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Child School Refusal Program

Ages 5-13

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About the Program

in person Chicago, Illinois
Northbrook, Illinois*
Oak Brook, Illinois
ages 5-13
Treatment Levels PHP
*Program offerings may differ by location. Kindly call us to confirm specific program details. Northbrook accepts children as young as 7.
Service Overview - Compass Health Center

Service Overview

Compass Health Center’s school refusal services provide short-term stabilization for children who are having trouble managing mood and anxiety symptoms that often present as school refusal behavior. These services are available for patients admitted to Compass’s Partial Hospitalization (PHP) Program for children.

School refusal behavior may include frequent complaints of being ill with a stomach ache, sore throat, or headache upon waking up. These complaints usually resolve once the child is allowed to remain at home, but may resurface the next morning. Children may also avoid school by frequently requesting to visit the nurse’s office; showing up tardy or not at all; or being absent on test days or for events that trigger performance anxiety, such as giving presentations or participating in sports. Through the use of evidence-based treatment Compass’s goal is to help patients return to the classroom by providing them with the strategies needed to effectively manage mood and anxiety symptoms that present when faced with daily stressors.

What to Expect - Compass Health Center

What to Expect

Compass’s multidisciplinary team develops an individualized treatment plan for each patient that includes:

  • Full psychiatric evaluation 
  • Regular psychiatric consultations with a dedicated psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner 
  • Daily structured group therapy 
  • Regular individual therapy sessions with a dedicated individual therapist 
  • Regular family therapy sessions with a dedicated family therapist 
  • Experiential therapies that support creative expression, may include art therapy, movement therapy, yoga, or mindfulness 
  • Ongoing reassessments and modifications to treatment plan

Compass’s customized treatment plans are tailored to the needs of each individual and adapted over the course of treatment. Participants work with therapists who specialize in school avoidance. The group therapy model provides the opportunity to connect with others, normalize experiences, and build group accountability. This individualized approach to treatment supports people in moving towards achieving a meaningful and functional life.   

Academic Support - Compass Health Center

Academic Support

Children in PHP receive daily education services during the school year to support their academic goals alongside treatment. This includes time each day for supervised study, case management, and coordination of care among the Compass treatment team, the child’s school teams, and their family. Compass recognizes that flexibility is key to ensuring a successful transition back to school following treatment. Your child’s team is in regular communication with their school to adjust the treatment plan as needed to best support them.

Treatment Modalities - Compass Health Center

Treatment Modalities

*Not available at all locations

Psychiatric assessment and medication management
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
Executive functioning support
Individual therapy
Group therapy
Family therapy
Art therapy*
Yoga therapy*
Pet therapy
Supervised study
A secure online portal that parents can use to check-in with members of their child's treatment team
*Not available at all locations

Our Success Stories

Double Quotes - Compass Health Center

Compass saved my life! I came into Compass with suicidal ideations and no hope. After a couple of weeks of being in the program, I did not have those thoughts anymore. Compass helped me change my mindset, from a negative pattern of thoughts to a more positive and optimistic frame of mind.

Double Quotes - Compass Health Center

My child is leaving Compass more equipped to handle her emotions, her anxiety, her depression, and the things that all trigger these. She is willing to use the skills, which is a huge change, and this is all due to how well Compass worked for her.

Parent of Child Patient
Double Quotes - Compass Health Center

I liked how in Compass, everyone was respectful of my opinions, pronouns, and preferred name. There was no judging, and you can open up to people. I also like how I can relate to other kids. I also really appreciate learning new skills.

Double Quotes - Compass Health Center

Compass is a godsend. An amazing program for children who are struggling and families who are seeking help and guidance. I could not imagine that she would be so much better in less than 2 months. I wish we could have found Compass without going to the ER. Thanks for all you do!

Parent of Child Patient
Double Quotes - Compass Health Center

The evening IOP program challenged me in a supportive and respectful way to help change my way of thinking. Compass provided me with the tools to help deal with life situations in a healthy way.

Adult Patient