Panic attacks in school - teacher wants action plan.

(11 Posts)
Onesieone Mon 03-Mar-14 20:33:23

My daughter has had 2 panic attacks in school one on Thursday and one today. Classic ones were she feels she can't breath. We have had a long talk and she said nothing is worrying her and there are no issues in school in fact she is doing really well.
Her teacher called me in today to tell me she wants us to come up with an action plan to move forward. I have no idea how to deal with this really. She has no signs of stress or anything. She is totally normal at home nothing has changed.

Does anyone have any experience of this ? All advice welcome.

LeapingOverTheWall Mon 03-Mar-14 20:59:02

is this a plan to deal with them while they're happening, or a plan to work out what's triggering them and to deal with that?

If the second, you probably need some specialist input and the teacher shouldn't be dumping it back to you - they can refer to counsellors/CaMHS, which can sometimes get you there quicker than via the GP. I was a very anxious child whose parents still have no idea how hard I found life, and I'm still now finding out from my DDs stuff that majorly stressed them out when they were younger - just because it's not obvious, doesn't mean there's not stuff going on under the surface. But, I really don't mean to worry you that there's anything "wrong" - one of DD2s panics at age 8 was that her friend commented that she wee'd noisily, and DD was convinced that there was some "grown up " trick of weeing silently that she'd not worked out, so was failing at growing up. She's nearly 16 and told me this last week - apparently at the time if she'd asked me about it, I'd've thought she was stupid confused. Don't underestimate the convoluted thinking that goes on at this age.

If it's how to deal with them while they're happening - when you say panic attacks, do you mean hyperventilating? DD2 does this (she has various medical conditions, and her hyperventilating is a combination of reactions to those) - what we've told her school (and her) is that she needs to accept when someone is telling her she's hyperventilating (you can't always tell yourself), and consciously focus on breathing out. DD counts 1 2 3 and a long FOUR for an out breath, and it sometime helps if someone counts out loud to her, slowing down each time.

We've also found getting her to focus on the person talking to her (rather than stressing that her hands hurt and she can't move her lips), and hold her breath for as long as possible breaks the over breathing pattern, also making her laugh.

Sorry for the length of this, discard anything which doesn't seem helpful smile. Counselling (if you can get it) is unlikely to do any harm at worst, and can be life changing at best. DD was really dismissive of the whole idea, then was freaked out by how much her woman understood what she wasn't saying wink, but did appreciate the space to let out all the stuff she "wasn't allowed" to feel or think, or that was "stupid".

Onesieone Mon 03-Mar-14 21:14:03

Thanks very much for the reply. It was very helpful and made a lot of sense. She is definately a worrier. I don't really know why. Teacher wants us to devise a plan to cope with why it's happening. I'm looking into private counseling as there is huge demand for it in this area.

tethersend Mon 03-Mar-14 21:17:44

It's not your job to devise a plan- it's theirs.

Turn the question back to them- what action plan are they going to devise to ensure the impact on your DD's education is minimised?

Onesieone Mon 03-Mar-14 21:48:03

The thing is. She doesn't have them any where only school. I didn't like the questioning about home. Her teacher is doing a head teachers course and there are different supply teachers every time. It could be the uncertainty of it all. The teacher was nice and all but I really don't understand it all.

tethersend Mon 03-Mar-14 22:27:37

How old is she?

tethersend Mon 03-Mar-14 22:29:35

Question them about school, and ask what they think is causing the anxiety.

Is the SENCo involved at all?

Onesieone Tue 04-Mar-14 03:12:37

She is 11. Yes the Senco is being involved at my request. I have asked that she request counsel services

I did ask about school. And other than the teachers course and the consequent uncertainty. There doesn't seem to be anything else.

BackforGood Wed 05-Mar-14 17:58:54

It is no more their job to devise it than it is her Mum's. Surely this is about working together, as with any sort of care plan.

mymiraclebubba Wed 05-Mar-14 20:42:24

Firstly as the other lady has said the teacher has no right to push the onus onto you, especially if they are only happen at school. Clearly something in the school environment is obviously causing her enough distress to cause this issue.

But i would be more concerned with whether these incidents really are panic attacks, have they called a doctor or ambulance? has the school nurse been involved? Hyperventilation could be a sign of something else, asthma, allergies to a perfume etc so i would certainly consult your GP

As tehersend says turn it back to the school though. As well as asking about what they think the cause of the anxiety is ask them if they have noticed any similarities in the situations when the two attacks occured - same kids sat near her, same teacher in the classroom, same lesson etc. Don't let them fob you off which is exactly what is sounds like this teacher is doing!

PigletJohn Wed 05-Mar-14 21:12:22

how can a parent draw up an action plan to control the circumstances of what happens at school?

If it was me, I think my action plan would say things like

1) Observe what is happening in the school before and during the panics

2) Separate child from the source of stress

3) Develop coping strategies, also reduce or avoid the sources of stress

and then ask, do they think it would be best if I took on the responsibility of going into the school each day to do those things?

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