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School-Based Interventions : General Anxiety and Panic
 
Interventions for Emotionality

Accommodations:
  1. Provide specific steps the student can take to relax, or provide a relaxation ritual

    Example:
    Take three deep breaths; tense fingers or toes for five seconds, then relax.
  2. Provide alternative foci to distract the student from somatic symptoms

    Example:
    If the student complains of a recurrent headache without medical etiology, provide the student a phrase to think of or an activity (doing three problems then standing up, 10 problems then walking to the fountain). Have the student hold a stress ball and practice squeezing and relaxing his/her arm while breathing in and out at an even pace.

Specialized Instruction:

  • Have the student identify antecedents/precipitants to anxiety

    Example:
    Have the student identify what preceded or led to emotionality when it occurred, look for what leads to escalations, and then identify how he/she can avoid exposure to that precipitant and/or steps to slow escalations, such as distracting him/herself with another task, talking to other students, or waiting two minutes before accessing the teacher.
  • Help the student address stressors through art activities

    Example:
    Ask the student to draw a picture of what stress or fear looks like to him/her and suggest various coping strategies, then draw pictures of solutions so the student can "visualize" enacting the solution.
  • Help the student devise and practice problem skills

    Example:
    Practice steps to decide how "dangerous" the current situation is, what resources are available (staff, book, music to distract), and what is most likely to help quickly ("If look at a book, I'll stop noticing my sweaty hands"). Ask the student to describe/draw a picture of what serenity and calm look like to him/her and suggest actions to achieve calmness (look at the sky, hum a song silently, or touch a soft felt strip in his/her desk).
  • Design and post visuals for the student to review and use when solving a problem

    Example:
    Create a simple pictoral diagram of problem solving steps ("what is the problem? what are some solutions? what should I do? give it a try!") For additional examples, click here: www.csefel.uiuc.edu   top

Behavioral Planning:

  • Identify a hierarchy of safe places for the student to de-escalate emotionality symptoms

    Example:
    Stay at his/her desk; move to another part of the classroom; go to the edge or outside of class; go to a designated room (other classroom, library, office). Reward the student's use of lower level places, and more time staying on task, by allowing the student to eat with a peer or help the teacher with a special task. top
 
 
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