Anxiety Prevention Groups for my older kiddos was always a big more intense. By the time they were in 5th or 6th grade, some of the fears have turned into phobias. The fears and phobias were so intense, they interfered in classroom functioning. Therefore for my program, it was a priority to work on anxiety prevention during social work services. Clearly many of my students need outside therapy as well, but parents either 1) do not have insurance or money or 2) do not have the time as they are single parents of multiple kids. So in my program, I often do therapy 2-3 times a week with the more severe kiddos.
My go to curriculum here is FACING YOUR FEARS. Excellent curriculum especially made for higher functioning students with ASD and anxiety, , , ,
The curriculum is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy based. Following is an overall idea of suggested sessions. For my kids, we did a lot of repetition and I also customized many topics to include my kiddos areas of special interested. This is a wonderful program because we talk about how much WORRY has taken over there lives -- there are examples and concrete ways of looking at how much time is spent on worrying. We talk about the physiological symptoms in the body and use the worry thermometer to measure things every day. Finally we make a list (a fear ladder so to speak) of the things that cause worry, in order of minor to major. We come up with a plan for gradually becoming desensitized to these things -- sometimes taking only the tiniest of steps. We use video modeling to show our selves success and use that in conjunction with the actual exposure. I have used many videos from YouTube to help in this. Now don't forget, for these students, during the same timeframe, I have a parent group. So I have to get the parent buy-in to help with providing feedback that decreases and DOES NOT REINFORCE the fears. So many parents do not realize they actually have made their child's fears worse by giving into some of the most ridiculous behaviors! This curriculum also includes a series of nice videos by some kids who themselves have worked the program to overcome a fear - such as a fear of dogs. I really recommend this program.
Session 1: Welcome to Group: Words We Use for Worry
Session 2: When I Worry
Session 3: Time Spent Worrying
Session 4: What Worry Does to My Body: Beginning to Measure Worry
Session 5: The Mind-Body Connection
Session 6: More Mind-Body Connections: Introduction to Exposure
Session 7: Introduction to Exposure (Continued)
Session 8: Practicing Exposure and Making Movies
Sessions 9-13: Facing Fears and Making Movies
Session 14: Graduation