School Refusal 
Support Services
     for School Phobia, School Refusal 
                       & Anxiety In Children

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What are the Consequences of Ignoring our Children

Posted by Kay Mawson on January 31, 2013 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I have been contacted by many adults now, most of who are parents with their heads spinning, emotions running high, tired and not knowing what they are going to do next.  If they are anything like me, they were or are probably feeling sick with nerves themselves about what they were going to face at the school gates with their child the following day.  BUT, some adults who have contacted me have been those children who were dragged to the school gates kicking and screaming,pleading, crying and desperate to be heard.  As adults they can reflect and know exactly what was happening to them.

What do all these adults have in common? They were all suffering from School Phobia.  Were they listened to by their teachers? No !  Were they given the help they needed when their parents took them to Doctors and Psychiatrists etc? No!  Were they deemed as difficult children who were simply attention seeking? Yes!!  And are there lasting consequences to this....ignoring the child? Yes !!  So what is it these adults are now telling me?  Are they telling me " Oh that was an awful time but Im happily married now with children and Ive got a great Job"? Definitely Not !!

The three that have been brave enough to talk to me have all told me that they still suffer from anxiety disorders, find that there are restrictions to their lives and wish that this information was available when they were children so that they did not have to suffer the way they did.  Strange though as a decade or so later and I feel not much has changed. Do we really want these consequences for our children because this is what the lack of knowledge in school, education departments and court systems (attendance) is doing.

Has the Word Spread?

Posted by Kay Mawson on January 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (1)

As many of you know, I am behind the FACEBOOK Group Page for School Phobia too.  This has probably been the most resourceful way for parents of School Phobic children to connect, vent and talk to each other and gain some support.  I have connected through so many people on the group page, including some children themselves.  Although, most of the time, posts are from mothers, deeply desperate for answers, as they watch their child's life turned upside down by this condition.

To often, parents state they are then persued over their child's lack of attendence and have been taken to court.  Many of you will be reading this having been down this route.  I myself was criticised over attendance issues and my son was told his mother would be sent to prison if he did not stop his behaviour.  A false threat used to put a stop to what was felt to be behaviour well within my son's control i.e. picking and choosing.  A prison threat hardly helped a child suffering from Seperation Anxiety.  So, reading about other parents' unecessary pressures and suffering at the hands school and authorities angered me and drove me to insert the 'tabs' on this website "News & Headlines" & "Help & Advice" so parents could print/source and use information to help them fight their battle.

However, this week, I was contacted by a lovely lady in New York USA who told our FACEBOOK page her story.  She has an almighty battle on her hands with her child and her heart goes out to her and here comes the almighty BUT.  But, the school staff and professional team advised this particular parent about the condition of School Phobia and have offered her and her 16 year old son FULL SUPPORT.  Now I know that this is in USA, I know you are saying that to yourselves right now.  This point it, a school has taken a step to put support in place.  I think this is fantastic and I am wondering if word is really getting out there about the reality of this condition. Let us hope so.:D

Its been a While

Posted by Kay Mawson on December 8, 2012 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi to everyone and Welcome to the newest members.

Its been a busy time so I apologise as it has most certainly been a while since I updated the site.  Andrew is doing well and settled back into the new year of school.  His seizures calmed down but the anxiety he suffers from has taken a new direction causing him some chronic symptoms relating to Irrital Bowel Syndrome and with that he also suffers excessive tiredness.  He endures colic cramps almost daily and on a various scale but medication is now at hand to help him cope.

We're getting ready for christmas about you?  Its a blessing to know that he will have a break. Time to relax and have respite from his anxiety although he does have triggers all around him; not just through school now.

I dreamt the other night that I re-appeared on ITV Daybreak again.  They rang me a few months ago asking if I would and this time last year we were getting excited for our trip to London and the ITV studio.  Maybe the memories were swimming in my mind, triggering the dream but I really hope that I can get to do something like that again as it seems that the heightened interest in the condition has slipped away.  Im sure if we keep this going and everyone stands together, we'll stand tall, proud and loud.

Have a lovely christmas everyone x


Posted by Kay Mawson on July 12, 2012 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Andrews seizures decreased in numbers to about 100 per day and are now more minimal in appearance than before as he has learned to cope much better with them by responding to the physical warning signs more effectively.  My theory for the reduction in numbers is that Andrew is now allowing for levels of anxiety to flow through.  Originally, it was suggested that the seizures were a way of protecting Andrew from anxiety as a cut off mechanism; shutting his body down everytime it sensed anxiety building.  It seems that Andrew's mind has allowed for some anxiety to flow through and therefore not needing to protect as often as before.  Along with growing levels of anxiety is also still the problem of diarrhoae attacks which have now begun to occur outside of school.

