Marigold is a Year 10 student who lives with her family in a city. During the last term, Marigold has complained several times about abdominal cramps and feeling nauseous, and has requested to go to the sick bay. She has also been absent a number of days. Marigold has mentioned to her teachers that she is having difficulty falling asleep at night due to worries. Marigold’s parents told the school that her doctor has ruled out any physical medical issues and further investigation has not been carried out yet.
In class, Marigold’s teachers have noticed that she often appears anxious or distracted, particularly when the class is completing an assessment task. Marigold seems to have difficulty making decisions and participating in class discussions. She often seeks clarification and reassurance when undertaking tasks.
Teachers have noted that Marigold’s moods can quickly change across the school day, moving from withdrawn and quiet, to having onset panic attacks where she will become breathless and agitated. She has also been socialising less with her peers during break times and often reads by herself in the library.
When engaged in learning, Marigold achieves well academically; however, there are numerous occasions when the work produced does not reflect her ability. Marigold’s attention and problem-solving ability can also fluctuate.
Marigold’s teachers believe the recent changes in her behaviour and the variable emotional states they have observed at school may reflect an underlying mental health challenge.
The Student Services team has met on several occasions with Marigold and her parents to discuss teacher observations and concerns. These consultations have resulted in strategies to support Marigolds mental health and wellbeing and a documented plan. The plan will be reviewed at the end of each term.
The school psychologist has recently started meeting weekly with Marigold to work on emotional regulation strategies to manage her anxious thoughts and feelings. With Marigold’s consent, the school psychologist has also met with Marigold’s teachers to provide strategies that will support Marigold’s learning and enable her to self-regulate. Marigold’s teachers will meet at the end of each term to review and evaluate the effectiveness of adjustments provided.
Marigold’s teachers provide her with adjustments that include ensuring she has a clear understanding of what a task requires, breaking it down into manageable chunks. They encourage her to ‘have a go’ rather than placing emphasis on always having to be right or having to complete assigned tasks within the lesson period. Marigold is also supported to complete assessments in alternate locations such as a quiet area in the library. Marigold may be given additional time or a reduced workload for homework and assessment tasks. Marigold takes this time to use the emotional regulation strategies she has learned to calm herself and regain focus.
Marigold also participates in a whole-school resilience program. She has a ‘chill-out’ card that allows her to access the alternate learning space when she feels overwhelmed. At the beginning of each day, Marigold is encouraged to check in with her homeroom teacher to discuss how she is feeling. If feeling overwhelmed she has the option to go to the alternate learning space.