Provided by Brain Balance Achievement Centers and Dr. Zach Petter
Children with neurobehavioral challenges such as ADHD, processing disorders, dyslexia and other learning disorders often struggle with greater school stress than do neurotypical children. Generally, kids with learning disorders want to excel in school and socialize in a typical way, yet they lack the tools to do so.
This in itself can create significant stress for children. Students with these types of challenges are also frequently exposed to bullying behaviors in the classroom. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to advocate for your child and help him or her practice effective stress management.
Become an Effective Advocate
Take a proactive role in your child’s education. Meet with the teacher early in the year to discuss your child’s learning disorder and explain how the teacher can help him or her succeed. Stay in touch with the teacher throughout the year to identify possible sources of school stress and to address these issues with the school administration if necessary.
Create a Positive Home Environment
Research demonstrates that children can better manage school stress and other sources of anxiety when they feel they are in a supportive, nurturing environment. Use positive language when interacting with your child. Since many kids with learning disorders doubt their own abilities, encourage your child to celebrate his or her strengths and talents.
Encourage Open Communication
In order for kids with learning struggles to effectively manage school anxiety, they must feel as though their concerns are being acknowledged and addressed. Encourage your child to discuss the events at school on a regular basis. Use indirect language to facilitate a conversation with a reluctant talker. For example, make an observation that it appears your child is upset about something. Listen attentively to your child, demonstrate sympathy and reserve judgment. Then, you and your child can brainstorm together to develop solutions. For example, if your child is anxious because he or she feels there isn’t enough time to complete a test, perhaps you could talk to the teacher about giving your child some extra time.
Consider Lifestyle Changes
Leading a healthy lifestyle is conducive to emotional wellness. Consider implementing the following lifestyle changes to help your child manage school stress:
- Get plenty of sleep each night.
- Follow a healthy diet and consider the possibility of food sensitivities.
- Avoid over-scheduling activities.
- Set aside time for unstructured downtime.
Kids with learning disorders can benefit from some extra help outside of school. Overcoming the challenges associated with learning disabilities can empower your child and help him or her effectively manage and reduce school stress.
Dr. Zach Petter and his wife Amanda own the Brain Balance Achievement Center of San Antonio. The center helps children reach their academic, behavioral and social potential through a unique drug-free, whole-child approach. Brain Balance utilizes customized sensory motor and cognitive activity plans, coupled with nutrition guidelines to address the root cause of most learning and developmental disorders. The San Antonio center is located at 1742 N. Loop 1604 E. Suite 121. For more information, call 210-620-7378 or visit www.brainbalancecenters.com.