Question: As a teacher, what signs of bipolar disorder can I look for in my students and what steps of intervention can I take?
Answer: As a teacher, the signs and symptoms that one would look for and then the interventions that one would be wanting to put into the classroom depend, again, on what type of symptoms the person with bipolar disorder is exhibiting.
For most people that's depressive symptoms, so again being aware of your students' moods and particularly for something that's out of the ordinary. So, someone who had previously been doing well that, all of a sudden, they become isolated, not partaking in school activities or classroom activities, would be certainly a warning sign. And particularly, if someone's grades were declining, that would be really a red flag to be looking and wondering what else is going on with that child.
In the case of manic symptoms, one would notice that, all of a sudden, someone who maybe wasn't so energetic was spending more time very energized, very excitable, perhaps talking excessively -- those would be things that one might notice in the classroom.
And then interventions, most appropriately, would be to involve the discussion with the parents, depending on the age of the child, the student -- him or herself -- and then, certainly, referral either to a school psychologist, a school social worker, or perhaps to a medical specialist.
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