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help with managing teen daughter's social anxiety

Poppydean profile image

I am new here. My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with adhd and social anxiety last year. She takes Adderall and attends therapy. She is really struggling with her social anxiety with the impending return to school. Her counselor has been hard to communicate with (busy, vacation, etc) and won't likely have availability after school once school starts. I feel like I need someone (expert) to help direct our course and help her address her social anxiety. Who is usually the "case manager" for teens with and adhd/anxiety diagnosis?

7 Replies

I am sorry to hear this. A few suggestions, does she have a 504 plan at school ( each school is different in who writes and manages the plan ). Also, you could ask if there is a person at school she could see.

If you don't already have her see a psychiatrist to make sure her medication is correct.

Best of luck!

Oftentimes the person making the diagnosis can provide other sources of referral. It is not uncommon to meet several therapists before finding one who is a good match for your child and family. Was she diagnosed by a developmental behavioral pediatrician? A psychiatrist? Both of these professionals should be able to direct you to other options (social skill groups, psychologists, etc) for more assistance.

You are in good company! Mother to a teen daughter with adhd and social anxiety here.

A few things:

1. Medication.

May I suggest seeing the doctor (I highly recommend that it be a child psychiatrist) to get her on antidepressants? They were a game changer once we found the right one. Adhd meds can exasperate anxiety so an antidepressant can level out the playing field.

2. Case manager.

Yes, the case manager should be her advocate. I am a little unclear what your daughter has at school (IEP / 504 / neither)? Note: In our situation the assigned case manager was new to the profession and had no idea what he was doing so we gravitated to the seasoned counselor who has taken her under her wing and been her advocate.

Call the principal/assistant principal to get things moving if you are having problems connecting with the counselor. Do not be abrasive. Just tell him/her your problem and let him/her help you. Being abrasive usually creates walls. Be helpful and pleasant.

3. IEP meeting.

If you are not receiving services at the school, I suggest formally requesting an IEP review meeting and bringing the professional who diagnosed your daughter to the meeting. My daughter received an IEP from the school solely based on her anxiety. They classified it as “other impairment.”

4. Therapist.

I would make sure your daughter likes her therapist. If I had it to do again I would have gone the route of getting her a therapist specialized in DBT for anxiety and depression. I went the CBT route and it failed miserably. By the time I wanted to make the switch, she was no longer agreeable to therapy.

You are your daughter’s person and she needs you more than ever right now. Be her advocate, remain positive, and be above all politics. Keep the goal in mind, and that is to get her help. Where others may fail her, you step in and find people who will help her. You are her bridge builder. I wish you the best and we’re always here to share in the frustration! No one understands better than the parents/caregivers on this board.

Any chance she could find just one friend to have that support in school. Public school can be terrifying and inflame her social anxiety without that. Just a thought😊

She has one good friend but if they’re not in any classes or same lunch period she’s distraught. I’m asking the counselor to place her in same lunch or classes if possible because she has a 504 for her anxiety.

We are here for you on this journey. Our 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with adhd, has high functioning Autism and has social anxiety. She is on Vyvanse now and pleased with the results and Zoloft 25mg and we are looking for other options with that product. She has a therapist as well. It is difficult at times. She is a strong student and has a IEP which allows her to doodle while fully engaged in her lessons. When she talks, I listen all the while being mindful of my tone and replies. It is frustrating. We are keeping the mood in the home positive and upbeat and being her biggest advocate. Take a deep breath mom you have lots of support.

My 16 year old grandson has major social anxiety. But I had that also as a teen. Besides medication and a 504 we found a great counselor who has really helped him. Not all counselors are equal. For myself, my daughter and now grandkids I have had some that were just not that helpful. Keep looking for someone your daughter likes but who also has experience with anxiety. Good luck.

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