Bipolar Student in Math and Science Class Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

ability of a bipolar student to learn concepts in the subjects of Math and Science in the general classroom setting

According to sources retrieved from the American Medical Journal, bipolar disorder refers to the psychiatric diagnosis for a mood disorder. Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder undergo various symptoms such as experiencing episodes of a frenzied state whose medical term is mania (or hypomania). This medical condition typically alternates with episodes of depression. Doctor Annabel Hathaway, a senior psychologist at the University of Stanford, children suffering from bipolar disorders have high intelligence quotient and commendable talents. However, they may have difficulties in coordinating their reflexes and reaction time. They also experience difficulties making transitions, and they may as well have co-morbid syndromes that that render them anxious, inattentive, distractible, moody, argumentative, and withdrawn. Likewise, bipolar disorders may render such children acute and perfectionist.

Psychologists explain that children with bipolar disorders have dissociative learning disabilities and cognitive difficulties to learn in the traditional classroom; they have a problem organizing and breaking down concepts to accomplish specific tasks. The rational for choosing this topic, therefore, is to identify how these learning disabilities and co-morbid conditions complicate the acquisition of knowledge by affected students. The goal is to lay out students' adjustment to academic demands in light of bipolar disorder.

Case Study

The subject, Rylan, is an eighth-grader diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), early onset bipolar disorder (BD), writing difficulties, oppositional tendencies, and social problems. His behaviour often leads to conflicts with his peers, teacher frustration, classroom disruptions, and poor academic performance. His teachers are struggling to find the most plausible means of helping his learning process. There are escalating concerns of his misbehaviour since earlier this particular school year. He often experiences episodes of mood swings, he is short tempered, and he comes out as a pathological liar. His teachers complain that is very moody, argumentative, and withdrawn. He is involved in fights all the time. Upon discovering Rylan's diagnoses, doctors advised his teachers on how to help him by developing and implementing a 504 plan. Through a series of collaborative prevention measures, Rylan was able to get help by learning outside of the traditional classroom setting.

Article Summaries

Elizabeth Chesno Grier, Megan L. Wilkins, and Carolyn Ann Stirling Pender: Bipolar Disorder: Educational Implications for Secondary Students

According to this article, early-onset bipolar disorder severely impairs the ability of a student to learn in the traditional classroom setting. This disorder causes students' ability to focus to wane, usually according to the season. This article underscores s the importance of early diagnosis to help children cope with the learning disabilities that come with that. The authors urge educators to realize that children with this disorder need special accommodations in order to learn. They believe that while creating the learning module for students with bipolar disorder, it is important to keep in mind that each child has a different academic, emotional, and social strengths and weaknesses. As such, the educational needs of specific students may vary significantly. This article aims at helping teachers, parents, and the educational team relieve the strain for children struggling with such disorders, and to guarantee a comfort level, which would allow them to learn, excel, and benefit in the learning environment.

The authors further declare that administrators have a unique chance to offer guidance to teachers and staff members who work directly with children with bipolar disorders to facilitate better learning. In an attempt to provide this support, the article urges administrators to continue seeking information regarding bipolar disorders. This, in turn, helps teachers and other school staff members to support learning for children with this disorder. It also helps in identifying and designing the most plausible intervention techniques. To aid learning for students with bipolar disorders, it is essential to consult with parents for purposes of supporting their need to deal with educational issues. It is also imperative to liaise with community providers and school staff members to de-stigmatize those suffering from mental health problems. The authors compile the following case study involving Rylan who has early onset bipolar disorder among other mental conditions.

Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation: Educational Issues Facing Children with Bipolar Disorder

This article begins by acknowledging that bipolar disorder is a hereditary mental condition. Individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder undergo various symptoms such as experiencing episodes of a frenzied state whose medical term is mania (or hypomania). This medical condition typically alternates with episodes of depression (The Balanced Mind Foundation). According to this article, children suffering from bipolar disorders have high intelligence quotient and commendable talents. It offers tips on how learning centres can support the needs of children suffering from bipolar disorders by ensuring they are physically comfortable in the classroom, reinforcing positive behavior as appropriate, and helping them with social skills development. This is very helpful during episodes of instability. The journal stipulates the importance for teachers to understand this disorder by learning how to treat the learners who suffer from it; they should learn separately from the normal students to enable the teachers to maintain a low-stress learning environment. Teachers would then maintain low-emotional response towards the learners. Since they often feel overwhelmed by seemingly ordinary challenges, it is crucial to provide a designated "safe" learning environment where these students can find refuge in times of emotional crisis (The Balanced Mind Foundation).

The Balanced Mind Foundation: Bipolar Disorder and Learning

According to the Balanced Mind Foundation, students suffering from bipolar disorders may have difficulties in coordinating their reflexes and reaction time. This article also notes that they also experience difficulties making transitions, and they may as well have co-morbid syndromes that that render them anxious, inattentive, distractible, moody, argumentative, and withdrawn. Likewise, bipolar disorders may render such children acute and perfectionist. Psychologists explain that children with bipolar disorders have dissociative learning disabilities and cognitive difficulties to learn in the traditional classroom; they have a problem organizing and breaking down concepts to accomplish specific tasks (The Balanced Mind Foundation).

Bipolar disorders at times lead to reading and writing disabilities. Reading disability compromises the development of certain skills such as word recognition, memory, decoding, and symbol-sound recognition. As a result, the learner's comprehension diminishes. Most learners with bipolar disorders, therefore, require intensive remedial reading interventions for like Project Read, Orton-Gillinghan or Lindamood-Bell. This underscores the need for separating them from the normal learning environment. On the other hand, writing disabilities cause difficulties with sentence syntax and grammar, letter formation, misspellings, sentence structure, and grammar since writing requires organizational, visual/spatial, and motor sequence skills (The Balanced Mind Foundation).

The Balanced Mind Foundation: An Educator's Guide to Pediatric Bipolar Disorder

In this article, The Balanced Mind Foundation offers insight to educators who deal with children with dissociative learning disabilities caused by bipolar disorders. Teachers must understand that the seemingly frustrating or objectionable behavioral tendencies that students with bipolar disorder display are not signs of willful misconduct; they are indicators of neurological instability in the brain. Understanding the organic or genetic nature of a particular bipolar disorder helps people to appreciate the degree to which the physiology of the brain directly affects behavioral tendencies such as memory lapses and impaired judgment. Presently, scientists are documenting cognitive conditions associated with bipolar disorder, using progressively sophisticated neuro-imaging technology (The Balanced Mind Foundation).

This psychological discourse informs educators that bipolar disorders often cause mathematical problems in students so that they have problems in application of mathematical concepts along with difficulties with computation. Since mathematics requires acute sequencing, memory, problem solving, visual, and language skills, as well as a sturdy capacity to comprehend spatial relationships, learners with mathematical problems can have troubles in any or all of the aforementioned areas (The Balanced Mind Foundation).

Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation: Educating the Child with Bipolar Disorder

This article highlights a few tips for educators dealing with students with bipolar disorders. It states that though it is important to separate bipolar students from the normal learners, this need not be the case. They could very easily learn together but this calls for teachers with specific attributes such as patience, flexibility, receptivity, perfect conflict management skills, coping mechanisms, and the ability to laugh in the worst situations. Educators must learn how to tolerate minor negative behaviors. Instead of reprimanding them, they should adopt more tolerable approaches such as encouraging patience and open-mindedness (Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation 1). According to the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation, the most important way of dealing with students with bipolar tendencies is not necessary separating them from others but being a model of the most desirable behaviour. The article further highlights the need for educators to possess good conflict management skills, which helps in resolving conflict with less confrontational means. Finally yet importantly, the article highlights what it regards as the most essential demeanour a teacher ought to possess: receptivity to change. Educators must be flexible and open-minded; they must not be impulsive for the sakes of the students (Child & Adolescent…

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