EXCESSIVE WITHDRAWAL : INTERVENTION APPROACHES 

Like all defense mechanisms, withdrawal is a device to reduce anxiety. 
Attempts, then, should be made to (1) diagnose the causes that threaten 
the ego;(2) remove these threatening sources as much as possible; and 
(3) help the individual to develop normally by giving him or her 
opportunities to communicate with others. If a pupil shows a great many 
other negative symptoms on the scale, he or she should be referred for 
clinical help. If the student shows low scores in most other categories, 
minor adjustments in the home and classroom will probably help significantly. 
Excessive Withdrawal is a characteristic shown by many minority 
children, particularly those with language problems. These pupils must be 
given support and understanding. Many appear more intellectually 
handicapped than they actually are because of the language barrier. 
Overcoming the verbal disability is of vital importance. The educational 
future of these students depends on their understanding of verbal symbols. 
Other methods employed to help the withdrawn child may include: 

1. Arranging an early parent conference to determine if the withdrawn 
behavior is characteristic of the child or whether some situational 
conflict has arisen that has caused him or her to opt for self-isolation. 

2. Involving the child in small group activities (with, at most, one 
or two other youngsters) that will ensure success. 

3. Giving the child shorter assignments and frequent opportunities 
to socialize with others. 

4. Placing the child in an advantageous position in the classroom, 
where he or she will not feel isolated. 

5. Giving the child extra attention, because this tends to raise his 
or her importance in the eyes of peers. This procedure should be handled 
with care, because if he or she is given too much attention, other 
children may resent the child. 

6. Giving the isolated student more time to express him or herself. 
The individual should be allowed to practice responses that success is 
assured. The child can gradually aquire more confidence in his or her 
ability to be aggressive. 

7. Never criticizing or reproving withdrawn behavior. 

8. Allowing the child (if he or she cannot do it verbally) to express 
him or herself through puppet play, clay work, paintings, drawings or 
singing. 

9. Providing interesting but simple games and activities that are 
likely to elicit the participation of withdrawn pupils. These pleasurable 
excercises are particulary valuable if completed in the company of at 
least one other student.