Anxiety Disorders in the Classroom

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Anxiety can present a significant challenge in the classroom. It can take many different forms depending on its source. Determining why a child is suffering from anxiety is the first step in making sufficient accommodations. Coping skills and other anxiety treatments may present a different set of obstacles in the classroom however, adapting the learning environment to meet the needs of the anxious child contributes to their overall academic success.
Anxiety plays an important role in childhood development, these feelings of fear and apprehension caution children from attempting new or dangerous activities and situations that they may not be unable to successfully navigate ( However, up to 24% of children experience anxiety that interferes with their daily activities (Headley & Campbell, 2013). There are several types of anxieties found in school-age children today, such as: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, and Social Phobia. Students suffering from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) can worry about anything and everything. They constantly question “What if?” when going through basic day to day tasks, so much so that it can cause the student to become distracted from their school work ( OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is similar to GAD because both include intrusive thoughts, but OCD includes repetitive behaviors such as: excessively washing hands, having to count pencils in their pencil box before starting any work, and tapping their writing utensil a certain amount of times before they begin using it. These rituals and compulsions can easily affect a student’s ability in school due to the fact that it is difficult for them focus b...

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...tive intervention for anxious preschoolers and their parents: Strengthening early emotional development. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 43(4), 544-59. doi:
Headley, C., & Campbell, M. A. (2013). Teachers’ knowledge of anxiety and identification of excessive anxiety in children. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(5). Storch, E. A., Arnold, E. B., Jones, A. M., Ale, C. M., Wood, J. J., Ehrenreich-may, J., Murphy, T. K. (2012). The role of co-occurring disruptive behavior in the clinical presentation of children and adolescents with anxiety in the context of autism spectrum disorders. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 43(5), 734-46. doi: (2013). The Children's and Adult Center for OCD and Anxiety.
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