Completing an Anxiety Curve - The Incredible 5 Point Scale

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The Anxiety Curve
Completing an Anxiety Curve
Worksheet
Why is it so important to recognize stress,
anxiety and panic?
• Possibly the #1 problem related to a loss of
control.
• Past assumptions about behavior need to be
seriously questioned given what we now know
about the brain.
Punishment
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Any stimulus that represses a behavior
Weakening behavior by adding a negative stimulus
Does not teach self-management or independence
Suspension from school is by definition, punishment.
Suspension is not supported in the educational research
Punishment is not supported in educational research
Compromise
• One of the most important skills we can teach to an
explosive student.
• Compromise replaces compliance as a goal.
• Create opportunities to teach compromise is low
emotional moments.
• This takes lots of practice.
Compromise: I’m a little
bit happy and you are a
little bit happy but
neither one of us is all
the way happy.
Ross Greene’s Plan C
• These are all the things that may become
priorities someday but are not today.
• This plan is full of many behaviors you’re going
to just let go for now.
• This plan helps us meet the goal of decreasing
the number of meltdowns and keeping the
general peace.
• Try not to even mention these behaviors
When you attend to the anxiety curve, you
are proactively deciding when and over what
issues your student will possibly have a
meltdown. In doing so you are exerting more
control…not less.
Define your levels
• 5 = Out of control. Never worth it. Physical and
emotional event for everyone. Might be dangerous.
Might have to intervene to maintain safety. This is
not a time to teach. Take the path of least physical
intervention. Your focus should be on not ever
getting here again. Revisit your proactive plan.
Warning!
• Don’t try to solve problems
during an emergency.
• Remember about 911.
Level 4
• 4 = This is a very delicate level – situation could go
either way. Sometimes can be remedied by being
quiet. This is often too late for “redirection”. Your
energy should be spent calming the situation. Not
the time to draw lines in the sand. Adults tend to
become inflexible at this point and that pushes
things up to 5. Attend to your own body and
breathing. Back as far off as possible.
Level 3
• 3 = This is when your attention should be on
refocusing the person in a very relaxing way. This is
your last hope prior to the near explosive 4. Have a
plan for this point – you might be starting to panic
yourself. You might be able to move yourself and
coax the person to a quiet place. This is not a good
time to teach, you should have a relationship with
the person and use your best “supportive language”
to get through the moment.
Level 2
• 2 = your first red flag. Subtle signs of stress.
This is your best chance at redirection or focus
on proactive strategies such as calming
activities, more visual support, a quiet place to
work, and reframing the demand. This is the
level most often missed by teachers and
caregivers. This is the best time to prompt the
use of self-management. The person and you
are both still fairly calm. Good choices can be
made at this level.
Level 1
• 1 = This is when you teach. This is when you
carry out your IEP teaching goals. Teach social
skills. Teach the use of the 5 point scale. Teach
using power cards and social stories. Teach
relaxation and calming sequences. Share the
emergency plans with the person – create visual
prompts to notify person that emergency plan
should start. This might be a stop sign or a small
scale.
• Over practice predictable routines.
A Goal: To think
clearly in the midst
of frustration
The Anxiety Curve
A Visual Representation of Anxiety
That Helps All of Us Know What to Do
The Anxiety Curve
Teaching and Practicing happens at 1 or 2. Redirection at 3.
Protection, silence and nerves of steel at 4 & 5.
Be the person’s advocate / ally 1 - 5 - 1
3
2
1
4
5
4
3
2
1
One example of getting student input
What does the best day look like?
What does the worst day look like?
Who? What? Where? When?
Identify Coping Strategies
• Don’t forget to look to ‘misbehavior’ as a
starting point to figure out coping and calming
strategies
• Who, what, where, when, Why
• (reading Moby Dick example)
Complete two - 5 Point scale worksheets
to accompany the anxiety curve.
1. Escalation 1 - 5
2. De-escalation 5 - 1
‘5’ and ‘1’ might look the same, but ‘2’ ,
‘3’, and ‘4’ for the student and for our
support, will look different.
Handouts
Anxiety Curve Worksheet
visual cheat sheet for students,
staff, family
When Things Fall Apart
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Remain calm
Protect others and self
SILENCE
The concept of Refocus and Re-engage vs.
Redirection
• Rethink the student’s support plan to increase
chances for a successful day

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