Is The Stress of GCSEs Pushing Your Child to Self-Harm?

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A Prince's Trust survey has revealed that 1 in 5 of those that participated said they had harmed themselves by cutting or burning. Students with fewer GCSEs were more likely to harm themselves than those with good results.

How Many Teenagers Self Harm?

According to statistics taken from the selfharm.co.uk, 10% of teenagers may have tried to self-harm and another 90% will have been treated in A&E for self-harm. The website makes it clear that these figures may well be more as the amount of teenagers that report is minimal due to the stigma attached.

How Is Self-Harm Linked to Learning Difficulties?

Self-harm is very common among those with autism spectrum disorders (sometimes referred to as ASD) and those with learning difficulties. The spectrum for autism disorders can range from "classic autism" to Asperger syndrome.

Around 20-30% of people with autism self-harm in some way When it comes to children with autism, their condition is not treated as self-harm but "self-injurious behaviour" or SIB. Medically, self-harm is seen as a coping mechanism and that is why the differentiation is made between self-harm of those with ASD and those without.

Why Would An Autistic Child Self-Harm?

Various reasons for this behaviour in those with an autism spectrum disorder often relate to how they respond to various stimulations – do they need a high level in order to react, or does even a slight noise, for example, distress them. For those with a low level of stimulation, self-harming such as head banging, hand biting or excessive picking and scratching helps to increase their stimulation. Alternatively, those with a high level of sensitivity or stimulation use self-harm as a way of releasing tension.

Other explanations for self-injurious behaviour include social causes, problems with communication and avoidance. All are classic behaviours of children with a condition on the autism spectrum.

All this may affect their rate of learning, and if they indicate your child is not coping well in class should all be taken into consideration when your child's plan comes under review. If you have concerns, you should first try to speak to the school or local authority. They should be able to help you amend your child's statement to provide the support they need.

If not, you may want to consider legal advice on how to get the right provision for your child and should approach an experienced educational law solicitor.



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