I love that I have decided to integrate my parenting stories and anecdotes into this site. It is too tedious to compartmentalize everything I share, plus I feel like I am dividing who I am into pieces. I am a writer. I am a wife and a creative soul. I am a mother. And beyond that, I am a mother with a special needs child. Today I am sharing a little bit in response to an old Master Class prompt:
And, as a new twist, you are welcome to choose any line from any one of your original stories to use as the inspiration for your submission.
I have noticed an increase in attention towards children who are growing up with bipolar disorder. This includes the ways that it can affect many aspects of their life such as school, friendships, and family. Without proper understanding and support, many of these children receive; disruptive, class clown, bully.
They are often punished for behaviors they are unable to control. They may bully other children or be otherwise aggressive. This aggression may alienate other students and make developing friendships impossible. The biggest impact is at home, though, where the environment can become chaotic and exhausting.
When a child has a disorder like bipolar (for example), it can make school stressful for many reasons. When their needs are carefully considered they can both thrive and excel in the classroom. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP), with clearly defined goals and accommodations, can help them to be successful.
A large classroom may prove to be an overwhelming environment, so the IEP may call for a smaller classroom setting. Other accommodations may include an aide, frequent breaks, and a reward program.
Once an IEP is in place, helping a child with bipolar disorder socialize becomes a little easier. Some accommodations to consider might be small groups, extended test times, and reward systems. When children work in small groups, he or she will have a greater chance of connecting with another student. Smaller groups cause less anxiety and stimulation. Parents and staff should work together to add other accommodations as needed.
After-school activities like scouts, sports and craft clubs can be beneficial. If held in familiar places, such as a friend’s home or a local park, it may work even better. Activities that repeat on a regular basis will help you to build a comfortable routine.
Caregivers can nurture budding friendships by planning play dates. when they are well rested and in good spirits.
A child with bipolar disorder can make a household chaotic if parents are not proactive. Even more so than typical children, they have a strong desire for structure. Parents can provide structure with a set routine and daily schedule. Once these routines are established children will be less anxious wondering what comes next.
Another great practice is using positive redirection and positive reinforcement. Sticker charts that are tallied up for escalating prizes as the number of earned stickers increase work well. Methods like these foster confidence and self-esteem rather than triggering the “fight or flight” response.
While it is clear that bipolar disorder affects every aspect of a child’s life, it can be managed. The benefits of quality care for pediatric mental illness are immeasurable. We have the potential to reduce both juvenile crime and suicide statistics. By sharing the reality of pediatric mental illness, we can help more parents and professionals. Become educated on the different ways to manage this disorder and help our children to grow into healthy, happy adults.
I am not a medical professional. I am simply a parent who has been through it all and I am finding normal for my family.
Until next time, scribe happy and stay sassy,