What Is School Refusal?
School refusal is a term used to describe the signs of anxiety a school-aged child has and his or her refusal to go to school. It is also called school avoidance or school phobia.
How To Treat School Refusal?
- It is critical to first conduct a functional analysis to determine why a child is refusing to go to school. School refusal is not a diagnosis; it is a symptom of a disorder. Is a child refusing to go to school because he is being bullied? Is she refusing to go to school because she is having panic attacks in the cafeteria? Is he refusing to go to school because he fears he will not make straight As and his rigid, perfectionistic thinking is getting in his way. It is critical to figure out why a child is having a difficult time going to school, in order to develop an effective treatment plan, to assist your child in reintegrating back into school.
- It is also critical to have the support and the assistance of your school. Your child’s school can assist you in creating an appropriate action plan to get your child back to school. That plan may entail a school staff member temporarily coming over and escorting your child to school in the mornings (nothing quite as effective at getting a kid up and out as a school security guard entering the home). The plan may also entail accommodations such as your child being able to take a break from class if he/she feels a panic attack coming on.
- There are many creative strategies to assist a child in more effectively managing their distress and obtaining the tools and skills necessary to handle life’s challenging moments. What is must important is for children to learn that quitting/avoiding/running away from one’s problems is not a viable long term solution. As we adults have all learned the hard way, it just leads to digging ourselves deeper into the pain and suffering.
Light On Anxiety Treatment Centers of Chicago provides individual, home-based CBT treatment when needed, to compassionately assist your anxious child in returning to school.
In addition, Light On Anxiety is available to attend school staffings, to assist in identifying and implementing appropriate school based accommodations, so you child can push forward past anxiety with appropriate support and encouragement.
If you have questions or would like more information about treatment for school refusal, email us at [email protected].