In my experience over the years as Paediatric Occupational Therapist I have, on many occasions, been contacted by parents who can’t understand why their child is resistant to going to school and why they adopt a ‘survival behaviour’ such as fight or flight in order to try and deal with their situation.

In such cases, the child in question might be getting on well both with their schoolwork and with their friends and so their resistance can be that much more baffling as there is no obvious reason behind it. 

In ‘The Meltdown Kids’ series, Jody in ‘Mayhem Monday’ is one such child. She hates going to school, especially on a Monday morning, and is determined to stay in the warm and cosy nest of her bed for as long as possible. Her parents are exasperated and upset and her older sister is derisory. However, once they contact an Occupational Therapist, the root cause becomes clear: Jody is suffering from tactile oversensitivity. In her case, even the feeling of the seams on her socks bothers her. As the book demonstrates, addressing this issue and putting other measures in place means that Jody and her family can overcome her difficulties.

Tactile oversensitivity can be one reason why a child might resist going to school. This and sensory reasons or difficulties might be compounded by the child suffering from separation anxiety and not wanting to leave their parents. This can be due to attachment difficulties. 

An important thing to realise in such situations is that Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) can have a marked impact on a child and their day-to-day activities. This can often be mistaken as naughtiness or truculence which makes things even more difficult for the child and their families or carers. I would therefore recommend, should you be concerned as to why your child is behaving in what appears to be an irrational manner in certain situations, to consider consulting an Occupational Therapist to assess as to whether their behaviour may be due to SPD.