Bipolar classification

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, Aug 23, 2009.

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  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    For whomever needs it, I'm putting a link to the Federal Register where it specifically says the following on Page 12 where they are discussing why they are specifically listing Tourette's Syndrome in the OHI Class. definition, but not the other disorders listed. Of course, the real problem is that school district's really don't consider Bipolar to be a health impairment and do continue to treat it as a behavioral propblem. Where this really comes into play is at manifestation hearings and issues over school attendance. The school district keeps insisting to me that this Federal Register explanation is negated but I have yet to see anything in writing saying so. If Sheila or Martie or anyone finds something to the contrary, PLEASE let me know because I am telling the school district that if my son's current evaluation confirms that he is BiPolar (BP), I EXPECT the class to change. I know it isn't supposed to matter, but it does in this state.

    "We decline to include dysphagia, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), bipolar disorders, and other organic neurological disorders in the definition of other health impairment because these conditions are commonly understood to be health impairments."
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, in my opinion, they are then saying that if those conditions are health impairments, then they must accommodate for them just as they would accommodate for health impairments such as diabetes, asthma or cerebral palsy. They are already recognized health impairments.
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    What cracks me up is if you look at the list of all of kids Mental Illnesses a lot of those are considered OHI and ED by most schools, although they try to deny them!

    ADHD is one.
    Learning disorders
    Any form of a TIC disorders
    Pervasive Developmental Disorders

    These are listed as forms of mental illness in kids, but BiPolar (BP), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Dysphagia are not?

    When something is impacting a childs learning or development or mental health.. well.
    Give me break.

    KLMNO, I guess a lot of our kids, unfortunately yours in the forefront are setting an example for future treatment of BiPolar (BP) kids.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yep, T- nobody considers it a health impairment until I mention taking difficult child off medications. LOL!

    Janet- that's my point exactly. Although I KNOW difficult child manipulates me at times, there have been times when he was not able to function enough to go to school due to MI- not due to willful intent. Just like a diabetic child might not be able to attend school sometimes- and the diabetic child will probably try to use this to manipulate sometimes, too.

    Right now, I'm asking them to at least consider the ED class for BOTH the behavior impact and the intermittent/seasonal "pervasive feelings of depression", until a final determination of the BiPolar (BP) is made. And frankly, that final determination can't be made until we see if difficult child can make it thru Winter and next Spring without mood lability issues because he has shown that pattern for 4 years.

    Anyway- that is another weird thing to me- unipolar depression is ED while BiPolar (BP) is a "health impairment". Ok, I can see it if it's a one-time, situational depression, but if it's seriously a Mood Disorder and a person is going to have reoccurring issues with depression throughout life, to me that's a health impairment, too. But the main thing is getting the school district to see and acknowledge in writing that it is more than intentional and willfull behavior that should be treated with rewards and consequences alone, in my humble opinion. This is particularly important with a kid on probation/parole.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont get it..from what you posted, they are saying it is a health impairment. So wouldnt that be like not having a limb would be a health impairment? I would think health impairment would be better than emotionally disturbed. I wanted to get Cory away from what was known here as Behavioral and Emotionally Disturbed because that was where they stuck the "bad" kids. He had kids in those classes that were from juvy with only CD diagnosis's (kids who had committed really horrible crimes), kids who were so mentally ill that one kid would dig in his anus and fling poop around the classroom, etc. Cory started to mimic those behaviors just to fit in. I actually asked to put him in the severely Learning Disability (LD) classroom with kids who were physically and mentally handicapped but they refused.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yes, the Federal Register says BiPolar (BP) is a health impairment, but the school district says it is not. We had to put that battle on hold though while difficult child's BiPolar (BP) diagnosis is being re-evaluation'd. So, in the meantime, I'm trying to still have him qualified for the ED class., which is where they stick the "bad" kids here, too. But, there are several sub-catagories in the ED class., and I'm asking the school district psychiatric to include in her report that difficult child qualifies for 2 subcategories, not just the "bad behavior" one.
  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    That's weird. SSI and SSDI both consider BiPolar (BP) to be a medical disorder. I went through extensive review for SSDI and at no time was it considered behavioral.

