Teacher-parent collaboration

The feeling of self-consciousness and the fear of being humiliated might lead to subjective suffering and life restrictions (Lima Osorio, 2013). As Social Anxiety in children might lead to their social withdrawal, self-confidence is a key concept for children with SAD, increasing self-determination in young children with disabilities is an effective way to support the children (Lee, et al. 2006). Also, the efforts to promote self-determination are more likely to be successful when there is a collaboration between parents and teachers. In addition, when parents’ behavior is considered a risk factor for children with SAD, parents need to collaborate with teachers in order to gain the best result from implementing the most appropriate intervention to increase self-determination in children with SAD. As a close collaboration with parents of students with special needs is an effective way of increasing student learning, the interaction between teachers as internal agents and parents as external agents leads to gaining important information between the school and the students’ surrounding environment, and teachers can access valuable information about student’s background and their social environment (Aouad & Bento, 2019).

According to Adams et al., (2016), teachers and parents need to collaborate through joint efforts and shared information to identify what areas of students’ development need attention. Adams et al. (2016) believed that teacher-parent collaboration plays an important role in having a fully inclusive classroom and stated that the creation of effective inclusive schools requires a combination of teachers’ and parents’ knowledge and skill in order to identify the most effective interventions for supporting students with disabilities.

Self-Determination through Cognitive Behavoiur Therapy (CBT)

The literature review of research has proven the positive effect of CBT on Social Anxiety Disorders (Donovan et al. 2015;2014; Goldin et al. 2016; Goldin et al. 2014). CBT strategies are usually clear and easy to implement by both parents at home and teachers at school. Hofmann and Otto, (2017) in their book give an overview of the treatment model for SAD. They believe that in the most straightforward term, treatment is designed to provide patients with the strategies to learn that social situations are not as threatening, social errors are not as dire, and social performance deficits are not as unyielding as they predict (pp.24-49). The model can be applied to both children and adults. I used the term “children” when explaining the model since my research is about children.

  • Targeting Social Standards:

Social standards are the behaviours accepted by social groups. Those standards are an important way to recognize and predict other people’s expectations. children with SAD have high social standards and they think other people around them have the same high standards and expectations. Individual or group discussions and direct behavioral experiments can challenge these beliefs.

  • Defining Goals:

When children SAD are asked about the goal of a social encounter, they usually say “people need to like me,” “I have to perform well,” or “I have to make a good impression on people.” That kind of goal demands knowing other people’s thoughts. That is, without mind-reading, they could never validate her or his goals, and that is why they always try to look back upon themselves and make judgments of their own social performance. In order to help children with SAD, they need to select the potential realistic goals prior to each social exposure. Once social goals have been identified, we need to help them identify and evaluate the best strategy to reach that particular goal such as asking a particular question, showing or not showing a certain behavior, receiving a refund for a particular item that the person just purchased, or being able to arrange a first date with an attractive person. After the exposure, the event is to be evaluated based on whether the goals were reached, regardless of the subjective anxiety encountered in the situation.

  • Modifying Self-Focused Attention:

If we focus our attention on ourselves, then we cannot pay attention to other things, such as the social performance task. The less attention for the task, the more mistakes we make, which can increase our anxiety. To help SAD, individuals are instructed before a social task to change their attentional focus and to observe their own level of anxiety. it means that we ask children before each social performance situation to direct their attention (1) toward their physiological sensations, (2) toward the physical environment, and (3) toward their speech topic (30 seconds each). After each instruction, they will be asked to rate their level of anxiety.

  1. Improving Self-Perception:

Many people with SAD report discomfort when they look in the mirror. Many also report distress when seeing themselves in pictures or video recordings or when listening to an audiotape of themselves. self-perception is The reason for this distress. This distress is not only because of their negative evaluation by the audience but also because of the negative evaluation of themselves. Hofmann and Otto, (2017) have found that reducing the amount of self-criticism (which goes along with self-acceptance) also builds self-confidence and improves self-perception. In this treatment model a core lesson learned is: Instead of trying to improve your social skills and the way you come across, simply accept yourself and your weaknesses, enjoy your strengths, and be content with the way you are while striving to achieve your goals.

