You notice that your child appears to be crabbier and more irritable. She has removed herself from family and even friends. She is sleeping more than her normal. She may be reporting more headaches or stomachaches. She seems to struggle completing tasks, such as her classwork. You may have noticed a decrease in appetite. She sometimes stutters. These are signs that your child may be experiencing anxiety.
Younger children who are anxious may start having nightmares. They may become clingy or not want you to be out of their sight. You may notice more crying or whining. They may appear to regress a bit and begin to demonstrate new or old behaviors such bed-wetting or thumb-sucking. Bullying or lying may become new problems.
In a study, published by the Journal of Pediatrics – Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN), it was determined that close to 14% of all US children are at an “increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who require health and related services of a type or amount beyond those required by children generally.” (1)
Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran nicely summarized the results of study, “results highlight how prevalent depressive and anxiety symptoms are among children with special needs.” (2)
Finding help is essential for your child when you observe anxiety. What’s a parent to do? Where do you find help?
There are five good resources right at your fingertips! Take advantage of the following resources and they will lead to other useful sources. This is only the beginning of your quest.
Don’t overlook your child’s pediatrician. She is an excellent resource and can refer you to local clinical professionals who are experienced with pediatric anxiety. This is not the pediatrician’s first time working with childhood anxiety and it will not be her last, so make good use of what she can offer.
Friends have friends and their friends have friends. Once you start talking with your friends, you will be surprised at how many other parents have children experiencing anxiety. Most parents are willing to share what they have learned. A referral from another parent allows you to ask a lot of questions about the clinical professional’s methodology for working with childhood anxiety, their pricing, and much more.
Did you know that there are a number of national directories of professionals? Most of these directories allow you to search by geography to locate a clinical professional in your region. Below you will find a few good places to start. To guide you on your quest, you may wish to review How to Choose a Child Therapist by the Society of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder at The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Select a couple of professionals from these directories and reach out to them. Armed with knowledge from the How to Choose a Child Therapist, you will be able to ask many questions to determine if the clinical professional will be a fit for your child and you.
Expert parents are all over the internet and are willing to share their knowledge. Many parents have been “forced” to become specialists on anxiety and are sharing their experiences via blogs, discussion forums and social media. Consider joining one of the many forums or groups available online. Tapping into experienced parents provides the ability to ask questions that are specific to you and have them answered by other parents.
A simple search on Facebook for Child Anxiety will yield you a multitude of private groups.
A visit to Twitter using the hashtag #childanxiety will provide you with a variety of resources.
Parent Bloggers at Special-Ism Addressing Childhood Anxiety
Explore More >> Anxiety Solution Center
There are many adults surrounding your child every day and they may be just the person you need. At school there are teachers, school psychologists, guidance counselors and nurses. After school your child many be involved in sports, camps, youth services at church, clubs, and music lessons, just to name a few. You never know when one of these individuals may have the experience to help your child work through his anxiety.
“One of my jobs during the school year is teaching middle school students how to stop the spiral of anxiety. It has proven to become useful at camp working with both staff and campers.”, states Dr. Jennifer Selke, a part time middle school psychologist and director of a youth summer camp.
These are just five good ways to find resources and information for your child when you are suspecting anxiety and stress. As you start making your way through this list, you will begin to compile many new contacts. Before you know it, you will end up with more than enough resources. The job now is to get started!
(1) Ghandour, Reem M., Michael D. Kogan, Stephen J. Blumberg, and Deborah F. Perry. “Prevalence and Correlates of Internalizing Mental Health Symptoms Among CSHCN.” AAP Gateway. N.p., Feb. 2010. Web. 13 June 2016.
(2) Lopez-Duran, Nestor, Ph.D. “Special Needs Children: Depression and Anxiety Symptoms.” Child Psychology and Parenting. N.p., 03 Feb. 2010. Web. 13 June 2016.