Sunday, January 1, 2012

School Refusal Behavior and Special Education - Does Your Child Have It?

Do you have a child that receives special education services and seems reluctant to go to school? Do you have a child that comes home from school upset, and now is having physical or emotional symptoms, around school attendance? Would you like to know what symptoms may be associated with school refusal behavior? This article will help you understand possible signs and symptoms and also reasons that this may be occurring to your child.

School refusal behavior can happen at any age but the most common age that this occurs is between ages 10-13. Long term studies indicate that if this behavior is not addressed it could lead to serious problems such as academic regression, family conflict, and difficulties with peers.

Some of the common emotional symptoms are:

1. Depression
2. Fatigue and tiredness
3. Panic attacks
4. Social Anxiety
5. Worry
6. Aggression
7. Noncompliance and defiance
8. Refusal to get up in the morning
9. Running away from home or school
10. Crying and Temper Tantrums.

Some of the common physical symptoms are:

1. Diarrhea
2. Headaches/stomachaches
3. Nausea and Vomiting
4. Recurrent abdominal pain or other types of pain
5. Shaking
6. Sleep Problems

If your child has any of these signs and symptoms related to school attendance you need to get to the bottom of what is causing this school refusal behavior.

Below are a few reasons that your child may have developed this behavior:

1. To avoid academics that they cannot do! Many schools continue to give children with disabilities school work that is too hard for them. The child becomes anxious and may either develop negative behavior or school refusal behavior.

2. Your child may not be getting appropriate special education and related services that they need to benefit their education.

3. Your child may be experiencing issues with sensory integration difficulty, and may be sensory overloaded. Addressing these issues that occur in the classroom can be helpful.

4. The child may be being bullied at school by peers, and may not have told anyone. It is amazing to me the amount of children that are getting bullied at school nowadays. Some children are even going to the extraordinary and committing suicide due to the bullying. Check with your child and their friends to see if they are being picked on, perhaps due of their disability.

5. The child may be being bullied by a teacher or school personnel. A recent widely televised case occurred where a teacher beat up a child in the classroom, and the only way anyone knew about the incident is that another student video recorded, it with their cell phone. Parents need to visit their child's school unannounced and see what is truly going on in their child's classroom.

6. The child may have developed tangible rein forcers outside of the school such as sleeping late, watching television, or playing with friends.

How is the diagnosis made? There is a School Refusal Assessment Scale-Revised that a professional can use to determine if your child has school refusal behavior. The scale has 24 questions which are easy to understand and quick to answer. For more information on this scale go to:

By having this scale filled out and trying to get to the bottom of what is causing this behavior, you will well be on your way to helping your child getting an appropriate education and being willing to go to school!

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