Assemblies or other large gatherings may worry some students.
Let students sit where they feel safe - perhaps near the teacher, SLSO, Aboriginal SLSO, AEO or a friend. As they feel less anxious encourage them to sit closer to their peers.
Performing in front of others or receiving awards may cause anxiety. Start with what a student can do and build slowly from there. This can involve talking with the student about what they would feel comfortable doing.
Changes in routine can be disruptive for many students with anxiety, and strangers leading a session may be particularly agitating.
If possible, tell students and parents or carers of an absence in advance so they can prepare for the change.
Support the casual teacher and student by informing them that the student may feel anxious, and about strategies to best help the student.
Some students with anxiety may need support when preparing for a move across education settings.
Make clear links to what will be similar. Tell students what will be the same so that they know they already have some of the skills they will need.
Show the student some of the simpler Level 7 school work. This helps students feel that they can manage high school work. It is important that the work is not more difficult than a student can already do.
For more information about supporting students with disability when transitioning to a primary or high school setting access our transition page.
The School Sport Unit provides inclusive sport and physical activity opportunities and pathways for students with disability across NSW. These focus on ability, participation, enjoyment and skill development. Opportunities include gala days, Multi-Sport days, knockouts and Come-and-Try Athletics days, and are available for students with disability who learn in mainstream classrooms, support classes in mainstream schools and Schools for Specific Purposes.
Inclusive school sport programs have the potential to support a student with disability’s social, emotional, mental and physical health. Watch Lexie and Anna’s stories of what sport and physical activity, both at school and in their journey through the representative school sport pathway, has meant to them.
Excursions or camps
Provide clear information about what will take place and consider pairing them with a buddy or safe person.
Unexpected safety drills may agitate some students with anxiety.
Consider letting the student know beforehand that there will be a drill, and pairing them with a buddy or person they feel safe with.
Some students might also show behaviours of concern. It’s important to remember students are most likely trying to communicate a need or want that is not being met.
Refer to the behaviour page for more information on how to reduce behaviours of concern by supporting the student and promoting more helpful behaviour, and our emotions page for more information about supporting a student with managing their emotions.
Some students may be agitated when separating from their family in the morning.
Provide warm and calm support to the student, and acknowledge how they are feeling.
Provide a student with a safe space to start with if they are too anxious or distressed to join the class immediately.
Some students may separate more easily if they can start in the classroom before other students arrive, or if they can choose where their parent will say goodbye.
If a student is becoming very agitated at separation, and you have tried other strategies, it may help if a parent sits outside the classroom or comes in as a parent helper. This extra support can be gradually reduced as a student feels more confident.
Other co-occuring conditions
Students with other developmental disability such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability or oppositional defiant disorder may have high levels of anxiety.