July 23, 2015
I have a young student who refuses to come to school and
seems to have school phobia. What are your thoughts on
A: It is important to recognize that school phobia
or school refusal involves anxiety and fear. If the team
thinks in terms of anxiety it might be easier to get at
the reason for the fear. Phobias are not rational, so
children can't really be talked out of it or scolded out
the child actually makes it to school, a good idea is
to have a trusted adult meet the child at the door. Having
a safe or trusted adult in the school is always a good
idea for an anxious child - someone who will take the
(deep breathing, stretching, yoga, exercise) should be
introduced through out the child's day since high levels
of anxiety cause physical symptoms such as trouble breathing
and panic symptoms. You can use a 5-point scale check
in to teach the child to think about his or her own level
of stress throughout the day.
is important to protect the child from bullying or teasing
that might be happening on the playground or in the lunchroom
until you determine the problem.
can increase resilience in children, so a small friendship
group would be good. A whole class might be too much,
even one friend can be emotionally protective.
the child is best, but if not possible, a structured observation
in all school environments might be needed to determine
the source of anxiety.
ideas for how to make this child feel important and successful
at school. Something related to a favorite passion or
skill is good.
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