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What types of accommodations can help students with anxiety?

Many children are nervous to start the new school year. They might be worried the classes will be too hard or unsure of their new teachers, or they could be scared about meeting new people or getting lost. 

However, some children don't just have first-day jitters. They suffer from serious anxiety that doesn't go away once they settle into a new school year. For these children, accommodations in school can be necessary to help them succeed.

How accommodations can help

Children with anxiety can be withdrawn and struggle to focus during school. They may act out or be unable (or unwilling) to sit still. Some children don't even want to be in class so they skip school altogether.

Accommodations can help a child in various ways. They can give children needed breaks or support networks. They can help a child feel comfortable with his or her environment instead of overstimulated or worried. They can also ease the pressure a student might feel to act a certain way or perform certain tasks. 

Examples of accommodations

An article from Understood.org provides a good list of examples of accommodations for children with anxiety. Some examples include:

  • Allowing a child to sit near a friend or the door 
  • Easing up on restrictions from leaving the classroom
  • Adjusting assignments to give the student more time, smaller chunks or less homework
  • Eliminating requirements to speak or perform in front of an audience
  • Giving a child more time to transition to new activities or places
  • Allowing a child to have a calming object with them or call home when they feel anxious

Whether they are part of an Individualized Education Program or worked out informally with a teacher, these and other accommodations can help a child feel better in class. They also make it easier for a student to engage in the learning process.

Anxiety is a serious, upsetting disorder, especially for children. Thankfully, parents, teachers and school administrators can work together to ensure a child gets the help and support he or she needs to be successful in the coming school year.

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