I have been saying on and off for the past two years that my daughter has selective mutism but only in occasional situations outside home and at school. It’s perhaps gone on too long as it has not really been picked up by teachers.It came to a head on Wednesday when the head mistress gave a detention for not completing her maths work and only achieving one sum when to me this seemed harsh and also she must have been struggling to ask for help. Where do I get a formal diagnosis as for two years in her report they have labelled her stubborn and she is obviously uncomfortable in some situation. At home and in familiar surroundings she is fine but school isn't one of them. Please help!
It must be stressful for you all at present. The first thing we always suggest, if you haven’t already, is trying to talk directly to school, perhaps meeting with the SENCo to discuss your concerns. If you feel that you are not able to progress your concerns with school and you would like to talk to a Child and Adolescent Mental health (CAMHs) professional regarding your concerns you can pursue through your GP. Alternatively you may find it helpful to call the Youngminds helpline: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/for_parents/parent_helpline We have had very positive feedback from families that have used this service.
Hello, I need some advice with regards to my daughter who is 11 years old and isn't attending school at the moment. This is due to her depression and anxiety. She also has a diagnosis of ASD. Is there anything I can do for her while she is at home? Art therapy came to mind. Any advice would be most helpful.
I am sorry that your daughter has become anxious about attending school. I note that she is secondary school age and I wonder if this is a new feeling due to the transfer to a larger school. I presume you have had meetings at school and explored the issues surrounding this anxiety, and looking at the areas of pressure. For example is it maths, PE, a particular teacher or friendship group? An individual timetable to assist her returning may help if she is able to have some choice of subjects to begin with. Whilst your daughter is not attending it is essential that you keep to a timetable, for example still getting up washing and getting dressed ready for the day at 8.00 – have some books that you can read together, and take exercise each day. If you have a computer it should be possible to link into the school web site and educational activities. What unfortunately often happens is that the sleep pattern slips and this causes other complications making it more difficult to return to school. Time watching TV or social media should be kept to the end of what would usually be the school day. Good luck!
What are the steps a school can take to promote mental health among students?
A good place to start is by looking at the resource ‘uthink’ in the resources section of the website; it is under mental health resources. You need to register to download this but it is free and very easy to do. This will give you a range of things to consider. It is important that an attempt is made for all staff to be involved in considering the mental health needs of students and as with many initiatives support from senior management is useful. A good way to get everyone thinking about this as a whole school issue is to try and use some whole school INSET time to consider the needs in your own school. The resources section of the website has some useful PowerPoints and training materials to help organise such a session. Hope this helps and thanks for contacting us.