Problems with the School System and Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and Brain Injury

Updated on April 14, 2012
G.M. asks from Erath, LA
12 answers

Im looking for mom's who are struggling with the school system with their children who suffer from these or any other disorder or disabilities. Seems like I have been going at it with the school system in one way or another for 13 years. When it comes to my child with the brain injury I have some back up in the way of a behavioral/treatment team that works with me through an agency, but not with the other two. Believe me if you have a liason in a meeting with you the educational staff acts very different than when you are alone. Schools are too quick to put this children out of school, have them arrested or put on homebound or an alternative school if these children have problems. Easier to put them out than deal with them. Do you know that only 35% of children with emotional disorders will graduate. Im starting to understand why, its very frustrating working with the school system. Im looking for what works or doesnt work with some people. What doesnt work for you might work for someone else. My son who suffers from Bipolar Disorder had an outburst in class in October, I pulled him onto home bound at that time becuase due to other issues he could have been expelled if he had another big problem in school. He was manic at the time and I thought it was best. It has been three months and I went to try to put him back into school. He wants to go back in and I've asked the principal to give him another chance to see if he cna handle the remainder of the year. He is 16. His outburst consisted of him yelling in the classroom (it was inappropriate and I didnt realize his agitation was a sign that he was becoming manic) He was given a 5 day suspension and given his condition I took him out at that time. Its been a week and i have no decision yet. He had no other classroom problems this year, other than an incident of talking. He had two uniform violations (pants were on the waist where he got lunch detention). I have a feeling Im going to have a fight on my hands because I haven't heard from them yet. I tried to tell the principal that the outburst was due to him being manic and its not an excuse Im just explaining what its like for someone with bipolar disorder. I even had a book with me to show him. He more or less said something about me using it as a crutch..its not a crutch its fact. I think IM awaiting their decision but would like to hear from anyone if you've had similar issues and what you did about it. Thanks

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answers from Shreveport on

I wish I had some advice....I have a nine yr. old son with severe ADHD and it seems that the school contantly picks on him as well.......if you do find somthing out PLEASE let me know.....Thanks

V. M.

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answers from New Orleans on

I am a special education teacher and I just want to know do you know your sons rights? I am elementary and I do not think it is any different for middle or highschool. If he is not classified as special education you need to get him classified now. Once you make the move if you have documentation of what you are saying he will be under the umbrella of special ed until it is official (usually takes a while for them to complete all of their formal evaluations). I am saying this because if all of his behavior is due to the disorder they cannot suspend him for more than TEN days the entire year. Not ten at a time, but in all. They also cannot kick him out of school for his behavior. Even if he brings a gun to school he cannot be kicked out if it is part of his disorder where as a regular ed student will be kicked out. If he is special ed, and I mean classified as not necessarily in the special ed classes, and they are threatening kicking him out or have been suspended at home for more than ten days this year, you might want to get a lawyer they are breaking the law. He can however be suspended in school for as many days as they want. As for the lawyer there are some out there that I am not sure how but you do not have to pay for it. Talk with your agency if they can provide you with information on the lawyer. If you need anymore informaion please email me [email protected]
Hope this helps and good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Shreveport on

Hi G.,

I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome (closely related to high-functioning Autism) and we are having school issues at the moment. I don't know what parish you are in but you need to contact your local Families Helping Families and get an advocate to go with you to school meetings (this is a free service). I graduated last year from Partners in Policymaking (a state funded training for people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities). I learned alot about how the laws and schools work, however, I don't know everything yet!!!! I do know that your son CAN NOT be expelled for behavior related to his disability, that is against the law. He can be suspended, but only for 10 days per school year (for behavior related to his disability). Another very good source is the LADisability Talk chat group. I am always seeing information coming across related to kids with mental disorders and bi-polar and such. It is a yahoo group. If you want the link, please let me know and I will be happy to send it to you. These are people who are very knowledgable about the school systems and Louisiana laws regarding kids with disabilities.

I am right now going through something similar where they are trying to move my son to another classroom. They are just tired of dealing with him (my opinion). First, they cannot move him without parent permission and this discussion has to take place with the IEP team and all must agree before it can happen. I am taking an advocate from FHF to make sure they are doing everything the law says they must do and provide all the things the law says they must provide. Your child has rights and you, as a parent, have rights. Get to know them. They are powerful tools and make the schools do what they are required to do by law!!! Please contact me if you would like further information!

