School refusal can be a symptom of many different problems, including an anxiety disorder, depression, poor social skills or academic difficulties. Anxiety disorders are the most common reason that elementary aged children refuse school. Many children who refuse school complain of feeling sick rather than of feeling anxious and often feel sick every day. Parents often engage in fruitless medical testing for GI disorders or other maladies only to be told that there is no diagnosable or treatable condition. Children and teens who have who engage in school refusal often find it most difficult to return to school after long holidays, 3 day weekends or legitimate absence due to illness.
Treatment for school refusal involves correct diagnosis of the underlying problem(s) followed by exposure therapy that returns the child to school as quickly as possible. Whether panic disorder, agoraphobia, OCD, social anxiety, health anxiety or a more complex set of problems is causing school refusal, our team of specialists will develop a plan with your family and school system that helps your child overcome the cause of their school refusal. When necessary, we will come to your home to help escort your child to school so that they can return to successful living.
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