It has been a busy week .....
I have received many school refusal cases especially after the Chinese New Year school holiday.
Common reasons of not wanting to go to schools among Malaysian children that I have encountered are peers rejection, homework pressure, overly protective or neglect parenting, anxious-shy personality, low self-esteem, learning disorders, and inept coping skills. Sometimes it also includes complaints about the disturbances from the spirits.
Children often manifest their fear and worries the night before going to school the next day. Getting ready to go to school is really a struggle.
My treatment approach often involves the following: addressing the learning and academic issues, parent work and/or filial therapy cum behavior therapy, expressive art therapy or play therapy, social skills training and problem solving skills.
I wish to highlight that , it is hard to get suitable social skills training programs for children in Kuala Lumpur, and at large in Malaysia. While most commercialized social skills programs are too 'advanced' for children with special needs or psychology issues, other social skills programs offer by NGOs are too simple for these children. Almost close to none that the public or private schools provide formal social skills training. As such, the burdens fall back on parents' shoulders to form an appropriate peer group for their children. Psychologists in Malaysia, sometimes, are also at their ends' wits to recommend a suitable social skills program.