Social Anxiety Disorder

What is Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)?

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is an anxiety associated with the fear of social situations where one might be evaluated or viewed such as speaking up in class, performing in front of others, initiating conversations, etc… The experience is often described with having physiological effects such as sweating, blushing, nervousness, racing heart, stomach ache, dizziness, etc…

Common signs that may indicate SAD

(Directly from the ADAA site):

  • Hesitance, passivity and discomfort when in the spotlight
  • Avoidance or refusal to initiate conversations, perform in front of others, invite friends to get together, call others on the telephone for homework or other information, or order food in restaurants
  • Avoidance of eye contact and speaks very softly or mumbles
  • Minimal interaction and conversation with peers
  • Appearing isolated and on the fringes of the group
  • Sitting alone in the library or cafeteria, or hanging back from the group at team meetings
  • Overly concerned with negative evaluation, humiliation or embarrassment
  • Difficulty with public speaking, reading aloud, or being called on in class

Tips for Teachers

While diagnosing SAD can be very complex due to the nature of the condition and other similar conditions, the ADAA site has some tips that I think might apply well to other Communication disorders more broadly.

(Directly from the ADAA site):

  • Change your classroom procedures to get the child more involved.
  • Explain to the student why you are doing this, that you want to help them feel more comfortable in class, and not trying to make them feel embarrassed.
  • Remind them that speaking out in class will get easier with practice.
  • Do not single the child out, but call on all students for answers.
  • Incorporate public speaking into your curriculum, if possible. This will help all of your students develop confidence in speaking in front of others.

Not only can the tips listed above help a child suffering from SAD, they can help students that are shy, language learners, and build a classroom community where students in general feel less threatened to speak.

Created by: William Hale