Andrew's psychiatrist asked him to take control of a diary.  He was asked to record the distruption his condition caused to his daily routine for the 7 days throughout his week.  It appeared from the collection of data that Andrew had detailed, that anxiety was at its worst during issues relating to his personal/educational performance.  For example, Andrew recorded that he had to leave class to see the nurse after taking quite unwell with levels of extreme anxiety after receiving his Biology Exam Result.  A result that was a little below other subject results he had already received.  A further example, Andrew had recorded severe diarrhoae and anxiety before leaving home to score for our local cricket team.  When Andrew discussed this further, he revealed that one of the adult players had criticised Andrew's writing and lack of tidiness within the score book and had mocked him infront of other cricketers.  These are just two examples but the collection all appeared to link to performance.

I have explained to Andrew on a number of occassions that i strongly believe that you are born with that switch on or off !!  So... you may be great with computers but dont know how to handle pastels and paint brushes.  You may be able to design wedding dresses but won't have a clue how to sing.  You either have that area of your brain switched on or you dont.  Ive argued that schools should not pressure children to all be in-line with one another because what happens if your maths switch is on but your physics one isn't?  Andrew's school makes each child learn a musical instrument.  Are we all musical?  

Evidence suggests that musicians have a certain enlarged area of the brain, whereas those who can hold no tone have this part of their brain shown as smaller. i.e. switched on Vs switched off .

Should children really be left feeling inferior about their performance due to biological mapping within the brain; something beyond their control?

And it just keeps getting worse!

Posted by Kay Mawson on May 31, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I never thought I would see my son in such a bad state again.  My anxiety is growing deeper as his gets worse by the day.  He's having such sever diarrhoea attacks... yes i call them attacks because he is struck with immediate intense pain which he believes could have him rolling on the floor and he also feels he has very little time to make it to the toilet.  How much more is he meant to take?

The school have been great.  Andrew is managing to get to school although two days ago, the diarrhoea was so bad, and he was so upset, I took him to school but arranged a hand over with the Head Of House at the school.  Andrew had told me after a previous appointment drop-off that he had felt the urge t o run after me.  Following his recovery from the first school phobia and i suppose things he learnt psychologically, he was able to control himself.  I also think age is a factor too.  He is now three years older than when school phobia first made its appearance.  However, this time, coupled with the upset, heighted issues, I had some doubts towards him managing and so made these arrangements.  He did wonderfully well.

How on earth are you surviving every day Andrew.  It cuts me up seeing you this way. Knowing your having 300+ seizures per day in lessons, hitting your head off your desk, buddied everywhere, fear of accidents because of this latest issue.  You look so drained and tired.  Andrew has what I call his 'Homer Simpson'  the un-shaven shadow about his upper - lip and around the mouth.  Andrew gets a grey shadow around this area when he's exhausted..... his Homer Simpson.  He now has it every night and quite early.

Today I rang the GP - what do i do to help Andrew with these diarrohea attacks? so we have an appointment to see her.

I rang the psychiatrist - He's worse within the two days since we last saw you, plus hes not telling you everything? What do we do now.  Please help him?  We have an appointment to go back and in the mean time, please read up on the Beta Blocker - Propranolol.

I talked with a dead friend about the diarrohea attacks and the pain.  We started to talk about IBS - Irritable Bowl Syndrome.  Ive looked up the symptoms and I froze.

Needless to say, the stress and worry got to me today and a tear met with my cheek.

It's Back !

Posted by Kay Mawson on May 13, 2012 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (1)

Not something I ever thought I would say after a pretty stable time with Andrew but on 1st March 2012, I received a call from school to say Andrew had fainted.  I collected him from school and chatted with him only for him to explain he hadn't fainted.  He was trying to tell me something more but as a typical mother, I told him he was home, got him into bed, tucked him up with TV for the remainder of the day.  

The following day, he came home from school only to tell me it nearly happened again! We had an eventful weekend and decided to visit the GP.  The GP asked me to contact the school to do some fact finding. After gaining further information, it turned out Andrew had had a seizure.

The number of seizures grew each day. They last just a matter of seconds and would start with a deep stare that Andrew would described as a daydream. When the daydream ended, his whole muscle tone went and he collasped to the floor regardless of standing, sitting, lying etc.  He was starting to have falls and hit and hurt himself, although not too severely although this was a worry.  The school asked Andrew stay home until he had an appointment with a consultant to find out what was going on.  In the meantime, Andrew arrived at A&E 3 times because the number of seizures per day were still climbing.

Eventually we got to the bottom of it.  Andrew is suffering from Psychogenic Non Epileptic Seizures.  Basically instead of his brain misfiring electrically like in the case of epilespy, he mis-fires psychologically causing the same response only he has a greater number of seizures.  The most that were counted using a 'clicker' was 653 in one day.

