What can be put in place to help?
Helping children with emotionally-based school avoidance to return to school can be a complex and challenging process, but there are several strategies that can be effective:
- Identify the underlying cause: It’s important to identify the underlying cause of the child’s school avoidance, such as anxiety, depression, an unmet SEND need, or a traumatic event that has occurred at school. This can be done through assessments and evaluations by and educational psychologist and mental health professionals.
- Develop a plan: Once the underlying cause has been identified, a plan should be developed to address the problem. This may include therapy, emotion coaching, and adjustments to the educational environment.
- Gradual re-entry: Gradually reintroducing the child to school, starting with shorter periods of time, can help the child to feel more comfortable and less anxious.
- Build a support network: Building a support network of educators, mental health professionals, and family members can help the child to feel supported and less alone.
- Address the child’s concerns: It’s important to address the child’s specific concerns and to provide reassurance and support.
- Implementing accommodations: Depending on the child’s needs, it may be beneficial to implement accommodations such as allowing the child to have a specific person with them in the classroom, or to have a break during the day to de-compress.
- Follow up and monitoring: Following up and monitoring the child’s progress and providing ongoing support is crucial for the child’s success.
It’s important to remember that emotionally-based school avoidance is not a choice that children make, but it is a symptom of underlying emotional or psychological issues, and it requires professional attention and support.
With a combination of different strategies and a supportive environment, it is possible to help children with emotionally-based school avoidance to return to school and regain their sense of well-being.