Since I will be a teacher someday, (I am going into Elementary Ed with a minor in Special Ed.) I think about my students who may be bipolar. What do you think would be the best approach if I noticed a student who shows signs of being bipolar? Who should I talk to first, parent, counselor, principal etc?
I’m so glad that you’re going into Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education. There is a great need for Special Education instructors in our schools today. It’s great that you’re thinking about the best ways to meet your students’ needs before you’re in the classroom. I am also going to school to become an Elementary teacher.
It is always best to keep an open line of communication between yourself and the parent(s). Communication is one of the most essential things to have when you are teaching so that the parent(s) will partner with you in the education of their child. Inform the parent(s) that you would like to work with them to find a solution.
I would also pull a counselor into the classroom to observe the behavior that you’re seeing and get a second opinion. Depending on the relationship that you have with parents, you may or may not want to inform them that you are enlisting the help of a counselor.
Principals always like to know what’s going on especially when it deals with parent relations because if the parent(s) becomes unhappy they will likely go to the principal. Bring the principal into the loop whenever you feel it is necessary. You can never do this too early. The principal is your main supporter because if there needs to be an Individualized Education Plan created for this child it would be great to have your principal in on the discussion.
Hopefully the parent(s) contacts a professional and the child gets the help that they need. Regardless you and the staff at the school should continue to find a solution for the child, keeping the parent informed along the way and document everything!! (It’s very important that everything you do be documented so that if anything negative happens and you are personally attacked though a law suit or any action where you’ll need to defend yourself, you’ll have the documents to prove what was said and done. This is especially important if the child doesn’t do what is necessary to get their child the help they need and several years later they would like to blame you.) If the parent(s) unfortunately do not seek help and the child is still having difficult times in class have a parent teacher conference and include both the principle and counselor.