How Anxiety Disrupts the Learning Experience - Alpha School

How Anxiety Disrupts the Learning Experience

How Anxiety Disrupts the Learning Experience

An anxiety disorder is characterized by debilitating fear and worry. It can be a specific phobia, social anxiety, separation anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or general anxiety disorder, which is constant worrying about lots of things. Panic disorder is a sudden, intense episode of anxiety that can cause hyperventilating and a pounding heartbeat. All forms of anxiety can cause headaches or stomach aches, or the child may become so overwhelmed that she isolates herself or acts out in frustration. Often, anxiety is not easy to identify, especially in nonverbal children, or it may be mistaken for another problem, such as attention deficit disorder, low ability, or lack of motivation.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, anxiety can disrupt the learning process in several ways both cognitive and behavioral.

Thinking and Learning

  • Concentration problems
  • Memory problems
  • Attention problems
  • Problem-solving difficulties

Children in an anxious state are mainly focused on the cause of their anxiety. They are using worrying as a coping skill to soothe their anxiety, but this makes it impossible for them to cognitively focus on other tasks that require concentration, memory, attention, or problem solving. All of their attention is going towards soothing past anxiety or preventing future anxiety.

Behavioral Effects

  • Restlessness
  • Fidgeting
  • Task avoidance
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawal
  • Lack of participation
  • Failing to complete tasks
  • Seeking easy tasks


Anxiety is a normal reaction to the stress of this pandemic year, but left unidentified and untreated, it can worsen over time, causing more problems into adolescence and adulthood. Caregivers, teachers, and professional therapists can be major sources of support for anxious children. While the cognitive and behavioral effects of anxiety can disrupt the child’s learning process, anxiety disorders can be managed with some empathy and professional help.

john gonzalez supervisor of instruction Alpha School

Alpha School an private special education school in New Jersey

Our Mission at The Alpha School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.

We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.370.1150, or request a tour of Alpha School of Jackson, NJ located just minutes off of Route 9 and Route 195 in Ocean County.

— John Gonzalez, Principal-Alpha School, Jackson, NJ

About RKS Associates

At all the RKS Schools we pride ourselves in discovery the hidden treasures of all of our students. Our academic and support services are appropriately customized for a student unique and diverse needs so that they can reach their full potential.

Alpha School is part of special needs network of schools located in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean County New Jersey. Since 1980 the RKS Associates schools have been leaders in helping special needs helping students with various disabilities including autism, Down's syndrome, communication, learning, social, behavioral and emotional disabilities. The range of services RKS schools provide is academic instruction and speech, occupational and physical therapies. In addition to Life Skills, Technology, and a full complement of Support Services.

network of special ed schools in NJ
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