After trying to pinpoint exactly why my son is being sent to the school nurse almost on a regular this school year, it dawned on me that maybe it has more to do with the teaching style of his current teacher than to do with his anxiety issues. You see, my son is having medication issues. Being diagnosed with mood disorder – NOS and anxiety – NOS, means he’s a mess if his medications are not properly dosed. I have personal experience with both a mood disorder because of my sister and anxiety because of myself. Put both mood disorder and anxiety together, well it’s a fun bowl of daily challenges when parenting and teaching a child.
I noticed that my son has been calling me in the middle of the day lately, which is great that his school nurse allows him to do so as a way to make him feel more at peace while at school. Allowing my anxious boy to call his Mama mid day to make him realize that Mama is only a phone call away and that he is okay at school, means the world to me. With that being said, sending my anxious boy out of the classroom is not necessarily helping him progress in any way. During shower time the other night, while I was helping my son rinse off with the shower head, I had a conversation with him.
I wanted to know what is going on at school, why my son is always being in the nurses office and what he feels about his current teacher. The end result is that I gathered his current teacher is not as experienced as his prior year teachers and so in turn sends a child who has special needs out of the classroom rather than adapting to realize a slight change in methods can really help calm my son down. My son informed me that in the prior two years of school his teachers would allow him to color for a bit, as a way to assist in calming an anxiety attack, but this teacher just sends him to the nurse where he does his school work.
Keep in mind, I know this is a seven year old’s interpretation of things but he’s pretty good at relaying things and I’m pretty good at interpreting the semi-full story with what he says, even if it’s not 100% aligned with what he is telling me.
It has been an awakening to realize that my son has a teacher who is young and not as experienced as his prior years teachers. While my sons teacher may be an amazing person and I think she’s nice, it isn’t a great fit for my son. My son doesn’t need special attention, after all giving him too much special attention would not encourage his normal childhood growth, but on occasion when his anxiety flares up he may need to just color a bit to calm his nerves. Sending my son out of the classroom is becoming some sort of a set back for my son and it’s not helping him grow socially nor emotionally.
I get that while my son isn’t medicated properly, his mental health issues become worse, but as a school teacher one would think you can be slightly adaptable. Not every child is a textbook child, each child learns in a different way, each child has special needs of their own and every child deserves compassion, love and encouragement. Sending my child to the nurses office is only showing him that the teacher washes her hands of him, over anxiety? Are you joking?
It upsets me to watch my son be dealt with in this way and I am prepared to communicate with those who have worked with my son in prior years to allow him to blossom in a school setting. Hopefully communication and a meeting of some sort will assist in getting my son in the right direction so that I no longer have to hear of kids telling me my son cries all of the time, or my son does this all of the time or that. My son is dealing with peer issues now because he is being singled out, not intentionally I presume, and that is the biggest concern that his counselor and I had when we began a mood disorder treatment; we didn’t want his mood disorder and anxiety to hinder him from developing bonds with classmates or being labeled as a troubled youth by the school.
Having a mental health disorder does not make someone bad. Anxiety is not that difficult to understand, it’s simply an irrational fear. I would assume that a teacher, above all, would have more compassion for anxiety because many kids get that without having a major disorder because school is a whole different environment than their home.