Helping a student with Bi-Polar Disorder access a general education is a cooperative effort between school, parents and student. The following lists give suggestions for helping a student with Bi-Polar Disorder access a general education.

School accommodations and responsibilities:

  • Assign a safe place where the student can regroup and calm down- preferably a place where the student can talk with someone easily
  • Reduce homework loads or give extended time on homework especially when students energy levels are low
  • Late start time if student has excessive morning fatigue
  • Allow student access to water and rest, especially after physical activity
  • Give student options of less competitive physical activity
  • Extended time on exams
  • Use of calculator for math
  • Allow unlimited access to the bathroom
  • Educate staff about Bi-Polar Disorder and about medication side effects
  • Maintain a low stressed school environment

Parent Involvement:

  • Work cooperatively with school personnel
  • Assist your child in maintaining a healthy diet and getting proper rest
  • Help child find balance in all areas of life
  • If under the care of a physician, assist your child in following all doctor’s orders
  • Maintain a low stressed home environment
  • Provide routine structure and a great deal of freedom within limits
  • Assist your student with homework assignments
  • Inform the school, when possible, that your child is moving into a manic or depressive state

Student self-management strategies and responsibilities:

  • Work cooperatively with parents and school in relationship to agreed upon accommodations
  • As per doctor’s order, take all medications as prescribed
  • Age appropriate-learn and use self-management strategies such as:
    1. Maintain a health life style
    2. Stay away from alcohol and other drugs
    3. Stay busy and active
    4. Recognize triggers that swing the student into a manic or depressive state
    5. Gain support from family and friends

*** These are not complete lists of suggestions or accommodations, but they are suggested ideas used by parents, teachers and students to help the student access a general education.