I’m not sure if there is such a thing as recovery from school refusal but for us we’ve got to a point where my son is now spending nearly 4 whole days in school. It’s a remarkable achievement because this time last year my son was struggling to leave the house, travel very far or engage with anyone outside the family. It was so difficult that I started to doubt whether my son would ever return to school or indeed have any sort of quality of life. It was so worrying that the psychologist suggested more assessments but I said “no” because I felt that whatever was happening to my son was a temporary blip that he could recover from given time.
And I have been proven right. With lots of support we have helped our son take those first intrepid steps into the school grounds and from there into the school building and then into lessons. It was hard work as it meant us going over and over each stage until he was confident enough to move on to the next stage. And so it went on, months and months of building up his confidence until he suddenly declared that he “loved his school” and could he do “more lessons please”.
To hear these words was amazing. It was the breakthrough we were waiting for because it showed us that he was feeling happy, confident and in control. It has also meant that I’ve been able to take a step back. For the last six months or so I’ve spent large chunks of time in school whilst my son sat in class. I was happy to do this because I knew my son was less anxious knowing I wasn’t very far away but I still hoped that one day he would manage without me. Even though my son has an autism spectrum disorder, I still have to work towards him becoming an independent adult so stepping away from his school life became an important aim of mine. Now that moment has arrived and I’m just like any other mum taking her child to and from school. It really is fabulous. Watching my son enjoy going to school is not something I ever thought I would see again.