Stress Management 101

stress management 101

In a recent “Best of NPR” newsletter, Christopher Dean Hopkins writes about helping young students cope with unusual conditions as they return to school. He talks about mask use and alternate settings to closed classrooms, but also, very importantly, emphasizes the presence of stress “for kids as well as grownups.”

At Lexercise we often discuss stress and anxiety, as they are among the most common features of dyslexia. In The Vortex of Dyslexia, we share why these emotions are so prevalent among children with dyslexia and other language-processing disorders. October is Dyslexia Awareness Month so this is a good time to re-examine how struggling students can manage stress and anxiety, which are typically a result of feeling out of control.

At Lexercise, our priority is helping students get the effective intervention and treatment they need to succeed and to feel in control in school and in life. In our Lexercise blog posts, and in the daily work Lexercise therapists do with students, we frequently address the importance of combining comprehensive testing and evaluation, skilled professionals, and research-based treatment—in other words, best practices—to develop the level of reading proficiency required for academic success.

Long experience has demonstrated that fun can inspire students to practice, so Lexercise designed a set of practice games that offer valuable feedback as kids learn essential skills. Enlivened by the graphics of Lexercise Lead Artist Isabel Hennes (Iszzy), our games help to produce the “mental muscle memory” needed for proficient reading. 

But we know it’s not all fun and games. As Hopkins writes, when stress is “amped up” it can easily interfere with health, learning, and social interactions. So, among the colorful Lexercise games, we’ve added one called Calming Breath. A cuddly purple creature with wiggly ears demonstrates how to use the calming breath procedure to manage stress as the instructions guide the student (or parent!) through the exercise. Give it a try!

If you are stressed about your child’s skills with written or spoken words, we invite you to learn more about Lexercise therapy on our website or contact us today.

Harnessing Stress for Student Success


Making Stress Work for Students Unfortunately, stress will always be a part of a student’s life– even more so when the student has a reading disability. But, what if your child harnessed their stress to make it work in their favor? Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, and lecturer at Stanford University recently presented a TedTalk explaining how to do just that.

At a recent “Learning and the Brain” conference McGonigal said, “In a number of situations, accepting and embracing the stress instead of trying to calm down helped students to do better.”

The physical side effects stress produces can often make students underperform. McGonigal calls that reaction a “threat response” to stress, but says if teachers can help students have a different response. She calls this positive response to stress a “challenge response,” which includes the realization that the student has the resources to handle the situation.

McGonigal makes sure to mention that prolonged “threat response” stress can have negative effects on health, and suggests three intervention techniques to help students change their approach to stress and create resiliency for dealing with anxiety.

 

Caring for others builds resiliency against stress

kid meditatingThe biological reaction to stress naturally includes a desire to connect with others. Focusing on social relationships and closeness can dramatically reduce the harmful negative effects of stress.

Purpose in life reduces stress

Ask your child what they love to do, and support their hobbies. Remind them how that activity makes them feel and reward them for their interest and determination.

Focus on how stress can help students grow

McGonigal makes the point that if you are able to look back on your life and tell yourself a story about your stress that includes how you learned from it, it helps to create a narrative of strength, learning, and growth.

The Orton-Gillingham method focuses on building students up and harnessing the “good stress” that McGonigal speaks to. If you would like to set up a consultation with one of our trained therapists, you can visit this page on our website.