Overcoming School Refusal: A practical guide for teachers, counsellors, caseworkers and parents

Joanne Garfi

School refusal affects up to 5% of children and is a complex and stressful issue for the child, their family and school. The more time a child is away from school, the more difficult it is for the child to resume normal school life. If school refusal becomes an ongoing issue it can negatively impact the child's social and educational development.

Psychologist Joanne Garfi spends most of her working life assisting parents, teachers, school counsellors, caseworkers, and community policing officers on how best to deal with school refusal. Now her experiences and expertise are available in this easy-to-read practical book.

Overcoming School Refusal helps readers understand this complex issue by explaining exactly what school refusal is and provides them with a range of strategies they can use to assist children in returning to school. Areas covered include:

types of school refusers

why children refuse to go to school


short term and long term consequences

accurate assessment

treatment options

what parents can do

what schools can do

dealing with anxious high achievers

how to help children on the autism spectrum with school refusal


Presenter: Joanne Garfi


Contact ADAVIC on 9853 8089 or email adavic@adavic.org.au 

All other states

Contact Compass Seminars www.compassaustralia.com

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About the Author

Joanne Garfi is a psychologist with over 30 years of experience and expertise in child and adolescent issues, including as a school psychologist, working in both primary and secondary schools providing specialised training to teachers.  She has a special interest in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder and is well known for her work with childhood anxiety, behavioural disorders and developmental issues. She currently conducts workshops on school refusal around Australia. Joanne uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), mindfulness and skills development and prefers to take a whole person approach to treatment.  Her emphasis when working with children is to have families and schools working together to bring about change.


"Excellent! Practical, applicable … lots of great ideas to use in school going forward."

"Loads of information and strategies to use both as a teacher and a mum."

"Easy to relate to."

"Very clear explanations with practical strategies that I can use in the classroom."

"Lots of practical tips and resources."

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1 What is school refusal?
  • Chapter 2 Why do children refuse to go to school?
  • Chapter 3 The impacts of school refusal
  • Chapter 4 What professionals can do
  • Chapter 5 What parents can do
  • Chapter 6 Treatment for school refusal
  • Chapter 7 Treating high achievers who are school refusing
  • Chapter 8 Treating students with autism spectrum disorder who are school refusing
  • Resources
  • Endnotes