Andrew condition is related to his underlying Anxieties.  As the days and weeks have passed us by, he had managed to get in touch with his feeling and has managed to tell me its all the same feelings as school phobia only he doesn't doing the kicking and screaming.  Instead his body cuts out by way of seizures as a protective mechanism.  A bit like the Tourette's Syndrome but instead of yelling, its a physical response.  He can hold them like a sneeze but eventually they build up and Andrew will have a cluster and can become unmanagable.  

Andrew has lost his independence, privacy and is 'buddied' around school all day, for safety reasons.  He is seen as an innocent disruption at school although still manages most classes.  A meeting is scheduled with CAMHS and the school within the next couple of weeks to discuss a way forward to maintain Andrew at school as his seizures continue in dramatic numbers.

As a mother, I have calmed down with this new condition although worry deeply, but Im not coping which I wasn't at first. We're starting to find our way around coping.  Using an inflatable travel pillow around andrew's neck for baths and wearing trunks whilst I sit with him as relaxation bring on seizures; allows them through. We have a sit down tap shower to lessen the risk of falling.  We use a wheelchair for long/lengthy shopping trips so he doesnt fall infront of other shoppers and cause a scene every two minutes and feel embarassed. A wheelchair means he's seated already, can have seizures and not have to hold them in and it is discrete - no one stares at him or makes a fuss.  He is much more relaxed shopping this way.  However, I have been judged by two professionals so far for stating this use of a wheelchair.  One professional went as far as to say "why do you want a disabled child so much".  She must have read about Muchausen's by Proxy and thought she'd diagnosed me!!!  Live a day in our shoes and tell us you wouldn't think it was a great idea!!!

We're plodding on. and Im pushing the website, adverts, business cards, links, twitter etc as hard as I can to give you all a voice.  Keep close behind me as it will happen.  Dont forget to do your bit..... copy and paste the website, facebook link, twitter link etc. and drop it in forums, chats - push it on.:)

A Message from "Wild Pictures" - Documentary Idea ITV/BBC

Posted by Kay Mawson on April 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Dear All




I work for Wild Pictures - - we specialise in high end, sensitively made documentaries for the major broadcasters in the UK.


I am interested in learning more about 'school refusal' and finding stories of children that are currently affected by emotionally-based school refusal/phobia along with their families.


First a bit about who we are and what we do....


We make considered, serious public interest films and all our films from the three prison series - 'Strangeways', 'Wormwood Scrubs', 'Holloway' to 'Fraud Squad' which shadowed Detectives as they investigate one of the biggest share frauds in Britain and Smugglers (ITV1) secured great audiences.


Recently aired series include' Baby Hospital' – about a neo-natal unit in Liverpool’s Women’s Hospital. Most recently we’ve made 'Panorama: Britain’s Secret Alcoholics with Alistair Campbell' on BBC1 and 'Fraud Squad 2' inside the City of London Police and their elite fraud team and ITV1s 'The Real Thumbelina' – about a little girl with a rare form of dwarfism called Russell-Silver Syndrome and the attempts by her family to get answers.


I'd love to hear from you - if you have been affected by school phobia/school refusla then please do get in touch in absolute confidence. Please take a look at our website to get a flavour of the kinds of programming we make.


If you're interested - then please email me direct at with a brief history of your experience, the issues you are facing and what is going on currently for you and any plans for treatment etc.


Look forward to hearing from you


best wishes


Emma Goddard

Head of Development

Wild Pictures  /

ITV DAYBREAK - The Video Interview

Posted by Kay Mawson on January 5, 2012 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

The Interview  3rd January 2012


Posted by Kay Mawson on December 28, 2011 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

A little over a year since writing for Anxious Times with Anxiety UK and I have heard from Terri again with some bigger news.  ITV daybreak would like to cover School Phobia as an item on their show and would like to interview Andrew and myself about our experience of the condition.  This is an amazing opportunity to raise awareness.  Something I have dreamt of for so long.  I have felt so compelled for such a long time to do more but so restrained and limited as what i could do.  The ball i believe, began to roll after the Anxious Time publication and I hope the ball is now picking up speed.

I hope that this opportunity will give coverage to help support parents, educate educators and give some relief and belief towards those young people who are going through the tormented experience of School Phobia.  You have to understand, this is a condition where children cannot come and show you spots on their tummy, or tell you their ears hurt or present with a runny nose.  They have nothing to show you or tell you.  They dont understand themselves!!

My promise is to keep going and do my best to push this...... fight as hard as i can to raise awareness as far as i can take it.  I know that Andrew and myself were subjected to numerous judgements, assumptions and tremendous pressures; like living with School Phobia wasn't bad enough.  Hopefully raising awareness will reduce such matters for you !  I will try my best :D

Happy Christmas

Posted by Kay Mawson on December 7, 2010 at 2:36 PM Comments comments (0)

Happy Christmas

Happy New Year 2011

from Kay, Andrew

& Sarah

This Christmas, why not toast the children suffering from school phobia/refusal .... I will  !