MyBlog

Sleeping Giants & Lying Dogs

In the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!, during the final scene, Japanese Naval Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the primary planner of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, says, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The “sleeping giant” is, of course, the United States which Japan has just attacked. The line has become part of American popular culture, probably an attempt to make us as Americans feel that our victory over Imperial Japan was always assured, even though the line did not appear until 1970, 25 years after the end of the war. Still, in 1970, the attack at Pearl Harbor was only 29 years in the past, meaning that most American adults alive then would have still remembered what they felt when news reached the mainland that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. Even 29 years after the fact, Pearl Harbor remained our darkest memory. Every American over thirty could still remember the feelings of powerlessness in the face of the Japanese attack. Even a fictional recreation of an attack in a war that we knew we had won still made audiences feel so low that they needed to feel that vengeance was pre-destined.

 

A similar sentiment was said by President George W. Bush when he visited the site of the World Trade Center attacks on September 14th, 2001. Using a bull-horn, Bush thanked the firefighters and rescuers, some of whom shouted that they couldn’t hear him, the President replied, “I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

 

It was a great, iconic line, especially considering that Bush said it off the cuff. Nine years later, it pales in comparison to Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech, but only because Bush lacked FDR’s powers of articulation. At the same, it was a rallying cry. None of us had any doubt that Bush meant what he said: he was going to find those that attacked us and exact revenge upon them. It was a reminder that although we might be down now, we will not be down forever. You have hit us hard and made us bleed, but you better start running while we are down because we are not dead and we will eventually get up. And when we get up, we are going to start chasing you. And when we chase you, we will chase you to the ends of the earth until we catch you. And when we catch you, we will make you pay. We will make you feel what we felt.

 

Revenge is a basic human emotion, but we Americans are very good at it. We believe we have certain inalienable rights, and when you strike at us, enjoy your sense of victory. For it is only temporary. No matter how long it takes or how hard the road, we will get our revenge.

 

This is why Yamamoto’s line about waking a sleeping giant is in the Tora! Tora! Tora!

 

There is, however, no historical evidence Yamamoto ever said such a line. Yamamoto had studied at Harvard and had spent time in Washington. He had great fondness for America and Americans. He did not support the idea of war with the United States. When Yamamoto was asked by Prime Minister Fuminaro Konoe six months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor what he felt the outcome would be of a war with the United States, he said “I shall run wild for six months or a year but I have utterly no confidence for the second or third year.” But that line doesn’t make us feel as good as the “sleeping giant” line. When hurt, we want to feel like those that hurt us haven’t yet seen all of us. We want to stand up like an iceberg emerging from the water, showing the other 90% of us they haven’t seen. It’s pure bravado, of course. We are down. We can’t get up right now. We can’t fight back. We cannot lash out at those who hurt us or those we love.

 

Becomes, sometimes, when you’ve been hurt, bravado is all you have.

 

Last Wednesday, we attended Jani’s most recent IEP. On Wednesday night, I wrote a blog about it, the blog entry prior to this one. On Thursday, we received all call from Jani’s therapist’s office at the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center that she was cancelling her regularly scheduled Friday session with Jani. No explanation was given. Typically, when Jani’s therapist cancels, she either calls me herself, or, if the receptionist calls on her behalf, a reason is given, even if the reason is just “______ had to deal with an emergency or a personal family matter.”

 

This told me all I needed to know about what was coming.

 

The crux of our conflict with the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center is this: ______________, the VP of Programs for the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center, where Jani receives therapy under AB 3632, informed us that he did not feel his agency’s services were benefitting Jani. In other words, she was not improving. His justification for this assessment was Jani’s continued hospitalizations at UCLA over the past year, despite the fact that the number and duration of Jani’s hospital stays has decreased dramatically. In 2009, she was hospitalized five times at UCLA. One of those hospitalizations was from February 21st to June 1st, a duration of more than three months. In 2010, she has been hospitalized four times, in January, March, April, and June. Only the June hospitalization lasted more than one week (the June hospitalization was four weeks).

 

________________ stated that it was the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center’s clinical determination that Jani was not getting any better. When I asked him who made this clinical determination, he said, “I did.  And_________,” Jani’s therapist. This took us completely by surprise. Jani’s therapist had been nothing had had nothing but positive reports in her conversations with us. Even when Jani would have “incidents,” like spilling water on herself while changing the water in the Betta fish bowls in the therapist’s office and, frustrated by not being allowed to strip off her clothes in public, tearing up the live plants in the fishbowls instead, Jani’s therapist would tell us how Jani managed to calm herself down, how she “de-escalated” herself in psychological parlance. Even after the session where Jani tried to cut herself with a serrated piece of metal because she couldn’t wait for her therapy appointment, her therapist reported that she had been “fine” in the session.

