‘Even a safe place does not feel safe for an anxious child’.
Opening comments that hit hard for a school that wants to be a safe learning community…
Everybody at the table had a (close) connection to anxiety. Even a lot of tears.
Some great discussion about anxiety being self-bullying. Being about the ‘what-ifs’ and the tyrannies of the ‘shoulds’.
So much pressure on ‘getting them ready for middle/high etc’. We need to FORGET THIS! Focus on needs of now – not for ‘what’s next’
3 key parts to remember about anxiety:
1- genetics plays a part (a family predisposition)
2- environment (at school – more than what we learn, it’s the experience!)
3- psychology (how brain interprets things – treat yourself as a victim, you’ll be a victim)
We all have the potential for anxiety – we are wired for (and anxiety is part of) survival.
A reminder that anxiety is not a disease, but a disorder that has elements of dis-ease to it.
It is easy to start down these slippery slopes (x always bullies me – even I not true, true to the anxious because it could happen (could = is).
Anxiety can very much look like ADHD amongst other diagnosis – statistics say anxiety is often mis-diagnosed.
3 Ds for a diagnosis
Distress has to be evident
Disability – cant complete/start something
Disability – cant grow because they “can’t do” – a lot connected to self confidence and self concept.
– provide a grand overview of what is, and what will be happening
– visual schedule (and clarified/written learning outcomes)
– be genuine and connect – acknowledge them (help them name & claim ‘it’) and debunk it (ok if no response – wait for, don’t force, the teachable moment)
– provide the vocabulary
– cognitive behaviour therapy such as Friends For Life
Breathing matters. Breathe in slow through the nose, slight pause, out through the mouth slightly slower than in. Repeat (2 minutes a good start)
You can’t just tell anxious kids to ‘stop it’. And there is not a quick fix or ‘one’ way to ‘get over it’. It requires an intervention. And understanding.
Buddhist quote: Hello my anxiousness. I see you’ve come to visit me again. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.
(this is the managing part)