Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is defined as the fear, worry and unease experienced by a child in situations when they have to separate from a caregiver. Situations can include having to stay with a new babysitter, going on a playdate, the first day of childcare, preschool, kindergarten, school, camp or even going back to school after a long break, or having to sleep alone.

Behaviour Help is a registered NDIS provider.

Young boy clinging onto his mother anxious about being separated from her

Defining separation anxiety behaviour

Separation anxiety is defined as the fear, worry and unease experienced by a child in situations when they have to separate from a caregiver. Situations can include having to stay with a new babysitter, going on a playdate, the first day of childcare, preschool, kindergarten, school, camp or even going back to school after a long break, or having to sleep alone.

Separation anxiety behaviour as a part of normal development

Anxious feelings are a healthy, normal and expected reaction when children have to separate from a caregiver. As part of normal childhood development separation is seen throughout early childhood, it is more difficult within these age groups: babies (around 8 months), toddlers (14-18 months), pre-schoolers (3 years) and can also reappear in the early school years.

Separation anxiety disorder

For most children the fear, worry and unease fades away after a few days or a couple of weeks and they manage to settle into the environments smoothly. However, for others the separation anxiety that accompanies the transition persists consistently for four weeks or longer.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) [American Psychiatric Publishing (APA), 2013], is a handbook that is used by mental health professionals. It defines separation anxiety disorder as the excessive fear, worry and unease about anticipated or actual separation from a caregiver (APA, 2013).

Impact of separation anxiety behaviour

Separation anxiety affects everyone involved and the child who has separation anxiety requires necessary help to learn positive ways of behaving and managing their emotions.

Positive support resources for separation anxiety behaviour

Positive  Support (PBS) focuses on evidence-based strategies and person-centred supports that address the needs of the individual and the underseparation anxiety questioning causes of behaviours of concern, to enhance the quality of life for both the individual and those that support them.

PBS recognises that there is no single cause for behaviour . It is a complex that is a product of the interaction between multiple factors contributing to its development and persistence.

Behaviour is like the tip of the iceberg so it is essential to look beneath the surface to work out the why before we can address the problem. Behaviour Help resources are at hand.

 

S for Separation Anxiety - Forms cover image

Download this free PDF guide

The forms contained in this pdf booklet are from the S for Separation Anxiety: Positive Behaviour Support guide that can be used as part of the process of developing a PBS plan.

Download S for Separation Anxiety - Forms

Which resources are right for you?

Apps

Based on the Taking CHARGE of Rainbow of Emotions Workbook this app helps children of all ages develop emotional regulation skills. The app guides the child to firstly, identify and express their emotion in appropriate ways. Then the child is guided to use emotional management tool/s from the CHARGE tool kit to manage their emotions in a healthy way.

The acronym CHARGE stands for the different categories of emotional management tools – Chat tools, Helpful thinking tools, Amusement tools, Relaxation tools, Good routine tools and Exercise tools.

Behaviour Help App - Using the evidence-based approach of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), the Behaviour Help web-based app allows people supporting individuals with emotional and behavioural difficulties to complete a Functional Behaviour Analysis and put together a comprehensive Behaviour Support Plan (BSP). The BSP can then be used by everyone interacting with the individual to manage and prevent challenging behaviours and ultimately improve their lives, and the lives of those who support them.

Books

Use the practical tools (checklists, forms, and strategies) in S for Separation Anxiety: Positive Behaviour Support book to develop comprehensive PBS plans that can be used to support children of all ages consistently in all settings.

This invaluable guide is useful for parents, caregivers, educators in childcare, early childhood, primary and secondary schools, disability, mental health, allied health, and supervisory professionals.

Coaching

Personalised and practical one to one help tailored specifically to your family.

Online Courses

Access these online courses anytime online to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotional regulation skills. Also learn to utilise the positive behaviour support framework to address anxiety, aggression, ADHD, ASD and ODD.

SEL Educational Videos

Minimise or eliminate the occurrence of challenging behaviours by teaching children of all ages appropriate ways of communicating, interacting, managing their emotions and behaviours.

The SEL curriculum uses video modelling to provide direct, explicit and systematic teaching of the various skills by discussing the importance of the skill, modelling the skill so the child learns what the skill looks like? sounds like? feels like? and learn the skill in staged situations that simulate real life scenarios.

Therapy

Personalised and practical behaviour therapy tailored specifically to your family.

Webinars

Webinars discuss a range of practical strategies to guide your child learn positive ways of behaving and managing their emotions.

Workshops

Attend our practical and interactive workshops to learn about a range of diagnoses, practical skills and strategies to help develop the individual’s emotions, behaviours, social and communication skills in your learning environment.

Ask Dolly

Since you’re here, you probably have questions and concerns. I am Dolly Bhargava, am here to help. I am a NDIS registered behaviour support practitioner and speech pathologist.

I have worked in a number of settings for over 21 years so, how can I help?

Please tell me what is worrying you right now and I will do my best to recommend resources and/or services that will be most useful to you in your situation.

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