New anxiety issue at school, advice needed.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wethreepeeps, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    difficult child is now in the third grade, and they are starting to teach some basic biology, like what your bones do, your lungs, basically the high points of what each major system does in your body. The problem is that this is causing difficult child major, major anxiety. The diagram of the muscles in his textbook? He won't even look at it. He cries and says it scares him and makes him think of bad things happening in his body. Same with the skeleton diagram. Focusing on the human body is making him anxious about his own body, and now he worries about his bones breaking or hitting his head "so his brain stops telling his lungs to breathe". He'll be ten in three weeks. Any advice on how to help him get through this without failing science? Or how to approach the teacher about the issue?
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Lots of sympathy. Maybe working with a counsellor to see that many of the things he fears are not going to happen? Sorry this is such a problem. I hope the teacher understands.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I agree that working with a counselor or therapist could help. Sounds like it's pretty severe, though.

    My difficult child 1 had phobias, and it wasn't until we put him on an SSRI for anxiety that he was able to overcome those fears.

    Good luck!
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Gosh... that's a hard place to be in. I agree with working with a counselor on this, but I also think that if it's causing him that much distress, he needs to have an out of some kind. Hurts my heart to think that he's stressing so much over this.

    I'd talk to science teacher and explain his severe anxiety over this subject. I'd just tell her very frankly what the problem is and see if she has any ideas on how to help him through it. You might also want to call for an IEP meeting? I mean, if a topic of study is causing him so much fear, I would think it's a reasonable accommodation to do an alternate subject. It's counterproductive to terrorize a kid, and it sounds like your son is having more than just queasiness over the topic.

    I'm so sorry you're dealing with this and especially sorry he's so shaken.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I agree to talk to the teachers to see if there is a alternative to this. Biology isn't important enough to increase anxiety to this amount. This must be effecting his entire day with the stress it is causing.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think addressing the anxiety issue as a whole is a good idea, but I wonder if a visit to his regular doctor to hear a talk about "how cool the body systems are" might make a difference. Does he have a doctor (pediatrician) that he has seen for a while and is comfortable with? Could you call him and ask for a consultation- give him a heads-up? My thought is while agree that school personnel is a good idea, some kids (like mine) cringed at the thought of people at school "having talks" with him of any kind- until last year.
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member


    ah i'm sorry it's rough when their doing a lesson plan that creates such havoc in our little ones and such anxiety in them. i go through the same exact thing all the time. i think the suggestion that you take to the dr. and ask the dr to show and explain some stuff may help also.

    i did that one time and once she saw how it all worked she thought it was pretty cool. she still worries about the veins in her neck though, we go through that at least once every other day.

    good luck!!!

  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I agree with Sue about having your son excused, possibly through an IEP plan. When my older daughter was around that age, she was having high anxiety that resulted in somatic complaints (headaches and stomachaches). In science class, the students were required to dissect some creature (can't remember what), and the very thought made my daughter extremely nauseated. I asked for a doctor's note to excuse her from this activity. She was given alternative work instead of the dissection.

    With maturity plus therapy and medications, my daughter's anxiety has diminished to the point where I think she could handle dissection today. Had we terrorized her with it when she was at a point where she couldn't handle it, I suspect we would have ruined this part of science for her indefinitely. I have no qualms about the decision we made then.

    I hope you are able to find a suitable solution for your difficult child. Good luck.
  9. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    when my difficult child 2/easy child was in elementary school she couldn't even hear the word "blood" without freaking out. She was allowed to go into the hallway when bodily functions were being discussed and it was upsetting her. I would definitely talk with the teacher and try to come up with an arrangement for him where he can have an "out" if these things are too upsetting for him. Is he in therapy as well?
  10. Calista

    Calista New Member

    Why can't he learn the systems of the body without having to look at the pictures? There are other ways to get the visuals across using household items. Also, I don't know about your religious background but, God created our bodies and systems to protect and support us. The brain is very durable as well as the skull around it. God did not create our bodies to be easily broken. He created us in his image after all, inside and out. I believe it is possible for your difficult child learn these systems in another way rather than avoiding it all together.
  11. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    Thank you for all the replies. We actually have an IEP meeting already scheduled for Sept. 23rd, and I definitely plan to bring this up. difficult child has a lot of anxiety, but before this it was mostly an obsessive worry about having a car accident (we've never had one, by the way). We've tried medications for anxiety before, but they disinhibit him and he goes wild. But you all have given me some good ideas, maybe some less realistic diagrams wouldn't upset him so much, I'm sure I can find replacements online.
  12. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    You might also consider increasing his Seroquel, which is great for anxiety. There are reports that Seroquel at 300 mg actually increases anxiety, but at lower and higher doses treats anxiety. Perhaps suggest that your psychiatrist research it.