The following story is from an email that I received from a mom discussing her daughter’s journey through school refusal.
“Hi Jayne- This website is godsend! Such an amazing and much needed guide to navigating resources for school refusal! I wish this was around when I was struggling and trying to get my daughter help in middle school! My daughter started with school refusal the end of 5th grade. Each year in middle school it got worse. By the end of 8th grade, she had missed or mostly missed over 130 days of school, yet the school district passed her on to high school as long as we had notes covering her absences due to anxiety by her providing doctors. The school district blamed her anxiety on our divorce and never took the school refusal anxiety seriously in middle school. The turning point for me getting help with her education and addressing her anxiety completely was when I hired an educational lawyer and had her placed at a therapeutic boarding school. She was placed at Grove School in Madison, Ct. The journey to get to that point was very long and very dangerous with my daughter’s anxiety. She was hospitalized 3 times, and in partial hospitalization programs 4 times. Child protective services and county crises response teams were involved many times due to concerns from the school and other mandated reporters because of her behavior She was literally trying to kill herself because she could not face her anxiety about getting to school. I finally hired an educational lawyer. The lawyer reviewed all of my documentation and went with me to one emergency IEP meeting. By the end of the meeting the district she was placed at a therapeutic boarding school. Grove School absolutely saved her life and I could proudly say that she received her high school diploma last weekend. She will be continuing on to college this Fall where she is planning to become an early education special education major. Getting your child the proper help as early as you can is truly the key. Anxiety can be such a beast and when it is school refusal, it truly can destroy the entire family. This website is so helpful. There is no reason for children to suffer so much Trust your gut and use this site to help them get the best help as early as possible. Thank you for putting together such a much needed guide for school refusal.
Please reach out if you I can help with your site in any additional ways. It truly is a wonderful resource!!!!!!!! And also, thank you so much for your support when she was in the emergency room before she was hospitalized. I was truly at such a breaking point and your guidance helped me through the next steps in getting the help and path that she needed to be on. Best, Ann “ 8/19
I was not sure if you wanted me to only comment on site, or to share our journey. Please tweak as needed. I did notice that the Rutgers anxiety clinic was not listed. Did you want to list it? Elizabeth was there for only a few sessions as she was so bad by that point. Also, are you going to mention anything about advocates, educational lawyers, Wilderness programs, etc…? Just curious. I know the district did not take Elizabeth’s case seriously until I got Karen Edler, esq on board. That is why I mentioned my personal experience in my notes in case that helps some people. I did set up a Facebook account for school refusal in NJ with hopes of connecting people, but it never went anywhere. I am surprised more people do not reach out for support. It is such an awful thing to go through. Please reach out if you I can help with your site in any additional ways. It truly is a wonderful resource!!!!!!!! And also, thank you so much for your support when Elizabeth was in the Hackensack emergency room before she was hospitalized. I was truly at such a breaking point and your guidance helped me through the next steps in getting Elizabeth the help and path that she needed to be on. Best, Ellen