Micah’s anxiety seemed to be getting worse in the days leading up to the first refusal. It was showing through refusals to do things that she would normally do when asked. She came across as bossy, demanding, and rude. I have gotten to know that those are definitely signs that something is up. She couldn’t tell me what yet though.The first school refusal occurred three Fridays ago. The night before, she started to not want to go to school. We tried to determine what was happening there.
Micah struggles with the morning bus because the kids do whatever they want and are loud. The afternoon bus driver is stricter. So that was one issue.Easy remedy- I could drive her to school in the morning.
She still wouldn’t go.We brainstormed some more and found out that it was bothering her that one of her EA’s is leaving for a teaching job. Micah is also worried about what the replacement will be like. Will the replacement treat the ASD class like they aren’t intelligent like some of the supply teachers have done?
All of the regular staff at the school are good so I’m sure the replacement EA will be a good match for the class as well.Next problem- One child has a humming stim which he might need to help him focus. Usually Micah can handle it but she said it has gotten worse. She knows it is something he needs to do, so we bought over the ear noise cancelling headphones to use for listening to her music on her iPad while she works.
Another problem is that the boys have been arguing a lot more than usual and one boy especially has been having trouble due to something that happened to a family member. I can’t help her with that one other than to let the staff know how it is affecting her.Over that weekend, Micah’s behaviours worsened, especially on Sunday evening. She fought going to shower and to bed.
My anxiety has been increasing greatly each day especially when I have to call the school each morning-wondering when they would start demanding that we bring her in. It has never happened! They are very understanding.Thursday morning, Micah told me about a bad dream she had had that night. She dreamt that her old grade 6 teacher (the one who caused her to leave school), came to her current class and kicked out her teacher and EAs. He made her do lots of math (another problem from the old school) and wouldn’t let her do her favourite things like reading and spelling. The boys were allowed to do those things instead.
Micah told me all of this and a few minutes later, it sunk in. She likely has PTSD from what went on with her old teacher at the old school!I told Micah and she looked it up on the internet. Based on what she read, it sounded right and she seemed relieved right away as she hadn’t been able to figure out why she couldn’t go back to school.
She cut and pasted some of the information into a document that she could read and remind herself that her new school is not the problem but the old school is.It all makes sense now. The major incident happened at this time of year and she had stopped going to school by Christmas in grade 6. We also had several refusals last year over school work and various other school issues.
At this time, our autism consultant also informed the principal at Micah’s current school about what exactly had happened at the old school and how the old principal would not even allow their board (Catholic) psychologist to know about it. The current principal was shocked by what had gone on and is very understanding. I informed him of what I think is going on with Micah.
Last week after figuring out the problem, Micah returned to school on Monday. She managed four days and is now not in school again.We have an appointment in two days to see the pediatrician who follows Micah for her autism. We have printed out the DSM-V criteria and she fits. We have also printed out the adult and child PTSD symptom scales.
To us it looks like PTSD, but we will have to wait for our appointment to find out for sure.More to come in a few days after the appointment!
Just a fun video from Micah's recital on the weekend: