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Anxiety disorders in young children often go overlooked. Just ask Dakota Madrid, a 4th grader at Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA).

Janet Hyso, Dakota’s mother, realized her son had begun exhibiting symptoms as early as kindergarten. That was when he was diagnosed with his anxiety disorder. At that point, it was manageable so Dakota continued in his brick and mortar school. But when he transitioned to first grade, things changed drastically. Dakota went from being at the top of his class to getting mostly C’s.

Janet found out that there were numerous factors triggering Dakota’s anxiety. Not only did he struggle being in large crowds, he was also being bullied by his peers.

“Dakota was crying all day long,” Janet said. “I don’t think his first grade teacher understood panic attacks.”

Finding a school that would reduce Dakota’s stress and anxiety seemed impossible. Luckily, Janet saw a commercial for K12 while watching TV and she had a feeling personalized learning might be a great fit for her son.

“I saw the commercial on a Tuesday. I started the enrollment process on Wednesday and by Monday Dakota was taking classes at WYVA!” Janet said.

Within two weeks at WYVA, his grades were back up to A’s.

Dakota has blossomed academically and socially since enrolling at WYVA. Mrs. Horne is his favorite teacher and works closely with Dakota. She can sense when he is having a challenging day and helps him through it.

“For instance, the evening before PAWS testing, Dakota had a major anxiety attack about the testing. We called Mrs. Horne and she talked with him and calmed his fears. She had him call her the next morning before going to testing so she could reassure him,” Janet said. “She has also did a lot of research to find new ways to help with some challenges he is having right now.”

Now, Dakota doesn’t see his anxiety as an obstacle and has big plans for the future. He wants to be a paleontologist and run his own wildlife rescue organization!

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