John is a student in his first year at a regional school. He was enrolled in Kindy last year but attended rarely as he became upset and his mother decided not to persevere with sending him as she felt he was too young. John has been attending prep for a term and a half but still refuses to leave his mother, is reluctant to try new activities at school and often becomes upset and refuses to participate.
John has seen an occupational therapist to address sensory processing issues in the past and the school has observed that John appears anxious at times. His mother does not want him to be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services or a private psychologist.
The teacher, principal and school psychologist have met with John’s mother to develop a management plan they can put in place to assist John to manage his anxious behaviours.
- identifying cues and triggers and assisting John to manage these as they arise. For example, pre-warning John of new activities and talking him through how he will manage them, in particular, the management of noisy situations
- a morning routine including John’s mother handing him over to a staff member who talks through the day’s visual timetable with John
- taking into account John’s sensory needs when planning class activities, for example, placing John on the edge of the group for an activity involving a lot of movement
- teaching John strategies to manage his anxiety, such as asking for help and breathing exercises.
The class teacher has a communication book with John’s mother to keep communication open while still allowing John’s mother to come and go with the other parents. A meeting has been arranged at the end of Term 3 to review John’s progress.