Zionsville Community Schools to present program on handling student anxiety


With many children feeling mounting pressure to succeed in the classroom, Zionsville Community Schools will host an event to help parents understand the brain’s neuroanatomy, its stress response and how to promote calm feelings.


Dr. Lori Desautels will present “Understanding the Stressful Brain State of Our Children” at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center, 1000 Mulberry St. The event is part of the ZCS Strong in Every Way initiative.

“We’re always talking about where we need to meet the child academically, but what we’re seeing more and more in schools is that the new learning disability across our nation is anxiety,” Desautels said. “A lot of our children, adolescents and educators are bringing that into the classroom. That not only affects learning, but it affects behavior.”

That behavior can inhibit students’ ability to learn.

“When you’re feeling negative emotion or feeling worried, it affects the ability to learn,” Desautels said. “Those brain functions actually shut down. We’re looking at brain development, the role of the stress response system in the body and then addressing these through brain alliance strategies.”

Much of the research around brain neuroscience is new.

“I’m working with teachers, social workers, administrators and counselors,” Desautels said. “I’ll be sharing a lot of this research and brain educational neuroscience strategies with parents. This research is just so new. We’re learning so much that applies to education. What I’ll be sharing is a framework.”

Desautels hopes the information helps parents better prepare their children for learning.

“We know the crux of learning is based in attachment,” Desautels said. “We’re going to be looking at relationships and regulations, because all behavior is communication and all behavioral issues are really regulation issues. It’s when the stress response system in our brain has hijacked those other regions we’re in what we call a survival brain.”

The event is free and open to the public. Child care is available for children older than 3 for parents who preregister. For more, visit zionsvilleperformingarts.org.

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