COVID-19: Vaccine | Testing | Self-assessment | Patient & Visitor Safety | Visitor Policy
Emergency Room Wait Times
Home > Living Well > 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:
February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: John Pope MD - PediatricsKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineDavid A. Brent MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & David A. Brent MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.
Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.
Set Your Location
Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.