 

When I pointed out that Jani’s therapist had never made any such comments to us that Jani was not improving, she attempted to deny this, claiming that she had indeed talked to me about Jani not improving.

 

To us, this appeared very much like a lie. Either Jani’s therapist had been telling us all along what we wanted to hear, downplaying what she really thought, or she was now changing her “assessment” to go along with her boss, sitting right next to her, the latter of which I accused her of.

 

All of this had been initiated because I apparently made the mistake of expressing to ___________, the VP of Programs, my concerns over the level of service provided to Jani by the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center. Rather than do what the Newhall School District has done and attempt to find innovative new solutions to educating Jani despite her schizophrenia, ____________ of the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center decided it would be easier to get rid of Jani than adapt his agency’s services to further aid her growing up with the most serious mental illness known to mankind. Hence, the sudden “clinical determination” that Jani was not improving and was “too severe” for the Child & Family Center to meet her needs.

 

Typically, social services agencies and school districts attempt to deny services on the claim that the child is not severe ENOUGH to warrant their services. Santa Clarita Child & Family didn’t have that option, not with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and eleven hospitalizations since January 2009, so they took the opposite route, claiming that Jani was too severe and her needs could only be met by residential care.

 

The fact that they feel Jani is too severe is not what bothers me. The fact that they either cannot or will not even attempt to meet her needs is not what really bothers me. What angered me, what hurt, was that Jani’s therapist did an about-face in the IEP without warning. What hurt is that I believed that this woman believed in Jani, cared about Jani, even liked Jani, when none of these things were true. I expected her to defend Jani. Instead, she wrote Jani off, leaving her to whatever fate might befall her.

 

Was it really that hard for her, I wonder, to work with Jani this past year?

 

Today, when Susan and Jani arrived for Jani’s therapy appointment, ____________, the VP of Programs was waiting for them. He observed Jani’s session with her therapist for the first time. Jani did extremely well, taking care of the Betta fish as she always does. At the end, Susan asked him for his assessment. He said that he still feels Jani is “too severe” for his agency. Susan asked the same question of another woman was also present. She replied, “I see a little girl playing with fish.” According to Susan, Jani’s therapist seemed the most discombobulated.

 

It is Susan’s assessment, and I agree, that this observation was an attempt to back up the claim that Jani is too severe for the Child & Family Center. They had hoped to see Jani act out, perhaps even become violent. They forget, however, than Jani is a smart cookie. She may have a schizophrenia but she also has a 146IQ. She knew what they were looking for.

 

When I got home from work, Jani told me that she enjoyed playing with _________, the VP of Programs. He had played with her, apparently, and she had enjoyed this.

 

Then he told Susan that the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center was terminating their relationship with Jani, ending her therapy. Jani’s therapist, he said, no longer felt comfortable working with Jani or us.

 

Then he told Jani this.

 

And asked her how she felt about this.

 

I am not a believer in evil, but that is pretty evil, to tell an eight year old mentally ill girl to her face that her therapist doesn’t want to see her anymore.

 

I don’t know what he was expecting. Perhaps he was expecting that Jani would throw a fit, perhaps then justifying the claim that he was trying to make.

 

But all Jani said was, “Can we have the fish?”

 

__________________ then proceeded to tell Susan that Jani’s therapist no longer felt comfortable working with a child whose parents might use her name in a blog or on an internet radio show. He said that all forty-nine other therapists with the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center felt the same way (although I doubt he had time to call all of them and ask).

 

So that’s what it was. They were punishing Jani because I had used their names in my blogs, which obviously they read.

 

In my original draft of my previous blog, I used Jani’s therapist’s name. However, I decided, prior to publishing the blog, to remove her name. I did this because I guessed (correctly, it turns out) that this would push her too far.

 

In my previous blogs, I have named names. Why do I do this? Why I do I threaten Jani’s care by publicly calling out her care providers when I perceive that they are failing her?

 

Very simply, because it shouldn’t matter.

 

I know that no one likes to be publicly criticized. When our story first became public, I got a lot of criticism. Most of my comments on my original blog (now called “Michael’s Old Blog”) were supportive, but some of them were at best critical of me and at worst outright hostile. Many of these critics, to put it kindly, took words from my blog, where I am always brutally honest about my own failings, and used them out of context.  I’ve read horrible things about me. I’ve even received a few death threats from people who feel I am killing Jani by medicating her.

