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.

Specialist Behaviour Support Services and Speech Pathology.

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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

Price: $165

Register on Teachable via credit card or email Dolly for invoice

At some point, everyone will experience a degree of anxiety (i.e. fear/worry). This may be situational e.g. first day of school, going for a job interview or preparing for an exam. Anxiety is a normal emotion which can be useful within certain contexts as it increases our alertness, energy and focus, improving our overall performance. 

When anxiety is experienced within this normal range and is brief in nature, we can quickly return to a state of calm when the stressful situation has ceased. 

Anxiety is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5) as a disorder which occurs when fear and worry is out of proportion to the current situation. Anxiety disorder occurs when danger is overestimated to the extent that fear of being embarrassed, humiliated or failing is so great that the symptoms of anxiety become intense, persistent or chronic (American Psychiatric Publishing (APA), 2013). In order to reach a clinical diagnosis of anxiety disorder, the level of anxiety experienced by the individual must exceed what is expected for the individual’s developmental level and have a significant impact on their social, occupational/academic or everyday functioning (APA, 2013).

There are multiple forms of anxiety disorder as defined by the DSM-V (APA, 2013), these include, but are not exclusive to:

  1. Separation anxiety disorder 
    • Fear and worry about the potential for or actual separation from caregivers becomes excessive.
  2. Selective mutism
    • Fear or anxiety become so pronounced in certain social situations that the ability to speak is affected. This does not affect the ability to speak in other settings.
  3. Specific phobia
    • Pronounced, irrational fear and worry about a specific object or situation; often results in avoidance of this object or situation.
  4. Social anxiety disorder
    • Fear and worry which centres around social situations, which have the potential to result in negative perceptions from others. Anxiety in this setting may be due to the possibility of embarrassment, humiliation, rejection or causing offence to others.
  5. Panic disorder
    • Panic disorder occurs when panic attacks are sudden, frequent and intense.
  6. Generalised anxiety disorder 
    • When anxiety is both excessive and persistent across different environments or situations, this can be termed generalised anxiety disorder.


Causes of Anxiety

Although there is no one cause of anxiety, a number of known risk factors can contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Genetics – genetic code and/or inherited genes,
  • Brain chemistry – chemical imbalance in the areas of the brain which regulate emotion and physical response to emotion,
  • Personality factors – perfectionism, low self-esteem, need to control,
  • Medical conditions – diabetes, thyroid disorder, heart disease and respiratory disorders,
  • Stressful events - loss, major life change and high stress lifestyle,
  • Drug and alcohol use/abuse,
  • Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties,

Those affected by anxiety disorder may present with some or all of the following:

  • Excessive fear/concern/worry about specific tasks/situations/places
  • Avoidance of places/activities or subjects which cause fear/concern/worry
  • Appears uncomfortable and excessively self-aware in social situations
  • Refuses to participate in specific activities/subject areas, go to particular places 
  • Appears exceptionally shy, isolated or withdrawn in social situations
  • Frequent attendance at school nurse/sick bay with physical conditions, specifically headache or stomach ache
  • Difficulties with concentration, distractibility or forgetfulness
  • Frequent reassurance is required over and above that which peers require
  • Reluctance to ask for help
  • Quick to become frustrated
  • Traits of perfectionism
  • Take excessive time to complete tasks over and above the time it takes peers 
  • Procrastination 
  • Academic performance declines
  • Risky behaviour, unhealthy behaviour or self-destructive behaviour
  • Extreme sensitivity to perceived or actual criticism and feedback

Positive Behaviour Support Strategies for Children and Adolescents with Anxious Behaviours is a comprehensive online course which will provide you with a toolkit of practical,evidence-based strategies to support the individual.  You will learn  a range of behaviour management strategies to respond effectively and also to develop a behaviour support plan to support the individual develop positive ways of managing their emotions and behaving. 

Course outcomes

  • A toolkit of practical strategies to assess, manage and prevent challenging behaviours in children with anxiety
  • Guidance to develop a behaviour support plan
  • Free copy of the kindle ebook 'Positive Behaviour Support for Students with Anxiety'
  • A certificate of participation of 5 hours CPD
  • Completion of an accredited Teacher Quality Institute of ACT

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 [email protected]

Once enrolled, you will receive a Welcome email with the course information.

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 Anxiety: 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 [email protected]

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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