Posted by: Danita Carlyle | 2009-05-26

Bipolar child

I have a bipolar child aged 9 and I would like to know what are his rights in a mainstream school. Are they allowed to expell him should he have an outrage. The school has no remedial teachers and I am now being called to the school when something goes wrong because they are scared he is going to harm someone? What are our rights?

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Our expert says:
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Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder in a child as young as 9 is highly controversial and difficult, and I would n ot accept such a diagnosis easily, unless it had been made by at least 2 experienced child psychiatrists or child psychologists. It is not a diagnosis to be made by GPs, teachers, or others. And it is essential to identify and work with the behaviour problems associated with it ( these can be well managed with a psychologist's insight ) and tio be sure that this is a genuine, chemical Bipolar Disorder rather than primarily a behaviour disorder.
If he does have such a disorder, and it is being properly treated and managed, then of course no child should be expelled for a genuine medical disorder which is being competently treated. Most schools do not have remedial teachers, but the Dept of Education should have some responsibility to making such advice available to children in need of it. If there is a real of perceived risk of your child harming someone, that needs investigation in its own right by a child shrink, and is notm usually associated with bipolar disorder.

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