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Premorbid and Postmorbid School Functioning in Bipolar Adolescents:

Posted Nov 17 2008 9:04pm

Description and Suggested Academic Interventions
by Quackenbush, Kutcher, et al.
School Program Modifications
A variety of useful school program modifications can be implemented to meet the needs of the adolescent bipolar patient. The development of these programs requires active collaboration between the clinician and the school setting. This requires identifying the teen’s disorder to the appropriate educator-a process, which requires patient or parent (caregiver) consent, and which can, at times, be resisted by the adolescent or parents because of concerns regarding social stigmatization. Clinical experience indicates that a supportive, educational approach, which aims at helping the adolescent and family to understand the illness, its effect on academic performance, and the need for intervention, is usually most helpful for the development of an appropriate academic prescription involving the teens, parents, clinician and school.

From the outset, it is crucial that effective lines of communication be developed between the clinician and the patient’s school. School-based guidance counselors can be invaluable advocates once they have a appreciation of the illness and its impact on the student’s academic and psychosocial functioning. Information can then be communicated through the guidance counselor to administrators, special education teachers, and perhaps most importantly, classroom teachers themselves. the guidance counselor will be instrumental in advocating the implementation of specific program modifications. Therefore, to ensure maximum opportunity for school success, it is essential that the counselor be educated about the illness and that a close liaison be developed early in the treatment course-preferably prior to a patient’s discharge from the hospital.

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