Helping Children With Medical And Mental Health Conditions Get The Best Out Of School

ANXIETY DISORDERS

Anxiety Disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder in children and young people. 

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SUPPORTING STUDENTS             MORE INFORMATION

Causes of anxiety disorders

  • Factors that contribute to the development of anxiety disorders include: genetic predisposition, psychological factors and environmental factors. 

Symptoms of anxiety disorders

  • Symptoms fall into two groups: physical symptoms like headaches or feeling sick; and emotional symptoms like nervousness and fear. 
  • Anxiety disorders, when severe, can affect a child's thinking, decision-making ability, perception of the environment and learning and concentration. 
  • It can raise blood pressure and heart rate and can cause vomiting, stomach pain, ulcers, diarrhoea, tingling, weakness and shortness of breath. 

Treatment for anxiety disorders

  • Treatment for anxiety disorders may include some form of psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and or medications. 

Supporting students with anxiety disorders

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Understanding anxiety

  • Recognise that anxiety can seriously impact on a young person’s life and they need understanding and support to help them manage the condition.  
  • Talking can help but it may take some time for a young person to feel confident or comfortable to express their worries or concerns.  

Helpful activities

  • Build Mindfulness exercises into the school routine, e.g. 5 mins exercise at the start of the lesson.  
  • Distraction activities can be useful. Make a box of distraction activities such as mindful colouring, sensory materials such as play dough, fiddle toys. Place the box in an accessible place so it can be used when required.  
  • Practical help to prioritise and organise workload as students may fall behind and become overwhelmed. For example, teacher notes on missed work, 1-1 meeting to discuss subject priorities and deadlines.  

Classroom culture

  • Provide a calm and quiet space that can be accessed with a time out card.  
  • Positive feedback and praise when a young person does something well or overcomes a challenge.  
  • Recognise and value all contributions to school life not only the academic or outstanding achievements.

More information

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