NEED TO KNOW
?Emotional challenges are very common.
They can be serious; impeding academic, social and emotional growth.
There are strategies that can help reduce the problems.
In certain serious cases, there is funding available to support a child with emotional or behavioural challenges.
?Working with Emotional Challenges
1) What are emotional challenges?
There are many different mental/emotional challenges that can accompany a child through their education. A few of the more common problems are listed separately. If you have a concern about the mental or emotional health of your child, it is important to see a professional (links are listed at the end of this document).
Perfectionism?- Perfectionism is “when your standards are so high, you are bound to fail? (Anthony, 2009). It manifests itself in refusal to finish assignments, school avoidance, anxiety (especially OCD and Panic Disorder) and lower than expected grades. Perfectionism can be very serious and can cause great frustration for the student and for everyone working with that student. Perfectionism is particularly problematic for students who treat academic failures as reflecting a pervasive failure in themselves (e.g. ?I?m no good at school?).
Anxiety?- There are many ways anxiety can manifest itself, for example: i) Panic Disorder ii) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder iii) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder iv) Generalized Anxiety Disorder v) Phobias. We most commonly see Panic Disorders or Generalized Anxiety Disorder in our students. Panic Disorders are specific moments of terror, stress and physiological change such as sweating, shaking, or rapid heart rate. They can be very mild and sometimes only manifest during certain situations (such as test taking). They can also be specific to certain subjects (such as math). In rare cases they can be broad enough to encompass all aspects of schooling. It is important to remember that panic disorders (panic attacks) are physiological and require a physiological response (breathing techniques, closing eyes etc). Generalized Anxiety Disorder is less common. It is characterized by frequent or constant worry about everyday problems or situations. This is a serious condition and will likely have been diagnosed by a medical professional. It manifests in both mental (depression, irrationality), emotional (fear, anger), and physical ways (sweating, nervous shaking, gastro-intestinal pain).
Depression?- Depression is a serious condition when it is persistent and interferes with the child?s daily life or ability to function. People with anxiety, learning disabilities and experiencing loss are at greater risk of suffering from depression. There are a number of symptoms that are specific to children or adolescents experiencing depression. these may be emotional (crying, hopelessness, guilt), physical (tiredness, low appetite, headaches/stomachaches), or academic (concentration, grades, absenteeism).
2) How can these emotional challenges affect learning?
All emotional challenges can create significant impediments to learning. Even a brief, temporary panic attack can derail a provincial exam, and needlessly cost a student greatly, both in terms of marks, and self-concept. Pervasive conditions, like some depressions will have a much greater impact. These impediments manifest as a loss of focus or motivation, as a drop in self-confidence, and/or a drop in performance. Clearly emotional challenges are a serious concern for academic performance and overall well-being.
3) How can Brainboost help manage these emotional challenges?
While we are experts in education, not mental or emotional health, we do have a lot of experience in managing these challenges in a way that enables learning. We would always recommend having professional help to deal with more serious challenges. Complementing this professional help, we provide a learning environment that can mitigate the problems. Our experienced specialty lies in dealing with perfectionism and anxiety, as these conditions affect the majority of students at one time or another.
We provide a space that is flexible enough to appeal to the different needs of students. For example, a student can find a quiet corner to chill out and read, or they can take a break in the kitchen and have an interesting and distracting conversation with a tutor; they can work in the study space and get just the right amount of support, or they can work one-on-one in a tutoring room and keep distractions at a minimum.
BrainBoost?s coaches also provide support. The job of the coach is to keep track of each student and provide them with whatever support they need. This may include helping them with their emotional health. The coach also keeps communication flowing between student, parent and teacher/tutor to ensure that the appropriate supports and strategies are in place.
Contact us if you have any concerns about your child's emotional or mental health.
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?Resources coming soon!