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Advice re 17 year old son becoming more withdrawn and refusing 6th form

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#1 Carrera74



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Posted 11 February 2015 - 05:36 PM

Hi everyone.  I’ve not been on for a while.  We have had our ups and downs since the last time I came on but normally things seem to iron themselves out quickly but not this time so I am turning to experience from other parents as everyone I speak to doesn’t understand or thinks I am worrying unnecessarily; maybe I am? I hope I am! L


My son is 17 (turns 18 in July) and has become more and more withdrawn over the last month or so since finishing a two week work experience which he really enjoyed doing.


He attends an independent 6th form which was joined to his school.  The 6th form only opened last year (my son was the one of the first pupils there) and we fought for his place there as he had settled so well in the school and we knew he wouldn’t manage a mainstream college.  He is due to leave this Summer but it feels like he has given up.


He completed a 2 week work placement at the school after the Christmas break and he absolutely loved it but after his first week back at the 6th form he has become more and more withdrawn and has refused to go back.  During this time his link worker at 6th form has come out to try to get him to go back with them (this has worked in the past) but this isn’t working this time.  He managed to get him to yesterday and we thought we had turned a corner but this morning we are back at square one and he has refused.


The staff at the 6th form are getting fed up with him and I am worn down by it all.


We meet with the LA monthly due to the additional years funding they want regular updates but the only update from the last meeting is that he has been to school for only 2 days!  I am expecting them to pull the plug on the funding but I don’t know what to do.  I feel totally out of my depth.  He won’t talk to me and has just shut down. He is up all night – he’d play games 24/7 if he could but I have taken the wifi off him – no school no internet!  I worry that he is depressed but he won’t go to the GP and if he would he certainly wouldn’t take any meds / attend any counselling sessions to help his anxieties.


What happens to our children when they become adults? I had hoped he would be more independent by now but it feels like after his work experience he has returned to a very anxious young man.  All we are getting from him when he does decide to talk to us is ‘he can’t be bothered’ and ‘he doesn’t care’.  I have fought for years to get him the right education and to help him but how can I continue to help him when he won’t even help himself? Is this just teenage rebellion or his autism?


I don’t know where to turn or what to do.  Everyone keeps saying they don’t want him not in education; training or employment but that’s exactly where he’s heading.  I’m sat here in tears. This isn’t what I wanted. I fought so hard and it’s gotten me nowhere L I’m actually wondering if I did the right thing fighting for a special school as he couldn’t be more excluded from ‘normality’ now L

#2 oxgirl


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Posted 14 February 2015 - 11:50 AM

Hi Carrera74, sorry things are not great at the moment.  Haven't got time to reply in-depth right now, but wanted to offer a bit of support anyway.  I'll reply fully later when I've got a bit more time.  Chin up.


~ Mel ~

#3 dm2010



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Posted 14 February 2015 - 05:35 PM

"has become more and more withdrawn over the last month or so since finishing a two week work experience which he really enjoyed doing"


Perhaps there is a clue there. He enjoyed the work experience so much more than schoolwork that he, quite logically, didn't want to go back to that schoolwork.


But to develop that theme further. He really enjoyed the work, so what precisely was he doing, who was he working with and why exactly did he enjoy it so much more than school ?


Getting answers to those questions could well be the key.

#4 Paula



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Posted 18 February 2015 - 02:38 PM

Im comeing at this from a different perspective


My son is now 21 and hes been at home with me since he left his special school at 16.I wanted him to attend college and things a supported place with transport to and from but he refused ,yes i could have forced him to go but i thought he has to have some say some controll over his life i cant controll everything he may be asperger but he knows his own mind.It didnt matter what i said how i tried he refused and that was that.I worried about what would happen .I wont lie its been hard but hes doing ok,we were forced to look at other opportunities and schemes,he took part in the princes trust team,hes done alsorts of sports based projects and courses not attached to colleges .Hes happy coz he feels in controll doing what he wants to do.




Youre saying you fought so hard to get him into special school and where as it gotten you....but isnt it about where its gotten youre son.it looks like its gotten him to a point where hes decided college isnt for him anymore .he sounds like a "normal" 16 year old lad stuck on his game machene who cant be bothered with stuff my sisters daughters nt boyfreind is 17 and he doesnt get outta bed till turned 12 and does nothing but xbox one and eat ######...........Maybe youre just expecting too much.


I say leave him to it ,let him make some of his own decisions and you may not like them but hes the right to make ones that you dont...........i also am of the thinking life is a 70 plus years journey so does it matter if we have a few glitches along the way realy.


Ive learnt over the years with my son just to go with the flow and sod it.

#5 nippy sweetie

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 02:52 PM

Well Paula- you can "go with the flow" but run the risks that can lead to.  Its hard being a parent and very easy to just let your children do what they want. However, what are the risks?

  • He may be clinically depressed
  • He may become so accustomed to doing nothing in particular he withdraws from life altogether, turns night into day and fritters his life away achieving nothing at all.
  • He has AS so, by definition, has difficulty with imagination: he only knows what he knows so finds it hard to imagine what he doesn't know. He needs to be given the opportunity to find different ways to occupy his life. He needs to experience alternatives. Clearly he really enjoyed the work experience. It would be much better for his mental and physical health to engage in meaningful activity with all that that involves with a long term aim of helping him to achieve his potential and be a fulfilled, happy and useful member of society.
  • He is still very young. 21 is still very young. Consider how you will be able to help him when he is 30, or 50 or older. Look to the long term and bear that in mind when you are planning. There are many crucial life skills to learn that wont be learned by lying about playing on an Xbox!

#6 Paula



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Posted 19 February 2015 - 02:26 PM

My son isnt lieing round playing on xbox all the time.


he is currentley doing the second part of a community sports leader course for disabled young adults something he wanted to do something we found out about together rather than me just saying this is what youre going to do no matter what.Hes actually building up his cv because theres an opportunity for paide work for 6 months two days a week as part of the disabled sports federation where they employ a young person with a disability for 6 months with the hope of them keeping them on permanatley,he actualy was put forward for this scheme at the end of last year but sadley didnt have the sports leader qualification he needed so were working towards that and hes been told next time hell have a better chance.Hes aslo a ambassador for the disabled sports federation and goes to schools supporting other younger pupils with disabilities get into sports.Hes busy and active and the plus point is hes doing things hes chosen to do.


I guess ive come across like some sort of parent who sits at home drinking white lightening whilst kids run riot because i cant be bothered but that is way of the mark...........the point i was trying to make but obviousley bodged was at 16 regardless of the aspergers they have the right to make there own decisions,they know what they like and dont and yes as parents we can gentley encourage and point out that something else might be more beneficioul and hope they listen but forceing someone in my opionion isnt the way.


I also think this young lad probley fancy now hes had a whirl at work experiance getting into work instead of college so it would be worth checking out the Princes Trust website and the schemes they do for all abilities they worked wonders for my son in broadening his horizons and makeing him realise for himself that being home all the time isnt the best option for a happy life.

#7 soraya


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Posted 01 March 2015 - 01:08 AM

My son is 21' and has withdrawn from the world, he is very depressed, and angry with the world. In hindsight the worst thing was sending him to a special school as he has no friends locally. We have tried Princess Trust, apprentiship, and a job locally, all failed due to his need for control, and lack of social skills. Sometimes it is hard to keep fighting and organising things for him, but I keep trying, life is hard when they are adults with no support!!

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