“This is an instance when a student is at an extreme low. How should a teacher teach this student during his or her state? How do those who are bipolar like to be treated by others when they are in a depressive state?”
Keep in mind that this post is not due to a medical opinion but a personal one. I am a person who has lived with bipolar for many years and currently am studying to be an elementary teacher. These are my opinions based on what I have experienced and nothing more.
Depressed children often exhibit behaviors such as:
1. Irritability or Anger
2. Withdrawal from people and activities.
4. Signs of low self-esteem and with that an increased sensitivity to rejection so be aware and stay positive.
5. Excessive feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness.
6. Difficulty concentrating
7. Fatigue and Lower levels of energy
Some children may exhibit all of these symptoms, some a few and others more than the ones listed above. Since fair treatment is not equal the way you teach a child suffering from depression must be adaptive. One example of something which may be in an IEP, which a diagnosed child may have, would be giving the child extra time to do homework. Children who are depressed will often have less energy and motivation so no matter how smart they are their grades will suffer unless exceptions are made.
The child may be very hard on themselves and constantly negative. They will need lots of love and support. Positive affirmations are wonderful and they will not go unnoticed. There will be enough negativity inside the child’s’ mind that you need not add to it, which means being positive is essential.
A great thing to teach this child and all the other children in your classroom is how to manage stress effectively. Children have stressors too, often picking up many of them from the adults that surround them. If you teach a child to manage stress effectively you are not only providing a great life skill but assisting them with managing their symptoms. The less a child is stressed the less often they may have depressive episodes or the less time they may spend in them.
Maintain open lines of communication with both the child and their parents. All of those involved in the IEP are also great resources to help the child. Be patient. Each time a child is depressed they will usually come out of it however they will also likely have another episode so pace yourself.