Can you imagine if your greatest fear, the thing you dread happening from Monday to Friday is suddenly removed, what that feels like?
I work with school phobic/school refusing children and their parents helping them find ways to work on the anxiety and stress that has invaded their lives and move away from this painful situation into happier futures. So, when a pandemic hits and no one is going to school, no one is expected to be in the physical space of schools, my work virtually dried up overnight.
For some this has been such a time of growth, with the immediate ‘threat’ of school removed they have been able to bounce back to being their true selves, much more able to engage with everything and everyone at home. For some the opportunity of education provided by schools on line has been taken up enthusiastically (as long as they don’t need to be visible). For some feeling ‘the same as everyone else, no one going to school’ has allowed them to reengage with friends on line that they’ve been avoiding since having difficulty with going to school. There is an optimism in some, that even though they’ve been out of school for a considerable time, when the schools go back, they’ll be able to do it.
For other young people affected by anxiety manifesting as school phobia, the Lockdown has changed nothing, life goes on ‘as normal’ for them, the usual battle ground of school removed has not lifted any of the tension. If you live with a young person holed up in their bedroom, barely coming out, doing in your eyes nothing worthwhile, it’s a massive drag on the heart. A common frustration from the parents of these children right now is that with education being provided by schools online, their child still won’t engage.
If you have a school phobic child, I can guarantee that the thought of schools restating will never be far from their mind, with the associated emotional response that thought generates. It’s likely that it’s also never far from your thoughts.
This has been a valuable time for me to reflect on what it is I do that is helpful to school phobics and plan how I can help more people when the schools do go back. I’m particularly interested at the moment in an early intervention package for children regularly missing a few days due to feeling unwell. Having experienced school phobia myself, my wish is to avoid others having to endure it and try to fight it without support.
I’m currently looking for parents to interview to check whether my new offerings match what is needed by parents of school phobics. If you can help me with this please do get in touch via my contact page https://groundbeneathyourfeet.co.uk/contact/ to arrange a time to talk.