By Scott Lutostanski
When things in the world are normal, there are a lot of traps that can bring students down (by the way, this is especially true for students who struggle with ADHD, anxiety, or depressive symptoms). Even in a normal world, we see these traps on full display with students. One is school disengagement. Students stop working, see no point, and become mostly inactive in school. They are able to get little to no work done at home. I refer to this as being “stuck.” Another issue is the inability to get started. This can be caused by anxiety, poor initiation, or avoidance among other possible causes. It can push students towards a state of indifference as it becomes tougher and tougher for them to complete work. Finally, students can struggle with distraction: a phone, Youtube, Netflix, discord. The list of possible distractions is endless.
It’s important to look at what can exacerbate these issues when we are operating in the normal world. Typically, the most common instigator is emotional regulation. A student loses the ability to regulate their emotions and begins to lose the ability to regulate their behavior as well. This can result in the school issues above.
Let’s take a look at what could possibly cause dysfunction with a student’s, or really any person’s, emotions. A common cause could be a lack of physical activity. Being mobile, moving around, and exercising is obviously something that we all need. Social connectivity helps us stay active and can help our overall mood as well. Human interaction is important to help us share, laugh, and connect with others. Hobbies and interests, and I’m including sports, give us non-academic activities to practice and improve. All of these things together help us avoid isolation, inactivity, and stagnation.
Now let’s look at this new COVID world. If we analyze the impact it has on a person’s daily life, it’s fairly easy to see that all these traps have gotten much bigger. It is going to be much easier to isolate ourselves, to not exercise, or to not see others as much. In fact, with many youth and high school sports shutting down, some students lose all three of these things in one fell swoop. The traps that can pull students into the problems outlined in the first paragraph are becoming much more real and more likely. It is important, now more than ever, to tend to a student’s academic, social, and mental well being, particularly if they are more susceptible to these issues and have previous diagnoses of ADHD or anxiety.
Our academic coaches work with students to build a strong relationship, identify areas of growth, and improve their executive functioning and study skills. We also work with students to identify the potential obstacles and challenges that can potentially cause them issues in the future. At a time like this, that part of the process is more important than ever. If you’d like to learn more about our academic coaching, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.