If a child is suffering from an anxiety disorder school can quite often be very difficult. A refusal to even go to school may be a sign of a common anxiety disorder called separation anxiety. While separation anxiety is fairly common in small children between the ages of six months up to when they are about three years old, it is not as common in older children.
The anxiety about going to school for older children may be attributed to several factors. They could be anxious about their performance in class or the social interaction with the other kids. Children with special needs also many have a hard time understanding what is expected. The anxiety commonly shows up in physical ailments. A child may start complaining of headaches or stomachaches in order to stay home. It is also common for children with school anxiety to go to the nurses office frequently with physical problems with a request to go home.
It is important to first make sure there is nothing physically wrong with your child. Once you know they are healthy, you need to acknowledge that there is a problem. You then need to get to the root of the anxiety. Find out what they are most worried about. If they can pinpoint what they are anxious about it will be easier to deal with the problem.
Once you have a specific anxiety to work with you can help them by do some role-playing. You can talk about scenarios that might happen at school and then act them out to help the child with appropriate responses and techniques for coping with the events that are causing them anxiety.
It is also extremely important to keep communicating with your child. Make sure they know that they can talk to you about what is going on at school.