Standing on the edge
That’s how he described it. The feeling of trying to go to school. Every morning he woke up with the same unbearable feeling. The same hammering heart.
He dressed, ate breakfast and tried to fight himself out the door, while his fear grew bigger and stronger inside him. Until it threatened to choke him completely. He surrendered.
He stayed at home. Day after day. Month after month.
For more than a year things were like this. The days he didn’t go to school, he was often sitting with his mobile phone or tablet. Playing.
That’s when I got an idea: what if we can motivate him to go to school by using the tools he knows? Can the things that makes him play on his phone also motivate him to go to school? And what if this can help other children in the same situation?
School refusal is a problem that affects around 30,000 Norwegian children. In Europe more than percent of all children have the same problem. A child with school refusal is not a child who does not bother going to school. It is not a child who shrugs. They are children who would give their life to be able to be like everyone else, but for different reasons can’t get out of home and into the classroom. They’re anxious. And many of them suffer from separation anxiety disorder.
In two years I’ve been thinking about how these kids can get help they need. Today, kids with school refusal, get treated with a method called cognitive behavioural therapy. It’s about exposing the kids to the difficult situation, to help them see it’s not dangerous to fight the problem, and overcome it. But this method need some extra tools. Something the kids can use when they’re not talking to the shrink, but are by themselves, in the everyday situation.
I have quit my job as a creative director, to start working on solving this epidemic that ruins too many kids oppurtunity to grow and learn at school. I’m starting Tackl — a company that will help kids creating positive behavioural change.