Sep 27

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Guidance for Teachers Helping Children with Panic Disorders


Guidance for Teachers Helping Children with Panic Disorders

Teachers can sometimes be faced with children with panic disorders and are at a loss about how to help them. The school should be given a heads-up by the parents if they know their child is prone to these attacks – and schools should prepare their teachers to cope with the children.

If a teacher knows ahead of time that the child may suffer from frequent panic attacks, he or she can have meetings with the children to discuss how best to deal with these instances.

Guidance counselors and school nurses as well as other members of the school faculty can also be consulted and school strategies can be arranged. Some ideas that can work to alleviate the stigma and concern of the child about panic attacks include the following:

  • Know relaxation techniques – A teacher can help reduce a child’s anxiety at school by knowing some relaxation techniques to suggest to the child – such as deep breathing and other suggestions noted by the parents.

  • Have a safe place – Identifying a safe place where the panicked child can go during stressful times can put the child more at ease. Be sure to notify other members of the staff so the child won’t be reprimanded for leaving class.

  • Encourage the child – A teacher can be helpful by encouraging the child to participate in his or her own solutions to the panic attack problem and give him more tools to work with in these situations.

  • Give the child some slack – The teacher may need to provide more time to complete assignments, be aware that a late arrival to school may be necessary and adjust the homework assignments so the child won’t become stressed.

If the child is new to the school, she may have problems with the transition, so it’s even more important for the teacher to be aware of any social or other types of problems that the child may be dealing with. For example, if a child is dealing with a divorce of his parents, the teacher should be aware of that added stress.

The more a teacher and the school know about a child’s panic disorder, the better able they are to deal with it so the child won’t suffer worse effects. Many schools are recognizing the need to train their staffs in how to accommodate children with panic disorder because it can become very serious if not addressed.

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