Skip to main content

Do's and don'ts of dealing with phobias

Do

* Let school phobics visit the toilet as often as they want.

* Acknowledge the effort it takes for them to come to school.

* Inform all teachers about the problem and give them appropriate advice.

* Explain the problem to the class in a basic and matter-of-fact way so they become understanding and tolerant.

* Think carefully about what is said to school phobics because they will be hypersensitive to any criticism, real or perceived.

* Lower expectations for school phobics. For example, they may not want to join in with PE or class assemblies.

* Intervene immediately if there is any bullying.

* Try to anticipate the child's needs and smooth over any fears.

* Try to include the child in group activities, as social isolation will compound any problems.

* Educate school phobics in the school's special unit if the problem becomes severe.

Don't

* Send school phobics home if they complain of being ill without first verifying the symptoms. If you do, they may mistake their panic symptoms for genuine illness.

* Punish them because they do not conform to expected behaviour.

* Blame the school phobics or their parents or carers.

* Make a joke at the expense of the child, or say negative things about their behaviour.

* Ignore the child's hand if it is raised for the first time.

* Let pupils choose teams for games. If the child is unpopular, this could make them feel even worse about themselves.

* Force school phobics to take part in sports day or school trips, or make them feel bad for not taking part.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you