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Addressing Anxiety in Young Learners: A Teacher's Guide to Recognizing Needs and Resolving Behaviors

$62.72  Paperback
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Sarah Taylor Vanover, Kristen Mennona

  • Addressing Anxiety in Young Learners

144 pages
ISBN: 9781681256498

Anxiety rates are skyrocketing among young learners—and their teachers need explicit training on how to understand and support these students. A concise, reader‐friendly guide written especially for teachers, this urgently needed book will prepare early educators to recognise anxiety issues in children ages 3–8, identify the associated behaviours, and work effectively with students who have anxiety symptoms.

Teachers will start with a well‐organised primer on the different types of anxiety in children, featuring symptoms, causes, triggers, treatment options, and case stories. Then they'll get expert guidance on addressing anxiety and challenging behaviours in the classroom, with dedicated chapters on key topics like assessment, intervention, and the parents experience.

Ideal for both pre service and in‐service professional development, this introductory guide gives teachers the accessible information they need to understand learners with anxiety and support their success inside and outside the classroom.

Teachers will:

  • Explore seven types of childhood anxiety: generalised anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety, selective mutism, OCD, phobias, and anxiety rooted in childhood trauma
  • Review the assessment and evaluation process, and understand the role a teacher should play
  • Recognise co‐morbidities with anxiety—including ADHD, autism, and depression—and how they may affect a child's symptoms and treatment plan
  • Understand the issues and emotions parents face, so that teachers can offer them sensitive support
  • Use effective classroom interventions to meet the needs of children with anxiety and create a nurturing learning environment
  • Learn which strategies to avoid, from unrealistic expectations to excessive reassurance

Table of Contents

About the Author ix

About the Contributor xi

Introduction xiii

I What Is Childhood Anxiety? 1

  1. Typical Childhood Development 3
    • Developmental Areas 9
    • Cognitive Development 9
    • Speech and Language Development 10
    • Motor and Physical Development 10
    • Social and Emotional Development 11
    • Self-Help Skills 11
    • Abnormal Developmentor Delays 12
    • Developmental Delay Versus a Mental Health Diagnosis 13
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder 15
    • Case Study: Jonathon 16
    • Symptoms 17
    • Causes 18
    • Triggers 19
    • Treatments 20
    • Case Study: Jada 22
  3. Separation Anxiety Disorder 25
    • Symptoms 26
    • Causes 27
    • Triggers 28
    • Treatments 29
    • Case Study: Jose 30
  4. Social Anxiety Disorder 33
    • Case Study: Ezra 34
    • Symptoms 36
    • Causes 37
    • Triggers 38
    • Treatments 39
    • Case Study: Nora 39
  5. SelectiveMutism 43
    • Symptoms 44
    • Causes 45
    • Diagnosis 46
    • Treatments 46
    • Case Study: Akio 48
  6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 51
    • Symptoms 52
    • Causes 53
    • Triggers 53
    • Treatments 54
    • Case Study: Emily 55
  7. Childhood Phobias 59
    • Symptoms 62
    • Causes 63
    • Treatments 64
  8. Anxiety and Childhood Trauma 67
    • What Are Traumatic Events? 68
    • Toxic Stress 69
    • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 70
    • Attachment Disorders 71
    • Physical Effects of Trauma 71
    • Childhood Trauma Leading to Anxiety 72
    • Trauma Prevention 73

II Dealing With Childhood Anxiety and Challenging Behaviors in the Classroom 75

  1. Classroom Assessments and Professional Evaluations 77
    • What Are Assessments? 78
    • Noticing Differences 80
    • Sharing Information With Parents 81
    • What Is a Referral? 81
    • What Does an Evaluation Look Like? 82
    • What Do Evaluation Results Mean? 83
  2. Comorbidities With Anxiety 85
    • Childhood Depression 86
    • Autism 87
    • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 89
    • Mood Disorders 91
    • Dual Diagnosis 92
  3. Partnering With Parents 93
    • Chronic Sorrow 94
    • Stages of Grief 94
    • Mental Health Stigma 96
    • Parenting Children With Special Needs 97
    • Advocating for the Child 99
    • Stephanie’sStory 100
  4. Classroom Interventions 105
    • Creating Routines 106
    • Calming Strategies 107
    • Creating Safe Spaces 110
    • Zones of Regulation 111
    • Incredible 5-Point Scale 111
    • Accommodations for Social Anxiety 112
  5. Strategies to Avoid 115
    • Unrealistic Expectations 115
    • Excessive Reassurance 116
    • Creating Unnecessary Anticipation 116
    • Showing Frustration 117
    • Allowing a Child to Hide From Fears 117
    • Using Belittling Language 118
    • Offering Medical Advice to the Family 118
    • Lack of Collaboration With Family 119
    • Only Being Concerned With the School Day 120

Conclusion: Charlie’s Story 123

References 129

Index 131

"Often there is disbelief that mental illness can occur in young children, and Dr. Vanover has provided a wealth of information on the importance of recognizing diagnostic conditions and working together with parents and teachers to support children who may be struggling."
- Sarah Davidon, Ed.D., Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, Davidon Consulting, LLC

"Tiffany is lazy. Ramon is spoiled. Jasper is manipulative. The behavior of young children is often misread and misunderstood. Addressing Anxiety in Young Learners is an invaluable resource to recognize the causes and symptoms of young children’s mental health challenges. Teachers will learn effective classroom strategies. Parents will acquire insights to advocate for their children. The biggest beneficiary of all will be the students themselves, as adults gain a more nuanced understanding of their emotional responses and how best to support them."
- Ondine Gross, M.S., Ed.M., school psychologist and author of Restore the Respect: How to Mediate School Conflicts and Keep Students Learning

"As someone working in the early childhood space, it is critical that we get resources into the hands of practitioners that are practical, clear and relatable. As a clinician, there is a clear need for a text that addresses anxiety in this format. Addressing Anxiety in Young Learners does just that through its provision of example after example of children and families addressing anxiety. The breakdown of diagnostic criteria, causes, and treatments allows the reader to come away with a very clear sense of what might be happening and how best to proceed. In particular, the idea that we must always be partnering with parents is a powerful message that all need to hear. If you are interested in what to do and not to do, how to discern the subtleties of different anxiety disorders, and how best to proceed, this text will be incredibly helpful in your work."
- Neal Horen, Ph.D., Director of Early Childhood, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development