Second grade started in September for Tzviel and he got a new wonderful homeroom teacher. She was kind and greeted the kids with a smile. He liked her very much and was able to warm up to her. There were many other teachers introduced. Some were nice and warm. Others walked into the classroom, slamming books and talking sternly. Tzviel started to feel very on edge with each subject change.
Two weeks into the school year, Tzviel's incredible homeroom teacher asked to speak with Tzviel's mother. The year had only just begun, and she had seen little windows into Tzviel's wonderful personality, but she had concerns. Tzviel seemed to sit frozen in class, with his hands tight in fists. After a long conversation explaining Tzviel's anxiety, his mother consulted with his CBT therapist, who provided the teacher with a list of techniques that could help "ground" Tzviel when she noticed his anxiety. They stuffed his pockets with stress balls to squeeze, lined the bottom of his desk with velcro for him to touch, made up code words so he could go to the hallway and do some jumping jacks and a bunch of other things.
Tzviel appreciated that his teacher understood him and knew how to help him. With her, he was able to relax a little bit. But all other teachers made him feel uneasy. Tzviel would come home from school exhausted from trying to keep his anxiety under control all day. Each morning was again a battle to go to school, not wanting to have to endure another day. His stomach problems came back even worse and were now causing daily problems.
His parents worked closely with his CBT therapist, utilizing every technique they could. But Tzviel's anxiety kept climbing. When Parent Teacher meetings came around, Tzviel's mother sat down with his homeroom teacher. She said:
"Tzviel is such a bright, sweet boy. You need to know that he is extremely intelligent and has tested into the national gifted project. He is also such a sweet, kind, good heart-ed kid. I've been speaking with all of his other teachers. We all see him completely frozen with his anxiety. As smart as he is, at this point, he isn't learning and we can't teach him."
(To be continued.)