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Back to School – Not Always Cool

SCHOOL REFUSAL

School refusal is a term used to describe the phenomenon where a student is unable or unwilling to attend school. This can be due to various reasons, such as anxiety (or separation anxiety), depression, fear of bullying, or a traumatic event. School refusal can have a negative impact on a student’s academic performance and mental health, and it’s important to act early or it has a tendency to get worse.

Symptoms of school refusal can include:

  • Refusing to go to school or avoiding school-related activities.
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea, stomach aches, or headaches before or during school.
  • Moderate to extreme anxiety or distress when thinking about going to school.
  • Declining grades or academic performance.

Treatment for school refusal can vary, but may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy to address the underlying anxiety or emotional issues.
  • Family therapy to address any family dynamics that may be contributing to the issue.
  • Medication to treat any co-occurring mental health conditions.
  • School-based interventions, such as changes to the student’s schedule or support from a teacher or support person in school, or psychologist external to the school.

It’s important to address school refusal as soon as possible, because the longer it goes on, the harder it can be to resolve. With the right support and treatment, most students can overcome school refusal and get back on track to reaching their academic and personal goals. Psychology ONE can help – call 0753296991.

BULLYING IN SCHOOL

Bullying is a serious issue that affects thousands of students in Australia every year. It can take many forms, such as physical, verbal, and/or cyberbullying, and it can have a devastating impact. Children who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even thoughts of suicide. It’s important that everyone—students, teachers, and parents—works together to prevent and stop bullying in schools.

Bullying is a repeated act of aggression that is intentional and involves a power imbalance. This means that the person doing the bullying has more power or control over the victim, who is unable to defend themselves or stop the bullying from happening. In a school setting, bullying can take place in the classroom, on the playground, in the bathroom, and even online. Often bullies are accompanied by others, forming a group, and increasing the power imbalance.

There are many different types of bullying, but some common forms include:

  • Physical bullying, which involves using physical force or threats of violence to harm someone else.
  • Verbal bullying, which involves using words to hurt someone, such as name-calling, teasing, or insults.
  • Cyberbullying, which involves using technology to harass, humiliate, or threaten someone else.

The effects of bullying can be long-lasting and severe. Children who are bullied are more likely to experience:

  • Depression and/or anxiety.
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating in school and subsequent poor academic performance.
  • School refusal.
  • Thoughts of suicide and self-harm.

It’s important that everyone plays a role in preventing and stopping bullying in schools. Here are some steps that can be taken by schools:

  • Educate students about what bullying is and how it can be prevented.
  • Encourage students to report any instances of bullying they witness or experience.
  • Create a school culture that values kindness, respect, and inclusion.
  • Train teachers and staff on how to recognize and respond to bullying.
  • Work with parents to educate them about the importance of preventing bullying and how they can help.

Parents can encourage their child to discuss with them what is going on and liaise with the school to support their child. Psychologists can help children to build coping strategies and resilience. If you have concerns and/or would like your child to access some support, don’t hesitate to call Psychology ONE on 0753296991.

ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects about 5-10% of children worldwide. It is characterized by symptoms such as inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity. ADHD can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn and function in school and in daily life.

Symptoms of ADHD in Children:

  • Inattention: Children with ADHD often have trouble focusing on tasks or paying attention to details. They may forget or lose things easily and have trouble organizing their thoughts.
  • Impulsiveness: Children with ADHD may act without thinking and interrupt others or act rashly. They may also have trouble waiting their turn.
  • Hyperactivity: Children with ADHD may fidget, squirm, or have trouble sitting still. They may also have trouble staying calm and focusing.

Diagnosis of ADHD in Children: Diagnosing ADHD in children requires a comprehensive evaluation by a doctor, psychologist, or other mental health professional. This evaluation may include a physical exam, a review of the child’s symptoms and history, and standardized behavioural assessments. Psychology ONE can assist with an assessment of ADHD.

Treatment of ADHD in Children: Treatment for ADHD in children typically involves a combination of medication, behavioural therapy, and lifestyle changes. Medications such as stimulants can help improve focus and reduce impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Behavioural therapy can help children learn coping skills and improve their behaviour. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, a healthy diet, and sufficient sleep can also help manage symptoms of ADHD.

Managing ADHD in Children: Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in managing ADHD in children. Here are some tips:

  • Develop a routine: Children with ADHD often benefit from a structured routine with set schedules for homework, meals, and activities.
  • Encourage physical activity: Regular exercise can help reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve overall well-being.
  • Limit distractions: Reduce distractions in the environment, such as TV or loud music, to help children focus on tasks.
  • Be patient and supportive: Children with ADHD need support and understanding from those around them. Encourage them, celebrate their successes, and help them build self-esteem.

ADHD can be a challenge for children, but with proper treatment and support, children with ADHD can lead successful and fulfilling lives. If you suspect that your child may have ADHD, it is important to seek a professional evaluation and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. At Psychology ONE, we can do a comprehensive screening test, to ascertain the likelihood of ADHD (or other disorders) following which a report, including recommendations, will be provided to your child’s GP or paediatrician for further consideration. If this is of interest, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Psychology ONE on 0753296991.

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Sharon Connell

Sharon Connell

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