School can be very challenging for young people with autism. The environment can be noisy and confusing. There is a general lack of understanding of what autism is and how best to support children. There are social pressures that are hard to understand and navigate. Studies show that children with autism are:
- More prone to bullying (Institute of Education, 2014)
- Are socially isolated (Institute of Education, 2014)
- Are at higher risk of exclusion (Ambitious about Autism, 2015), Department for Education, 2018)
- More likely to refuse to go to school (Munkhaugen et al, 2017)
Counselling can give the child space to explore how they feel about what is happening at school. Art or play therapy can be used so that the child can work through their feelings. It will be very important to allow time for rapport and trust to be established, which is especially important for children on the spectrum.
I have experience in supporting young people with fear and anxiety around attending school, especially in helping them to find ways to express their concerns. These sessions are not designed to convince young people to return to school. They are to support young people to understand and find ways of coping with their feelings around how they perceive school and social anxiety.