Posted on 12/19/2018 at 03:02 PM by Blog Experts
We are seeing a rise in the number of students who are dealing with high levels of anxiety. I thought it might be a good time to share some information about how to consider whether these students would qualify for a Section 504 plan and what possible accommodations might be helpful to ensure the students’ equitable access.
Eligibility determination would be the same process you use with all of your determinations. Whether there is a formal diagnosis, we see some students who are struggling with chronic anxiety levels that are significantly impacting their ability to test, to function successfully throughout the day, or to be able to access FAPE in every aspect.
Once the determination has been made developing a plan would consider what appropriate accommodations might be offered to support this student’s needs. Some of these accommodations may be accessing the school counselor during periods of when high levels of anxiety are being experienced. Building in a consistent response to the student’s anxiety is critical. Providing students with a pass they can just place on their desk when they need to step out of the classroom to go to a designated destination (get a drink, deep breath in the hall, counselor’s office, etc.) might be another accommodation. Consider where the student is seated, who is setting around them, and be aware of the noise level in the room. Stress-release techniques and breathing exercises are actually some things that may be helpful to all students (and teachers) in the classroom. The may be a need for some testing accommodations, but this would not be the only accommodation needed for a student with this level of anxiety.
As always, each accommodation is identified to meet the individual needs of each student. These cannot be standardized and would not apply to every student experiencing anxiety.