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School Refusal

School refusal, school avoidance or school phobia are terms used to describe the signs or anxiety a school-aged child has and his or her refusal to go to school.

School refusal can be seen in three different types of situations, including:

Young Children Going to School for the First Time

This is a normal type of school refusal. This develops with a child's normal separation anxiety or uneasiness about leaving a parent figure. This type of fear usually goes away within a few days of the child attending school.


Older children may have school phobia based on a real fear of something that may happen to them at school, such as a bully or a teacher being rude. In this situation, it is important to talk with your child to determine what is causing his or her fears.


The final type of school refusal is seen in children who are truly distressed about leaving their parent and going to school. Usually, these children enjoy school but are too anxious about leaving their parents to attend.

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Facts About School Refusal

Signs and Symptoms of School Refusal

Diagnosis of School Refusal

Management of School Refusal

Last Updated: 08/2013