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Friday, March 7, 2014
Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)
Bipolar Disorder and Legal Disability
Is being bipolar a mental disability under Ohio Law?
Thank you for your excellent question. The answer, in relation to children and adolescents, really depends on the context as there are numerous laws. For instance, the 1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the nation's special education law for individuals with disabilities. It requires states to provide a "free and appropriate education" (FAPE), i.e., special education services for individuals. The Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997 (IDEA) lists 13 disability categories; children/teens with bipolar disorder are often classified in either the "Other health impairment" or "Serious emotional disturbance" category.
For further information about special education rights and laws, go to the following website: http://www.fetaweb.com/. Regarding other federal and state laws for children/teens with disabilities, an excellent resource is the Ohio Legal Rights Service.
I hope that helps! Best wishes!
Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University