Steps you can take to ensure the best academic year for your child:
#1 Ensure regular sleep schedule
Being exhausted, which in turn leads to anxiety and fragile moods, could be caused by either sleep issues from home or from side effects due to medication. Some common side effects of mood regulating medication can include tiredness, headaches, tremors or a change in appetite. Since schoolwork and mood regulation would both suffer from a deprivation in sleep, helping your child stay true to a regular sleep schedule is important.
#2 Special allowances
Your child may or may not have a need for entitlement to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) – a modification to the teaching environment or instructional strategies. For some students it’s helpful to be granted accommodations that make allowance for anxiety issues, OCD or ADHD and the varied side effects of medication. It can be an involved process of forms, but it’s important to know your rights.
#3 Watch for social isolation
Pay attention to how your child speaks about friends and if he is having issues being stigmatized. Other children don’t have to know about a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, but they could ostracize others because they act differently, and exhibit symptoms of the mood disorder. You may have to speak to your child’s teacher to find out if there is an issue with getting along with schoolmates and making or keeping friends. If your child is being socially isolated, be vigilant for signs of anxiety or depression, which is common in such situations.
#4 Accommodations for medication
If your child needs to take her bipolar medication during the day, have a conversation with the school’s nurse and also find out if there is someone available to administer the medication to your child if needed. You’ll also need to make her teachers aware of some of the medication’s side effects, which could include tremors, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, slurred speech and more frequent trips to the restroom.
#5 Bring educators into the loop
Teachers and administrators are usually more flexible and understanding if they know about the mental health issues of a student; they’re also better prepared to deal with any aggressive behavior or suicidal statements. With children struggling from bipolar disorder (and especially if they have a co-existing condition like ADHD or anxiety disorder), they also have to deal with the resulting issues that may affect their academic performance. It may be best to have a meeting with your child’s teacher(s), the school administrator and psychologist to also discuss the accommodations that could be put in place.
#6 Prevention at the beginning of school year
If you’ve found your child’s academic performance has slipped, and other problems exist, it may be wise to prevent further issues in the next school year. Inform the appropriate school officials i.e. teacher, psychologist and principal of your child’s diagnosis. Discuss what policies are already in place and what accommodations would be the best for your son or daughter. Being proactive at the beginning of something may provide better results.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community