  • Targeting Estimated Social Probability and Cost:

we get anxious, angry, or sad when there is a reason for that. If a situation is really bad, and there is good reason to feel bad, then we should feel bad unless we refuse to face reality. For example, the loss of someone that we love, and serious health problems are all good reasons to feel bad, stressed, anxious, and sad. In contrast, giving a bad and incoherent speech in front of colleagues might be an unpleasant and embarrassing event, but it is not a catastrophe. Some children with SAD have great difficulty identifying these anxious and maladaptive thoughts. 1. We need to ask individuals questions to identify and challenge their exaggerated probability and cost estimation. For example: How likely is it that a mishap occurs? What would be the worst outcome of this situation? Why is this situation such a catastrophic event? How will your life change due to this experience? These questions are intended to illustrate that social mishaps are normal. 2. During the planning stage of the exposure exercises, we will ask children with SAD to create social mishaps in order to examine the actual consequences. For example, buy a piece of pastry at a café, “accidentally” drop it on the floor, and then ask for a new one. The specified goal of this situation may be to obtain a new piece of pastry without paying for it.

Anticipation of Social Mishap and Social Thread:

Children with SADbelieve that doing a mistake leads to a great consequence such as loss of worth and rejection. Now we need to ask some questions:

1. What evidence do I have that the belief is true?

2. Based on past experience, how often did this feared outcome actually

happen?

3. What is the worst that could happen?

4. If this worst outcome happens, would the person be able to cope

with it?

The goal is to make the child realize that unpleasant things happen now and then to everybody. It is impossible to prevent this from happening. The model introduces the fact that control can be gained by accepting the emotional experience. Also, they need to know that they are not consistently deficient in their social skills and they can do well.

  • Safety and Avoidance Behaviour:

In this model children with SAD are instructed to identify and eventually eliminate any avoidance behaviors. The term avoidance behavior is broadly defined as anything the person does or does not do to reduce his or her anxiety in a social situation. Avoidance and safety behaviors maintain the fear of social situations, and exposure procedures can eliminate them. Safety behaviors are conceptualized as frequent and subtle forms of avoidance strategies. In order to identify them, children with SAD are instructed to monitor their social encounters. Repeated and prolonged exposure to the feared situation without using any avoidance and/or safety behaviors is one of the single most effective methods to overcome social anxiety.

  • Post-Event Rumination:

Post-event rumination is a frequently occurring phenomenon after the asocial encounter, especially after situations that are associated with high-perceived social costs and negative self-perception because of the assumed catastrophic outcome of a social situation. Post-event rumination might

serve the purpose of reexamining the situation to evaluate the potential threat involved. We should help children with SAD to process negative social events more adaptively through. The goal is to help children consolidate useful information from their exposures.

  • Putting it all Together: Designing Exposures:

Social exposures must be arranged to provide evidence to violate the assumptions that the social situation is socially or emotionally dangerous. This is achieved by helping children think through, define, and discover what constitutes adequate social performance while having adequate practice in social situations to allow anxiety to dissipate. Elements of exposure also help to realize how their anxiety changes as their attentional focus shifts and as they persist in once avoided social situations.

This model can be implemented by parents at home and teachers at school in order to gain the best result and support children with SAD.

definition of terms

Social anxiety disorders (SAD). Masia Warner et al. (2018) defined social anxiety as a permanent fear of negative appraisement by other people who may have a wrong opinion and conclusion about them, especially in unfamiliar and new situations with people they do not know. This may lead to severe distress for children.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Meyer (2014) stated that Universal Design for Learning means support for individual learners must be done in a meaningful way, so that different needs can be met for each student through a flexible system of learning.

Individual education plan (IEP). According to the Canadian Hearing Service (2018), an Individual Education Plan is a written form plan designed for a special education program that determines learning expectation needs, adaptations, and modifications of the curriculum to support learners to gain their educational goals.

Interventions. Intervention refers to classroom management strategies to help and support students in order to meet their needs.

Self-efficacy. Greene (2017) defined self-efficacy as self-esteem which helps individuals to learn specific things or complete particular tasks.

Parental behavior. In this study, parental behavior is referred to as the types of rejection and overprotection behaviors which can be considered as a risk factor for social anxiety in children.

Risk factor. The risk factor is defined as “conditions or circumstance which may increase the likelihood of development difficulty or disorder, in a direct or indirect way” (Empson, 2015, p. 33).

SAD

Children with SAD may be neglected or overprotected by their families. Empson (2015) stated that the sensitive period (between age 5 and puberty) is when a person is maximally ready to receive environmental stimuli, which is the best time for child development. Children experience different situations in their caregiving environment at critical periods, and they may be vulnerable or resilient in those situations. Early identification and intervention must be implemented for the children who are at risk during the critical period (the period during which children’s achievement and development are at the highest level). Children with social anxiety are often considered as being shy in the classroom. On the one hand, shy children are more likely to be subjected to overprotective parenting which can undermine their autonomy and ability to succeed in developmental challenges (Epson, 2015). On the other hand, there is a clear association between social anxiety and family rejection. The children who are neglected by their parents or with unsecured attachment usually show social and behavioral disorders such as SAD.

