The Black Hole of School Avoidance: Strategies to Move Ahead
School avoidance describes students whose chronic absence from school is associated with some degree of psychiatric symptoms. Chronic absenteeism is a risk factor for a number of behaviors including suicidality, substance use, unsafe sexual behavior, and school drop-out. Early recognition of school avoidance, diagnosis and treatment of any underlying concerns, understanding of school and family dynamics, and targeted accommodations and interventions are vital to prevent increasing problems. Using case examples, Dr. Rappaport will give an overview of school avoidance, review disorders that may underlie it (including anxiety and mood disorders and neurological and medical conditions), describe concrete accommodations that schools can make to support the school avoidant child, and discuss approaches to successful collaboration between family, school, and health care providers.