Jump to content


What's with the ads?

Photo

Best resource for students who shut down under pressure?


18 replies to this topic

What's with the ads?

#1 Innisfree

Innisfree

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1360 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 12:36 PM

This is for dd13(asd). Mostly she's just going utterly passive in the middle of lessons, even when the lessons themselves are not the source of stress. This morning it's a sick fish. She started working, got through a few exercises, then just put her head down on her arms and quit, eventually crawling back into bed.

This sort of thing is happening more often lately. She can generally do the work if she'll apply herself. I always am working right across from her, and can give help as needed. But any sort of stress just leads to her shutting down. I'm getting worried about her capacity to handle high school level work.

Help?

#2 exercise_guru

exercise_guru

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 147 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 02:04 PM

I was going to post something similar today. If my son perceives a situation or task is going to be too difficult he gets panicked and then shuts down and can't be reasoned with even if the task is not that difficult he can't pull himself out of it.

Also there are days he says he "just doesn't feel well" those days his work is all over the place messy at times and at other times passive not engaged in work. This is regardless of sleep and diet.

Getting a child to shift into focused mode and to not retreat.

My son is 10 and it is likely because of adhd inattentive but I am very concerned

Edited by exercise_guru, 31 January 2018 - 02:56 PM.

  • Innisfree likes this

#3 Innisfree

Innisfree

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1360 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 02:22 PM

Hugs, exercise_guru. Sorry you're dealing with this too.

We've known for ages that stress caused problems. They used to be very physical problems, so this is actually a big step forward. But I feel like I'm already doing everything I know to do. We try not to overwhelm her, do things in a predictable way, encourage asking for help. Her verbal skills are very nearly neurotypical, and she is able to ask for help. But sometimes things just overwhelm her in spite of our precautions.

#4 Innisfree

Innisfree

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1360 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 02:23 PM

And yes, this is not caused by sleep or diet.

#5 Lecka

Lecka

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5205 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 05:22 PM

Exercise Guru — my older son had a phase like this. He would have anxiety over getting started and then go into an anxiety spiral, and then still not get started, and then that would make him more anxious, etc.

Okay, he was at public school so I can tell you there suggestions.

There is a part of executive functioning called task initiation. They did all the recommendations for that.

They helped him to get started on tasks so he wouldn’t get into the spiral in the first place. Maybe talking it over, maybe writing the first answer or two or something like that. They shortened or otherwise modified assignments that “looked” too hard. Breaking up assignments into smaller parts, too.

I have to go!
  • Innisfree likes this

#6 Storygirl

Storygirl

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3217 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 05:56 PM

Shutting down is so hard to deal with. I have three kids who need support for various issues, and though they have all been challenging to address, DS12's shutting down behaviors caused the most roadblocks when we were homeschooling, because we would just be stuck. He is in school now and has a 504 plan with accommodation for support, because some of the issues were present at school as well as at home.

 

We really, really struggled to figure out what was happening with him and had various rounds of testing for issues. We finally figured out that it was inattention and executive function struggles (though not enough for an ADHD diagnosis in his case), combined with anxiety.

 

It's the anxiety that triggers the shutting down in his case. He gets overwhelmed, and he can't move forward.

 

I agree that task initiation plays a big role for my son. Actually, it can be a problem for me, as well.

 

Taking a break, breaking tasks down into smaller pieces, frequent checks for understanding by the teacher, extra time for assignments and tests are all accommodations he gets at school

 

He has not had as many shuts downs at school this year that have been obvious to the teacher. But there has been more than once when he has "worked" on a project independently during class, but unbeknownst to the teacher has been not producing any work. For example, he had one writing assignment that the class had two full class periods to work on independently. And then we as parents discovered right before it was due that he actually only had a few phrases written -- no research, no notes, no sentences, no paragraphs. He will just sit there and do nothing, apparently.

 

In past years, he would often argue with the teacher that the assignment was "impossible" and not be able to process helpful ideas given to assist him. He would insist that they would not work. This year, I haven't had any reports of arguing from his teachers. Evidently he now just sits silently and does no work. Which is really not better (though the arguing was inappropriate).

 

It's hard. Every person is different, but you may be able to teach your child some self-calming techniques (you can google for ideas), good self-talk (you can teach scripted things to repeat to themselves), and ways for the student to ask for help and break down things into smaller chunks.

 

It's hard to teach these things to someone with rigid thinking, I know.


  • Innisfree likes this

#7 Innisfree

Innisfree

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1360 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 08:26 PM

Thanks, Lecka and Storygirl. I appreciate your thoughts.
  • Storygirl likes this

#8 Ravin

Ravin

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13064 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 10:24 PM

Wish I had some advice for you. In much the same boat.



