School refusal defined

School refusal is the refusal of children and adolescents to attend school because of some emotional distress. Oftentimes, school refusal results in the child suffering academically and socially due to their prolonged absences.

School refusal and truancy are different in that school refusal is the result of a specific fear or stress related to going to school whereas truancy is the result of children not going to school out of rebellion or some other non-emotional related issue. Unlike children with truancy issues, individuals with school refusal don’t tend to be violent or rebellious and their parents know that they’re staying home from school.

School refusal causes children to experience physical symptoms before school every day. These symptoms include: upset stomach, diarrhea, headaches, and lightheadedness. Symptoms disappear when the child arrives at school and goes about their day. School refusal is the result of other disorders and issues like depression, separation anxiety and social anxiety.

In order to discern what is causing your child to experience school refusal, comprehensive diagnostic assessments help find the problem, which can lead to proper treatment for your child.

Symptoms of school refusal are oftentimes treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps a child face their fear of school. Another method used by therapists is exposure therapy which exposes children to whatever they have anxiety about and reintroduces them to the setting they fear.

School refusal and Asheville Academyschool refusal

To treat school refusal, Asheville Academy offers a well trained, caring staff who help young girls face their anxieties towards school. Asheville Academy has an advanced clinical model that helps girls with school refusal through individual, group, family and equine assisted therapy. Asheville Academy’s therapeutic goals for students include  improving peer relationships, increasing confidence and repairing families.

Asheville Academy provides a personalized approach towards education and therapy that helps young girls struggling with school refusal get excited about school again.


An 8 week study researching school refusal found that 64.1% met criteria for an anxiety disorder and 33.3% met criteria for a depressive disorder. This demonstrates the causes of school refusal are oftentimes related to stress and depression.

Contemporary articles

In an article published by The Telegraph, one young girl refused to go to school for five years, suffering from school refusal. She experienced intense emotional anxiety that manifested itself as an anxiety of making a fool of herself in front of her peers. She was able to overcome her anxiety, but it took quite awhile for her to get past it.

School refusal defined by…





Your Little Professor

Family Help and Wellness



Treatment of School Refusal: One-Year Follow-up


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