Have you ever noticed a child looking worried and anxious in the regular classroom day to day activities. They might be sitting off in a corner by themselves, or may be causing some disruption as a way of working off their anxiety. Often children who have learning disabilities also suffer from anxiety. If a disability has not been diagnosed, this can cause anxiety as well, because neither parent, teacher or your child will know why they are struggling. As a parent, we may not understand the seemingly irrational worry or obsession our children have with many issues. Teachers too need to be sensitive to these needs.
Think about it for a moment. How would you feel if you knew you would be going to school and the teacher was going to ask you to read in front of everyone and you had no idea what the letters were spelling? All of your friends would see that you can’t read. Or you might be asked to answer a math question that is far beyond your comprehension. Would you worry that you will be teased or worse, even bullied? Maybe you won’t even understand what the teacher is asking you. How would that make you feel? I am guessing it would make you feel extremely anxious.
Some symptoms of anxiety
- Anger – lashing out, yelling, or being unreasonable
- Continual avoidance of situations because it causes them anxiety
- Unreasonable and/or unrealistic fear
- Excessive worry about everything but especially about their performance
- Physical symptoms – a stomach ache or headache
There are many things we can to do combat anxiety in our children. Behaviour and cognitive modification (changing the way they think), practicing mindfulness, and help from parents and teachers to calm their fears before they escalate too much are just a few strategies. Seek help from professionals, and recognize that often when a child has a learning challenge they may also have anxiety and neither is something to be ashamed of or feel guilty about. You can help your child have less anxiety and develop more confidence which will lead to a happier life!