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Going to school isn't always the more anxiety provoking option...

Going to school isn't always the more anxiety provoking option...

Danielle is diagnosed with a clinical anxiety disorder. As a teenager there were days where she simply couldn't get out of bed due to the fear of leaving the house, and days where her need for routine overuled all other feelings.

On the days where she went to school, it wasn't that she wasn't anxious, it was that breaking that routine would have made her even worse. Her better option was to endure the anxiety of school than have to deal with the higher level of anxiety that came with breaking her routine that day.

She would take medication and have several "toilet breaks" in order to prevent a panic attack at school, and that would have been the easier and less traumatising day. Why? Because her teachers knew her needs and were supportive of these breaks. If she had stayed home, she would have had more time to ruminate, more time to think of "what ifs" etc. Her parents couldn't give her the same level of distraction or routine that school did. She would have been in a worse state at the end of the day by staying home.

As a parent, this is such a tough one to work out for a child. What will leave them less anxious at the end of the day? Obviously it will depend on the level of support and understanding at school. Danielle knows her son will almost always benefit from going to school where he is now. However on occasion there have been signs that it's been too much and he has stayed home. It's a daily decision some of us have to make.

It's important to distinguish between anxiety caused by the traits and needs of an Autistic person needing routine in a neurotypical world, and the extreme anxiety (rapid heart rate, sweating, rapid breathing, tears) caused by clinical anxiety symptoms. Sometimes, it can be both.

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