Kyle has generalised anxiety disorder. He attends a large mainstream high school. When Kyle was diagnosed at 13 years old, three years ago, the school met with all the relevant internal and external agencies to develop a mental health plan to support him. Kyle had a private psychiatrist and psychologist team supporting him and his family. Through this team, Kyle underwent cognitive behaviour therapy that helped him to learn relaxation techniques, replace negative thought patterns with positive thoughts and developed his problem-solving skills.
During this time, the school supported Kyle by:
- identifying step-by-step procedures to assist Kyle when he was feeling anxious
- ensuring access to key staff members and areas he could remove himself to when overwhelmed
- informing his teachers and staff of his needs, the strategies he was using and how to prompt Kyle to utilise the strategies in his plan
- pre-warning Kyle of any changes to routine and arranging for him to pre-visit or ‘walk through’ significant new events one-to-one with a staff member.
At this time the school considered Kyle to be a child with a social/emotional disability who required supplementary adjustments.
Kyle is now 16 years old and has numerous strategies to manage his thoughts and feelings and reduce his anxiety. He is displaying appropriate behaviours for his age within the school environment. He can self-monitor his thoughts and feelings, problem-solve and has developed a range of relaxation techniques he can utilise independently.
At the beginning of the school year, the student services team, including his homeroom teacher, school psychologist and Deputy Principal, organised a meeting with Kyle and his parents where all of Kyle’s self-management techniques were discussed. Kyle stated he felt confident in managing any challenges at school as long as the school continued to provide the timetable and gave him reasonable notice of upcoming assignments and new events, as per the usual school system. He was aware that he could access the school psychologist and his homeroom teacher at any point and stated that he no longer needed any further intervention from the school outside of the usual supports offered to the students.
The staff continue to actively monitor Kyle’s progress through quality differentiated teaching practice. It was agreed that a review meeting would be held at the beginning of the next semester.