Home School Refusal Behavior in Teens

School Refusal Behavior in Teens

Image of discouraged teenage boy experiencing school refusal issues

Turning Winds Academic Institute (TWAI) is a premier therapeutic boarding school specializing in a variety of therapeutic intervention strategies (CBT, DBT, behavioral therapy) and outdoor recreation and adventure therapy for troubled teens who are experiencing school refusal issues, substance abuse (including marijuana), behavioral or process addiction (gaming, porn), and/or other behavioral health problems. Turning Winds excels in giving an integrated education, therapy and behavior modification program that is tailored to meet the needs of  school refusal behavior in teens. The teenage years are challenging and many young people struggle with the issues and roles that the transition into adult life brings.  Often this difficult period results in negative behaviors, substance abuse (including marijuana) or mental health problems. At Turning Winds, we offer the teens in our care the treatment and tools they need to manage themselves and overcome school related anxiety issues.

School refusal issues in teens can have lasting detrimental effects. This ~issue1sing~ is one that causes a pronounced level of anxiety and distress when discouraged teens are faced with attending school. School refusal should not be confused with truancy which results from a teen who is defiant against authority or has no interest in pursuing an education. Teens who are suffering from school refusal issues often exhibit a range of signs and symptoms and their refusal to go to school typically has an underlying mental or emotional cause.

School Refusal Treatment for Troubled Adolescents

Unfortunately, this issue often results in teens dropping out of school and facing a bleak future. Early intervention is crucial for helping teens overcome their phobias and anxiety so they can pursue their education. At Turning Winds Academic Institute, we help teens and their parents who are dealing with these issues so the underlying cause can be found and properly treated. We provide school refusal treatment for troubled adolescents through our premier therapeutic boarding school; centering around individualized education thus enabling teens to achieve success in school and thereby avoiding failing grades.

Recognizing the signs of "school refusal" issues in our teens is crucial for parents. With state compulsory attendance laws, parents often feel overwhelmed in understanding Image of teenage kids in restoration from school refusal at therapeutic program for teenagerswhat to do for their teen so they can be compliant. Since failing to attend school can have profound and lasting effects on a teen’s social and emotional development, it is vital that immediate treatment is sought. Studies have shown around 45% of those with school refusal do not complete high school. Through treatment intervention, involving Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, teens can receive the help they need to overcome these issues and continue their education.

School Refusal Causes, Signs and Treatment For Teens

Approximately 1 to 5 percent of all school-aged children have School Refusal; and although the rate is similar between boys and girls, teens who are exhibiting these signs may need intensive intervention to help reveal the root causes that are preventing them from feeling comfortable attending school. Some common causes for school refusal are:

  • Stressful events at home or school
  • Stressful peer relationships such as bullying (or being bullied)
  • Family dysfunction or parent divorce, and/or
  • Psychiatric problems

All these contributors can cause various signs or symptoms in children; however the common red flags are:

  • Severe emotional distress about attending school
  • Showing signs of anxiety and/or depression
  • Experiencing panic symptoms, crying episodes, temper tantrums, and/or making threats of self-harm, and/or
  • Somatic symptoms (such as dizziness, abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, shakiness/trembling, diarrhea, or chest pains)

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Typical behavior of an individual experiencing school refusal is when a child will try to persuade parents to allow him or her to stay home from school; and when going to school, they might develop difficulties as they get closer to school, and are unable to proceed. These symptoms may actually begin after a holiday or even an illness. Often, there is an underlying mental health issue such as depression, separation anxiety, or an undiagnosed learning disability for which to look.

Although it's common to mistake school refusal for a serious case of Truancy, or also what many call Emotionally-based absenteeism; the signs and symptoms listed above will tell the story. The good news is it is treatable. Our expert therapists here at Turning Winds recommends behavior approaches for the treatment of school refusal; and these are primarily exposure-based treatments. Examples of these are: cognitive behavior therapy, systematic desensitization, relaxation training, emotive imagery, contingency management, and social skills training. Traditional educational-support therapy has been shown to be effective; as is parent-teacher interventions and family interventions.

If treatment is not pursued, the short-term consequences may include: poor academic performance, family difficulties, and problems with peer relationships; and more critical long-term consequences may include: not graduating high school, employment difficulties, increased chance of incarceration, and increased risk for psychiatric illness.

Various Methodologies Exist for Treating School Refusal

While some experts recommend Behavior Modification Programs for School Refusal Issues in Teens, this is not always the most effective approach to treatment. At Turning Winds Academic Institute, we have found an array of treatment approaches is much more effectual in bringing about true change. While behavior mod can be beneficial with some types of mental and behavioral health issues, there is often much more to school refusal than a simple problem with an unwanted behavior.

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Through our work in helping troubled teens and their families, we have discovered many teens are dealing with more issues than they themselves are even aware of. Whether it be the dynamics of their home environment, bullies at school, or their own mental health issues or learning disabilities, our facility is prepared to find the underlying cause of school refusal so the right treatment plan can bring success in overcoming the constraints that are holding the teen back from pursuing their education.

Our approach to treating "School Refusal Issues in Teens" is to work with the teen and their family to discover the individual mental health needs that need to be addressed. The clinicians at Turning Winds use a variety of diagnostic tools, such as formal testing, so data can be collected and used in drawing up and implementing an individualized plan of care. Our treatment team uses the acquired data to ensure the approach we use in treating the teen is appropriate and will bring about the desired outcome.

Unlike a traditional school setting, which can have classroom sizes of 30 to 40 students, Turning Winds offers much smaller teacher to student ratios so our students receive the full attention they need to address any issues that are preventing them from Image of discouraged teenage girl in restoration from school refusal at therapeutic program for teenagerspursuing their education in a public school setting. Since our students are residents, we are able to implement therapeutic approaches into every activity they participate in, most importantly their academics.

Our academic program is accredited through the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the National Independent Private Schools Association (NIPSA). Accreditation assures the parents of our students that they are receiving a superior education that will be recognized across state boundaries and by colleges and universities located throughout the world.

You Cannot Simply Force a Teen to Attend School Without Consequences

Enrolling a teen in Turning Winds is not considered a means of “forcing” them to attend school. We work through Cognitive Therapy Programs for Teens, along with behavioral, humanistic, and narrative intervention approaches that seek to help teens rise above the causes of their school refusal so they can achieve success and gain the self-confidence that will fuel their continued pursuit of their academic career.

Turning Winds should not be considered a short-term intervention approach since the vast majority of our students stay in the residential program for around twelve months. In that time period, many of our students are able to complete two years of their education and the average GPA of our students is 3.5. We help teens who once failed at school, turn over a new leaf and begin to excel in learning.

Our staff implements an individualized learning plan for each of our students. This plan seeks to address the causes of school refusal issues, learning disabilities and failing grades. This is something the public school systems are not always able to offer. In fact, even the best private schools in the nation can rarely offer the same results in such a short period of time.

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Turning Winds is a leading academic institute, that provides outdoor recreation and adventure therapy and life skills development and experiential education to teens experiencing ADD/ADHD (attentional disorder), pain medication abuse/addiction, and/or bullying (or being bullied). To inquire about our program, parents can contact one of our experienced family advocates at (800) 845-1380 today!

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