The reasons why children and adolescents do not attend school or are unwilling/unable to attend for the allotted time are extremely varied, requiring a similar variety of different assessment and intervention approaches. Although the goal is usually the same - to help students reintegrate into their school communities and progress academically, socially, and emotionally – the roads which lead to that goal may be quite different.
The first step in discovering the right approach is a Comprehensive School Refusal Consultation – this evaluation will identify the possible issues preventing successful school attendance and will suggest a course of action to alleviate those obstacles. It includes a team of educational and clinical professionals who will review records, meet with the student and family for one or two consultation sessions, and then report their findings to the family, clinical providers, and Local Education Agency (LEA) staff in the form of a school attendance success plan.
|School avoidance and non-attendance problems present school systems and parents with particularly difficult challenges.
Components of the plan may include one or more of the following:
- Assessments – When warranted, to further understand the needs of the student, various kinds of assessments are available including: psychiatric, psychological, neuropsychological, academic, anxiety, etc.
- Motivational Enhancement - Some parents and students may benefit from 4-6 consultation sessions with school refusal specialists who utilize a motivational enhancement approach to help the student clarify their own aspirations, assist the family unit in motivating, improving, and supporting their student’s school attendance, identify and overcome specific attendance/achievement obstacles, and structure parent/home support to maximize reinforcement for school attendance.
- Individual In-home/District Consultations - An experienced educator is available to work within the school and/or home to directly support the assessment of student need, closely consult with the school on individual student and systems issues, make suggestions for appropriate school expectations/support, and facilitate the reconnection of the student during the most delicate and crucial period of initial reintegration.
- Transition Inclusionist - Direct services may be provided by a transition person to a student and his/her family to support reintegration into the school environment.