I do not have any students with Bipolar in any of my lessons but i frequently have to take students with dyslexia and dispraxia into account when planning sessions. To ensure my lessons remain inclusive at all times i always obtain a group profile if i can to give myself proir warning of any additional needs from any of the learners. I may print handouts on coloured paper, provide additional notes and handouts for students unable to take down notes at the same time as listening or ensure the particular student in question is sitting in an appropriate area of the classroom, where the overhead projector and white board are easily visable. I have found the colour of the board pen quite important for ease of reading for some students but this varies from learner to learner. Lastly it is important the learner is aware of all the support and help networks available to them if they are suffering from any learning difficulties, as teachers we cannot help students that do not wish to be helped.
Hope some of this helps, Laura.
that's tricky. The first thing, it's not all on you. There should be qualified professionals involved who know the details in depth who can help. I found a very moving account of a student at Oxford who is bipolar telling of her experiences of how her tutors have reacted. You might find it interesting http://oxfordstudent.com/2011/01/27/coping-with-being-bipolar/
Hi Tracy, I haven't experienced teaching a student with bipolar but I knew someone who had it. Lucy is right it would be best to have contact with a professional such as a previous teacher they've had if you can and their parents. The student may have regular changes in medication and therefore may struggle with this. This could affect their thinking, memory and attention span so I guess it's a case of being prepared and like Lucy says to be patient as you can. The student may act out but it is unlikely to be aimed at you personally!! As long as the student is treated the same as the other students ( this ties in with equality and diversity). As you know students should be treated equally and fairly so everyone can join in, and shouldn't be discriminated for their disability. So as long as you try your best to be as understanding as possible and help them integrate with the group as much as possible that's all you can do. Challenging as it is but if you can cope/work with someone who has a mental disorder it will put you in good stead for teaching in the future.
I think the more help you can draw from the learning support network available to yourself and the students within the educational establishment that you work, i see no reason why your sessions would not remain inclusive. Tutorials and individual learning plans should also be a good tool to help recognise thoses little extras that could be done for your student to help further enrich their learning experiences.
Good Luck, Laura