Wednesday, November 25, 2009

School anxiety

 My son experienced some anxiety at school back when he was in the third grade. The anxiety was so bad at one point that he felt physically sick about going to school.

That part of his life passed about four years ago when he started attending a private school for kids with learning disabilities but anxiety has reared its ugly head in our home again.

My daughter does not have any known learning disabilities. In fact, most people would say that she is quite bright and capable in school. Unfortunately, she doesn’t “feel” capable and her entire academic world began to crumble a few weeks ago.

Her biggest issue is overcoming her fear of writing. This year, fourth graders must pass the state writing test so teachers are working hard to make sure they write every day and can put together a well-written paragraph. She can write well but her anxiety is giving her stomachaches, headaches and a blank page.

With her teacher’s help, we’re trying a few things that might be helpful if you have an anxious writer in your house. Her teacher is going to give me the topic they write about in class ahead of time so that my daughter can talk through her thoughts before she sits down to write. The teacher also is breaking up assignments into smaller pieces so that a long story is actually written over a few days rather all in one sitting.

For her assignment last week, we talked about it at home and she wrote down a few key words to help her remember her thoughts the next day. A tape recorder is also a useful tool when kids can talk about a topic but then they can't remember their thoughts when it comes time to write them down.

So far, we’re making some progress. Her journal will come home next week so she can try to make up some of the entries she hasn’t even started. In my daughter’s case, confidence is key and she’ll be getting lots of positive encouragement each time she writes.

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas for addressing anxiety!! Good for you and for the teacher!