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Anxiety with neurological condition top tips

Anxiety is a normal feeling that everyone will experience at some point in their lives. Anxiety can include feelings of worry and tension, as well as physical feeling such as a racing heart, sweating or trembling. Some anxiety is normal for most people. It can help us to think about and avoid danger. However, sometime anxiety can interfere with everyday activities and become a problem.

Children with neurological conditions are more likely to experience anxiety because of the difficulties they might have such as:

  • Experiencing fatigue
  • Lack of control due to seizures
  • Difficulty paying attention, remembering information or processing language
  • Difficulty completing every day tasks and being independent
  • Sensory overload (such as noises, smells, tastes)

Top tips for supporting a child with anxiety

  • Provide structure and routine to let them know what to expect and increase their sense of control.
  • Prepare them for situations you know they find difficult. Consider using visual supports or a Social Story to help them attend to, process and remember information better.
  • Encourage calming activities such as time with their interests. Consider putting in time for these before and after an activity they find stressful.
  • Help them to relax. Help them to breathe deeply or find a relaxation exercise you can do together.
  • Think sensory. Reduce sensory input if it is becoming overwhelming and ensure the environment is calming.
  • Stay calm yourself and remember that your child is probably feeling scared.
  • Provide time to talk about their worries. Often sharing their worries can help to ease them. Let them know that anxiety is a normal feeling.
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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PSY30

Resource Type: Article

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