School-age children who suffer from Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder or bipolar disorder may not function well in a normal school setting. For them there are other options. The United States federal government funds dozens of schools in each state that cater to the needs of children with mental disorders. This article will provide a brief overview of these schools, what they are like, some of their benefits and outline considerations before you send your child off to one of these schools.
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Students who attend these special schools generally suffer fairly severe cases of ADHD or bipolar disorder but not all school-age children with these disorders go to special schools. Many find that their mental disability is not serious enough for them to transfer out of their school system. However, there are some students who go to these schools because their cases are severe enough that they cannot function in their local school system.
The environment at these schools is generally laid back. Teachers, for the most part, are very friendly and welcoming to the students who may be encouraged to call their teachers by their first name. These schools are often very small, with a school population of 20 to 40 kids. Many people believe that this is an ideal environment for children with mental disorders, as it calms them down, relaxes them and helps them focus.
Students with ADHD or bipolar disorder are just as intelligent as any other children their age and are expected to study the same curriculum as students in any other school. Students will take the assortment of math, English, science, history and language classes required for students of their grade level in a mainstream school. They also are expected to pass all standardised tests and will receive a diploma when they graduate.
Special schools can be very helpful to students who suffer bipolar disorder, ADHD or any another type of mental illness. A smaller, more laid back learning environment may be exactly what the student needs to finish her education. In addition, mental health counselling is often given at these schools. They often have psychiatrists and counsellors on staff and teachers are also trained to keep a close eye on the children and notify appropriate personal if they think something is amiss.
While many students may benefit from these schools, it is not the right choice for all children with ADHD, bipolar disorder or another form of mental illness. If you are considering a school for your mentally ill child, you need to recognise that this type of school may not be the answer. This specialised schooling can very isolating as it yanks the child out of his social system, often one he has had for many years, and puts him in an entirely new place. Oftentimes this relocation can put a great strain on the student, and may worsen any mental illness he has. It may be better to deal with the problem another way, maybe with the help of counselling or medication.
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