Why Bipolar Kids Can’t Get Up and Get Going
From all of the above, it is easy to surmise that morning alertness is dependent upon a complex set of factors: side effects of medications; chemical cascades that affect sleep architecture, thermoregulation, and mood; as well as the subjective feelings of the child when that morning alarm rings—anxiety, depression, or stress. No one can predict any one factor, several may be contributing, and all must be examined in order to find a solution for the child. The school administration and IEP team must understand the biological and psychological factors at play and accommodate the morning difficulties which, after all, are not volitional or oppositional on the part of the child.
We hope the above discussion helps parents who dread the split-second timing of a school morning, realize that they are not alone, and that they are not inadequate if the morning is tumultuous. For a while, at least, it is going to have to be okay if the child goes to school without breakfast, or leaves looking like he or she has just rolled out of bed (which he or she probably has).
Hopefully one of the suggestions above, and an understanding of what may be happening for the child at reveille, will result in a less gut-wrenching start to the day.
Janice Papolos and Demitri Papolos, M.D. are publishers of the book and newsletter, The Bipolar Child.
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