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    #85172 09/16/10 07:39 AM
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    Last edited by master of none; 12/27/13 11:52 AM.
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    MasterOfNone, have you treated the anxiety through talk therapy/counseling alone?

    If HSing isn't his first choice or yours, I'd probably seek to work on the anxiety outside school but leave him in place for now.

    I've posted about anxiety meds elsewhere and won't repeat here except to say that for some kids it's a dramatic change for the better.

    I can also recommend CBT as superior to talk therapy in our family's experience: it supports the person in taking control over their anxious thoughts and thinking more realistically.

    HTH, hang in there,
    DeeDee

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    Did the counselor have any recommendations about which way to go?

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    Not homeschooling here so I'm not much help on that end, but I'm wondering if you could do a partial homeschool route? Would his school let him do the music program and you could do the rest? Our charter homeschool program does this all the time- especially in 5th thru highschool. We have kids that come just for one period a day in a special class or a high level math. Maybe it doesn't have to be all or nothing...

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    MON, it's really horrible to watch your content child disappear. When I took DS9, then in 3rd grade, out of school he was so relieved. So this is a bit different than your situation. At the time his anxiety was so high, he wasn't eating, wasn't playing and cried everyday. When we started with a counselor he was concerned that we were actually looking at a spectrum issue. His teacher's evaluation put him on the spectrum. He may not be DYS either, his missed one cutoff by 2 points and has other scores that are well over them. He's now been out of public school for 6 months, still anxious but about 70% less. He is learning happily, has many friends and activities. I don't think he would be diagnosed on the spectrum if evaluated today. I was inspired by a posting from Aimee recently about anxiety and slowing exposing one to the stressor. I think it really helped my son to do a long reset. The subject has come up about returning to school, his idea. We have the ability to just do a class or so though. I know some areas have homeschooling co-op's or I even found a part time private school for homeschoolers. I have to say that homeschooling my child has been the best job I ever had. It may be the next job that you love! I really wish you the best wishes, it's such a tough place to be-

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    My first thought was that at 10, your DS is old enough that it's important he be on board with educational decisions you make, so I was set to say that if he didn't want to be homeschooled, you shouldn't do it.

    Then I read back through your threads about him. It's clear you have a history of problems with getting this school to teach him properly; also clear that music is important to him.

    I still think you shouldn't pull him out if he wants to stay. But I understand your reasons for wanting to pull him out better than I did. Are there any other school options? Partial homeschool coop group options, that might let you at least work partime at the job you love? I think at least you'll need to have a plan for how he can continue his music, but if the school really isn't willing to educate him properly, well, he needs to be educated somehow. I hope you can come up with an option that satisfies both him and you.


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    Our recent problems are nothing compared to yours, and I sympathise with your situation.

    When junior (aka little'un) was having an horrendous time recently(see my posts passim) we told him that if all else failed we would just homeschool - and this lifted a weight off his shoulders - I think it just transferred onto mine. I don't know what I would do if he was more happy to stay at school - it's very very tough and you just have to do your best for the both of you.

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    Originally Posted by master of none
    I guess my question is more about the long term consequences/benefits of growing up learning to cope with constant anxiety in the maintstream vs being removed from it and all it can teach, but being more relaxed for self development (and not needing/learning to cope). Does that make sense?

    Oh, yes, it makes a great deal of sense. That is where we are too. DS does not want to leave elementary school even though it is sometimes making him more anxious than he can handle.

    Our therapy team is of the opinion that it would be a mistake to pull our DS out-- both because it's a "vote of no confidence" (making him think that he really couldn't do it) and because he does need to learn to deal with other people in that kind of social setting. They are big believers in learning to cope. YMMV, of course.

    That said, it is sometimes horrifying and stressful to do it this way, and it is wearing on all of us, DS and family and school staff alike. (And THAT said, he's having his best year ever so far this year; one does have the sense that he's learning how to deal.)

    FWIW, I have heard that current CBT approaches to agoraphobia appear to be effective, but they are dramatic and intense: they require not a bit by bit exposure, but lots of exposure in a short time, repeated until the stimulus becomes boring rather than exciting. It's supposed to be highly treatable.

    What supports could be put into place to help your DS manage? Can he name his triggers, and can a plan be in place to manage them? The school ought to be ready to do a functional behavior analysis to figure this out, and work on reducing the anxiety... though I know they may or may not be.

    Much in sympathy,
    DeeDee

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    Originally Posted by master of none
    Maybe it boils down to having a supportive comfortable environment to learn vs a highly charged environment--a now brainer decision. But it seems like there's so much to lose-- will he lose all the progress he's made handling the social demands of public school, and I'd hate to see him lose it.

