My daughter’s school refusal and anxiety were definitely linked to her diagnosis of ASD1. We were not able to get that until she was 11, and only via private practice. It led to high anxiety and depression. Even though she wanted to go to school, starting in kindergarten, she experienced difficulty getting there. She experienced social exclusion from preschool onward. She experienced bullying/relational aggression from preschool onward. She had to change schools once, and after that, because her second school told me she didn’t qualify for assistance for her ADHD diagnosis (blatant lie), I chose to change again and send her to a very expensive dedicated-to-learning-disabilities private school. I receive no transfer of funds from her school division or government assistance to achieve that. The private school had strengths but weaknesses as well. No schools, public or otherwise, had any understanding of how to engage with a student (or parent of one) with depression and anxiety. At her private school, in fact, I was told that if her absences (due to depression) continued, they would have to “shut that down” (meaning: expel her from the school). When my daughter skilfully self-regulated, she was told to “stop the drama” (for removing herself to calm down). When she tried to speak to a friend for consolation immediately after being bullied by a girl who was already known by the school to be actively bullying her, she was told to “stop gossiping” This lack of skill in both recognizing and handling nuanced behaviour is extremely problematic. Only one teacher in all the schools she was in recognized the relational aggression that occurred. All of the others engaged in blaming and dealing with the circumstances in a highly unskilled manner. We don’t need awareness. We need acceptance that these circumstances are REAL. Acceptance will lead to real solutions. Awareness is just lip service.