 

My old blog had no way to moderate comments, so I spent a sizable amount of my time deleting attacking emails against me. Sometimes I would answer their accusations, but it didn’t matter what I said. They had their own agenda. For a small minority, I would delete comments only to find them back up again within minutes. It got to the point where I had give my password to a friend so he could also delete hostile comments.

 

At the time, I took these attacks very personally. These people didn’t know me and they didn’t know Jani.

 

When janisjourney.org went up last September, I finally had the means to moderate comments. Perhaps some readers out there will think that I just delete any comment awaiting moderation that criticizes me. Actually, the hostile emails generally just stopped. I suppose that individuals just assumed their comments would never become public and just stopped.

 

If you look around the website, either under the blog entries, or “A Father’s Journey,” or any of the other pages, you will find the occasional hostile or critical comment. That is because I no longer censor my comments. You can spew whatever vitriol you like now and I will allow the comment to go up. First, because of the private online support group for parents of mentally ill/autistic children, I no longer have to worry about keeping this space as a place where parents of mentally ill children can share their own experiences. Second, though, I no longer care what people say about me. It’s become water off a duck’s back. I got used to it and developed a thicker skin. I stopped taking anything negative about me personally.  I have even come to agree with my critics a few times. I can be arrogant. I do tend to generalize the experience of all schizophrenics based on my experiences with children with it. I do have a tendency to focus on the violence, the aspect of schizophrenia that society fears most, something that I have been trying to correct. I am a “neurotypical” who speaks for schizophrenics, and not all individuals with schizophrenia appreciate that. I have had to learn to let them speak for themselves. Please understand that whatever mistakes I have made I have made because I am trying to understand your struggle, because I need to understand your struggle, not just for Jani but also to advocate for mentally ill children like her. We may not always agree, but we want the same thing. I don’t want mentally ill children locked away from society. I want society to accept them for who they are and see the value in who they are. I want the world to understand that just because you are mentally ill doesn’t mean you don’t have value to our society. And like most advocates, I would not have become an advocate had I not been personally affected. I advocate for a segment of society that society generally fears and marginalizes and doesn’t treat with respect. I may not always understand you experience (I don’t think we neurotypicals can) but I will always defend you as human beings deserving of the same rights as everybody else.

 

When I name you in one of my blogs, when I put out who you are and what I feel you are doing to the world, I expect you to get angry. I would. I expect you to take it personally. I expect you to feel hurt, even betrayed, because in your mind you are probably doing the best you can do in a bad situation.

 

But then I expect you to realize that what I really doing is not personally attacking you. I am not calling you names. What I am doing is challenging you to do a better job. I am challenging you to remember that ultimately this is about a child, a child who needs you, and I am her parent, and I will say things in anger, pain, and desperation that you would say if you were in my position.

 

I am challenging you to go above and beyond what you think you can do, because that is my job. It is my job to push for the best life I can for my daughter.

 

Some have seen their name in my blogs and risen to that challenge. Dr. Fine, Director of Pupil Services for the Newhall School District, is a wonderful example of this. I have written things about him that have hurt him personally. I know this because he has told me. But he has also never turned his back on Jani, no matter how angry or frustrated he got with me and Susan. That, dear readers, is a great man. Dr. Fine is a man who as Abraham Lincoln once said, can “appeal to the better angels” of his nature.

 

If I make what I feel are your failures public, and you have the courage and fortitude to come back to the table, still willing to work for the benefit of a child, you earn my respect. This is not to say that Dr. Fine just takes it. He has let me know on more than one occasion when he hasn’t been happy with what I have said about him or the Newhall District in this blog. And I respect that. I don’t expect people to take my criticism. I expect them to answer it by doing a better job, even if that only means pointing out, “Hey, I actually am doing something so shut the hell up, Mr. Schofield.”

 

If you are doing the best you can do, I can accept that. If I don’t feel you are doing the best you can do, then I am going to write about it.

 

I also use real names in my blog because if you have nothing to hide, you should have nothing to worry about. Now perhaps I am wrong about this. By default, I have gotten used to my business being in the public eye, but I realize not everyone is. However, I also believe in transparency. This blog serves as a check against any abuse by the mental health care system.

 

There have been others, too, who have risen to the challenge. Dr. Mark DeAntonio at UCLA, almost every UCLA nurse and staff member who has worked with Jani, Dr. Woodall, Jani’s outpatient psychiatrist. At one time or another, I have dragged them all into this little limelight of my blog. They never like it. I wouldn’t either. But they don’t run away. They challenge me, they argue with me, they even chastise me, but they never run away.

 

Jani’s therapist ran away. I did not use her name in my last blog, so the only person who would have known who I was talking about was her.

 

And she couldn’t take it. In the end, the well-being of a mentally ill child was less important to her than her reputation. And in the end, the well-being of a mentally ill child was less important to the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center than their reputation.

