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Monday, March 14, 2011

Parent stories: Different types of anxiety

So... I found after my last post that comments on my Facebook page indicate that if your child struggles to re-adjust to school after the holidays, you are not alone. One parent said that they had to help the children re-adjust every school holidays - not just after the long summer break.

There were also some strategies suggested by families to help their children adjust. They included:

  • Playing schools during the school holidays.
  • Starting the school routine a few weeks prior to school going back.
  • Relaxation therapy prior to and at school - such as deep pressure therapy.

Different things will work for different children/youth. But it helps to understand the type of anxiety your child is feeling.

Environmental Anxiety

This is the label I have given to behaviour that comes out due to anxiety in a specific event. For example, something may happen in the classroom, at school or at home that may cause an immediate reaction. Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders often talk about a child screaming or shutting down, chewing clothing, biting others, running away and/or hiding when something occurs to distress them.

Anxiety due to an ongoing activity or trigger

Other behaviours show that the anxiety is due to a repeated event. These behaviours may include moodiness, nightmares, wetting the bed, the need to cling to someone and so on. This usually indicates that there is an ongoing activity that is causing the child anxiety.

Anxiety Disorders

If a child is showing signs of constant, ongoing anxiety over a period of 6 months or more, it may be time to consult with a psychologist. Kanakos (2011) provides a brief overview of different types of anxiety disorders. These will need to be dealt with differently than the more transient anxieties mentioned above.


Shelley March 15, 2011 at 3:45 PM  

love the analogy Amanda - and I have to say it is working for me too at the moment - same school but a new teacher seems to mean that in many ways as a parent am back at square one too!! I have tried some of the suggestions - I guess the big thing about it was I expected there to be transition issues but in some ways they aren't any easier the second time through where as I thought they would be... silly me.

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