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Anxiety in the Classroom

With back to school right around the corner, it’s important to be aware that anxiety-related conditions are very common in children and adolescents. Unfortunately, many students do not know the signs of anxiety. Further, if they do recognize that they have anxiety they may not always ask for help. Anxiety can have a significant impact on children’s academic performance and social functioning. When a student is feeling anxious, their brain doesn’t function as effectively. Students with anxiety struggle to learn new material as well as retrieve previously learned information. It may be challenging for them to avoid distractions and they typically require more time to shift from one task to the next. Anxious students are often misdiagnosed as “inattentive” because they may appear off-task within the classroom setting.

Signs of Anxiety:
·        Difficulty focusing or mind going blank
·        Feeling on edge
·        Restless or fidgeting behaviors
·        Irritability
·        Fear of talking in front of a group
·        Fear of being evaluated or judged by others
·        Difficulty separating from caregivers
·        Avoidance of situations that cause discomfort
·        Tantrums or other acting out behaviors
·        Need for reassurance (e.g., wanting to know that everything will be okay)
·        Psychosomatic complaints (headaches, stomachaches, muscle pains, etc.)
·        Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine
·        Worrisome “what if” thoughts

Anxiety is a very treatable condition. With the right support and strategies, students with anxiety can thrive in the classroom setting. If you feel your child or adolescent is demonstrating signs of anxiety contact a qualified mental health professional today. A psychologist can evaluate your child for anxiety and help provide support and resources to promote success in school and life.