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The Impact of Anxiety On Children In The Classroom

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Pinny suffers from anxiety disorder NOT an inability to get his act together. Anxiety is the primary reason for disorganization of the mind and body. A lack of focus, concentration, memory, and comprehension are all symptoms.

According to the DSMIV, symptoms of anxiety include:

1. Restlessness, feeling keyed up or on edge

2. Being easily fatigued

3. Difficulty concentrating, mind going blank

4. Irritability

5. Muscle tension

6. Sleep disturbances

Children who surfer from anxiety may exhibit a few or all of these symptoms. Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months or more to be classified as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The symptoms should not stem from a medical condition, another disorder, or the effect of a substance.

Traditionally anxiety is treated with medication and therapy (the most effective being cognitive behavioral therapy).

NOTE: Care must be taken to distinguish between anxiety and ADD, as they may each present with similar symptoms, but both pharmaceutical and therapeutic interventions will vary with each diagnosis.

Sunday afternoon, 2:45 p.m.

Pinny walks home with his best friend Chaim. As they chat about schoolwork, homework, the Rebbe, the Morah, and possibilities for supper waiting at home, Pinny is totally unaware that he has just run the equivalent of a 10-mile marathon throughout the day in his mind. No wonder he always feels so exhausted!

Note: This article does not attempt in any way to diagnose, treat, or offer instant solutions to those who suffer from anxiety. It is simply an attempt to enter the mind and heart of a child with anxiety so that we may achieve higher levels of understanding and compassion in our homes and schools.

Chaya Sarah Stark, M.S. is an educational evaluator in private practice for over 25 years. She has also served as an educational consultant to many schools, implementing curriculum, and guiding teachers as to how to deal with their students. In addition, she is a dance therapist. She can be reached at (718) 338-5910.

Special thanks to Mr. Moshe Fried, MSW for his gracious and invaluable input.

About the Author: Chaya Sarah Stark, M.S. is an educational evaluator in private practice for over 25 years. She has also served as an educational consultant to many schools, implementing curriculum, and guiding teachers as to how to deal with their students. In addition, she is a dance therapist. She can be reached at (718) 338-5910.


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