 

Which is kind of silly when you think about it. Because what do they think I am going to do: stop writing? It is kind of like answering “No comment” to a reporter; it only makes you look guilty. Cutting off Jani’s therapy just because I am using names in my blog and discussing how Jani is being treated is really just sticking one’s head in the sand.  All that does is give my readers only my side of the story. All that does is allow me to further damage their reputations.

 

So I can only conclude then that the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center has something to hide. _____________ claims that a clinical determination has been made that Jani is not improving, that she is too severe for them. Where is this clinical determination? What was it based on? Just on the number of Jani’s hospitalizations? Any psychologist worth his or her salt will tell you that an assessment can not be made using only one factor. They will also tell you that an assessment must have some quantifiable data to support any clinical determination. Where is this data?

 

Is the assessment being hastily written now (now that we have made a formal written request for Jani’s files)? You can put any date on a document. How will I know that this assessment, if it even exists, was written BEFORE the IEP?

 

When I delivered the written request to the Child & Family Center main office today, I was told that there would be a 25 cent charge per page. This, in and of itself, is not unusual, but given the look of most of the Child & Family Center’s clientele, a quarter a page for a file possibly hundreds of pages long is a nice deterrent. I informed the receptionist that I believe that in order to charge for a copy of medical files, the agency must notify the client when they first begin services at that agency. She didn’t answer me directly, instead saying, “Well, not many people request their records.”

 

Interesting. I wonder why? I wonder how many children and teens the Child & Family Center has turned their back on in order to artificially inflate their success rate (which I can’t find anywhere, by the way). I wonder how many of those records hold the stories of children and families that have been failed by the Center.

 

By the way, because I know they are reading this, I know of at least three other families who gave up on the Center providing them any help. I also know of a social worker who refuses to refer any of her clients to Santa Clarita Child & Family Center because they are so ineffective.

 

I was also told that certain parts of Jani’s files might be “redacted,” or blacked out. Who the hell do they think they are? The CIA? Why in God’s name would you need to “redact” portions of a child’s outpatient files?

 

The answer is they would block out anything related to me or Susan. So whatever the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center thinks of us will remain classified.

 

Why am I doing this? Why am I expending so much energy on the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center? Why am I fighting what is essentially a proxy war with them at the expense of the main war against Jani’s schizophrenia?

 

Tonight, Jani and I cleaned out the Betta fish bowls. Afterwards, as she took her shower, she said, “Tomorrow, we need to write the fish report.”

 

The fish report.

 

That is what she used to do in her therapy sessions. Jani would write what the fish were doing.

 

She is trying to continue her therapy, even in the absence of her therapist.

 

You can look at that two ways: One, it shows that despite the claims of the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center, she is getting better, learning to do her own therapy. Or, two, she is desperately trying to hang on to an aspect of her life that is now gone.

 

Either way, my heart is broken.

 

Up until this point, I have used______________ in place of names, even though the VP of Programs for the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center is not hard to identify. I did this, not out of the hope that suddenly not using their names would restore Jani’s therapy.

 

No, it is too late for that. What you did was my attack on Pearl Harbor. And I will never forgive you for what you have done to my daughter.

 

But I wanted to explain why I use your names before I actually use your names.

 

Because the world needs to know what you did. How you choose to deal with it is entirely up to you. You can be as angry as you want, but it doesn’t compare to abandoning a child that needed you.

 

I am the sleeping giant. I know you aren’t afraid of me right now. The wealthiest and most influential people in Santa Clarita keep you afloat financially.  Your donor list reads like a who’s who of the Santa Clarita Elite. I know that right now you can ignore me and those donors will keep giving.

 

But I also know you have survived by being the only game in town. On your website, in a message from your CEO Darrell Paulk, there is the following statement:

 

How does the Center manage the likelihood of competing programs and services – provided by nonprofit as well as private sector organizations – coming to the Santa Clarita Valley?

 

It is part of your strategic plan to block any competition against you in the Santa Clarita Valley. That is how you have survived so long without having to improve your services.

 

And this: With many of our key funders and major donors caught in the downturn in the economy, where do we get the financial resources needed to fund the Center’s operations?

 

Essentially, you are running out of money and have no plan to deal with competition. In biological terms, we would say you meet the criteria for extinction.

 

This didn’t start with Jani, and it won’t end with Jani. I want to work with you. I want to help you be the agency that you are capable of being. But I will not let you send children up the river. Just today, while I was there, the police were called. I overheard a therapist saying, “I just don’t know with him anymore!’ So she wanted the Sheriff’s Deputies to take him, whoever “he” is, away.

