IRINA’S STORY – ADHD AND POOR SCHOOL ATTENDENCE

Social context

NB Names altered for anonymity

Children with ADHD have lots of energy, difficulty concentrating and poor impulse control
This can affect peer and family relationships which lead to poor self-esteem, school isolation, depression and increased family stress. ADHD can leave a young person feeling out of control.

This conduct makes young people more vulnerable to being misled by others into risk talking behaviour often resulting in increased contact with the criminal justice system.

OUTCOMES and IMPACT

- Huge impact on communication at school
- Fewer incidents of heightened behaviour at school
- Developed coping strategies for coping with times of high anxiety and transferred these into school
- More able to regulate behaviour

Background to case

Irina is a Year 9 girl with a diagnosis of ADHD for which she takes medication. She also takes medication for anxiety and sleep support. There is no EHCP in place.
Irina presents with low wellbeing and high anxiety. She likes animals a lot and would like to pursue a career with them.

Father has passed away and remaining parent has mental health issues, is currently receiving professional input with positive parenting and is keen to be ‘involved’.

Aggressive and argumentative language to teachers has resulted in fixed term exclusions and she has been a school refuser for almost a year.

Referred to us to improve school attendance, reduce incidents at school and reduce social anxiety.

Process at The Seeds of Change

Irina presented with anxiety on arrival. She demonstrated retention of focus and was open with coach from the start needing someone to ‘offload’ to. She was very comfortable with the horses ‘non-judgemental approach,’ held fast paced conversations and appeared mature in some approaches.

Engagement in the programme was high, especially practical outdoor tasks where she was working with her chosen pony, and she was able to transfer this learning into school and times of heightened emotion and behaviour.

Irina responded well to clear and structured time in and out of the classroom appearing to retain information well and she used this to reflect on behaviour at home, school and TSOC. By week 4 it was very apparent that she had grasped transferrable learning and she was able to use her chosen pony to communicate and relate to very openly.

She also enjoyed time to ‘talk’ building trust with her coach and the environment reasonably quickly. She was able to talk easily to coach about her ‘free will’ attitude to everyday life. It was clear that xxxx was aware of coping mechanisms that work for her but didn’t always use them.