Please know that #1, special education is NOT a place, it is a service that is provided for children who need it. Also know that if you are not already covered by special education, you do need to request this. Someone else stated that it takes them a while to complete paperwork, but they actually only have 60 days. They will tend to push it to the limit, but if you stay on it and keep reminding them to get it done, it will go faster. I told them that if I had to camp on the doorstep and visit everyday to get it done, then I would certainly do it! You are your child's best advocate. You are his best voice. You know him best, never let them tell you that what you want for your child cannot be done. Another excuse that is common, but illegal is "we don't have the funds". The budget is not your problem, nor is it your child's. There are special education dollars that are returned EVERY YEAR to the federal government. This is money that goes UNUSED for our special education programs. Funds are there and they can be gotten, they just have to do it. If your child is entitled to it, then they must provide it. I am in Shreveport and my biggest concern is the lack of training for our teachers. There is a serious break-down in the school system when teachers are not properly prepared to teach our children. Children are entitled to gain their education in the LEAST RESTRICTIVE ENVIRONMENT and that is in a classroom of their peers (a regular ed class, if you will). Inclusion is coming faster and faster and schools are required to include children and if that is the case, why are they not trained and prepared to handle this?

OK, enough of my soapbox! LOL...please contact me and I can get you in touch with people that can help you. My email is [email protected]

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I use to work for TIRR (Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) in the medical center. This facility deals with spinal cord and brain injury patients. They have an extensive pediatric program. I use to work for the doctor that was the director of the pediatric program. Contact them regarding the behavior of your child and education issues. They should be able to help you with ways to deal with the school and with your child's behavior. They also have other programs there to help deal with the other disorders that your child has. I highly recommend them. They do wonderful things with these kids and their parents. They also have support groups for the parents. Good Luck J.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on


I suffer from Bi-Polar disordar as well as disorder was not discovered until I was in my mid twenties, so I struggled with school, especially in the conduct department. My parents were told that I was "socially mature" but I always knew that there was something "wrong" with me. I am on 2 med's for my bi-polar, and they have worked like magic. I did not suffer from public outbursts, but I did distroy personal relationships with my anger and resentments. My relationship with my parents struggled for a long time. Anyway, it is SOOOO important for your son to be on THE RIGHT medication's. I have a friend who is bi-polar and she is on over 10 med's, which is ridiculous! I hope that your son's phyciatrist is not just dispinsing medication to him for the heck of it, and instead is properly medicating him with the least possible amount of drugs. IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR YOUR SON TO STAY ON HIS MED'S. I can not tell you how vital it is for your son's stability and peace of mind to take his medication properly.

I feel that if your son was being medicated properly, he would not have these "outburts" and would not get adjitated so easily. This is not your fault...please understand may want to take your son to another doctor for a second opinion. Your son may be having some other issues that are affecting his mood. It is important to be gentle with him and try to coax out his feelings. He needs to talk and it sounds like there is a lot of anger deep inside of him. I know, b/c I have been there.

The school system's are not equiped to handle situations such as yours, and unfortunately some children get kicked to the curb b/c of something such as what happend with your son. Our teachers are over stressed and our schools are overcrowded therefore some children fall through the gaps. You must be tough and very active at your son's school in order for him to get the attention he deserves. If you are present at his school and demanding to speak with the principal, then they will listen. If you don't do anything, they won't either. The school's have WAY to many students with parents who are not involved with their child's edjucation and the school's just assume that until a parent is active in the school, then they don't have to do anything!

I give you my support and prayers...hang in have your hands full...but just know that there IS a solution, you just have to seek it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Alexandria on

I say why put yourself or your children through all the aggravation of dealing with the schools. Why not just homeschool them or have someone come in to teach them. The state may even pay for it. God bless you. I know it is a very hard position to be in for you and your children. And children can be so cruel to those with disabilities. I have one also. I am teaching her with a program online.
It is very inexpensive and she loves it. Take care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Monroe on