#9 Lecka

Lecka

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5205 posts

Posted 31 January 2018 - 11:26 PM

We had two pretty stressful family situations and my older son also had trouble with his handwriting. The counselor at his school thought a lot of it was from our situation at home. Then he would have trouble finishing his work quickly, and then he would be worried he wouldn’t finish, and that would start him into being afraid he wouldn’t finish, and then he would be anxious more as he took longer and then he would have less time left and it would just be more anxiety.

Anyway at school they helped him as mentioned, but they also thought a lot of it was getting his confidence up and having him have successful experiences.

Now our stressful family situations are nothing like they were, it’s much better. And his handwriting has gotten better, and it is very easy for him to type at school now because they have Chromebooks.

He doesn’t have ADHD and the counselor said she thought it was situational anxiety, not general anxiety. He also would be fine with parts of class that weren’t written work or seat work. He would still be engaged with discussions and he would listen to the teacher and things like that.
  • Innisfree likes this

#10 Storygirl

Storygirl

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3217 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 12:04 AM

When DS was younger and schooling at home, he would freeze, and I would try to push him to work through it, and he would just freeze more. And he would get upset and have meltdowns, and it would derail school for everyone, because I had my three youngest doing most of the same lessons together. I never managed to figure out how to pull him out of it; his anxiety would just spiral, and the things I tried always seemed to make it worse.

 

We finally enrolled in school, because I felt I couldn't teach him any more, and my other kids needed more intervention than I could provide on my own. I hoped that having different teachers would help him. And it did, because his episodes were less frequent. But it was not a complete fix -- he came to tears a few times at school and, as I mentioned before, he could get surly and seem disrespectful with teachers, and he still would shut down over homework (lots of homework assigned by that first teacher).

 

I just thought I'd add that, because my other post only mentioned the freezing and the arguing. What I wrote here does not really fully describe how bad things could get, but... it was bad. He just had walls, and I couldn't help him, and the things I tried to do would backfire. And this was practically every day while homeschooling. Or if he was having a good day, one of his siblings would have a bad one. We were all miserable. I'm not suggesting that school is a solution for anyone. It is just what was right for our family, because homeschooling was not working. We stuck it out until he was in fourth grade.

 

In fifth grade, he had a teacher who found a method to help him in class. His shut downs at school were almost always when he felt overwhelmed with an assignment, when he was unsure of instructions, or when he lacked confidence. His teacher would explain what he needed to do once or twice. Any more than that, and there were diminishing returns... he couldn't process the ideas and accept them and would start to argue that the teacher had to be wrong, or the assignment was impossible. So she would tell him to go to his desk, that she had given him all of the information, and that he just needed to think about it. She said he would sometimes sit there for ten minutes or more doing nothing, but then he would be able to start working. I think he was able to not break down emotionally in front of his classmates, although the teacher said she sometimes would see his eyes welling with tears.

 

That is why in his 504, he gets extra time. Sometimes he needs to reboot. When we got his neuropsych report, we found that he can remember and process information better after a time lapse. So right after getting an assignment, he can't always figure out where and how to start. After 15 minutes, he is more capable; it's an executive function issue, where he is not organizing the information in his brain systematically. And when he panics about not understanding, his anxiety increases, and he just shuts down.

 

The truth is that he CAN understand how to do the assignment. It just takes him longer to process it (this is not technically about his processing speed). It used to frustrate me so much when we were homeschooling, because I just knew that he could do things and that my lessons were not too hard for him. Yet he couldn't. It often seemed to me, though, that he wouldn't. I really struggled to understand this dynamic. I wish I had been more understanding when homeschooling, but all of the times I tried to encourage or push him just backfired.


  • Innisfree likes this

#11 Storygirl

Storygirl

    Empress Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3217 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 12:14 AM

Two of the scripts that the NP suggested were for us to use with him consistently, so that he would/could eventually begin to use them for talking to himself when he felt anxious.

 

1) Plan A, Plan B. This is "If Plan A is not working, think about Plan B." Here the idea is to work on the rigid thinking and help him see that he can listen to and think about new ideas or ways to approach a problem. (DS is often unwilling to accept that there is a different way).

 

2) Big Deal, Little Deal. "Is this a big deal or a little deal? If it's a little deal, then we can figure out how to let it go. If it's a big deal, let's figure out how to turn it into a little deal." This is about keeping things in perspective.

 

https://www.amazon.c...NFQ09GQC1VKJ2AYou might look at this book, or others in this same series.

