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Help is on the horizon for children refusing school

2nd May 2023

School refusal is when children get extremely upset at the idea of going to school, and often miss some or all of the school day

Centacare NQ recently welcomed Joanne Garfi from Compass Seminars to deliver a workshop on Overcoming School Refusal. Psychologist Joanne Garfi specialises in assisting parents, teachers, school counsellors and caseworkers on how best to deal with school refusal.

The workshop was capped to 50 participants and Centacare NQ received an overwhelming community registration response as well as a wait list of interested participants.

This highlighted the fact that school refusal is not an isolated situation in Townsville. It’s estimated that school refusal affects up to 5% of children and is a complex and stressful issue for the child, their family and school.

Joanne Garfi says, ‘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.’

The Overcoming School Refusal workshop helped Centacare NQ family support staff and community attendees understand this complex issue by explaining exactly what school refusal is and provided 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, symptoms, short term and long term consequences, accurate assessment, treatment options, what parents can do, what schools can do, dealing with anxious high achievers and how to help children on the autism spectrum with school refusal.

When participants were asked what they found most useful statements included,

‘Understanding the reasons for school refusal from the child’s perspective and how schools can assist’

‘Love the workbook with practical information’

‘The content was well displayed and easily followed’

‘It was all very useful especially the ASD info’

Overall participants were impressed with the practical strategies and information that they could put straight into action in their workplace or home situation.

With the increased demand for the Overcoming School Refusal Workshop, Centacare NQ has decided to welcome back Joanne Garfi and run another workshop on the 26th of June 2023.

Interested in attending? Please register through send us an email at or phone Centacare NQ on 1300 672 273.

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