• Anxiety in the Primary Classroom: A Handbook for Elementary Educators

      Ismailos, Linda (2013-09-04)
      This project presents a literature review of pediatric anxiety including the prevalence, etiology, and treatment of anxiety disorders in children, presented along with evidence indicating the short- and long-term effects of anxiety in young children, and the important role of the school in first response regarding the early identification and intervention for these children. A needs assessment was conducted using primary elementary school teachers to identify their level of confidence in their ability to identify and support children suffering with anxiety disorders in their classrooms. Results of the assessment indicated a strong need for a resource that provides both information and support for teachers in their interactions with children with anxiety disorders. The assessment results were used to guide the development of a handbook for elementary educators providing current empirical research detailing information about various forms of anxiety disorders commonly affecting young children in primary grades, as well as a list of available resources, and a series of six sequential lesson plans to be implemented for the entire class. Lesson plans are designed to facilitate increased levels of understanding toward the issues confronted by children suffering from anxiety, and fostering strong peer relations and character-building opportunities. Participants were provided with the handbook for evaluation, which indicated a strong support for the effectiveness and usefulness of the resource.
    • Anxiety-Related Disorders in Primary-Junior Grades (K-3): Teacher Perceptions and Knowledge

      Lancia, Gabriella (2013-09-25)
      This study used a descriptive case study design to analyze teachers’ experiences of anxiety-related conditions and emotions in the primary-junior grades (K-3). The study sought to examine (a) educators’ perceptions of anxiety conditions and how such interpretations influence their teaching practice; (b) teachers’ knowledge of the diagnostic processes, symptomology, and emotions related to anxiety disorders; (c) primary teachers’ knowledge of and experience with emotional regulation strategies and therapeutic approaches for anxiety; and (d) additional strategies and knowledge that should be available to help students. The study adopted Bronfenbrenner’s (1986) Ecological Model to frame participants’ experiences and perspectives, as well as the impact of several factors (e.g., school, home) and individuals (e.g. teachers, parents, students) on students’ anxiety and the participants’ perspectives. Through in-person interviews, participants shared their experiences with and knowledge about students in their teaching practice who had experienced anxiety-related conditions and emotions. Four major themes emerged from the data: symptoms and situational contexts; knowledge of strategies and interventions; understanding and perspectives of students; anxious emotional responses; and challenges. The study contributes to the literature by providing the real-life perspectives and experiences of primary-junior teachers (K-3) related to students experiencing anxiety. The study provides further information for educators, administrators, and research regarding any additional support and knowledge that should be implemented to further assist educators and students in regards to anxiety.
    • A Handbook for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Best Practices for Educators and Community Partners

      McCorriston, Stephanie
      Students with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) present a unique and intensifying challenge and learning opportunity for practitioners in educational settings. Many educators and community partners feel ill-equipped to handle the increasing demand to support these students’ unique mental health needs. Therefore, the purpose of this project was threefold: a) to augment practitioner knowledge regarding generalized anxiety; b) to enhance practitioner ability and confidence to identify anxiety symptomatology; and c) to develop a practical resource that provides evidence-based strategies and lesson plans for practitioners to support school-age children with generalized anxiety. Five practitioners with experience working in educational settings voluntarily participated in a need assessment. Based on practitioner identified gaps and a literature review, A Handbook for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Best Practices for Educators and Community Partners was created. The theoretical framework examined for this project was based on social-cognitive theory, specifically Bandura's (1986) theory of triadic reciprocity and reciprocal determinism. This theory places emphasis on the complex interplay of personal, environmental and behavioural factors which contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. Once the handbook was complete, an Evaluative Questionnaire was circulated among the same practitioners to determine its efficacy, relevance and practicality. Implications for future research were considered and the limitations of this study were examined.