Does my son/daughter have school refusal?
The answer to this question is in your gut. You know when things are getting out of hand or heading that way. If you are on this site, then you see signs that have led you here.
School Refusal is sometimes also referred to as school avoidance and school phobia. It describes a child's refusal to attend school. It can start as periodically missing school a day here and a day there. It can escalate into missing days of school at a time. It can also lead to children to refuse going to school altogether. Children may refuse school by crying, screaming, hiding or may complain of feeling sick. School refusal is usually related to one or more emotional disorders. It is often seen in conjunction with anxiety, social phobia, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. School refusers are not refusing school to be defiant or get attention. There are usually underlying factors and emotional issues causing this behavior.
Living with School Refusal can wreak havoc on a child and their family. It is challenging because the child may not be able to articulate why they are avoiding school. Each day the child misses school work, the more work has to be made up and this creates even more stress. Additionally, some school districts do not understand school refusal. The district can and end up blaming the parents for not getting their child to school. Sometimes the school personnel will say the child is being manipulative and defiant. Also, the child may feel embarrassed by their school refusal and avoid their friends and create more isolation.
This post from Brook Road Academy does a very thorough job of describing signs of school refusal and important first steps on how to help your child. It’s one of the best I have come across lately.
How Different Kids Exhibit School Refusal Behavior Posted on September 25, 2018 by Brook Road Academy
“Parents whose child displays school refusal behavior likely wishes they’d stumble upon a guidebook, or manual of sorts, to help them better understand and help their children.
What is most challenging about this issue is that school refusal behavior presents itself as a confusing set of symptoms….”
School Refusal Assessment Scale-Revised (SRAS-R), developed by Christopher Kearney and Wendy Silverman, is a psychological assessment tool designed to evaluate school refusal disorder symptoms in children and identify their reasons for avoiding school.
Scoring and interpretation of the SRAS-R
Scoring the SRAS-R is based on a 0-6 scale, with each question being scored as follows based on participant response:
0 points: 0, meaning “never”
1 point: 1, meaning “seldom”
2 points: 2, meaning “sometimes”
3 points: 3, meaning “half the time”
4 points: 4, meaning “usually”
5 points: 5, meaning “almost always”
6 points: 6, meaning “always”
Each item in the question set contributes to a different function which may be contributing to the child's school refusal behavior. Total scores may be computed by adding the scores of each of four functions on both the parent and child versions. These function scores are each divided by 6 (the number of scores in each set). Parent and child function scores are then summed and divided by 2 to determine the mean function score. The function with the highest mean score is considered the primary cause of the child’s school avoidance. The function divisions are as follows:
Function one ("avoidance of stimuli provoking negative affectivity"): items 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, and 21 Function two ("escape from aversive social and/or evaluative situations"): items 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, and 22 Function three ("attention seeking"): items 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, and 23 Function four ("tangible rewards": items 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24
Scores within 0.50 points of one another are considered equivalent.