Add bipolar diagnosis to IEP????

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by weatheringthestorm, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. weatheringthestorm

    weatheringthestorm New Member

    My sophmore son has a diagnosis for bipolar and ADD. The bipolar diagnosis was just made this year. The ADD diagnosis was made in 6th grade. Grades 6-9 he had a 504 plan. This year we went to an IEP as the 504 plan was no longer enough and he needed much more support. When we did this his psychiatrist only wanted to give the school the ADD diagnosis because she felt that adding his bipolar to his school record could cause him to be discriminated against in being accepted to colleges, etc. She felt very strongly about this. I had some reservations, but went with it. At that time all of his behavior issues were at home.

    Now his medications aren't controlling him very well and he's getting into trouble because of the bipolar symptoms. He recently freaked out and cussed out an assistant principal over a rather small matter. I'm thinking that adding the BiPolar (BP) diagnosis will help to protect him when it comes to suspensions and expulsion. While I would try to get this added under his OHI label I'm not sure that I can. I suspect they'll want to put it under ED. There is a certain stigma associated with an ED label.

    What are your thoughts on adding the BiPolar (BP) diagnosis? Will this help him more than just the ADD diagnosis?

    Also, we have a Manifestation meeting Wed. because of this latest incident. Anything I should know, advocate for?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have felt that there was a stigma attached to the ED classification which my son has. Although he started out with a diagnosis of Major Depression and I can't for the life of me understand there being a stigma attached to that. As of this school year, the school is aware that there has been a "questionable" diagnosis of bipolar and that difficult child has cycles of depression, stability, and possible mania- or at least hyperness and impulsivity- and that one prominent psychiatrist who evaluated him believes the cycling is a result of other problems, but not BiPolar (BP). I'm bringing this up because I wouldn't feel comfortable advising you on this one, but wanted to let you know the background before I say "with all my difficult child has had to defend himself (and me defend ) about to principal and some teachers this school year, I have been under the strong impression that he would be much better off if he had adhd and they knew of no mood disorder issue and he was classified as anytthing other than ED". But, it probably has a whole lot to do with one's sd and what they are already used to dealing with as far as IEP accommodations and whether or not they have already permanently labeled the student.

    So, I don't want to discourage you- really. But I would advise you to weigh it carefully and whatever you tell them about his mood disorder, choose the words carefully. I definitely think there is truth in what the doctor told you. on the other hand, if you are concerned about anything difficult child might possibly do at school as a result of cycling, or if there is a trigger that you think can/will come from school, I think you might want to make sure you discuss this with someone of importance at the school.

    Just my 2cents!!
  3. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    You do not say what the manifestation determination is about (cussing the ass't principal?), but the purpose is to determine if the behavior is a manifestation of the disability. ALL students with IEPs are protected from expulsion, but the law is written is such a way, that a SD that wins a MD hearing can REALLY harm a child. The classic example is a child in a wheel chair who writes a threatening note to another student...This is NOT a manifestation of disability...and therefore "normal discipline" would apply EXCEPT to the extent no child with an IEP may be deprived of FAPE. Some SDs try to say two hours a week of home tutoring is FAPE, which it clearly is not.

    It is a LOT easier to win a MD hearing with a BiPolar (BP) diagnosis and an EBD classification...I WANTED my ex-difficult child to be labeled EBD for three reasons: it was accurate; it would have hurt his self esteem to be labeled with Learning Disability (LD) (this was OFFERED to me as less stigmatizing) but the most important reason is if the worst happened, EBD would offer the most protection in a MD hearing. My son never returned to public school after EGBS (our choice to pay for a private high school that was not a disability related), but he could have IN REGULAR CLASS if he had, because I never lost an MD...

    If you are facing an MD hearing, your SD is thinking about how fast they can get rid of your son in my opinion. I may not be correct; they may his best interest in mind, but they may not.

  4. My BiPolar (BP) difficult child just finished applying to colleges. Although his IQ is in the 130s, his GPA is 1.9 and his class rank is in the bottom 10th percentile. His SAT scores were average. Anyway, in his essays he attributed the wide variance to his BiPolar (BP) symptoms and the trial/error of medications. He also stated his ED identification. We'll find out in the next month what the colleges (all not highly competitive) really think of the ED identification and the disease.
  5. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

  6. weatheringthestorm

    weatheringthestorm New Member

    We're having a MD because the latest suspension for cussing out the asst. principal added up to 10 days suspended this year. Our state law says we have to meet to see if these suspensions are a result of his disability. I think it's really more of a routine matter. Even without the bipolar diagnosis on his IEP they'd have to prove that his fight and verbal confrontation had nothing to do with his ADD. Since impulse control is a big problem with ADD I think they're going to have trouble with that. While I think there might be some issues with the administration at his HS I do feel that the Special Education director and his resource teacher actually have his best interest in mind. I'm always on guard though. I've also brushed up on all of our state laws concerning suspending and expelling Special Education students.

    I have decided to add the bipolar diagnosis to his IEP. I think it needs to be there for his own protection. I think it's reasonable to think there might be more of these kinds of incidents in school. They've already said they'll give him a full 10 day suspension and possibly reccommend him for expulsion if there is another problem this year. I think the expulsion threat is more of the standard scared straight threat they make to everyone because good luck expelling him, especially once we add the bipolar. I think the school will just accept his doctors diagnosis. They did testing earlier this year that showed hints at bipolar, but at that time there wasn't many bipolar symptoms showing up at school. Now there are.

    I do appreciate the info and the advice. I'm staying on guard and ready to fight for him if needed.
  7. In light of VTech, LaTech, NIU and Dawson, I think that the schools are on edge. It would be difficult determine why a school denies entrance especially since our kids don't necessarily fit the mold of the "perfect" student they are looking for. Personally, I am just tickled that he has interest in the future. Maybe the medications or maybe a prelude to spring mania, only time will tell.
  8. weatheringthestorm

    weatheringthestorm New Member

    I can't believe how well the meeting went! Everyone seemed to really care about what was best for him and was really into thinking of things that could help him. They added the bipolar to the IEP right there. They felt their tests from earlier in the year was enough info. They came into the meeting feeling that his behavior was a manifestation of his disability, I didn't even have to try and convince them. They're going to come up with a rough draft of a behavior plan for me to approve. They'll focus on trying to get him to become more self aware of his moods and needs. They're going to try to get him to joint the anger management support group that they have at school. They're even going to try to find a kid that he knows / likes from the group to invite him so he may be more likely to go. Next year he's going to be put in a PSD resource class instead of CSR, a regular resource class. This is like a study hall period for him but it gives him credit and a teacher is there to help keep him on track, organize, etc. The PSD class will be a little smaller, there is a social worker attached to it, and it's for kids with some sorts of emotional issues. You can take your regular classes through PSD, but he doesn't need that.

    It was a shockingly positive meeting. We're going to talk about scheduling his classes for next year in a way that has the hardest ones when he's at his best, etc.

    He's been having trouble with his English teacher. Apparently so has his spec. ed teacher. So, the director of Special Education, his resource teacher, the English teacher, and my difficult child are all going to meet to see if they can figure out a way for him to be successful in there. The asst. principal, whom I had thought might be out to get him, suggested that the meeting could count for the one detention that he still owes her. That way he'll go.

    So, I'm crossing my fingers and feeling just a little bit of hope. It feels good. Between the meeting and my incredible weekend away, I'm feeling better than I have in a very LONG time.
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Awesome! Kudos to your sd!
  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    It is great to hear about a school that actually knows what educating every child is all about! Glad the meeting went so well.