Day 164 (of 184) anything but anxiety
Maybe it’s the angst that is throughout our schools as BC works through Job Action/LockOut scenarios as our province seeks a collective agreement, but anxiety is frequently on my mind…
And my son continues to drive me to help others ‘better understand’….
better understand that:
it’s not aspergers. There are a lot of similarities (a LOT!!), including the supports that help the anxious student be successful (such as 1:1 time to ‘set up the day’) yet the ‘development’ of the two happens VERY differently. YET unlike aspergers, anxiety (acknowledged by many as one of the top 3 issues in education) is not seen and identified as a ‘funded category’ in BC education – in any education system really unless it’s “behaviour”. But…
it’s not behaviour. Behaviour students “won’t” do something. Modifications and plans can have great success (usually really quickly and there is are proven methodologies). When anxious students get ‘stuck’, they “can’t” do things…unless they’re faking it because they get stuck, get unstuck but don’t know how to ‘reveal’ that without looking silly….so they continue to appear stuck…tough to know the difference.
it’s a marathon not a sprint. Neither medications nor Therapy (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) enable ‘quick fixes’. It is a long term solution and I was very happy when our paediatrician nodded with me as I said my goal is to identify anxiety in grade 4 (or earlier) for independent success by grade 10. Oh! And I learned (as I asked about ‘medicine breaks’) that summer vacation is not a time to stop medications being used (especially without consulting your doctor) – ours is encouraging continuing what we are doing. So we will.
it’s not something that can be done ‘by yourself’. It takes a team. I am fortunate that my son has a very supportive support team at his school (learning from/with him to better understand ways to support other students) a fantastic paediatrician who supports us with a very ‘patient’ approach (needed a pun).
there are always things to learn. I feel I have a ‘good handle’ on things including using ‘new’ self-regulation strategies that work for my son, specifically we talk about Pokemon. Seriously. We had a meltdown a week ago (long weekend after a wellness week at school; conference style, no familiar routine) about going to the pool. It was an interesting hour until we were finally in the water and he suddenly started talking about a pokemon card he recently found. He found the way to “click the switch” and get unstuck. Almost instantly his body untended. His language became more clear. His smile returned…..and a week later at a basketball tournament (with loud whistles, lots of buzzers with the gym hosting 3 games at once) when he started “twitching” and I experimented with: asking him about pokemon games. I asked AND LISTENED to his responses about pokemon video games…I even asked if he understood what I was doing (he did) and he managed to stay for almost a complete game.
Always more things to learn about anxiety; especially with so much anxiousness being felt by all members of our learning community while the BC Teachers contract gets worked out.
Breathing break time….