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School phobia: solutions for school phobia
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Dealing with school phobia: expert advice


Interview with child psychiatrist Dr Le Heuzey.

How can you distinguish between school phobia and classic truancy?
I personally don't like to think of them as two separate things. Why? Because wanting to skip lessons isn't a natural occurence. It's a social pleasure meeting up with other pupils at school.

Skiving off on the odd occasion because it's a nice day and you'd rather be out in the sun than in class, that's happened to most of us. But when it becomes a regular habit, there's certainly some underlying suffering.

Therefore, refusing to go to school or dropping out altogether isn't natural and I don't think these situations should be distinguished from school phobia.

When should parents become concerned?
You shouldn't worry yourself about a day or so of truancy. However, you need to be concerned when the truancy becomes frequent, when it occurs with certain classes, when it is repeated or prolonged, and when your child refuses to go to school because of the slightest little thing.

When your child starts asking you to write a letter so they can get out of certain classes (even if it's PE), or they show no desire to want to go to school, when truancy is repeated, then you've got the right to ask questions and take action.

As soon as your child shows the first signs of truancy, you should contact the school.

Does medication exist that can treat school phobia?
No, there's no miracle medication capable of curing school phobia. Nevertheless, in some cases, if the phobia reflects a depression, a social phobia or panic attacks, for example, medication might be prescribed.


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