Emotional Based School Avoidance (EBSA) is a term used to describe a child or young person who has severe difficulty in attending school due to emotional factors that can result in prolonged absences from school.  

EBSA can present differently across individuals, but can manifest according to:  

  • low or intermittent attendance
  • high sensitivity or reactivity
  • low mood and anxiety, for example,fear of talking to teachers, fears around academic performance 
  • social isolation
  • signs of emotional distress that interferes with their ability to function at school, such as difficulties forming relationships with teachers and peers resulting from disorganised attachment
  • developmental differences that fundamentally shape perception and action in ways that cause significant challenges in emotional self-regulation and social functioning, for example autistic spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyper-activity disorder.