Dr James Schaller
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Creative Homebound Instruction

School Problems: Part 1

Excerpt from Dr. Schaller's forthcoming book: "70 Practical Solutions to Out of Control Youth."

Dean is a 12 year old with the diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. He is very wild. He would be a candidate for residential education and treatment but his mother refuses this option. In his state, there are in-home counseling services, but these "set him off" and so have been discontinued. At school he is threatening to other students and likes to break windows. If a teacher confronts him, Dean becomes threatening.

Dean seems hopeless. He does not fit into regular treatment options. If he continues to go without an education, he will find it harder if he tries to learn in the future.

  1. Yet one option that was surprisingly effective for Dean was giving him one hour Monday through Friday of homebound instruction. In contrast to school, Dean does not get into trouble at home. This treatment also does not require the police to take him somewhere.

    He seems to hate everyone associated with the school except one woman who teaches him.
  2. Youth with severe neurological and psychiatric disorders like mania can take longer to fully stabilize with medication than adults. Generally, if aggressive and persistent with medication, he may be able to return to a non-home education in the future. "Aggressive" means considering new generation antipsychotic medications, increasingly being used for mania. (Yet if your child is sedated over a week, the dose is excessive. By aggressive we go not mean making any child a zombie).

    Also, make sure you are using a child psychiatrist who has 2 years of full-time training in treating child and adolescent psychiatry to suggest medications.

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