 

You help children as long as it is convenient for you.

 

I am fighting you, and will continue to fight you, because you can’t throw children away. I am not saying you can help everybody, but it is your responsibility as decent humans to try. These children are mentally ill. They need you to fight for them, for their civil rights.

 

Because that is what this has become. This is a civil rights battle, for the rights of mentally ill children to a life of hope and happiness.

 

 

 

Oh, I never did name names at the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center, did I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nah…

 

 

You know who you are.

 

And you’re the ones who are going to have to look yourselves in the mirror tomorrow.

 

[video:

100×100]

32 comments on “Sleeping Giants & Lying Dogs

  1. “Jani’s therapist ran away. I did not use her name in my last blog, so the only person who would have known who I was talking about was her.”

    You did however link her FaceBook on your FaceBook and tell everyone there “this is the woman who is giving up on Jani” before eventually deleting it. Maybe you should own up to that if you talk about having nothing to hide.

    Note from Michael: But how would she know that? And more importantly, how would you (unless you are on my Facebook which then means you aren’t identifying yourself and are hiding behind anonymity). So why don’t you own up to that? Tell me who you are Facebook.

    Second note from Michael: Still waiting, Alex. Have the courage to tell me who you are (on my Facebook account, not here).

  2. unbelievable
    I can’t believe they just terminated it like that. Isn’t that considered detrimental, harmful even, to the child? I’d think any child, especially one who’s mentally ill, would come to need these sessions, rely on them, even if they don’t know how to verbalize that. Jani’s comment about the fish report shows that she did to a certain extent, need and want this therapy, obviously, if she’s trying to continue it on her own. I would think at the VERY LEAST, they would give her a few sessions to ‘let her down easy’. In fact, I could swear I’ve heard/read that they actually do this with adult patients, mentally ill or not, as a way to ease them out of therapy. Also, they should give you a referral, some other options, not just cut her adrift. It’s disgusting. So what if you mentioned her name on your blog.

    On a more personal note, I was in therapy for a while when I was 11. Group therapy with other girls my age once a week, and individual therapy once a week. The group therapy went fine, I looked forward to it, even. The individual therapy, not so much. After a couple months, I slowly began to talk to the therapist, just a little bit. She asked me in one of these sessions what made me start talking to her. I said something along the lines of “It’s just nice to have a friend”. She looked me in the eye and said “—–, (my name) I’m not your friend. I’m your therapist. There is a difference, and you shouldn’t confuse the two. Don’t consider me your friend, because I’m not. I’m here to talk to you about —- (the issues that were the reason I was there), and that’s all”.

    I was shocked, and hurt, and I felt about two feet tall. The loneliness I felt at that age is something I never want to go through again, and so to have thought I found a friend, only to find out that she most certainly wasn’t my friend, and didn’t even seem to like me, and wanted to make sure that I KNEW she wasn’t my friend… well. Let’s just say it hurt and leave it at that, because I have no idea even now, all these years later, how to really articulate how it felt when she said that. I write this because you said the therapist told Jani to her face that she didn’t want to see her anymore. That’s incredibly uncalled for IMO, and really hurtful to a little girl who’s going through a hard enough time as it is. You say Jani has a 146 IQ – I hope it helped her see that this woman isn’t worth getting upset over.

    I also hope you find some better services for Jani, and a therapist who won’t drop her like a hot potato when the going gets tough.

  3. recent developments
    Hi Michael,

    Yikes, that’s hard to read. I’m sorry to hear about this.

    Maybe Jani thinks of it more as a fun hour to play with the fish and do reports, and not as a “therapy session” at all. So if you could keep that part in her life, she might not even care about the rest of it.

    From your last post, last we heard, you had a serious IEP meeting with them, it was a tough meeting but in the end it had been resolved, and you ended the post on a positive resolution with Jani getting 3 days a week.

    If they had just left it there there would have been a positive overall opinion of them from reading your post, and I was very glad they offered to do 3 days a week. That’s one of the sad things here. You were on a track to start writing very positive things about them.

    As far as web bloggers and there opinions, for me it’s very understandable that:

    * You don’t want her to go to far off residential or leave home.
    * When her violence got bad and out of control, you had her admitted and then took the MDs recommendation on medication.
    * You want the local school to provide all the help they can provide.
    * You want that local agency to help Jani to the best of their ability, which simply meant 3 times a week.
    * You went to the media to begin the process of raising awareness about childhood SZ and raising funds to help pay for her very expensive care, and to start a foundation to help other kids with SZ.

    So I don’t think these bloggers are really caring about Jani, and what Jani needs right now, and then down the line, to have a better future.

