Positive behaviour support strategies for children and adolescents with Anxiety

Practical strategies to help your child with anxiety achieve better communication, social, emotional, behavioural and learning outcomes.

Behaviour Help is a registered NDIS provider.

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Child in school holding her head in her hands because she is suffering from anxiety


5 hours of professional development


Anxiety course book and Behaviour Help App

Price: $165

Register on Teachable via credit card or email Dolly for invoice

All of us experience some degree of anxiety (i.e. fear and worry) from time to time. When faced with a stressful situation (e.g. first day of school, giving a job interview or preparing for an exam) it is expected, normal and useful that we experience a little bit of anxiety. Anxiety increases our alertness, energy and focus which improves our performance. Anxiety experienced within the normal range is short lived and we return to a calm state when the stressful situation is over.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) [American Psychiatric Publishing (APA), 2013], is a handbook that is used by professionals around the world to diagnose mental disorders. The DSM–5 explains that anxiety becomes disordered when the fear and the worry is out of proportion to the situation at hand. The overestimation of the danger in the situation and the fear of being embarrassed, humiliated or failing is so great that anxiety symptoms become more intense, persistent and chronic. Also, the anxiety is beyond that which would be expected for the individual’s developmental level and interferes with social, academic, occupation or other areas of functioning (APA, 2013).

Below are some of the common types of Anxiety Disorders with a brief definition of each. The definitions are adapted from the (DSM-5)(APA, 2013):

  • Separation anxiety disorder – Excessive fear and worry about anticipated or actual separation from caregiver/s.
  • Selective mutism – Excessive fear or anxiety resulting in an inability to speak in some social situations, despite being able to speak in other situations.
  • Specific phobia – Excessive, irrational fear or anxiety about or avoidance of facing a specific object, or situation.
  • Social anxiety disorder – Excessive fear or anxiety about or avoidance of social or performance situations that involve the possibility of negative judgements and evaluation by others which may result in embarrassment, humiliation, rejection or causing offence to others.
  • Panic disorder – Characterised by sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear and panic attacks.
  • Generalised anxiety disorder – Excessive and persistent worry about different aspects of life.

Causes of Anxiety

There is no single cause, rather a number of risk factors that contribute to its development. Some of the factors include:

  • Genetics (i.e. differences in one’s genetic code and/or inherited genes) that make the individual vulnerable to developing Anxiety disorder.
  • Brain chemistry (i.e. imbalance in chemicals in the brain that regulate feelings and physical reactions).
  • Personality factors (e.g. being a perfectionist, having low self-esteem, becoming easily flustered or wanting to control everything).
  • Medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, thyroid problems, heart disease and respiratory disorders).
  • Stressful events such as loss (e.g. death of a loved one or a pet, parents’ divorce), major life change (e.g. change of school, moving to a different school, moving to a new country) and leading a high stress lifestyle (e.g. individual is doing too many extracurricular activities).
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Associated Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

The individual may exhibit some, or all of following:

  • Show excessive fear, concern or worry about particular tasks/situations/places.
  • Avoid particular subjects/activities/places.
  • Appear extremely self-conscious or uncomfortable in social situations.
  • Refuse to join in particular subjects/activities/places.
  • Socially isolate self, withdraw or appear very shy in social situations.
  • Often ask to go to sick bay due to physical complaints (e.g. headaches, stomach aches).
  • Trouble with concentrating, appear distracted or forgetful.
  • Require lots of reassurance.
  • Get easily frustrated and is reluctant to ask for help.
  • Be a perfectionist or procrastinate and take longer to complete a task.
  • Decline in performance.
  • Engage in unhealthy, risky or self-destructive behaviour (e.g. drug or alcohol abuse).
  • Be very sensitive to perceived or real criticism and corrective feedback.

Positive Behaviour Support Strategies for Children and Adolescents with Anxious Behaviours is an online, self-paced course that will equip you with a toolkit of practical strategies to help address child anxiety by helping them achieve better communication, social, emotional, behavioural and learning outcomes. You’ll also learn a range of behaviour management strategies to effectively respond to challenging behaviour and develop a prevention plan with the Behaviour Help app.

At the end of this course, you will have:

  • A toolkit of practical strategies to assess, manage and prevent challenging behaviours in children with anxiety
  • Actionable tools for developing a behaviour support plan that you can apply immediately with your child in your setting
  • Lifetime access to the Behaviour Help app, allowing you to develop a behaviour support plan for any child with anxiety that you support
  • Lifetime access to free Behaviour Help resources
  • A certificate of participation for 5 hours of professional development

This course is accredited by the Teacher Quality Institute of ACT and NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

What you'll learn

This online, self-paced course is divided into three modules:

Module 1 - Introduction to Anxiety

  • Defining Anxiety
  • Symptoms of Problematic Anxiety
  • Types of Anxiety
  • Impact of Problematic Anxiety
  • Causes of Anxious Behaviours
  • Prevalence of Anxiety

Module 2 - Positive Behaviour Support

  • Learn about data collection (frequency, duration and intensity)
  • Complete a functional behaviour assessment
  • Identify triggers and functions of challenging behaviours
  • Learn and identify appropriate behaviour management strategies
  • Learn and identify safe and appropriate de-escalation strategies
  • Develop a customised behaviour support plan
  • Learn and identify appropriate minimisation and prevention strategies
  • Learn and identify appropriate strategies and tools for helping a student develop positive communication, behavioural and social skills

Module 3 - Positive Behaviour Support & Anxiety

  • Helping students with separation anxiety
  • Helping students with school refusal behaviour
  • Helping students with excessive reassurance seeking and repetitive questioning
  • Helping students with test anxiety
  • Helping students overcome fear of making mistakes and failure
  • Other behaviours of concern

How to enrol and receive your resources

Teachable – Click on START THIS COURSE to begin the course through Teachable, where you’ll be required to pay the course fee of $165 via credit card. If you would prefer an invoice or have multiple participants please email dolly@behaviourhelp.com

Once enrolled, you will receive a Welcome email with the following information:

  • Login Details for the Behaviour Help App

Confirm the email address you would like the Amazon voucher to be sent to so you can download a free copy of the coursebook Positive Behaviour Support Strategies for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A step by step guide to assessing, preventing and managing emotional and behavioural difficulties on Amazon Kindle.

Course tasks to complete and send via email to dolly@behaviourhelp.com

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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