If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you’ve just arrived here from Nicola Morgan’s wild birthday party, then I’m sorry to be the party pooper but I think it’s very important that you should know. I’ll tell you why in a moment.

SA stands for social anxiety, which is a fear of people and especially of what those people think of the sufferer. I’ve seen SA defined as extreme shyness. While this is probably true for most sufferers, it doesn’t apply to everyone.

The origin of SA is a mixture of nature and nurture. Two people can go through the same experiences and only one will get it. Two people can start off with the same characteristics and only one will get it.

SA has been recognised as a disorder since 1980. A lot of people suffer from it. Yet most people haven’t heard of it. Even some of those who have it don’t know that there’s a name for it. That’s a shame, because not knowing the name means missing out on treatment, and support from other sufferers.

Of course, the best cure is prevention, and that’s where you come in. Even today, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, quiet children are ignored. Children who disrupt classes or are violent are sent for therapy while quiet ones are simply ignored. SA is allowed to fester instead of being nipped in the bud.

So, if you’re a teacher, a therapist, a parent, a family member, a friend – in other words if you’re anyone at all – please do something to help a child who is on the path to SA.

And if you know someone who suffers from SA – someone who is quiet, appears to be shy, behaves awkwardly – please try to include them and draw them out. If it’s done tactfully, they’ll usually appreciate it.

Now I’ll let you return to the party. Do come back here any time. I’m not always this serious.

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