View Full Version : An Illustration of Bipolar Disorder for Children


Andi
02-13-05, 02:30 PM
from Kimberly Bailey Read

The concept of extreme mood swings associated bipolar disorder is difficult to articulate to other adults. Explaining it to children, whether it is them or a loved-one with the disorder, is even more problematic. How do you illustrate depression or mania to a child?

TKWeyand, a member of our Forums, posted a wonderful suggestion! She used this to explain attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to her son, but it is also great for illustrating bipolar disorder. TK writes, “I got an old record player with the speeds and played the record at different speeds.”

OK for those of you too young to remember, the old record players had variable speed settings at 33, 45, or 78 RPM (revolutions per minute). Most full length records played at 33, but singles were smaller and played at 45 - the smaller the record the higher the RPM to compensate for the sound. If you play a single at 45, you get the correct sound. If you crank it to 78, the sound speeds up and jumbles. If you push it down to 33, the sound becomes much slower and lower in tone.

The slower dragging sounds demonstrate depression. The faster garbled sounds highlight mania. TK notes, “Being able to hear the difference in how the music sounded at different speeds made sense to him.” The illustration can be taken one step further to explain how medications help to set the music back to the correct speed.

This can be a really fun, active learning event for you and your child. If you don’t have a record player, you can start with a hunting expedition. There are plenty of old style record players on Ebay, at your local thrift stores or in yard sales usually for only a couple of bucks. The records should also be readily available in these places as well. Kids have a ball playing with “old” stuff so let the fun and learning begin!

play a single at 45, you get the correct sound. If you crank it to 78, the sound speeds up and jumbles. If you push it down to 33, the sound becomes much slower and lower in tone.

http://bipolar.about.com/cs/kids_diag/a/red_flags4.htm