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View Diary: A Reflection on Mental Illness from a Former High School Teacher (140 comments)

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  •  My sister in law (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    renewables, raincrow, LucyandByron, Noor B

    quit teaching after one mentally ill child too many.  My sister teaches special ed students and is mildly so herself- ADHD- and had a horrible time full of idiotic dramas getting through school herself dealing with teachers who naively imposed excessive correction on her.

    I've come to the conclusion that teachers have to have much more training recognizing symptoms of all the relatively common psychiatric and neurological disorders.  And a level of internal reporting and keeping of centralized records of these to an intelligent and experienced set of people- counselors, or assistant principals, or such- to keep an eye on these.  A lot of teachers will overdiagnose or overreport or misreport, others will be oblivious.  But there will be kids consistently flagged by many or most or all of their teachers and others flagged by their peers.  The school probably ought to have no duty to do anything particular that's new except that the internal record be aggregated and available to all teaching staff under strict confidentiality.  And make what records there are available to medical, maybe justice system, professionals upon serious request.

    There is a problem with parents and denial.  Most mental illness is genetic in origins, so in most cases an affected child will have a parent who is carrier or at least mildly affected.  Some parents will be exceedingly realistic and accepting, others denialist.  Hopefully the culture will change and denialism be less of a resort parents feel forced into.

    The day is coming. maybe a decade or two down the line, when there will be DNA based identification and accurate diagnostics of neurological and psychiatric disorders.  After a period of increased testing children will largely be DNA tested not long after birth, and/or parents will already be aware of what is in their DNA and check for it.  And a lot of the often socially tragic sorting out of children that occurs now throughout primary ed will happen in preschool.  

    But until that time comes, and the integrated and efficient high tech health care system that requires is formed, the muddle will be awful.  

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