Family Environment

In another study conducted by Ginsburg et al. (2004), it is stated that being aware of the role of parenting and the family environment in the development and maintenance of Anxiety Disorders of children helps us to investigate the most effective strategies to support children with SAD. The purpose of the study conducted by Ginsburg et al. (2004) was to critically review the literature about how family/parenting behaviours are related to anxiety disorders in children. Ginsburg et al. (2004) illustrated that high levels of anxiety in parents has a negative effect on their own adaptive coping skills, and this anxiety may lead to specific anxiety-enhancing parenting behaviors that, in turn, increase their children’s vulnerability for SAD.

 Also, there are a number of environmental factors that likely influence both parenting and family interactions, such as unemployment, death of a loved one, lack of social support, and social isolation. Ginsburg et al. (2004) reviewed the literature that measured parents’ anxiety and the effects of parents’ behaviour on their children’s anxiety through self-report and behavioural observation methods. Ginsburg et al. (2004) suggested that parents who are anxious about themselves may be more likely to engage in parenting behaviors that increase their children’s anxiety. Also, anxious parents of children with Anxiety Disorders have strong beliefs about the nature of anxiety and its expression, the safety of the world, their child’s ability to manage and cope with anxiety, and both their roles and competence in handling anxiety. These beliefs can lead to specific parental behaviors, including promoting an anxious interpretation of events, allowing avoidance, taking over for the child, or directing the child. Consequently, children may come to view themselves and feel that their parents view them as incompetent to manage their lives. Not only parental behaviors such as control or rejection are likely to be risk factors for children with Social Anxiety, but also there are some environmental factors that might cause or worsen SAD in children.

Environmental Factors

To identify the reasons for social anxiety, considering environmental factors are significantly important in offering the most effective intervention for children based on the factors that caused SAD for them. Brook and Schmidt (2008) in their study provided a recent literature review and critique of proposed environmental risk factors for children’s SAD, focusing on environmental risk factors such as parenting and family environment and adverse life events.

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/about.html

The purpose of the study was to provide a recent review of risk and vulnerability factors that potentially come from the environment. Brook and Schmidt illustrated that parenting features such as over control, lack of warmth or rejection, and overprotection are known to be associated with the etiology of this disorder. Negative parental rearing practices which include practices of control, overprotection, rejection, neglect, lack of warmth or affection, anxious parenting, insensitivity, restrictiveness, social isolation, criticism, shame tactics, behavioral rigidity and concern with the opinions of others affect children’s SAD. For instance, parental over control lessens a child’s ability to explore and learn new skills independently and leads the child to be in anxiety in situations of perceived fear. Since parental rejection fosters causes an insecure attachment, it potentially leads to children’s Anxiety Disorders. Thus, early social relationships between the child and parents are essential for children’s proper emotional development.

https://www.tricitytransitions.com/4-attachment-styles/

In addition, adult with Social Anxiety recalled their parents isolating them from outside social experiences, stressing the importance of others’ opinions, and limiting family socializing both in and out of the home. Brook and Schmidt stated that another family factor that may contribute to the development of children’s anxiety disorders is attachment. Attachment refers to the type of enduring relationship that is established between children and their primary caregiver in the first year of life, so insecure attachment leads to children’s SAD in many cases. “Anxious parents are more likely to have anxious children, and mediation of this relation could be through specific parenting behaviors like over control” (Brook & Schmidt, p.131). Also, some traumatic events such as sexual and physical abuse, bullying, and parents’ divorce are considered environmental risk factors for children’s SAD which are identified as stressful life events because these events place increased pressure on the developing child and result in adverse outcomes.

About me

As a student who studies Master of Special Education, inclusion means a lot to me and during my study, I have learned a lot about inclusion and how to support children with varied needs in an inclusive classroom. The main goal is to make children feel they are part of their community and have a sense of belonging. To reach this goal, many areas that need to be studied. I, however, as an adult who experienced social anxiety in her childhood, decided to have research about social anxiety in children which is caused by the home environment, and how teachers at school and parents at home can collaborate in order to support children with social anxiety. Based on the literature review in my study, I tried to find effective interventions to support children with social anxiety and the strategies for both parents and teachers to help children. I chose to design a website because I would like to make the information in my study available for all people all around the world. My website is easy to access, easy to use, time-efficient, and it includes free resources to use. With my ambition of having a world full of happy smiling faces on each child’s face, I chose the name of my website’ Happy Children’. There are interventions for both parents and teachers, free resources to download, and a discussion board to talk about different experiences and ideas on my website. Since the children’s mental and physical health is important for both parents and teachers, having healthy and happy children leads to happy parents, teachers, and society.