in
< New to Homeschooling? 
< Homeschooling Resources 
< About Us 
< Contact Us 

Homeschool Community

The site for all your home school needs

Bipolar Child

Last post 04-30-2012 5:31 PM by Seawhite7. 12 replies.
Page 1 of 1 (13 items)
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  • 01-19-2008 5:04 PM

    • pks
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-19-2008
    • Posts 3

    Bipolar Child

    I am so glad this part of the web site is finally up and running. I was wondering if there are any homeschoolers of bipolar children? I started homeschooling a 7 yr old daughter and 10 yr old son last year after bullying issues with my son at a new school. Shortly after we moved to a new state, and new school my son began suffering from depression, bullying at school and was diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety disorder. Prozac and therapy was started. After 4 mos., he became worse and we hospitalized for three days. After release, meds were increased and we had another diagnosis of ADHD. He had a very successful two months, and due to school issues errupting, we pulled him from the school a few days before the end of school and decided to call it a year. He played football and had a pretty good summer. It was at that time I decided to homeschool so as to not throw him back into extreme anxiety. Homeschooling was great with the meds for him. He was able to focus and learn and work. However at the same time of year, Nov, Dec. he began to go downhill into depression and anxiety. Long story-short, he was diagnosed Bipolas 2. We have been doing therepy , seeing a psychiatrist, and working with meds for bipolar for a month. He has had one set back after the holidays, and now is doing better. But my husband and I both know we are on a long road, with not real end in sight. Days of good, and days filled with hard. I am sad for my son, and what this must feel like for him. And for my family and how this is changing us. I would love to hear any ideas on homeschooling for BPs that anyone else is doing. I am a special education major and my husband is a therapist. So we know enough , but I know that ignorance is NOT bliss, and will take all the ideas I can wrap my mind around. Pamela
  • 01-20-2008 9:43 AM In reply to

    • a
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-28-2007
    • Posts 21

    Re: Bipolar Child

    HI Pamela!

     Boy does some of this sound so familiar!  I have 2 boys (3 & 11) both w/special needs (Joubert Syndrome - a rare genetic syndrome that affects the cerebellum' s dev. - leading to all kinds of issues...physically, mentally, emotional, sensory etc.)  They  have some autistic tendencies and boy do we deal w/emotions...all over the map!  My sister and cousin both have bipolar so I am very familiar w/that too.  I have also worked in the field as a behavior specialist and worked in the home, school and community settings with many bipolar kids/teens etc.  I have also been a teacher in both the priv. and public school.  I can honestly say that I have seen it all and experienced it as both professional and mom!  Homeschooling is a great gift that you are giving to your son.  I can tell you from our experience that each day will hold something different.  I have truly learned the art of being patient and flexible!  You are right...when working out in the field as a professional it is much different than when it is your own child. 

    As far as homeschooling goes...take your time with things and let them evolve naturally.  You will have to go w/the flow more often than not.  These kiddos can be unpredictable and therefore it is impt. that you can adapt to his needs as they change.  My son was bullied a lot both in school and on the bus.  This just added the stress and when he came home I had to deal with the major meltdowns...sometimes lasting all evening.  Many tears were shed (both he and I)  At the end of 1st gr. I decided enough was enough.  It was sad to see this happen to him and he just wasn't learning anything in such a stressful enviro.  So, we pulled him out and what a blessing it has been.  We had him work with a Play Therapist to help heal some of the bad feelings and get him to move on from this...he still will occasionally talk about certain kids that really bullied him.  For the 1st yr. of hs'ing we unschooled him (not forcing a curriculum and allowed for child directed learning to take place.)  We needed to establish a plan that first yr. and this gave us a good idea as to what he was interested in doing and how he learns...what his learning style was...what was he drawn to.  We kept up w/the basics and built upon what he was already learning but we did this in a very unschooly way.  John Holt is a great one to read about...he talks a lot about unschooling if you are really interested in more info.

     As time went on we gradually  implemented some curriculum work yet still remained flexible enough to adapt the materials and went at our own pace.  He has a big say in what he would like to learn.  I have found this approach to really help b/c he doesn't always like to be told what to do and shuts down then.  As he has gotten older he is better able to handle some of the requests (even if he really doesn't like it).  We study in short 15 min. spurts..this helps w/his frustration level and attention.  It is amazing how much we really do accomplish by the end of the school yr.  We live in a very regulated state and a lot of documentation is needed, as well as, evaluations etc.  I was really apprehensive at first about meeting the laws expectations etc.  But believe me...it can be done! 

