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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can you diagnose stress in children?

    My 8 year old daughter has some learning difficulties and seems very stressed and anxious when there is a class test on at school. How could i diagnose her stress and help her?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Serving the interests of children and young people with childhood language and related disorders View Profile

    The first step may be to see your GP . They will be able to communicate the general signs of stress and anxiety to you and can refer your daughter to a psychologist if more support is required to help her manage her anxiety. Her school teacher may also be able to refer you to the school counsellor for further support.

  • 1


    Ida Shapievsky


    Being a mother myself, I understand what it is like constantly worrying if you are doing the best job possible for your child. My passion … View Profile

    As a parent you may know your child best. If you have noticed that your child is not as hapy as they used to be, they are not enjoying things as they used to, if they avoid doing things that they find difficult or report physical symptoms such as tummy aches, dizziness, headaches, difficulty breathing etc then it might be safe to say that there is something going on for your child. An experienced psychologist might be able to provide further information regarding your childs mental health. It also depends on your childs age as to what symptoms to look for.

  • 1


    Aphrodite Zoitas is a qualified Psychologist specialising in Educational and Developmental Psychology. She has experience in working with children, adolescents and their families to provide … View Profile

    It is common for children who experience learning difficulties to also experience anxiety at some point in their life. Anxiety can be diagnosed by a G.P. and/ or a psychologist. Psychologists will take a detailed history and may also ask parents, teachers and the child to complete questionnaires to identify if the symptoms your child is presenting are consistent with an anxiety disorder. Following the diagnosis, a child with an anxiety disorder can received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to teach her how to cope and minimise symptoms of anxiety. It is best that the diagnosis and treatment of an anxiety disorder are made early to reduce the likelihood that the anxiety will hinder the child’s self-esteem and compromise her learning even further.

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    Stress around tests is a very normal thing. Most people experience some anxiety at some stage of their lives around performance and assessment of their abilities.

    I suggest you speak to her teacher and talk to your daughter about what she might be worried about.

    As a parent you do not need to diagnose her stress. Rather, you take her to professionals or seek professional advise regarding diagnosis.

    Conversations with her teacher, with your daughter and with a school counsellor would be your first options. 

    Good luck.

  • Dr Marco Makari


    Dr. Marco Makari is a chiropractor and a qualified AFL sports trainer who specializes in rehabilitation therapy and musculoskeletal injuries. He graduated from the prestigious … View Profile

    It's clear that you are seeking the best management for your child and i really respect that!

    The best ways to diagnose stress is in children is to look for changes in behavioural patterns. Eg. response to others, changes in mood, body language and bed wetting just to name a few.
    Parents are in the best position to notice these changes because they know how the child usually behaves.

    I always recommend that parents collect as much information in regards to behavioural changes and take it to a health care professional. The health care professional will then determine if the stress experienced is normal and how it should be managed.  

    Great question. Keep it up!!

  • Darren Stops

    Counsellor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    For assistance with issues including: anxiety & depression, stress, coping & adjustment, personality & relationships sleep & health issues, separation, loss and trauma, post traumatic … View Profile

    It is really common for children with Learning Difficulties to experience stress, anxiety and depression.  You don't specify what these difficulties are, so my comments are general.

    Yes, she needs to have some strategies - but she should not be doing the tests the same as the other kids if she has learning difficulties, - not without some accommodations and supports in place at the school. If the learning problems have been assessed and diagnosed, the school should have these in place.  If not, consider keeping her home at test time until they have a plan.

    There are 3 things to do:

    First, ensure that the learning difficulties are thoroughly assessed, and that specific learning interventions are put in place to address them.  At the age of 8, it is absolutely crucial that this is done, if it hasn't happened already. I can't emphaisie this enough.

    Secondly, ensure that the school puts other support strategies in place to help your daughter. (eg - different ways of assessing her, more time on tests, etc)

    Thirdly, get your daughter to a Psychologist who understands her learning problems and can work with her on strategies to treat the anxiety, as described above.

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