Establish check-ins on arrival to facilitate transition into school.
Accommodate late arrival due to difficulty with transitions.
Because transitions may be particularly difficult for these children, allow extra time for moving to another activity or location.
Understand that when a child with anxiety refuses to follow directions, the reason may be symptoms of anxiety rather than intentional oppositionality.
If the child is avoiding school, determine the cause of the child's reluctance and address it. Initiate a plan for him or her to return to school as quickly as possible. It may help ease anxiety if the child attends for a shorter school day temporarily.
Identify a "safe" place where the child may go to reduce anxiety during stressful periods. Developing guidelines for appropriate use of the safe place will help both the student and staff.
Develop relaxation techniques to help reduce anxiety at school. Employing the techniques developed at home can be useful.
Provide alternative activities to distract the child from physical symptoms. Calming activities may be helpful.
Encourage small group interactions to develop increased areas of competency.
Provide assistance with peer interactions. An adult's help may be very beneficial for both the child and his or her peers.
Encourage the child to help develop interventions. Enlisting the child in the task will lead to more successful strategies and will foster the child's ability to problem-solve.
Reprinted with permission from www.schoolpsychiatry.org, a web site for parents, educators, and clinicians that address the needs of children and teens who have mental health conditions.
SOURCE: Reprinted with permission of the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry.