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wild ride to the heart“1 in 8 children are diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder.

Separation Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobia, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are common in younger children, ages 6-9, while Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), and Panic Disorder are more prevalent between 8 and 12 years; all of these disorders may continue through adolescence.” (1)


Wild Ride to the Heart

This fun game was developed to help children learn about and manage their emotions and stress. The Wild Ride to the Heart board game is colorful and reminiscent of CandyLand. The first player to reach the heart wins.

As you move along the board you land on a surprise face, a feeling face, a detour, or a blank space. A surprise face requires you to select a Surprise Face card and follow the instructions. There are a range of things to do from “Give your best smile to the other players.” to “What makes you sad? Tell the other players.” When you land on a feeling face you have three options. You can make the face that matches that emotion, tell a story about when you experienced that emotion, or “go to the heart.” Going to the heart involves practicing a calming method that is outlined on the game board.

The game also comes with an Emotion Definition Card. The card shows twelve faces depicting twelve different emotions. Additionally, twenty emotions or feelings are described, followed by a sentence to further illustrate their meaning. Both the Emotion Card and the directions for the game come in English and Spanish.

The overall goal of Wild Ride to the Heart is to teach children the skills to self-regulate their emotions and to learn stress management techniques while playing a fun, interactive board game. The entire family will benefit from the fun assignments and useful tools. It is reasonably priced at $14.95!

The Institute of HeartMath

The Institute of HeartMath is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 that has become an international leader in stress research, resilience and education. As HeartMath explains it, “One of our primary areas of research explores the connection between emotions and our ability to learn, retain information, and perform in both children and adults.”  HeartMath desires to improve academic performance by developing the well-being of students, teachers, and the classroom environment.


(1) Williams, Kimberly S., Psy.D. “Invisible Anxiety: Hiding in the Classroom.” Specialism., 11 Mar. 2013. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.

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An “Ism” is our coined term synonymous with a “challenge”. Many children, with or without a diagnostic label, experience various challenges throughout their developmental years which are impacting them in the classroom and at home. At Special-Ism, the Ism is our focus. We do not look at the diagnostic label, instead, we look at the Isms and offer solutions no matter the diagnosis.