    People need to realize that you are dealing with an extreme case of the most extreme mental illness to begin with, and understand just how extremely stressing this must be! Sounds to me like your in a fight or flight mode and forget flight, which to me is very understandable. As soldiers will say it’s hard to shift gears away from this resistive stance when something positive happens (like your town’s article) or even neutral.

    I support your efforts and will try to help as best I can,

    Ken Long

    Note from Michael: All true, Ken, except that the media (LA Times) came to us. We did not seek out the media. We were just trying to survive.

  4. Upsetting. But (based on you more recent blogs) Jani seems to be getting better. She’s learning to take the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune with a certain degree of equanimity. Unfortunate that she has to learn such lessons at such an early age. But she just keeps on truckin’. It’s a good sign, and God bless her for it.

    Based on everything you’ve written, I think that maybe Jani doesn’t really need this Santa Clarita Child & Family Center after all. It’s clear they can’t take the heat and just want to get out of the kitchen.

    Personally I bet your interns do a better job than any therapist.

    Maybe it’s a good idea not to name names. But on the other hand, I don’t see how this Child and Family Center( a semi-public agency, receiving government funds), has any real expectation of privacy with respect to its staff.

    Note from Michael: Very good point, Carl. I don’t relish naming names, and for effect in this last blog I didn’t, deciding that the judgment of the universe was heavier than mine. But I also agree that a public agency has no expectation of privacy. It is not like I am discussing or revealing their private lives. I am discussing their public statements. They could refute me, but they choose to go to silent instead.

  5. These people should be ashamed of themselves, not only as professionals but as human beings. As a taxpayer to the state of California, I can’t stand the thought that one penny of my money would go to people who would cruelly abandon a child like this. That is not their job. Their job is to help and to do what it takes. I am a teacher and I know this. It’s not easy. But when you go into these jobs you need to accept that. Only a truly horrible person could tell lies like this and treat a little girl this way. They thought they were hurting you, but in the end they are hurting Jani, and that above all is what pisses me off. I think we all know you can take it, Michael. Heck, maybe even Jani can take it. But hurting her and hurting her chances of getting better out of pure spite is juvenile and disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves and if they have any ounce of decency they should be.

    Did they think you would make this blog post some grand apology begging for forgiveness? I don’t understand their reasoning here except to show their gross incompetence. I really, really pray that you get the help you need and that if they are too incompetent, selfish, and horrible to help your child, that another organization can. I know that sometimes it feels like there are no options, and doors keep closing. But just keep going, Michael. You just have to. There are so many people on the other side of the computer screen who are rooting for your success and for Jani’s success. It’s just sad that the very people who are supposed to help you that don’t care while those of us that do can’t do a thing.

  6. Alex wrote, “Maybe you should own up to that if you talk about having nothing to hide.”

    I don’t know…maybe, what’s good for the redacting goose should be good for the redacting gander. If the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center can redact information, then why can’t the rest of us?

  7. No offense to Jani’s therapist, but she strikes me as a bit of a spineless jackass :). I’m so sorry these people are failing Jani. I think you have every right to be upset with them.

  8. Isn’t there some kind of law against doing what these people have done, you’d think because they are contracted through the state that they’d be required to provide their services. I’m wondering how this agency will explain their reason for throwing an 8-year old kid to the wolves on Jani’s discharge papers.

    Note from Michael: Good question. You can ask Dr Ari Levy there. His number is (661) 259-9439. I have no doubt he will refuse to talk to you, saying something like “we can’t discuss a private matter featuring a client” (but Jani isn’t their client anymore” but what the hell? Clog their phone lines.

  9. Sympathy, and a suggestion
    Michael, I’ve followed this blog for about a year, and I have great sympathy for the difficulties your family is facing. I know you don’t know me from Adam, but I wanted to chime in with one question/recommendation: are you getting any therapy yourself through all of this? You’re clearly a smart guy, but based on what you’ve said here, you’re wrestling with a difficult upbringing and some fairly serious mental/emotional health issues yourself. From the perspective of a (presumably) objective outside observer, and a fellow-parent, the actions you’ve described in this blog, such as:

    — disregarding the assessment of multiple qualified medical personnel about what treatments would best serve Jani,

    Note from Michael: What “assessments of multiple qualified medical personnel” am I disregarding? Her outpatient psychiatrist, Dr. Woodall? Nope. Her UCLA inpatient doctors like Dr. DeAntonio, the head of the Child & Adolescent Unit there? No, we followed all their recommendations. So the only assessment we disagree with is the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center, and their assessment was sudden, a contradiction of everything the therapist had been saying in sessions (her superior has now admitted that she did not in fact tell us her “assessment” because she was “intimidated” by us and waited until her boss was next to her in the IEP). So that argument, Christine, doesn’t hold up.

