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Anxiety Disorders/with Learning Disabilities/with Giftedness/or Both

Anxiety is the most common mental health concern for children, youth and young adults. It can cause serious disruption to their lives, and the effects flow into their classrooms, their homes, and their social relationships. If left untreated, these early problems can lead to more serious consequences in mental health throughout their lives, including depression, substance abuse, educational underachievement, and a diminished life outcome.

The thoughts and feelings generated by anxiety can lead to both physical symptoms and disordered behaviours that may leave these children and youth with considerable challenges in the mainstream of life and school.

Sometimes there are genuine physical factors that require medical intervention, but this is not always the case. One root cause can be the fear of failure in learning—the most important job in their young life. In addition, lack of self-esteem and self-confidence trigger negative emotions and thoughts that create a “chemical soup” of physical and mental distress. This can mask the learning disability and often results in it being left untreated, while everyone is trying to control the unwanted behaviour.

  Red Flags for Parents of Children and Youth with Anxiety Disorders

You see that your child or youth

  • Is depressed, irritable, sad, and cries easily
  • Manifests nervous habits, like nail biting or stuttering
  • Can’t sit still or focus
  • Has difficulty sleeping
  • Has health problems like headaches, colds, stomach aches
  • Gives school resistance or refusal
  • Does poorly academically, especially on tests
  • Has perfectionist tendencies, won’t hand in work

Sometimes behaviours seem to be due to something else, but are really generated by anxiety. Your child or youth

  • Is often angry or has temper tantrums
  • Is attention seeking
  • Is hyperactive
  • Has trouble concentrating
  • Is often absent from school due to health or other complaints
  • Has social difficulties with peers or teachers.

Whether the behaviour is very overt and strong or more subtle, it is important to determine if learning disabilities or differences are causing or exacerbating the problem.

But this is not enough.

It is important to provide a solution. Even if learning problems are not the full cause, treating them will ameliorate the problem to the degree possible.

In such circumstances a neuropsychological and educational assessment will determine what the learning disabilities or differences are that are causing or adding to the anxiety or distress, and if so the Vancouver Learning Centre program will help to provide a comprehensive solution to the academic, emotional and social distress.

To determine if your child, youth or young adult is eligible or would benefit from access to the Vancouver Learning Centre programs, please follow the next steps below.

Next Steps

  • If you would like to have answers as to what can be done, you can book a complimentary interview with Vancouver Learning Centre Director Andrew Taylor by telephone at 604-738-2277 or by e-mail.
  • If after you are fully informed through the interview and by reading this website you are interested in proceeding, Andrew will provide you with an assessment date to begin the process.
  • If you have further concerns or questions you can speak to VLC principal and senior psychologist, Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, either by telephone or by booking a further personal complimentary interview.
  • The assessment will provide a clear statement of the student’s cognitive and educational strengths and weaknesses along with a detailed program that is offered as a proposal. The program is delivered by the Vancouver Learning Centre’s highly qualified teaching faculty, one-to-one.


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