    This opportunity is such a blessing!  When people ask my son if he likes hs'ing...he states :"No, I LOVE it!"  His reading has really developed (he didn't read anything in school...he had to attend a remedial reading class and hated it...he would often get the giggles w/another boy and they would just send them back to the classroom w/out their reading instruction...when I asked him why he did this he said b/c he knew he would get out of it and it embarrassed him to have to always read in front of the others...so he would laugh out loud uncontrollably and back to class he went...missing the lesson!)  See how smart these kids are!  Now there is no pressure and he is doing so much better b/c of that. 

     As long as your child is moving forward (even if it's baby steps!) then I would consider it progress.  Try not to compare him w/others.  Socially, my son has really blossomed too!  Everyone thought that b/c we were going to HS that his social skills would be lacking...just the opposite has happened.  He now attends an all day program on Th. called Open Connections.  It is like a co-op for homeschoolers.  Their philosophy there is child led learning...the facilitators offer up ideas and suggestions but ultimately the kids are leading the way.  It is amazing how he is making friends and connecting w/others that share similar past experiences.  These kids are amazing and have really embraced my son...he loves his Ventures class! (Mom likes it too b/c she gets a break! Don't forget to take care of YOU!)  They are currently working on a play, building a catapult, made from scratch wooden chairs etc. 

    HSI is a great place to meet others and it lets us know that we are not alone in this.  Find some community resources that seem to fit for your child, keep posting here on the forums, utilize the PER tools, read the Columns (Special needs, Special Joys!), check out the store and it's supplies.  It's like one-stop-shopping here!  Not a bunch of sites to navigate and get only bits and pieces of info. 

     I wish you much luck in your endeavors,

    ~a 

  • 01-21-2008 11:45 PM In reply to

    • pks
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-19-2008
    • Posts 3

    Re: Bipolar Child

    Thanks so much for the reply.  I appreciate you sharing your story with me.  I have really just been trying to gather as much info as possible so I can get a lot of ideas and options.  I am having to be super flexible with school with my son, but can't help feeling like we are falling behind.  And I suppose that is how it is going to be.  It is just so different from the way things used to be.  I had a son who really excelled in school from Kindergarten through 2nd grade, and changes didn't start until 3rd grade.  So it is like we had a thriving child, now a real set back, we didn't expect that.  But, God is good, and he is faithful. I know we will adjust and get over the hump.  Just takes time. 

    Thank you for sharing your time with me. 

     

    Pamela 

     

    Filed under: ,
  • 01-24-2008 7:28 PM In reply to

    • a
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-28-2007
    • Posts 21

    Re: Bipolar Child

    HI Pamela,

     You are welcome!  I am glad to have helped a bit.  I have learned to expect the unexpected...b/c that is usually what happens.  Since day 1 - as a parent, I have been thrown quite a few curve balls.  Here is something that I would like to share with you.  Enjoy!

    ~a

    Welcome To Holland

    I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It's like this...

    When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning for a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans.  The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrase in Italian.  It's all very exciting.

    After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You back your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands.  The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."  "Holland?!" you say.  "What do you mean, Holland?  I signed up for Italy!  All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

    But there's been a change in the flight plan.  They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.  The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease.  It's just a different place.  So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks, you must learn a whole new language, and you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

    It's just a different place.  It's slower paced than Italy and less flashy than Italy, but after you've been there for awhile and you catch your breath, you look around and begin to notice that Holland has windmills; Holland has tulips; Holland even has Rembrandts. 

    But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go.  That's where I was supposed to go.  That's what I had planned."

    The pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.  But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things about Holland.

    ~Anonymous

  • 01-25-2008 9:17 AM In reply to

    • pks
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on 01-19-2008
    • Posts 3

    Re: Bipolar Child

    Dear a, I just read your post on Welcome to Holland. I began to cry. I am even crying as I write this post. That is exactly how I feel right now. I didn't sign up for Holland. I would much rather be in Italy. I lost my first son to a very serious heart condition. I didn't want to be part of that club either. But, God blessed me with three more beautiful children. I know I have to enjoy "Holland". I just am grieving what could have been, should have been for my son and his life. Soooo, we will just take a different flight plan! And see what God has in store for him there. Thanks, Pamela
  • 01-25-2008 11:55 AM In reply to

    • a
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 11-28-2007
    • Posts 21

    Re: Bipolar Child

    I am glad that you liked it!  I am so sorry for your loss...I remember the days of sitting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (the NICU club)  and wishing so badly that I didn't have to experience any of it...but ultimately in the end we somehow emerged on the other side w/a new found strength and realization.  When times are tough and I find myself thinking too much about Italy...I just read this and it puts things right back into perspective.  I understand the grieving of "what could have been/should have been".  I am learning to "Love what is..."  

