School Refusal Hope

You are not alone

School Refusal Hope is a site dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their child's school refusal.  We provide listings of different treatment programs around the country that can help children who avoid school. We also share the names of therapeutic and small boarding schools around the country where your child may thrive. We also provide support in the form of other families who have been down the same road as you.

Response from Jason / Maryland

Thank you! I've been considering all options. Tomorrow I have a meeting scheduled with the school, with our psychologist. Hopefully we will come to a meaningful remedy to my sons refusal of school.

The isolation and restraint was their answer to him not attending, to drag him into the building and let him sit isolated learning nothing and pick him up at the end of the day. This we only allowed a few times under threat from the school. 
We don't want to pull him from GT because he will be bored, that will create other issues. 

Diagnosis was depressive disorder. 

No learning disabilities, and a exceptional IQ score. 

We reside in Maryland, I'll be happy to update our status so that other parents can learn shortcuts negotiating with unwilling participants child and school system!


From Julie / Maryland

I'm glad to have found your website. We are struggling with out son and school refusal. He has made it in partial days for the past two weeks but can't get up and to his morning classes. My son is a good kid- defiant at times, but kverall a really good person. No self harm etc.. We live on the east coast and I worry about being so far away from him - if he went to Rogers - I think I saw that was where you sent your son. It sounds like he had a good experience there. How far did you all travel. Also, do you have any connection to the programs you've listed on this site - Baltimore for example.
Thanks so much-

Response from Angela / United Kingdom


he was ude to go to high school in sept after a lot of stress and panic we got him to go in for one day  the college leader broke the promise of him not having to go into class  when reece came home he selfharmed and stressed for 2 hours since then which now about 12 days we have not been able to get him to go back.. the senco as since put all in place for an asd child. friday we went over the school and insisted on seeing the principal .. the college leader appered and said we will do a home visist monday morning and how sorry they were to miss past appointment ..i gave them a plan laying out a way to help reece with phased intergration.. the plan i gave said 3 visists to school no classrooms .. meet each teacher.. then 1 hour a day for so many weeks leading up to full school.. i am waiting their response to this on monday.. and then i requested if reece fails to attend home tutor intervention with the tutor leading reece into school.. i have a gp and waiting for an appointment for a therapist.. the school he goes to is ormiston adventure academy

Response to Stuart from the United Kingdom


Thank you telling us about your struggles with school refusal, separation anxiety and depression. I am so happy to hear that you are finally experiencing the happiness you deserve. 

I’m glad to hear that your parent’s tried to find you help with a psychiatrist. That was a positive step.  Yet I do understand when you say that he had no clue on how to help you.  Finding an experienced and qualified doctor (Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and Certified Social Worker) is still in the year 2014 (in the U.S.) a challenge and can be quite expensive. It is important that parents interview potential therapists on the phone or in person before they bring their children in for an appointment.  And parents should always go with their gut and listen to some of the input from your child as to the effectiveness and helpfulness of the therapist/doctor that you are currently using.  Also, don’t give up if one or two therapist did not work out.  Keep looking and researching for other professionals who can help your child. 

As you detailed, the school refusal, anxiety, and depression and fear waxed and waned through your childhood and college years. Your school system didn't know how to handle your condition or make recommendations for another more appropriate school placement (which may have made a difference). Please see my link here about the school system’s role and in the United States, your child’s right to a Free and Appropriate Education, FAPE

I don’t know about the school systems process and accountability for students with emotional disorders back in the 80’s in the UK, but today in the U.S., they play an important role.
The Child Study Team (sometimes called Intervention and Referral Service Team, the Student Study Team….) is your key to getting your child help. Email them (my lawyer has a good rule that when communicating with the school district, everything should be asked for in writing). You can definitely call them, just follow up with an email reiterating what you are asking for, what was discussed and what the next step will be.

Additionally, it sounds like your parents may have felt helpless and did not know where else to turn for help. Parents should not ignore the signs (as in your case, like you crying all day in the playground or keeping to yourself during the school day or displaying signs of depression). 
The school system is supposed to be your partner in seeking help for your child, so keep on top of them, so you know how your child is acting during the school day.  And parents should never give up the pursuit of finding the proper treatment, doctor, or school for their child. It is not an easy journey, but it can be won.  

Thanks again Stuart,
Jayne Rosen


Disclaimer:  This site is designed by School Refusal Hope to assist parents, family, friends and other caregivers with finding resources to understand and cope with school refusal, as well as to increase public awareness regarding school refusal.  The contents of this website are presented for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing on this website is to be construed as professional advice on medical, legal, technical or therapeutic matters.  By accessing and using the information on this site, you agree to waive any rights to hold the site developer(s), or any individual and/or group associated with this site, liable for any damage that may result from the use of the information presented.