    Hi MON-
    I'm wondering what you think that you would lose? It seems to me that any coping skills that he has actually gained are his to keep. Maybe if he is sort of 'callosed' then the calloses would be lost, but if it isn't a genuine integrated skill, and only a outer hardening, then is that something worth keeping?

    I so identify with you just thinking 'this must be who he is' as my DS isn't anxious, but get's grim for so long that I think it must be him. Then a catch a glimmer - last spring he was skipping at BIQ weekend - at age 13, and CTY camp - he feels that he has permission to be himself and I see a whole different kid.

    It's hard to ask you to give up a job you love - will they take you back if you package it as a 'Sabbatical year?' I don't really see it as a vote of no-confidence of your son or the school, just a 'Sabbatical' to see what life is like this way.

    Even though there is a 'state law' against partial homeschooling, I would go up the food chain, perhaps with a doctor's note, asking if he can continue his music at the school. You are paying taxes, right? And the school does have his best interests at heart, right?

    I've never homeschooled, but thought about it often. If you had a chance to travel around the world for 2 months you'd pull him from school - right? So what's wrong with doing that without the trip?

    hope that helps,
    grinity


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    I don't think you can answer this question without an indepth look at what resources you have available as a homeschooler.

    Do you make friends easily?
    Will you be able to find good opportunities for him?
    What is the homeschooling community like in your area?
    Will he be in co-ops or clubs?
    Are you good at coaching him to try new things?

    It is very important how it is presented. I can see it would be very possible for a kid to think they failed and they weren't allowed to go to school any more. So, I would try to bring him in on the discussion. That doesn't mean he's the one responsible for making the decision. But, it does mean that he should understand the choices aren't school or life is just like it normally is during the summer. He should understand that he will still be in activities with other kids. He should understand you will still have expectations that he try new things. I would present it as a chance to work on other things. Also, if you really think it would be better, personally I would not be above manipulating a bit by finding ways to make that first year of homeschooling pretty special and exciting.

    Finally, for what it is worth, the level of anxiety we saw at 7 is entirely different than what we saw at 10. Maturity, more experience, practice, CBT, all can make a huge difference. I understand the feeling that any progress he has is fragile, but I would remember all of life offers opportunities to learn to deal with anxiety. Public school doesn't hold a monopoly on that.

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    I don't know if I missed this , in which case I apologise: what is the source/root of the anxiety?

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    My dh and I had this exact conversation (she needs to learn to deal with real life vs. she's falling apart) when dd12 was in 1st grade. She had a major issue with her teacher and the school wouldn't change her to another classroom. She was becoming depressed to the point that she was telling me that she wished she had never been born, she was "so stupid" that she wanted to be dead, etc. Obviously she's not a "stupid" child, but she did learn very differently than the teacher taught and was having tremendous anxiety about the color coded reward system, teacher yelling, and being punished for her learning style.

    In our case, we did take her out and homeschool and my only regret was that I didn't do it sooner. I viewed it more as a "reset" as someone else mentioned. I don't bail her out from all stressful situations but in that instance the stress was so high that she wasn't learning anything. I am referring to learning coping skills, not academics (although that wasn't great, either).

    Sometimes the emotional fallout becomes so huge that the child shuts down and not only doesn't learn to cope with tough situations but learns that he cannot cope b/c he isn't making any progress in diminishing the anxiety from day to day. He, instead, learns that life is stressful and there is nothing he can do about it.

    I am not a fan of cutting and running whenever anything is hard and I've seen people do that. The outcome isn't as positive for a child. In our instance, we gave dd the break she needed, helped her develop coping skills outside of a situation where the anxiety was so high that she couldn't do any more than keep her head barely above water, and then later sent her back to school. She has, since, dealt with some very stressful school situations and come through them without us needing to remove her. She's a very well adjusted 8th grader now with a lot of friends and good coping skills.

    Long story short, despite what your counseling team may be saying, you are the parent, and I would consider homeschooling strongly in your situation. I'd also investigate other moms who might be willing to do a co-op such that you might be able to keep up with a job you enjoy.

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    When I was a child I had social anxiety to the point that I could not speak in school above a whisper, but I was very talkative at home with my family and close friends. The public schools I went to did nothing for me. Public school made my anxiety worse. My anxiety didn't get better until I got out of public school, started college and had some control over my life. It has always been the feeling that I had no control, that I had to force myself to be like everyone else and do what everyone else did to be successful that caused my anxiety. When I tried to do physical things and had anxiety I would get fumble fingers and a little clumsy but I did not have dyspraxia and dysgraphia like my son has and I could color in the lines so I could fit in when I felt I had to. My son does not fit in and I will not try to force him to. I want him to feel some control, to lessen the anxiety that I am sure he feels because of his disabilities. This is why I homeschool and look for supportive environments where he can feel comfortable being who he is so he can learn and be successful and focus on his gifts and not his disabilities. When he feels he has control, he can dance and play piano even with dyspraxia, even better than some people without disabilities, people like me who had performance anxiety and would not even try.

