Understanding the Missing Piece:School Avoidance, Refusal, and Truancy Presented by:Jennifer Fanta, Pamela Locke, Mary Pacejka, Anne Strickland
Pre-Assessment DIRECTIONS: Please determine whether each statement is True or False. Mark T for true or F for false in the blank next to each statement.
Today’s Objectives:I will:1. be able to define school avoidance, school refusal, and truancy.2. be able to explain LT’s procedure for responding to school avoidance, school refusal, and truancy.3. learn strategies for working with students that have exhibited problems concerning school avoidance, school refusal, and/or truancy.
Today’s Agenda: •Mini assessment concerning the content of the presentation •What are the functions of school avoidance, refusal, and truancy? •How does LT handle these issues? •Apply definitions and LT procedures to case studies •What are strategies for working with students that exhibit school avoidance, refusal, or truancy? •Practice using the strategies •Review of the pre-assessment •Exit Slip (What questions do you still have?)
What is School Refusal and Avoidance?• Child motivated refusal to attend school or difficulty remaining in school for the entire day• Often seen on a continuum of severity and chronicity 1. Self-corrective: absenteeism remits spontaneously 2. Acute: absenteeism lasts from two weeks to one year 3. Chronic: absenteeism lasts longer than one school year
What is School Avoidance, School Refusal, and Truancy? Functions of School Avoidance: Functions of School Refusal: • Negative reinforcement • Positive reinforcement • To avoid school-related stimuli • To pursue attention from that provoke negative significant others affectivity(symptoms of dread, • To obtain or pursue tangible anxiety) rewards • To escape aversive social or evaluative situations
Key Characteristics School Avoidance and Refusal Truancy• Severe emotional distress (anxiety, • Lack of emotional distress depression, somatic issues)• Parents are aware of absenteeism • Absences often concealed from parents• Absence of significant behavioral or • Frequent antisocial behavior, often in the antisocial issues company of antisocial peers• Child stays home during school hours • Child does not stay home during school hours (looking for comfort) • Lack of willingness to meet academic• Willingness to complete school work expectations
How prevalent are these issues?• Up to 28% of children display some type of school refusal behavior at one point in their lives• Equally common among boys and girls• Peaks at kindergarten, 6th grade, and freshman year• No relationship to academic or intellectual ability• Up to 56% of school avoiders have a primary diagnosis of an anxiety disorder• At least 31% of school avoiders display a diagnosable depressive disorder
What is LT’s protocol for School Avoidance?• Social worker meets with student to complete assessment to determine the function of non-attendance (avoidance or refusal)• As indicated, completes home visits• Provides referrals and strategies to family• SW and SAT involved in ongoing dialogue regarding necessary schedule modifications, re-entry class, accommodations• See handout for protocol based on 3 tier system
What are LT’s procedures for School Refusal?• Social worker meets with student to complete assessment to determine the function of non-attendance (avoidance or refusal)• Provide resources and strategies to student and family• As indicated, completes home visits• SW and SAT involved in ongoing dialogue regarding necessary schedule modifications, re-entry class, accommodations• Appropriate consequences from attendance office as determined by individual situation• See handout for protocol based on 3 tier system
What are LT’s procedures for Truancy?• Letter from Assistant Principal sent home• Meeting with parents• Appropriate referrals given to family• Student referred to truancy office
Case StudyDIRECTIONS:1) Identify your elbow partner.2) Read the three cases provided.3) For each case: – Determine and then record whether this is an example of school avoidance, school refusal, or truancy. – Identify and record the evidence that led you to determine whether the case was an example of school avoidance, school refusal, or truancy .
THINGS TO KNOW & REMEMBER: • Avoidance and refusal can co-occur, and thisWhat are strategies requires a combination of treatment strategies, which involves a longer time frame.for working with •Reintegration is complicated, there will often bestudents that exhibit setbacks.school avoidance, •Some behaviors may escalate or new behaviors may surface as a student reintegrates (signs of anxiety,refusal, or truancy? avoidance, somatic complaints). • Students do not want to feel this way – they are not just “blowing off” school.
THINGS TO SAY:What are strategies • How can I help you feel comfortable in my classroom?for working with • Let’s talk about how to best complete thestudents that exhibit work.school avoidance, • I know this is hard for you.refusal, or truancy? • I am happy to see you.
THINGS TO DO: • Keep counselor, social worker, or parent updated onWhat are strategies any changes in behavior. • Be flexible with required work completion.for working with • Allow oral presentations to be given in an alternatestudents that exhibit setting, or allow for practice.school avoidance, • Seat student near the door. • Communicate questions/concerns withrefusal, or truancy? counselor/SW . • Send an encouraging note to student about attending school.
Additional Classroom Interventions• Plan ahead with student to identify coping strategies that student will use in class• Allow for breaks• Assist in preventing feelings of being overwhelmed by simplifying instructions or breaking down assignments• Write class objectives and schedule on board• Utilize peers to help student increase connection to class• Plan for transition• Address negative peer relationships in classroom such as bullying, etc.
Role PlayDIRECTIONS:1) Identify your elbow partner.2) Determine who will be the student and who will be the teacher.3) Read the provided case scenarios again.4) Act out each situation. • Student: Return to school after being absent for the indicated reason. • Teacher: Apply the strategies you just learned in order to respond to the student in a way that will positively assist them with re-entry into the learning environment.
Anyone willing to repeat As we are watching, pleasetheir performance for the consider: entire group? •What strategies did the “teacher” rely upon? •Did your team utilize any other Thank you for your strategies? Which ones? bravery!
EXIT SLIP• Please record your remaining questions on the provided note card.• Since time did not allow us to address all questions, we will send out a memo with the answers to your submitted questions within one week. THANKS FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!
References:Missing Piece Power Point Template. Retrieved from <http:www.presentationmagazine.com> .Haarman, G.B. (2009). School Refusal Behavior: Effective Techniquesto Help Children Who Can’t or Won’t Go To School. Cross CountryEducation, Presentation for Professional Development.Kearney, C.A., & Albano, A.M. (2007). When Children Refuse School: Acognitive-behavioral therapy approach – Therapists Guide, 2nd Edition.New York, New York: Oxford University Press.