Anxiety-based school refusal is a phenomenon that affects between 5 and 28% of children at some point during their education. It occurs when a child or adolescent experiences a very high level of anxiety/distress when s/he is asked to attend school. This anxiety results in active avoidance of school (i.e., refuses to attend) or marked distress when s/he is forced to attend. Children with school refusal may complain of physical symptoms shortly before it's time to leave for school or repeatedly ask to visit the school nurse. If the child is allowed to stay home, the symptoms quickly disappear, only to reappear the next morning. In some cases a child may refuse to leave the house, get on the school bus, or leave the car when dropping them off.
School refusal often occurs or worsens following a stressful event, such as a death or illness in the family, divorce or separation, or illness in the child or adolescent that has resulted in an accumulation of missed schoolwork. School refusal is not a diagnosis, it is a symptom, and is associated with many mental health disorders, including:
I offer a comprehensive treatment program for school refusal, which consists of four main components:
Specialized Anxiety Treatment