    — insisting that residential will not work because your daughter needs to be with YOU, and only YOU can understand and save her,

    Note from Michael: Every pitch of residential made to us has been based on what it can do for US, not how it will benefit Jani. As of it, no one has been able to present to us how it would benefit Jani.

    — insisting that a very overburdened public health system owes your daughter unlimited amounts of care tailored to *your* specifications, even when qualified medical personnel recommend different treatment,

    Note from Michael: First, Ari Levy at Child & Family insisted her services were not being cut because of money. Second, as I have pointed out before, only Child & Family recommends residential. No one else. In fact, her private psychiatrist agrees with our needs. Finally, damn straight. I do whatever I have to do to get my daughter what she needs. You would, too.

    — being convinced that any departures from those specifications are owing to the cowardice, laziness, or general malign tendencies of the individuals whose recommendations differ from yours

    Note from Michael: Again, what specifications? You want to talk specifications, let’s talk. Jani’s therapy is provided under a AB 3632 under IEP order. It is AGAINST THE LAW to arbitrarily terminate those services without an IEP. This is a violation of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Second, as a Medi-Cal recipient, it is a violation of state law to terminate services without a 30 day warning.

    — punishing those individuals with very emotional, quasi-libellous public blog postings, when proper channels exist for reporting true malpractice and you know medical confidentiality prevents any of
    the individuals from answering your accusations

    Note from Michael: “Quasi-libelous?” Individuals working for semi-pubic agencies have no expectation that their professional activities will not be discussed in public.

    …seem, if understandable, like the actions and judgments of someone who’s really struggling to keep a steady eye on what’s best for his daughter.

    Note from Michael: I am definitely keeping a steady eye on what’s best for my daughter. You just don’t agree with me.

    God knows I might not do any better if I were going through this myself, but it really seems as though getting the chance to work through all this with the support of a caring therapist might help you regain some perspective and make the best possible decisions for your family.

    Note from Michael: I see what you are trying to do, Christine. I am not stupid. You are trying to insinuate that I am not making “the best possible decisions” for Jani. You are ignoring the fact that the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center broke the law.

    I know you’re short of cash and time at the moment, but with so many people interested in helping Jani, I wonder if there’s anyone out there who might be able to assist you in getting a bit of care for yourself. Just one other parent’s perspective. Best of luck navigating this rough situation.

    Note from Michael: Now you are trying to suggest that I am off my rocker because I am short of money (why? because I maintain two apartments to keep my family together and avoid shipping my daughter to out of state residential). Nice try. You should have changed your title. There is no sympathy here. You came with an agenda to defend those who can’t be defended. Take care.

  10. Just wondering, how would you feel if Jani’s former therapist had a blog where she could continually post information about Jani, good or bad, using Jani’s name?

    Note from Michael: But she couldn’t. She is bound by confidentiality. I’m not. Still, are you really going to sit there and tell me that she has any moral superiority in this case, abandoning a young mentally ill girl?

  11. First off..when you are a therapist don’t you choose to do this line of work…isn’t it the career path that you decided fit you the best because you wanted to make a difference in people lives by trying to help them in their time of need. It is not like going to a fast food establishment and submitting an application that the only requirement you need is to be at least a certain age. I have a child who is bipolar and ADHD and ODD and one of his major issues at one time was always having complete control and when he didn’t have control it was meltdown city, so the therapist that we were working with wanted to talk to me without him first thing every session which he did not like and after a couple of sessions he decided to destroy her waiting room by throwing magazines and pillows and cushions, so she handles the situation by asking him if he wanted to stay or go and when he said he wanted to go she told him he was not welcome back and we were to leave…again giving him the control that he desired…he was six years old at the time…I know how hard it is to find a therapist that relates to your child at a level that will help them succeed, but I think it was unprofessional to hide behind the lame excuse that there was nothing more to do help Jani just because you were willing to do the job that you have supposively trained for and have a passion to do. I feel your frustration and think that you are doing exactly what a parent who will give anything or do anything for their child needs…I deal with a child who only thinks about and cares about himself and it is a daily struggle to make him see others and care about others around him, but giving up on him or his future is not even in my vocabulary. Keep up the good work…you are doing a great job!!!

