her cold was bad. I encourage her and dosed her up with Ibuprofen. She got in the car and then said she couldn't go as she felt too unwell.  This couple with her anxiety made it impossible for her to go to school. She begged me to take her home again. 
 week 3 A Friday over a week ago she flattery refuse to go to school which caused a massive argument between my husband and me. My daughter was swearing at my husband and he left very angry. The arguing went on all evening between them and me. Saturday she woke up with a migraine caused by all the stress. I left for the day out with my brownie unit. Back on Saturday night she was still ill and Sunday recovering on Monday. Her migraines can last for up to 3 days. Back to school this week on Tuesday. 
In the meantime I had one hour session with an adult physcharist in CAMHS. As my local CAMHS decided it would be good for parents/carers to got support. Last week I spend in tears because of what happen that weekend. My last session is this week. 

We are at a lose how to encourage our daughter to get on the bus. She won't go on public transport. She had some bus training at hospital education with her learning mentor. This had to stop as they couldn't continue as they were too busy. My daughter tried taking the bus home with her learning mentor and was anxiety all the time. (I was told that public transport was very hard for people with social anxiety disorder because of the following. Fear of being talked to by other passengers, the noise, the smell. )Then exams started so that put paid to that. I tried to get her to do bus training in the holidays but she flattery refused to do so. Her  her anxiety has gotten worse. In fact she spend most of holiday with my parents no going out. She doesn't go out further than our street. Only goes to her violin lessons only if I take her. She says I make her feel safe.  
She has stopped going to any social including even Youth group that our church does which is  held in a home environments with people she has know all her life. 

My husband says try to encourage her to go on the bus. He thinks that we should offer carrot and stick. None thing I can think of works. I have taken all away all her internet access and phone. Band TV in the past none has any effect. We don't know how to discipline her when she refuses to go to school. I tried to talk to her but can't get through to her. She is 16 year old and can't be made to go to school when she is so anxious. 

I requested an appointment with my daughter's physcharist to discuss what we do next. (my daughter is on medication to reduce her anxiety) We been told she has autistic traits (psychiatrist diagnoses) 

I am so frustrated and angry with her anxiety which rules her life. She is bright and intelligent  and has the potential to go to university or be apprentice. She is expected to come out with good grades in her chosen subjects of Chemistry Biology and Psychology. The sixth form is attached to a secondary school. A 20 min drive away.  School bus would mean getting it and it taking 45 mins to get there while it picks up other students on the way. 

Tonight my husband said to her how about going on the bus to school next week. No answer from my daughter and she flatly refuses to talk to me early. The only thing I was able to get her to do was walk to the bus stop with her friend for two days at the time the bus comes. It is 2 min walk from her our house. The third time I ask she flatly refused to do it. (A couple of weeks ago).  So I gave up.  
Now I  am stuck with a daughter who will only go to sixth form if I take her in the car. She is coping with sixth form better every day. Talks like any other 16 about sixth form. (she is second daughter to go to sixth form older sister at Art College. Different sixth form. ) She does all her homework and has definitely engaged in sixth form life. (The English sixth form commoner want to get a microwave for the common room) She talk about getting a job. I don't see how she could do it as she won't go out the door without me. 

I going to email her physcharist and ask if we can met up with her (my husband and I). I don't expect Naomi to go as she hasn't been to her last two appointments as she refused to leave the house. (this was before sixth form started after her exams in the school holidays) My daughter has talked to her physcharist by email in the past. So that could be one way that they could talk to each other. 

I need wisdom. I think that if I discipline her if she refuses to go to school it won't make any difference. Her fear is very real. She needs encouragement and to talk it out. I am unable to do that. 

Can anyone help me? 


  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,793 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @RebeccaMHadvisor, would you be able to advise @elanaoali?
  • RebeccaMHadvisor
    RebeccaMHadvisor Member Posts: 99 Courageous
    Hi @elanaoali

    It sounds as though things have been very difficult with you daughter and I can hear the impact that this is having on you family life.

    I am wondering if you can tell me a little more - Can I ask the reason she was in hospital, the length of time and when her social anxiety started (don't worry if you feel those details are too personal and don't want to share).

    In the last four weeks it sounds as though she has had a lot to deal with and a lot of changes in her life which, if she has social anxiety disorder and is on the autistic spectrum might be a very big change for her.  The fact that she can now cope with her timetable and the gaps that cause her stress is a real positive.

    I can see that she has missed time at school and I can hear this is a great worry for you but I think it is important to separate out the physical health from the mental health and focus on the days she has attended. Have you spoken with the school about what is happening for her? They might be able to support her with providing work on the days she doesn’t feel able to go.

    I understand that you are worried about her anxiety getting worse and her not going out but I am wondering, taking into account school, how her going out compared to before overall? If she was in hospital school for a long period of time, her being in mainstream school now might mean she is out of the house for longer periods even though she isn’t doing the extra curricular activities and that is all the time she feels she can cope with right now. Without understanding a little more about her hospital stay it is difficult for me to understand what that might look like for her.

    You have said that she is coping with sixth form better every day and talks like any other 16 year old about sixth form and I think this shows that she is improving.  The fact that she does all her homework means that is one less battle for you and she is taking school seriously and you have mentioned that she engaged in sixth form life which I sounds like a big step for her.

    If she is talking about getting a job that could mean that she wants to get better and doesn’t want to let her mental health dictate to her and again, I think this is a big positive in her life even if the practicalities of that don’t seem evident yet.