I have a child with ADHD, ODD and three learning disabilities. Since he was in the second grade I've had to fight with the school system and trust me it hasn't been pretty. I feel as though in some way I have let my child down. We had an incident where my son was standing in the corner in time out for talking in the library (about 4 other classes were present). Well, a teacher's aid that assisted his class from time to time came in and asked why he was in the corner. Then she proceeded to where he was standing and told him to turn around and started pinching on him in the chest area and when she got ready to pinch him in his groan area he pushed her hands away from his groan area. She lost her balance and caught on to the table. She pulled herself back up and begin delivering blows to him in the chest area. The Board of Education dismissed the charges and re-instated him back into school. She refused to come either one of the Board's hearings and went to the Juvenile Center and issued a petition out on my son. The judge and the court appointed attorney said straight off that they didn't want to hear anything about his disorders (that that's all we do is use our children disabilities as crutches and that he was guilty). She never took time out to talk to Jay one on one or anything. Aftre that episode I thought that moving to a little small town would be the key but we all know of the 'Outsiders aren't Welcome' treatment. My son was recently expelled from school for fighting with two boys who were picking with him. Well, the school here calls the police and have all of them arrest. Then that next Monday we get up, get ready he goes to the library, then to work with me. I had a 2 p.m. doctor's appointment. I dropped him off around 12:30 p.m. back at the library and he leaves the library @ 2:56 p.m. His aunt and uncle picks him up as he's leaving the library at this time. On this same day the two boys state that at 1:15 p.m. my son came up to them and pulled a gun out on them and told them that he was ready for them. The police never contacted me about this but about two days later I find a gun laying out in my yard. I brought it in to the police station where I work by the way and find out about the two boys claiming that Jay pulled a gun out on them. Then one of the boys walk by every day doing his hand like a gun at my mother and I. I just haven't told anyone because I feel as though it would only make things worst. My boss wouldn't believe me because see the 'Outsiders' treatment is also how I'm treated. I just feel as though it is a no win situation. The lady at the library told me that my son didn't leave until 2:56 p.m. because she remembered when he signed out. I just feel helpless so, I really know what you are going through. There have been times when all I can do is sit and cry. I know that, that doesn't make it better but I'm just lost on what to do next for my child. When you advocate for your child you're consider a troubled parent and the system both law and education tie your hands in situations such as these.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on comforting to know I'm not the only mom out there who thinks that the school system is completely not wired for kids with certain special needs! My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 4 and has been on meds ever since. Now that he is 8 I am in a constant battle with myself about whether or not I should just homeschool him. Having been a Pre-Kindergarten teacher for 5 years I know I could do it and often get frustrated with the school system for not even attempting to provide learning for ALL learning styles. It seems as though they want him to "sit still, be quiet and do a worksheet". He is so bright and creative and more than socially adept so I would hate to take that away from him, but I really feel that his self-esteem is being affected by being labeled the "bad kid" for always getting warnings and notes sent home. I know the teachers can only do what they can in a class with 20 something other kids but I would love to find a way for him to be who he is...outgoing, curious and fidgety without being constantly told to sit down and be quiet. I really am looking into homeschool but with a new baby on the way I may have to postpone that for a year! It's great to be able to vent and read all of your situations and ideas! Good luck to you all!



answers from Sherman on

I understand your issues with the school system over your children.I have also had some problems with my children at school.I have a daughter with Bipolar disorder,a son that is MR(he is 13 and has the mental capacity of a 5 year old)and a son that has ADHD and also possibly has Bipolar disorder as well.My 13 year old struggles every single day at school and he either gets in trouble on a daily basis or comes home crying and upset because other kids pick on him every day.Nothing seems to get done to the other kids that are picking on him,just my son.Sometimes I think it would be easier to home school but then on the other hand they need socialization.I wish you the best of luck.



answers from Houston on

My 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with bipolar and extreme anxiety about to months ago. She rages to extreme measures of fighting everyone throwing things and panics as well screaming where she is trying to escape the school we are just starting our journey. She started medicine about a month ago. The school pretended to be patient and understanding and I went and did all the tests and got the diagnosis and all and then after all that they chose to send her to alternative school yesterday day one where she couldn't handle the change of people it caused her anxiety and she was put out of alternative school. I have asked about them testing her special classes and whatever With your son I feel you do have a fight on your hands because one outburst and them not letting him in have you thought about talking to an attorney not like to sue for money but that is horrible that they are causing him to not be in school and could be held back. That is what we are facing. I am a mom that goes to war I say don't hold back go all the way . We as parents with children with Mental illness of any kind have to stand up so our kids can be seen and heard.



answers from Shreveport on

I have a 13 year old boy who has been diagnosed with ADHD and may also be bipolar. We have struggled with the school system since he was 4 years old. He was diagnosed in 1st grade. I can definately sympathize with you. I have gotten no help whatsoever from the school system and agree with you completely. I realize now that i probably should have home schooled him since he does much better with one on one. I was told once that he needed an IEP at school, but when I asked the school about it they acted like they didn't know what I was talking about. That was a while back though maybe you could try that if you haven't already. It's an Individualized Education Program. I was told that kids with ADHD often benefit from having that in school. I think our area just didn't have it at the time. Maybe they do now.



answers from Fayetteville on

sorry to hear you are haven problems to,,,ive got a daughter that has migrans alot ,,an i had to pull her out because of a teacher ,,,saying stuff about her all the time ,,an she made it hard on my daughter ,,so i pulled her out to home school her an to see if she cant just go for her GED an take classes for her ged ,,,decatur schools ,,suck,,,sorry to say it but its true...

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