    It's strange that the schools can operate to a different standard than federal law, but I'm hardly an expert.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's what I think, too. But, I'm referring to the Special Education director and school district psychiatric (whicfh, honestly, around here they don't seem to know as one might expect). Since I can print this out and prove it, if it gets to that point, we can see a hearing officer over it.
  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation has extensive information on getting bipolar classifed as OHI in an IEP, I used their literature when getting Youngest's classification changed. The school district rep, school psch, and IEP coordinator had no issue with it, although some of the teachers participating in the IEP meeting seemed clueless.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have a bunch of that stuff printed out and ready to go- I think some members here helped me find those links last year. Right now tho we have to wait on difficult child's diagnosis while it's being re-evaluation'd. He's not taking any medications right now.
  11. Over

    Over New Member

    Is there any way you can link me to these articles because I'm heading into an IEP soon, and need all the help I can get!
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I can dig these out and post them later today or tomorrow.
  13. Over

    Over New Member

    Thank you so much!!!!
  14. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    What about mood disorder not otherwise specified? Would that be considered OHI or not?
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's the situation we (my son) are in now. I have agreed to accept the ED class for this and not make issue until we know more about which mood disorder my son has. Really, I'd prefer to advocate that if one chronic mood disorder is considered a health impairment, they all should be. But given the way the classification definitions are clarified, I don't think I can expect the school district to accept that arguement right now.

    However, I have asked them to clarify in writing in my son's IEP records that he qualifies for the ED classification for TWO subcategories- both the one regarding behavior and the one regarding a pervasive depressive mood. The current "debate" between me and the school district psychiatric is whether or not the ""pervasive depressive mood" interferes with my son academically. I won't give on that one and have suggested that someone with more experience in mood disorders would understand this more and that is the basis of my IEE request.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  16. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    What about mood disorder not otherwise specified? Would that be considered OHI or not?
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's what I just explained- mood disorder not otherwise specified means that they do not know yet if it is Bipolar or unipolar depression. The federal register documents list bipolar as a health impairment but don't clarify that for depression. Depression can be either chronic or situational. Either way, if you read the subcategories for emotional disturbance (ED), one of them lists "a depressive mood", meaning depression would be ED (even though I don't agree with that if it's chronic). But, given the diagnosis does not pinpoint which mood disorder the child has yet, I doubt a school district is going to accept the OHI classification. Still, it is important to discuss this in an IEP meeting, in my humble opinion, because many of them are not going to understand that "mood disorder" is either bipolar (clearly a chemical imbalance in the brain) or unipolar depression (probably, but not necessarily always, a chemical imbalance in the brain), and they need to understand that the mood disorder not otherwise specified diagnosis means that the dr's do not know yet which specific diagnosis is correct yet.

    I'm trying to say that I doubt you can get the school district to agree to OHI for that diagnosis because you cannot prove that it is a chemiical imbalance that causes it. All this is just my opinion based on my experience, of course.
  18. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Some good info above.

    Always remember though that it is not the classification that drives the IEP, it's the unique needs of the student.
    The Act does not
    require children to be identified with a
    particular disability category for
    purposes of the delivery of special
    education and related services. In other
    words, while the Act requires that the
    Department collect aggregate data on
    children's disabilities, it does not
    require that particular children be
    labeled with particular disabilities for
    purposes of service delivery, since a
    child's entitlement under the Act is to
    FAPE and not to a particular disability
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, here a links to very useful info for the iep and school district discussions. Follow the links to the model iep, typiccal symptoms and accommodations, etc to get to more useful info on this website:

    Good luck!
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Shiela, the school district's arguement to me about that has always been that difficult child is on an iep for behavioral reasons only so they are not required to include accommodations for other areas because they have not been proven to effect his learning. IOW, it's the cart driving the horse- if they won't accept that this is a health impairment, they think and act like everything difficult child does (late to school, lack of concentration, lack of organization, etc) is a behavioral problem. Here, I have to get them to acknowledge and accept that this is a health problem that he can't help before they will make accommodations other than behavior contract bull. They have started doing that but haven't clearly put it in writing yet- and it has taken several years just to get to this point. I want it in writing because difficult child will be going to a new school upon his release from Department of Juvenile Justice, then changing to another new school in the fall of 2010. But, it has been a great help to have this kind of info from the board to "remind" them that it doesn't matter why difficult child qualified initially, he has this need now so what can we do to address it?

    FWIW, the only thing that got the school district this far along was getting them to try positive supportive meethods for a short period of time and difficult child was so responsive and his behavior greatly improved that they continued to try it. Then, after he was no longer considered a bad behavior problem, they had to acknowledge that they could still see him struggling and having difficulties coping with certain things. As you know, many BiPolar (BP)/mood disorder kids are bright so it only makes it more difficult when teachers are saying "well, I know he can make good grades" in which my reply was "then why is he still struggling if he's no longer a behavior problem at school?"
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
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