Classroom Students with Bipolar Depression or Bipolar disorder are brain disorders involving severe mood changes, behavior, thinking, and energy levels. When this happens to children, it must be considered seriously as these mood fluctuations may affect their school life adversely.
Children with bipolar disorder are always at risk for school failure and classroom misbehavior.
If they are given good support in the classroom, such children can be stable in behavior and successful in their studies.
Supporting Classroom Students with Bipolar Depression
Since bipolar disorder affects all aspects of a student’s life, the concerned adults’ coordinated effort is necessary to help the student be a success.
The adults’ team must include the teacher, parents, family members, psychiatrist, and special education teacher (if available).
Of all these members, the teacher’s role is most important in handling the student’s behavior in the class.
The skills that make a teacher successful with normal students are essential when dealing with bipolar disorder. The teacher of the bipolar disorder student must have the following qualities:
- Patience is enough to ignore or forgive minor negative behaviors from the student.
- Encourage and praise the student for even minor positive behavior.
- The ability to be calm.
- Good conflict management skills to resolve conflicts positively.
- Capacity for acceptance to work in a close relationship with the parents and doctor of the student.
- Be aware of the child’s medication changes (for that, a good rapport with the parents is necessary).
- During times of class change, the teacher must be in good coordination with the new teacher.
Strategies for Classroom Students with Bipolar Depression
Students with bipolar depression are very vulnerable to the stress that can easily overwhelm their coping skills, so it is important to avoid stressful situations. Good communication between school and home is essential.
The school needs to inform parents regularly about the progress in education, and the parents should inform the school regularly about the changes in illness or medication. During a manic mood, children may react violently to everything.
At this time, the teacher should divert the student’s extra energy by engaging in physical activities that help release the excess energy.
When the child is in a depressed or sad mood, the teacher may have to cut short assignments. The student should not be penalized for tiredness, and the teacher must provide all support to contain the situation effectively.
Sometimes the mere question “what happened to you?” will be enough for the student to get back on track. A good teacher must identify such situations.
Thus, with appropriate support from the school and teaching staff, students with bipolar disorder can complete their education and become productive citizens.