Tyra is a Year 6 student in a large mainstream metropolitan primary school. Tyra was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder in Year 4. Since this diagnosis, Tyra’s parents have worked collaboratively with the school psychologist, her clinical psychologist, the classroom teacher and the Deputy Principal to discuss ongoing support and the implementation of a risk management plan.
Tyra demonstrates anxiety mostly around social situations. The classroom teacher has observed the following:
- Tyra does not enter the classroom with all the other students
- at recess and lunch breaks, Tyra does not move far from the classroom entrance
- Tyra avoids social interactions with most students in the class and seeks reassurance from one student in particular
- Tyra struggles to complete tasks given to her as she focuses on perfecting her work to a very high internal standard
- Tyra displays on a daily basis physical symptoms of her anxiety, including short shallow breathing, stiffening of the body and limbs, leading to reduced cognitive functioning, and emotional regulating.
The agreed strategies in the management plan are:
- two formal case conferences will be held each term with all stakeholders present
- a reduced workload with Tyra given alternative options to present her work
- Tyra’s teachers consider varied assessment methods to suit her needs, for example, oral presentations to the teacher only, not the whole class
- Tyra attends weekly sessions with the clinical psychologist to access cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
- the school psychologist in consultation with her clinical psychologist has developed sessions for school staff regarding the use of support languages and strategies that complement the ongoing CBT
- Tyra’s classroom teacher communicates regularly with her parents regarding Tyra’s triggers and responses to strategies
- Tyra’s classroom teacher has worked with the school psychologist to understand the constructs and principles of CBT, and reflect those in her communication with Tyra and model helpful thinking processes in trigger situations
- Tyra engages in the school PATHS (KidsMatter) program which is delivered in a small group situation twice a week
- Tyra has an identified staff member who is her safe person, who understands her worries and with whom she checks in on a daily basis
- a buddy system has been established for recess and lunch for Tyra to encourage her to participate in organised structured activities (eg netball game, board games). The duty staff have been made aware of strategies to assist Tyra in the playground
- Tyra has had seven episodes this year where she has not been able to regulate her emotions, resulting in these instances where she has not been able to reach a level of calm for over two hours, both physically and verbally.