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. The best thing is to talk to their teacher to explain the symptoms of this brain disorder. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Children with bipolar may be extra sensitive to what they believe is criticism – and their mood will dominate how they perceive directions from a teacher. This may result in a defensive and defiant reaction.
Changes in cognition
Teachers and parents should be on the lookout for any fluctuations in the child’s cognitive abilities, difficulty with organizing or using abstract reasoning. Changes in his concentration, alertness or processing speed may occur throughout the school week and may even reflect the overall mood stability of the child with bipolar. These symptoms can affect both his behavior and academic performance.
Because of these changes in cognition, children can be easily frustrated and discouraged because regular tasks can seem more difficult than for a child without bipolar. Along with irritation, their self-esteem can also suffer and this can easily lead to a spiral into depression.
When at school children with bipolar disorder may appear distressed that is out of proportion to actual events, crying for any real reason and could also be inconsolable when upset. Trying to reason with these children during this irrational period usually doesn’t work.
Pay attention or talk to your child’s teacher to find out if your son or daughter is having problems making or keeping friends and how he or she is getting along with schoolmates. Many times stigma of mental health issues can result in isolation for children with bipolar disorder. This can lead very quickly to anxiety or a depressive episode.
Higher than normal anxiety
Typically children with bipolar suffer from extremely high levels of anxiety. This usually interferes with their ability to make sense of a situation. This could then easily develop into frustration and an emotional outburst.
Being exhausted, which in turn leads to anxiety and fragile moods, could be caused by either medication side effect or from sleep issues at home. Some common side effects of mood regulating medication can include tiredness, headaches, tremors or a change in appetite.
Meds at school
If your child needs to take his bipolar medication during the day, and at school, speak with the school’s nurse to make him/her aware of this fact and also find out if there is someone available to administer the medication to your child if needed. Depending on the age or issues of your child, this may be needed on a daily basis. You’ll need to make his teachers aware of some of the side effects, and ask for accommodations for your child to have access to something to drink and to get to a washroom.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community