 

 


  • Innisfree likes this

#12 Innisfree

Innisfree

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1360 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 07:15 AM

Wish I had some advice for you. In much the same boat.


I'm sorry. It is so difficult.

#13 Innisfree

Innisfree

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1360 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 07:23 AM

Yesterday I got this book on Kindle.

https://www.amazon.c...3rmL&ref=plSrch

It's geared toward ADHD, which is not dd's diagnosis although she does have issues with attention. But it does seem to focus on the emotional element of getting stuck. The author feels emotional components of ADHD are under emphasized. Not sure yet if it will offer much help, but we'll see.

#14 geodob

geodob

    Hive Mind Queen Bee

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1381 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 07:31 AM

Could this be a difficulty with redirecting her attention?

That she couldn't take her thoughts away from the sick fish?



#15 Lecka

Lecka

    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5205 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 09:34 AM

I looked at the book preview, and my husband and I were very polarized about parenting. It was the number one issue the therapist identified when we went to marriage counseling.

Both of us felt very, very trapped with him feeling like “my wife is too nice so I have to make up for it by being strict,” and me feeling like “‘my husband is too strict so I have to make up for it by being nice.” Neither one of us liked our role and both felt like we were stuck there because of the other person.

Ironically the therapist thought we were going to have some deeply held differences in what we thought about parenting, and we didn’t!

I had never heard of this before marriage counseling so it’s nice to see it mentioned.

#16 exercise_guru

exercise_guru

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 147 posts

Posted 01 February 2018 - 01:00 PM

I am sorry I don't have a lot of ideas for your situation because I haven't solved them with either of my kids. I have a 13 year old daughter and she can be exhausted at times I think it is the puberty and how it effects energy and emotional regulation.  Is there something that your daughter engages in ? Can you look at how she learns and find more ways to pull the motivation lever where it works? Does she like incentive? My son is very motivated to rewards and allowances but my daughter is not. I am sure you have looked at elimination diets to make sure there isn't something that is making it worse. I don't think  medicate for ASD and at that age its hard to puzzle out whether an antidepressant or stimulant would help. Also a mom and her daughter have a tumultuous time during the teen years. I could be a concert pianist and there is no way my daughter would learn piano from me. 


Edited by exercise_guru, 01 February 2018 - 01:46 PM.


#17 displace

displace

    2e or not 2e

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4244 posts

Posted 04 February 2018 - 12:21 PM

(Hugs). We’re not in exactly the same situation, but we did work through zones of regulation. It sometimes helps and sometimes doesn't. We try to break the spiral by doing a mindfulness exercise, physical exercise, or watching cute cat videos. If both DS and I are unable to resume “regular” school work, we do a lot of filler educational things: audiobooks, fun school subjects (whatever favorite subject), documentaries, crash course, etc. Sometimes a break for an hour or two doing fun school means we can be productive another hour or two, or more!
  • Innisfree likes this

#18 exercise_guru

exercise_guru

    Hive Mind Level 2 Worker: Nurse Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 147 posts

Posted 04 February 2018 - 02:39 PM

If you can get her involved in a hobbie to round out the academics it might help keeping going with the other school work.

Some areas i have had good sucess are:art work, caligraphy,sewing ,music anything that she can learn by doing and enjoy it. This has really helped with my 13 year old.

My daughter uses art to relax if you homeschool just consider it an "elective" as part of her day. Of all the instruments I recomend guitar. My son takes through child bloom method and it is awesome. Piano is good but you need a teacher that can help them to feel validated quickly. Both of my kids enjoy playing and while they don't love getting going on practace once they are playing it really lifts their motivation and mood. Plus there is good research for it improving mood and academics. My son who shuts down finds guitar to be a motivating outlet.

I also know cardiovascular exercise increases concentration in the brain. Can she go to the Y in the mornings or get involved in a sport or karate?





Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
  • Innisfree likes this

#19 coastalfam

coastalfam

    Hive Mind Level 4 Worker: Builder Bee

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 247 posts

Posted 07 February 2018 - 10:29 PM

Cognitive behavioral therapy, with a psychologist, has been really helpful for my oldest and youngest in this regard. Our therapist works with lots of kids with ASD and other disabilities, and I really don't think I would be getting through puberty with my oldest's anxiety issues if she wasn't a support for us. It's really been very helpful. Also, I know a lot of people don't want to go there, but zoloft. For my oldest, Zoloft is the difference between even having a conversation about what is causing him anxiety to help him get past it, or at least endure it, versus immediately shutting down or going into flight mode and bolting/fighting. 


  • Heathermomster and Innisfree like this