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School Functioning and Use of School-Based Accommodations by Treatment-Seeking Anxious Children

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Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Published online on


Anxiety disorders are commonly occurring among children and are associated with increased risk for poor educational outcomes. However, little is known about the specific supports and accommodations provided to anxious children in schools. This study examines reports of school functioning and school-based supports and accommodations among a sample of 51 anxious youth and their mothers seeking treatment at an outpatient clinic. Children and their mothers reported significant anxiety-related impairment in school functioning, particularly for older children. Children identified as needing special education and related services (through Individualized Education Program [IEP] and 504 plans) more often received anxiety-related supports and accommodations at school than their peers who did not receive IEP/504 services. However, these accommodations were not always well matched to child needs and, in some cases, might facilitate avoidance of anxiety. Results suggest that some children with anxiety disorders receive supports in schools that may be inconsistent with evidence-based clinical practices. School-based mental health providers can be in an important position to facilitate coordinated care for youth with anxiety disorders.