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Welcome to Annesley Primary School. Well done everyone, an amazing week for attendance with most classes achieving our aim of 96%. As a school we achieved an attendance of 96.09%, above our target. The winners of this weeks attendance trophy is Doves with 98%. Well done.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

What is it?


Children with separation anxiety disorder experience significant fear and distress about being away from home or their caregivers. This fear affects a child’s ability to function socially and academically. For example, a child may have a hard time making friends or maintaining relationships because he or she refuses to go on playdates without a parent, or sleep without being near a parent or caregiver.



What causes separation anxiety disorder in a child?


Experts believe SAD is caused by both biological and environmental factors. A child may inherit a tendency to be anxious. An imbalance of 2 chemicals in the brain (norepinephrine and serotonin) most likely plays a part.

A child can also learn anxiety and fear from family members and others. A traumatic event may also cause SAD.


What are the symptoms of separation anxiety disorder in a child?


The first symptoms of SAD often appear around year 3. They may start after a break from school, such as during holidays or summer, or after a long-term sickness. Each child may have different symptoms. But the most common signs of SAD are:

  • Refusing to sleep alone

  • Repeated nightmares with a theme of separation

  • Lots of worry when parted from home or family

  • Too much worry about the safety of a family member

  • Too much worry about getting lost from family

  • Refusing to go to school

  • Fearful and reluctant to be alone

  • Frequent stomachaches, headaches, or other physical complaints

  • Muscle aches or tension

  • Too much worry about safety of self

  • Too much worry about or when sleeping away from home

  • Being very clingy, even when at home

  • Panic or temper tantrums at times of separation from parents or caregivers



Key points about separation anxiety disorder in children


  • SAD is a type of mental health problem. A child with SAD worries a lot about being apart from family members or other close people.

  • The cause of SAD is both biological and environmental.

  • Symptoms of SAD are more severe than the normal separation anxiety that nearly every child has to some degree between the ages of 18 months and 3 years of age.

  • A child must have symptoms that last at least 4 weeks to be considered SAD.

  • A mental health evaluation is needed to diagnose SAD.

  • Treatment includes therapy and medicines.