12 March, 2009

Panic / Anxiety Disorder!

It is FCAT week in Florida! For every child who takes the test, it is NOT a fun time! FCAT can mean the difference in passing or failing a grade! Each child deals with it in their own way. If your child was like mine, it would be compounded fear! The FCAT is timed and that doesn't sit well! We were told my boy had panic/ anxiety disorder about a year ago. He is currently 10 years old and in 4th grade! A great teacher saw his struggles and had him evaluated by a professional through the school district. He was an excellent help!

The symptoms they were seeing at school often carried over into home life.

-- He couldn't make a choice without it being a major affair.

-- simple tasks took him twice as long to complete, because he had to think it all to death.

-- he got upset extremely easily and broke down even easier

-- Every project was done very meticulously.

-- his homework or school work papers had to have the perfect handwriting.

-- he would write and erase, write and erase, not because of a wrong answer, but because it wasn't a perfect letter.

-- he will spend hours doing his homework.
-- does NOT do well with change.

After much testing, it came back to no learning issue. He was basically brilliant. He was 100% correct 100% of the time, it just took him two times as long to get it out on paper! He struggles with anxiety. I was relieved to hear he didn't suffer from a learning disability, but in the same breath-- this is hard to deal with and know how to handle. How did this come about? Where did it come from? My hubby and I have always told him that your best is good enough. There was really never any need to bring attention to bad grades, because he never had them.

Okay, so how do we deal?

-- we teach him how to deep breath! This was especially helpful when he had a panic attack!

-- we teach him "self talk", to talk himself out of the situation

-- we teach him and teach him again that he is good enough no matter what

--we validate his concerns, worries, and fears BUT teach him the facts of a situation. He has to know all the facts. When he doesn't , he is anxious.

-- We keep our home life as stress free as possible. Weekends, we try and let loose!

-- one thing they didn't tell us to do because it was a secular dr. was to teach him and remind him that HE isn't in control. The Lord is in control. That is hard for an anxious person.

-- we teach him "what is the worst that will happen?"

-- we teach him to call on Jesus when he is anxious.

Since last year, he has made amazing strides in over coming this. I am so proud of him. I can see an improvement in his work and his issues at home! I see him settling himself down, and breathing deeply! I see him seeing the other side of the coin and being okay with it! He is no longer writing and erasing, writing and erasing! It does still take him a LONG time to complete homework! ( which BTW I don't think kids should have, but that will be another post!) I believe this is something he will outgrow with the proper care! It may always take him longer to complete things, but you know it will be correct, meticulously accurate, and a work of art!! I would definitely want him for my brain surgeon!

As far as the FCAT goes, the school district has given him a 504 which allows him to NOT be timed to do the FCAT. He can take comfort in knowing he isn't against the clock. Because this is a pass/fail issue, they don't want him to fail just because he didn't finish the test. He is too smart for that. The FCAT is the only accommodations that the school gives him. We won't let him go through school knowing that he can take his time to complete everything. He needs to rise above. Life is timed , unfortunately, deadlines exist! He needs to learn them and not be anxious about them!

The report from yesterday's FCAT is that he finished the test under the allotted time! They time him without him knowing to track his progress from year to year ! That shows me his anxiety is being controlled and he believing in himself that he can do his best.

WHOO HOO!!! We are so proud of you son!! Keep up the good work!!

If you or your child have this issue or think you may, this website is a great resource!


  1. The Real Me! said...
    Ugh! I remember the FCAT! I guess one advantage to homeschooling is not having to do that any more LOL.
    I'm sure everything will be just fine! They never take into consideration that some kids just don't test well. What do you do?
    Big hugs.
    Lori said...
    that is a hard thing to compensate, but at least you found it and are dealing with it. I'm sure identifying the issue for him and letting him know that although there is no quick fix, there are ways to deal and cope!
    Robyn said...
    Praise God that your son is learning to be in control and not panic so much. I have faith that he will soar! and it sounds like he is already!
    Wendy said...
    So glad you posted that site, i bookmarked it. My 11 yr old is a very smart, articulate, and friendly little girl but the minute she hears "test" and it can be a test of any kind, she freaks. She shuts down and usually cries. We even held her back in kindergarten again because she had a incomplete grade (because she would never take tests) thanks for the share, it was really encouraging
    Anonymous said...
    Oh Kelly - How I can relate! Natalie is like this too - over-achiever and must be in control! For any tests, esp. the FCAT/CRCT (they take in GA) we are always telling her to just take her time and do her best. Do not stress, pray and it will all be fine...

    For the writing aspect (on homework especially), will they allow him to use the computer and type it up? It helps Nat out (although she is a little better about the need to be "perfect")?

    Funny story - when she was a toddler, for the life of her she could NOT jump. She would stand there, knees bent, determined look on her face, swing her arms to get momentum then... take a big step forward, but no jump :) That's my girl, always over-thinking everything!

    Miss you guys!
    Alicia said...
    Kelly..I would just keep praying scripture with him. My husband was feeling anxiety a few months ago and realized it was spiritual warfare. With other verses, this is the one he was meditating on.

    Philippians 4:6-7-Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
    pam said...
    What great news! You must be so proud of your sweet son.
    He And Me + 3 said...
    So glad to hear that he is making such great progress...Love that you tell him to call on Jesus. THat is awesome. I agree, give him a scripture that calms too one that can be his verse when he feels axious.
    I deal with anxiety sometimes too.
    Kelly said...
    Thanks for all your encouragement guys!! He is a great kid!
    Debra said...
    My sweet friend,

    My sister is having the biggest struggle with my nephew. He is having learning disability issues and yet when he was tested he was tested at 'brilliant'...so she is so confused.

    We are praying for him and it looks like he took the tests ok...we don't know the results yet but certainly know who is in charge!

    You sound like you are doing a great job with your son.!!

    Big big hugs to you!
    Brandi said...
    Oh that is SUCH great news! What a joy to see how God has specifically directed you in parenting this precious son of yours. I'm so happy for him!!!!

    McCrakensx4 said...
    Yay! I, too, was diagnosed with this when I was in elementary school and it was so hard for me to take tests. I hope that it gets easier with age and good job on his tests! We have the AZ AIMS tests coming up in a few weeks and my older one is starting to show the symptoms and we, too, remind him to give it to Jesus.

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