Tuesday, March 29, 2016

“I don’t want to go to school today”

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by Russ Becker

“I don’t want to go to school today”. I’m sure that statement rings true with just about everyone. Whether your child has had an “off day” or if you remember a specific instance that you simply did not want to spend your day in a classroom, the sentiment is shared by most. Many individuals are able to get past that feeling and spend their day furthering their education, but what happens to those who can’t? Discourse such as “Can’t these students see the importance of going to school?” Or “If they say they want to get to school then why are they sitting in bed all day?” are all too common when discussing the topic of school avoidance which often negates the fact that this is a legitimate problem facing a number of students.

This past Thursday I was able to go to a conference lead by Dr. George Haarman with the aim of uncovering more information about the topic of school refusal. Dr. Haarman is one of the foremost leaders in not only studying school refusal, but actively combating many of the factors that keep our students from accessing their education. The information was vast, and highlighted the mountain of factors that could contribute to why a child cannot or will not come to school. Hardly ever does a student simply make up his or her mind that they never want to come to school again. Instead there is usually an underlying factor or factors that act as barriers towards the student’s education. Whether that barrier is mental illness, instability in some facet of the student’s life, or another mitigating issue often times these problems become too much for a student to overcome in order to properly access a curriculum. Dr. Haarman not only outlined the many causes for this issue, but properly demonstrated techniques on how to treat these difficult cases. Going forward I certainly aim to employ many of these techniques while being cognizant of some warning signs in order to help these students before symptoms of school refusal even manifest. Please contact me if you’re searching for more information on the topic or about the conference in general.

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