Lack of Awareness of Mental Illness Creates Education Roadblocks

October 5, 2011 Angela McClanahan

Monday morning, I met with Bob's teacher, principal, and school counselor. The district Behavior Specialist was supposed to be there, as well, but (of course) was a no-show. The purpose of this meeting--to develop a "plan" for Bob, my 10 year old son with bipolar disorder.

I'm still not sure the meeting accomplished anything, short of making the people in charge feel like they have some semblance of control where no control can be had.

plan1I didn't learn anything new. Bob is exceptionally bright, highly artistic, manipulative, obstinate, caring, and cruel--sometimes all at once. I knew this. The primary issue of concern (aside from the obvious explosive bouts of rage) is Bob's frequent decision to not participate in daily classwork for no better reason than "I don't want to." It was suggested such work could be collected throughout the day and saved for him to complete--after school. I was asked if I thought that sounded like a good idea.

I said I did, while wondering to myself what kind of blowout would result from Bob's being told he'd be staying after school to finish his work. And thinking to myself, they don't get it.

I also discovered that--even though the Behavior Specialist recommended it last spring--no move has been made to implement social skills training for Bob at school. In fact, the counselor (who I have little use for anyway) stated she hadn't "even opened the book" yet. Really? Really.

I suggested we might get moving on that. Post haste.

plan2I also reiterated my broken-record speech--that when Bob is medically stable, no "plan" is necessary. When he isn't, no plan in the world will make any difference. They're still looking for the root cause; the "triggers;" that magic variable they can control and therefore, control Bob.

In other words, they're still where I was a few years ago.

The one positive aspect of this meeting is it sparked the scheduling of yet another meeting, this time to draft a 504 plan for Bob. They're already concerned about what happens when he moves to middle school in two years (as am I) and hope the 504 will, if nothing else, save him from expulsion.

And that's the best our public school system can offer?

So much for no child being left behind.

APA Reference
McClanahan, A. (2011, October 5). Lack of Awareness of Mental Illness Creates Education Roadblocks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Angela McClanahan

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