Diagnosis of Students with Disabilities and Disorders Series

Since March of 2020 and the pandemic, the traditional day at school has changed in many ways. Because of COVID-19, students were at home or splitting time between virtual learning and on-campus learning, and administrators, teachers and assistants were trying to adapt. Naturally, this made it difficult for students to have a consistent educational thread to follow. For students with disabilities, this time presented even greater clear and present challenges. Some students with disabilities are faced with additional hurdles in the classroom due to learning disorders, which inhibits their ability to process and retain information. Because numerous mental processes affect a student’s abilities, learning disorders can vary widely, and special educators must be equipped to navigate these challenges.

NASET's Diagnosis of Students with Disabilities and Disorders series provides teachers guided articles on symptoms and patterns of behavior exhibited by students in the classroom that may indicate a suspected disability or disorder. Further, for children already receiving special education services, teachers may be interested in knowing how the specific disorder or disability was initially diagnosed (**Note--It is very important to remember that any diagnosis of a disability or disorder must only be done by a trained and qualified professional or a team of professionals; it is never your role to make a specific diagnosis on any child).

Each article in this series describes the disability or disorder, risk factors, and the process used to determine a diagnosis. 

LATEST ISSUE of NASET's Diagnosis of Students with Disabilities and Disorders Series

Bipolar Disorders


Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental illness that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, activity levels, and concentration. These shifts can make it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks.

There are three types of bipolar disorder. All three types involve clear changes in mood, energy, and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely “up,” elated, irritable, or energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very “down,” sad, indifferent, or hopeless periods (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.

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