References The primary treatment goal for children with school refusal is early return to school. Physicians should avoid writing excuses for children to stay out of school unless a medical condition makes it necessary for them to stay home.
More often than not, it comes in the form of tantrums; loud, overwhelming meltdowns that can include refusing to leave the house, running down the street to avoid getting in the car or on the school bus, or lashing out with physical blows.
School refusal can be School refusal distressing, for kids and their parents. Each school year, approximately 2 to 5 percent of children refuse to attend school due to anxiety or depression.
School refusal is a serious emotional problem that is stressful for both children and parents can result in significant short and long-term effects on the social, emotional, and academic development of the child. School refusal is triggered by underlying mental health issues that require treatment and support.
It develops over a period of time and is sometimes related to the following: This anxiety disorder is School refusal among younger children an includes excessive anxiety concerning separation from parents and an overwhelming fear of harm including death befalling parents or loved ones when separated.
It can resurface during the transition to middle school and high school. This includes performance anxiety. Students with social anxiety tend to be preoccupied with being scrutinized by peers and adults, worry about how they are being judged, and experience significant anticipatory anxiety about public speaking.
Children with this disorder experience excessive anxiety and worry about a number of events or activities, and this anxiety causes distress in social, occupational schoolor other areas of functioning. Childhood and adolescent depression includes a wide range of symptoms and can include depressed mood, irritability, refusal to participate in normal activities, sleep disturbance, changes in eating habits, social isolationand suicidal thoughts or plans.
Signs of school refusal Tantrums, running or hiding from school, and lashing out with physical force are clear-cut signs of school refusal, but many students engage in more subtle behaviors. Watch for these signs of school refusal that are sometimes overlooked: Frequent physical complaints such as headaches, stomachaches, chest pains, muscle pains, feeling dizzy or feeling exhausted Regular trips to the school nurse for no real medical reason Illnesses on test days or days when students need to present oral reports Frequent requests to call home Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning Refusal to engage with peers or participate in social activities Willingness to complete work at home How to get help for your child The best treatment to help children struggling with school refusal includes a team approach.
It helps to have a strong team that includes the classroom teacher, family, a school psychologist if availableand any specialist working with the child outside of school.
The first step is a comprehensive medical and psychological evaluation. This will likely include both family and teacher questionnaires or interviews. This highly structured form of therapy helps children identify their maladaptive thought patterns and learn adaptive replacement behaviors.
Children learn to confront and work through their fears. Some children struggling with school refusal need a graded approach to returning to school. They might return for a small increment of time and gradually build upon it. This is essential for children struggling with anxiety. Deep breathing, guided imagery, and mindfulness are all relaxation strategies that kids can practice at home and utilize in school.
The treatment team creates a plan to help the student re-enter the classroom. Younger children might benefit from arriving early and helping the teacher in the classroom or helping at the front desk. The plan also includes contingencies to help the student during anxious moments throughout the day i.
Anxious children benefit from predictable home routines. Avoid over-scheduling, as this can increase stress for anxious kids, and put specific morning and evening routines in place.
Sleep deprivation exacerbates symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also makes it difficult to get up and out to school in the morning.
Establish healthy sleep habits and keep a regular sleep cycleeven during holidays and on the weekends. Consider requesting a peer buddy for recess, lunch, and other less structured periods as anxiety can spike during these times. Many students who struggle with making and keeping friends feel overwhelmed in the school environment.
Social skills groups can help kids learn to relate to their peers and feel comfortable in larger groups. You might see periods of growth only to experience significant setbacks following school vacations or multiple absences due to physical illness.
References Freemont, Wanda P.School refusal describes the disorder of a child who refuses to go to school on a regular basis or has problems staying in school. Symptoms Children with school refusal may complain of physical symptoms shortly before it is time to leave for school or repeatedly ask to visit the school nurse.
If the child is allowed to stay home, the symptoms quickly . Information for Parents and Caregivers Information for Educators Information for Behavioral and Health Professionals. Well-meaning parents can make things worse, psychologists say, by allowing an anxious child to miss school, arranging to attend school with them as, for example, a classroom volunteer—or even.
Oct 09, · It’s a struggle that many parents are familiar with — your child doesn’t want to go to school.
But for some kids, this happens every day. School refusal is a serious emotional problem that is associated with significant short- and long-term sequelae. Fear of going to school was first termed school phobia in An alternative. School refusal is when a child does not want to go to school, or is afraid to go to school.
Often these children will be sick or miserable in the mornings. They want to stay at home rather than go out and do other things.