    Have you read any of the Columns here st HSI?  You can find them under the Community section.  One is called "Special Needs, Special Joys"  The title speaks for itself.  Are you involved in any support groups or other homeschooling groups?  If not, would you be interested in an online support group geared toward homeschooling families w/special needs children? 

    Hang in there and please keep posting!

    ~a

     

  • 02-12-2008 10:09 AM In reply to

    Re: Bipolar Child-my son is 14, doing well now!

    Filed under:
  • 04-05-2008 12:09 PM In reply to

    • evine
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-05-2008
    • Posts 9

    Re: Bipolar Child

    I certainly am interested in an on-line support group geared to special needs children.  I go to a Relatives as Parents support group and there is much help and feedback but I need extra more convenient feed back.  Since I office from my home and my computer is my friend, I could use the group.

  • 06-02-2008 10:33 PM In reply to

    • evine
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-05-2008
    • Posts 9

    Re: Bipolar Child

    This is absolutely worth repeating to the entire world and I plan to do so on www.e-vine.org. Thank you.  Thank you so much and may God richly bless you for sharing this with us. Gayla and Joshua

  • 06-02-2008 10:42 PM In reply to

    • evine
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on 04-05-2008
    • Posts 9

    Re: Bipolar Child

    Thank you so much for this valuable information.  Have we corresponded before?  You are such a wealth of information.  I would really like for you to consider joining our e-VINE team as a volunteer for e-Challengers.  I am the director of Special Needs for the site.  We are developing an interactive library to teach people from all walks of life regardless of disabilites that challenges are overcoming opportunities to be differently-ABLED.

    Please prayerfully consider helping contribute fun and educational ideas, programs, books...to entertain and teach our challengers. My personal e-mail is Gayla.Wingate@e-vine.org 

  • 04-30-2012 5:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Bipolar Child

    Wow, I thought I was the only one! My 12 year old adopted daughter has been diagnosed with PTSD and bipolar I. She has been with me since age 5. The end of August/September what we always thought we always wrote off and thought were "new school year jitters" have gotten worse each year. Until this year when she had a frank and complete manic breakdown and had to be hospitalized for a week. It has been a rocky year to say the least. Finding out which meds did n didnt work(thats a whole story on its own), and the changes we had to make with the whole family! It sounds like you have experienced this too. I strive to find happiness in whatwe have to work with, buti grieve for her and my family what we might have been without this... Thankfully our family is very open and accepting and understands that these children are not defective, just different. However her school was not at all helpful. Because with mania impulse control is the first to go and for girls it often the mouth where it shows most! In retrospect she was getting in trouble with mouthiness more at times because of the mania. (she's got a big mouth like all *** girls, but is generally a good kid), and our district is just not equipped to handle the type of special needs she has...and her education was really starting to suffer due to others kids being cruel because she is perceived as different, so we made the decision to opt for homeschool so we can have a more balanced family life and not sacrifice her education or have her shunted into a low expectation school program that would limit her opportunities in the future. In the end she has had so many hospitalizations this year that she has only kept up in school because we opted to homeschool this year. I have a sister and best friend who are bipolar so I'm not a stranger to it, but in a girl who is in the middle of puberty it is a real challenge. We are planning on continuing homeschooling next year because our district is really anti-helpful in this. My daughter is very bright but reacts very negatively to high pressure situations with severe anxiety, which exacerbates her condition. Her bipolar is more mixed manic presentation, and it is exhausting sometimes to deal with. But she is still my little girl and I want to nurture her intellect (she is very smart) as well as help her learn how to understand and manage her ilness, and grow up to be a positive member of society. I worry about her future like all parents, and want to give her the best chance she can get to realize her dreams. Homeschool has proven to be the best way to do that. This last year we have done a primarily online based curriculum (it's a public school from home program) called Connections Academy. I have been very pleased with the setup and teacher support for myself and my student. The portability has been essential to her keeping up this year (thank Goodness for laptops). But as she is entering junior high we are probably going to opt for another local program that has a bit more enrichment activities and social opportunities. I am looking forward to finding out more about the specific curriculum this week, and will be happy to share what I learn. I would love to hear other people's experiences and strategies for keeping our attention challenged kids engaged and excited about learning, so they can look forward to the same milestones as others, ie. going to college, career goals, etc.
  • 04-30-2012 5:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Bipolar Child

    Wonderful thoughtful analogy. It's time to stop and smell the tulips.
  • 04-30-2012 5:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Bipolar Child

    Dont know why it put ***in there -it was just an age bracket identifier?
Page 1 of 1 (13 items)
Home School, Inc 2007