    I told my son that he will fit in when he gets to college. I told him about my experiences. In college it did not matter how I learned, only that I learned. I made good grades. I got a good government job because I could make high scores on their tests. I did well and it felt good.

    My son loved being around other kids and I hated taking him away from friends at school when he finished kindergarten, but musical theater allowed him to develop friendships with other people who love music and acting and other things he likes.

    The people in the musical theater group are like family to us. This is so much better than what he would have had in school. If he had stayed in school he would have spent too many hours on homework because the dysgraphia causes him to write more slowly and might not have had the time to do musical theater. He definitely would have had anxiety about this. He found that he really liked homeschooling.

    I did not get any kind of therapy for my anxiety. I didn't need therapy once I had control. It is only now that I realize how little control I have over things that are happening to my family that I am feeling that anxiety again. I don't think there is a cure for the anxiety I feel when I see my son and my parents in pain.

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    I think the resource question is a good one. I consider outside activities extremely important to our ability to homeschool.

    My oldest went to 2 years of public school and at the end of the 2nd year, he just didn't seem himself at all. He had constant stomach aches and head aches, was always tired and stressed. He kept asking his first grade teacher to give him harder math (so did I). My child is not 2E, but he is asynchronous. He enjoys peers socially. At the time, he wasn't the best candidate for a grade skip nor was I prepared to fight the battle I would have had to wage to get it. Now, after 2 years of homeschool and 2 rounds of open ended achievement testing, now he's just not the best candidate to be placed back into any school we have available to us locally. He's obviously thriving on EVERY level. My youngest is just in first grade and she is a very confident and social kid. She was so emotional her 2nd year of preschool because of inadequate fit.

    I strongly feel public school does not have a monopoly on teaching tolerance or social skills. Homeschooling isn't for every family, but it has been a great fit for us so far. I'm all for teaching kids stick-to-it-iveness, but there are many ways to achieve that.

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    Originally Posted by kimck
    I strongly feel public school does not have a monopoly on teaching tolerance or social skills. Homeschooling isn't for every family, but it has been a great fit for us so far. I'm all for teaching kids stick-to-it-iveness, but there are many ways to achieve that.

    For me this sums it up beautifully. After JK we decided to homeschool because DDs anxiety was through the roof. She was so overwhelmed that she wouldn't drink or eat all day. She quickly figured out that if she didn't drink, she wouldn't have to hold her pee for 7 hours. She cried at school, and was so upset that she was often sent to the office to sit and wait until I could go and get her. She was an emotional and physical mess even on the days that I didn't pick her up early. Socially it was a nightmare for her. While our first year of homeschool was tough in many ways, her social skills have flourished. It's amazing to see how she has learned to cope out there in the world. I've always been impressed with how well 'homeschooled' kids handle themselves socially. When homeschooling you can really focus on the areas most important to your child's development. If anxiety is the issue, then you can start there at a pace and in an environment that is best for your child. I know that if I would have left my DD in school her anxiety would have become much worse.

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    Masterofnone, no fun at all, regardless.

    I know what counselor means; we have had to do this calculus for our own DS. I think he has been on an alternative curriculum (informally) from the start of K: the other kids are working on academics, he's working on social skills and anxiety. All day. Every day. Because he doesn't need much of what they're teaching academically, but he sure needs those other lessons, and this is one way to get them.

    You can always change your mind and pull him later if you find you need to. You're approaching it thoughtfully. I'm rooting for you.

    DeeDee

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    Master of None - I can't speak to your situation but I will tell you about a friend. Her DS had a horrible time in school. He was diagnosed with ADD, anger disorder (can't recall the name), and Asperger's and the school wanted him medicated. Finally, after 2nd grade, she pulled him out to homeschool. Everyone said he need to be in school to learn social skills, to learn how to deal w/ issues and manage his anger/anxiety. Well, you wouldn't recognize this kid just 2yrs later. You wouldn't recognize him 6months after he had been Hsing. ALL adults in his life noticed the change. He was more confident. He looked people in the eye. He initiated conversations. He didn't have the huge, out of control anger explosions. His attention was just fine. Now, you'd be hard pressed to diagnose him w/ any disorder. It was simply a toxic environment for him. This kid is DYS-level (never applied though) and just wanted getting his academic, emotional or social needs met. I think he needed to be a in a safe, controlled environment to learn social skills etc.

    But if he's not for HSing and it would entail a huge life change for you, HSing might not be the best choice. But, also, nothings set in stone. If you try HSing for a year and it doesn't work out, could he go back to his middle school? Could you return to your job?

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