My son was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when he was 6 1/2 years old. Prior to his diagnosis he had difficulty socializing in school and would have rages that I never saw at home. He was always a perfectionist and a pleaser. If he felt he was doing everything you wanted and was to his expectations he never had any problems. It was when he felt he displeased or didn’t meet someone else’s expectations that he would self implode and end up exploding.
There were many times I received calls from the school because he had lost control in the classroom. They finally did psychological tests and found that he was highly intelligent and actually capable of working 2-3 years ahead but because of the rages he got to the point that he was one episode away from being expelled from school in the 1st grade. It did not make sense to me. They tried to tell me, “There’s nothing wrong with him. He’s just smart.” I responded, “A smart child does not pick up a chair and throw it across the room for answering a hypothetical question incorrectly.” The school Psychologist responded, “There is no right answer to a hypothetical question though.” I looked right at her and said, “Exactly my point.” If he did not get the acknowledgement to his answer to a question the teacher had directly asked him, and they just moved on to the next student he would assume that his answer what “wrong”. If the teacher took the time to just respond and say something like, “Thank you for that answer.” or just took a few seconds to acknowledge the response, he knew he was heard.
Once I knew what it was that my son was dealing with, I educated myself on the topic the best I could and worked closely with doctors, administrators, other parents, and teachers to ensure that my son received the education he deserved. While at the same time, I educate others on what these children require to be successful in addition to the medication they may need. The best explanation I can give is if a classroom was on the second floor and a student was in a wheelchair we would need to make sure they had a lift of sorts to get to class. A special needs child of any level has their needed “lifts” that may be acquired or supplied to make them successful. We need to put together a “tool box” for them so they have what they need to succeed in life after school as well.
After 10 years of working with the schools and medical professionals I am happy to say that my son is currently managing his disorder naturally with no medications. He definitely has his tough days but we have given him the “tools” he needed to tackle those days head on. He will always have his struggles unfortunately, but now I am very confident that he will be able to analyze the issue and be able to handle it properly. These children just need our support and guidance. Not all children will be able to do it without medication but with the right guidance you won’t need to over medicate them.