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Educating Children with Mood Disorders

There could be worse things in the world, but nothing seems to beat your child being diagnosed with an incurable or debilitating illness like a mood disorder. At first you don’t understand why your baby is behaving so erratically; you try everything from punishment to rewards, but their behavior doesn’t change because it’s neurological; and then when you finally hear the diagnosis, you’re hit with a pain so unbearable and that feels like it will never go away. But you cope as best as you can; with medication and a good support system, you protect your child and keep them away from harm and the judgmental eyes of society. But what happens when they become old enough to start school? How do you take care of their academic needs?

  • Home schooling: One option is to homeschool them; you take on the responsibility for their learning and you guide them through their lessons. On the plus side, you’re able to understand your child’s moods and abilities better than any teacher will, which means that you are in the best position to teach him/her. Also, this move prevents them from having to face ridicule from other children and punishment from adults who don’t understand their illness. But on the negative side, your child may be at a disadvantage when it comes to relating to society as a whole as they grow up. They may find it hard to learn to be normal in the presence of strangers and people who they must interact with in their day-to-day life.
  • Special schools: Most parents prefer to take this route because the teachers are specially trained in dealing with and educating children with special needs. Besides, with all the children being similar, your child does not feel like a stranger or have trouble fitting in. The problem with these schools however is that your child may find it hard to cope in situations where they are not paid special attention and where they are considered one among the rest.
  • Regular schools: If your child is able to cope in such a setting and if the teachers are capable of bringing out the best in your child, this is the most ideal kind of educational environment you can expose your child to. Because they’re exposed to the real world when young, they’re able to adjust to it better when they become adults and have to work for a living. But this move could backfire if your child is subject to ridicule from other children and teachers or is too moody to fit in.

Children with bipolar disorder are extremely gifted in certain areas, but because they have trouble concentrating and appear anxious and moody at times, they do not fit in regular classrooms. Also, they may have certain learning disabilities and behavioral problems; so if teachers are not prepared to cope, your child could be at a disadvantage. Every child with mood disorders is different, and as a parent, you know what’s best for your child. So exercise caution in choosing the right education environment that suits your child’s personality.