    I can hear and understand your anger and frustration. The impact that a social anxiety disorder has on a person and the people around them is massive and I think that requesting to see her psychiatrist is a good option for you.

    It seems as though the biggest problem for you is the bus. I think that this is something that you need to talk through with her and her psychiatrist and perhaps accept that this isn’t something that you can resolve in four weeks, as problematic as it is.

    Speaking from three years personal experience (12 months younger than your daughter) and my experience over the last two working with children and young people there are several things I have found...

    I think one of the biggest things is that punishment doesn’t work but positive encouragement can. Rather than looking at the days she didn’t go to school, turn it round and tell her how proud you are of the days that she did go and acknowledge how difficult that must be for her. Talk to her about how she feels she is doing and how she is getting on and see if you can get her to think about what it feels like to be on a bus, what goes through her mind, what she thinks could happen and then get her to think through with you the irrational and perhaps unrealistic thoughts with ones that are more rational.

    I know that this is very difficult and you sound as though you are struggling to deal with what is happening. I am wondering if there are any careers groups that can attend where you can seek support from other parents in similar situations?

    Take care
  • elanaoali
    elanaoali Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi Rebecca 

    Just want to clear up a few details about my daughter. Her difficulties with school started in year 8 just before October half term with refusal to go to school on set days this increased to everyday and then she was referred to CAMHS and Hospital Education. (She was never in hospital but in Hospital Education which is a service for children who are not able to attend mainstream education. She was educated by them in year 9 where she attended their base. )Then in year 10 we tried to get her back into mainstream education at a different school this failed. So went back to hospital education with home based education through teachers coming to our house. Then back into the base for year 11. 
    She was diagnosis by CAMHS with Social Anxiety disorder and put on medication to reduce her anxiety. My daughter has had appointments with her psychiatrist firstly at home and then at their base. She also was in contact with her psychiatrist by email.  Lately she has not be able to attend appointments with her psychiatrist as she was unable to leave the house when the time came for her appointment. 

    I went to those appointment myself just to update her psychiatrist with what is happening with my daughter. 

    I have emailed her physcharist to discuss how we can proceed with bus training and we have a meeting set up for the 17th October. I will be encouraging her to go of course. 
    This week she attended sixth form everyday but Tuesday when we got stuck in a big traffic jam and were stuck in the car for 3 hours before we were able to go home. During this time my daughter talked herself out of a panic attack. She asked me why I was able to stay calm. I just said that I told myself there was none thing I could do about it so just had stay calm. 
    My daughter asked me to take her home when we got free of the jam. She was very stressed out and I said yes. It didn't seem right to insist she went to school and she was going to miss one lesson in the afternoon. I did ring the student absence line and explain why she wasn't in school. 

    The next day she was hesitate about getting in the car because of the day before. She asked to go the 'bus route' so I said yes. On Thursday I told her we were going our usual route and reassured her that I looked at the traffic news and none thing was happening on the roads we took. 
    Friday she asked to be pick up early and I agreed to this. I felt that this was not a good thing to encourage as staying at sixth form all day was important for her. (she is able to go to the English common room when she has a free period) When I pick her up I told her I wasn't prepared to do this again. She agreed to try and stay at school all day everyday. 

    I agree with you that punishment will not work. I been seeing CAMHS adult psychiatrist for the last 4 weeks. (A new service for parents/carers we been offered). This psychiatrist agrees with you that punishment will not work.  She said that I know it doesn't work but I not been able to say this. to my husband.  My husband wants her to be punish for not attending school and he wants me to discipline her. He thinks that she is and can manipulate me into letting her go to school. I don't know if he really understand her anxiety. 

    I have asked my husband to come with me to the appointment. We need to be do this together as just me going will not help the current situation. 

    I agree that sorting the school bus will take time. I am willing to do whatever it takes. 
    My daughter won't open up about it to me. I am hoping that she will talk to her psychiatrist. 
    We have support of our church and our pastor. 
    I have not been able to find anyone to talk to about it. My local carers group just has parents with children with physical special needs. I have been a couple of times and after talking to the other carers there we didn't have anything in common so I gave up. 
  • RebeccaMHadvisor
    RebeccaMHadvisor Member Posts: 99 Courageous
    Hi @elanaoali

    Thank you so much - I had misunderstood and made a couple of assumptions. Sorry about that.

    I can hear that you are trying everything you can to support your daughter. It is so hard and one of the things I have discovered is that the support for parents is some what lacking but having the support of your church and pastor is great.

    It is good that her psychiatrist is meeting with you and perhaps if he can go with you this might reduce your own stress levels somewhat. I hope that the meeting next week goes well and the psychiatrist is able to offer some support for her as seeing your daughter in the current location she clearly can't get to is not helpful.

  • elanaoali
    elanaoali Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi Rebecca Thanks for getting back to me. Correct on the line My husband think my daughter can manipulate me to letting her stay at home and not go to school. 
    The physcharist said it would be good to see my daughter as she know how difficult it is for my daughter to come to our local CAMHS to see her. Going talk to my daughter this week and ask her to come to the appointment on Tuesday. Hopefully she will agree to come and I pick her up from sixth form and take her to the appointment. This will mean she misses some lessons but I know school will understand. I hope and pray my daughter agrees to come and does go. It will make all the difference if she does then she will be able to say how she is feeling and how she is getting on. I know she still struggles with staying in sixth form. Only today did she ask to be pick up one lesson early from the end of the day. I told her I couldn't as I had a doctors appointment which I needed to do. She expected that. As it turns out her last lesson which she was going to miss didn't happen as the teacher wasn't in and the class just got set work. 


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