First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Bipolar Disorder in Children: School Issues
Even with treatment, symptoms of bipolar disorder can be difficult to manage and can make school challenging. Regular and honest communication with your child and his or her teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, and school administrators can be the most important way to help your child succeed.
Education professionals are experts at helping students with special needs. But they must be kept up to date and informed about what they can do to help. By law, school districts are required to make sure students with conditions like bipolar disorder are given accommodations to help them succeed.
You should work with your child and his or her teachers and guidance counselors to build an individualized education program (IEP) that takes into account your child's specific needs. A detailed IEP lets each teacher and staff member who works with your child know exactly what he or she can do to help your child. The IEP requires regular reviews and meetings to make adjustments and keep up with any changing needs.
A few accommodations that the school may make to help your child include:
During a severe depressive or manic episode, you may need to request a "time-out" from heavy academic requirements for your child to help reduce stress and to keep the child from falling too far behind. Your child may not need a reduction in schoolwork for most mood episodes. But if the symptoms are severe, this reduction may help keep the child on track at school. You may also want to think about getting extra help (such as a tutor) when needed to assist your child in keeping up with schoolwork.
If your child's symptoms are severe, placement in a day hospital or residential treatment center that treats children with bipolar disorder may be helpful in meeting your child's needs during an extended illness. But these treatment centers are not always available. It can also be helpful if a designated teacher at your child's school is specially trained in dealing with children who have bipolar disorder. This person can be a good resource and a "safe person" for your child to go to for help during the school day, if needed.
If your school is not understanding or does not support your child's special needs for periodically reduced academic performance, you may be able to work with your child's doctor to get those needs met in the school system. Supporting your child, while not letting the child use bipolar disorder as an excuse to miss assignments, can help him or her develop and succeed academically and socially.
Current as of: May 28, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope, MD, MPH - PediatricsKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineDavid A. Brent, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Current as of:
May 28, 2019
Medical Review:John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & David A. Brent, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
1505 SW Cary Parkway
REX Healthcare of Cary, Suite 210
Cary, NC 27511
2076 NC Highway 42 W.
Johnston Professional Plaza, Suite 100
Clayton, NC 27520
781 Avent Ferry Road
REX Healthcare of Holly Springs, Suite 212
Holly Springs, NC 27540
4414 Lake Boone Trail
REX Medical Plaza, Suite 108
Raleigh, NC 27607
910 Berkshire Road
Smithfield, NC 27577
UNC REX Healthcare4420 Lake Boone TrailRaleigh, NC 27607, USA919-784-3100
Chosen for Excellence
Co-Worker & Physician Login
UNC Health Talk
Copyright 2020 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.