Anxiety and Depression

In our modern world, children, adolescents, and young adults are faced with many new and evolving stressors.  These ever-changing factors make navigating daily life difficult for your average, neurotypical, student.  Students with learning differences and/or ASD Level 1 are particularly affected, bringing about sometimes severe cases of anxiety and depression. 

We often refer to the “unknowns” of daily life as the most difficult factors for our students who suffer with anxiety and depression.  Not knowing what is coming and when, or how to prepare for it, is a compounding and complex problem for students who already have a difficult time with organization and scheduling.  Many of our students are coming from academic or social environments where they are left to predict and worry about what is to come.

It is normal for someone to feel anxious or depressed when facing these types of challenging situations. Many kids lack the skills needed to manage stress and balance emotions. Building emotional skills can give you the ability to cope and bounce back from adversity, trauma, and loss. In other words, learning how to recognize and express your emotions can make you more resilient.

While some teen who struggle with depression will show signs of it outwardly, others do not. In fact, irritability—rather than depression—is frequently the predominant symptom in depressed adolescents and teens. A depressed child may be hostile, grumpy, or easily lose his or her temper.

Great Lakes Academy is the right school for Anxiety and Depression that many children face.

Great Lakes’ teachers understand that whether a child’s anxiety is generalized or defined by specific factors such as social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, or obsessive-compulsive behaviors, teaching them to recognize how stress affects them and what they can do to quickly reduce or manage it marks the beginning of bringing their life into balance. Teachers at GLA know their students well and can recognize early warning signs in time to intervene and help students manage their emotions.

While students who are struggling with anxiety and/or depression should always be under the care of a counselor, therapist, and/or doctor, Great Lakes Academy can be the other part of the puzzle, providing support and stability so that students can feel safe and on solid ground.  Building a predictable and calm environment, where the adults and advisors who surround a student can be trusted to guide and support, and put into place schedules and plans that will lay groundwork for that stability, is the basis for a student to begin to feel more in control.

Here are some ways that Great Lakes Academy can help provide that stability for students with Anxiety and Depression:

– Encouraging students to share their emotions and express empathy for one another
– Building relationships with students
– Teaching students to take breaks when they feel they are becoming frustrated and providing a quiet place for students to take those breaks
– Using positive reinforcement
– Teaching and reinforcing daily social skills lessons
– Providing a predictable and safe environment
– Protecting all children from bullying and teasing
– Encouraging active socialization and limiting time spent in isolation
– Providing a challenging curriculum that can be tailored to include students’ interests
– Practicing with children how to cope when stress overwhelms him or her, to prevent outbursts
– Developing communication strategies for when students need to let adults know when they need help
– Providing a trusted individual staff member who the student can meet with when they need to talk, plan, or strategize
– Modeling relaxation strategies and diversions to reduce anxiety
– Establishing an open line of communication between administration and a child’s counselors in order to better serve that child