  12. I have followed Jani’s story for some time, but have never commented. I have severe depression, and know what it’s like to battle the mental health system. I was also “dumped” by my therapist, in the middle of ECT treatments, on christmas eve, in a message on my answering machine!! All because my insurance changed, something I was assured would never be a problem. My husband and I are both out of work and struggling to make ends meet, all because if he goes to work, no one will insure me( pre-existing coditions).
    I have tears running down my face now, just reading your post today, and my heart truly hurts for Jani, we are sending something to your paypal account, it’s not much, but maybe you can get Jani her own fish. Please tell her that people in Massachusetts are thinking about her, and we wish we could do more.
    Donna

    Note from Michael: I am so sorry, Donna. We did get the fish. That was non-negotiable. They are now in Jani’s room.

  13. WOW….
    You have more guts than any other person i know. I wouldnt have retracted the naming but yu at least have class. I cant believe they dropped a child from therapy services for being “TO SEVERE”! I dont know what the laws are in California but as a Special Education therapist in NY I know parents have FULL rights to their childs folder. You should definitly look into that. If i was in California, id be on Jani’s team. Ever think of moving to NY? we have great services for kids with special needs.(and renting is sooo much cheaper) just a thought. and BTW….. Im glad Jani got to take the fish home.

  14. 🙂
    Pure excellence, sir. I dare say as far as Jani’s come, you’ve come just as far yourself. I think the reason why people spend less time trying to criticize you now is because you no longer give them any reason to. Not that I’m saying the kind of trolls who used to stalk you on January First were justified in the hateful things they would say, but they likely picked up on the tensions and inconsistencies you were dealing with then and saw the opportunity to attack. You still feel your emotions, but you no longer allow them to hinder your advocacy for Jani. Bravo. I hope you are feeling pretty good about yourself right now. Hang in there. I just wish I lived close so I could actually have the privilege of knowing you and your family.

    By the way, I was dropped by a therapist once for parasuicidal behavior. Her name was Pamela Mumby, and she said the policy of her office was to terminate therapy with anyone in “acute crisis.” She actually called me on the facility phone while I was being held inpatient against my will to inform me of this, without giving any other options for services. And now she’s the head of psychiatry for a state university medical center. Hmmmmmm…. sounds like her policy is just to work the bare minimum and still get paid $200/hr. Who the hell would pay for therapy at that rate who WASN’T in acute crisis? Santa Clarita Child & Family is one of a million such facilities who drop the ball because they can.

  15. Michael:
    How sad that they left Jani like that as if she was unimportant and not a human been that needs them.
    Very unprofessional and horrible to say the least
    I’m disgusted!
    Be strong and keep fighting! You are great parents and you might be just the force needed to push for changes on the Mental services.
    Hugs
    Sophie

  16. “Second note from Michael: Still waiting, Alex. Have the courage to tell me who you are (on my Facebook account, not here). ”
    I apologize I have a busy life and can’t respond to you the moment you reply, notably on a blog that gives me no indication I received a response. I don’t have you on Facebook; I don’t even have a Facebook. My friend who does have you on Facebook was telling me about Jani and her story, and when they were showing me your Facebook page you had just posted that; which in turn started a discussion as to the ethics of it.
    I however am not going to list my friend on Facebook as I feel it would be unfair to them since they have done nothing wrong to you, nor even spoken negatively about all you do for your daughter. I agree with them, what you’re doing for Jani is quite a honorable thing; I simply found it a little unethical how you treated the situation naming her on your Facebook. Even if you tell people not to send her angry messages you know there will be people out there who will not listen and do exactly that. Why did the people on your Facebook even need to have who she was and what she’d done against you if you told them not to message her; it seemed unnecessary.

    Note from Michael: Fair enough. I actually took it down seconds after I put it up because I decided exactly as you did: the last thing I wanted was people sending her angry messages. It was an impulsive act on my part driven by anger and it was wrong, which is why I took it down.

    Yes, I know this site gives no confirmation that comments have been received. I wish I could fix that but I don’t have the know how.

  17. I know you say that you didn’t go to the media to cover Jani’s story, but I think you should for this situation.

    I’m just a lowly journalism student, but I have a feeling that it’s a matter of public interest if an office using taxpayer’s dollars refuses service to citizens.

    Don’t underestimate the power of the media. I see how you are trying to self publish the truth here, but the objective voice of a reporter and the legal might of an established publication might get you further.

    E-mail every editor and reporter of every local and state newspaper, write in letters to the editor, etc. Eventually you will get someone to cover this situation. It might not change the bureaucratic mess, (sadly, it might not even help Jani immediately), but it might get the wheels turning down the road.

    Note from Michael: This is very much of public interest, Rachel, but if you take a look at all the media we have done, it has all been what in journalism what is called “human-interest” and not “Investigative.” For example, the “20/20” was original supposed to be an investigative piece but the bosses upstairs wanted something that would achieve shock value. Part of my frustration has started to be that the media is happy to cover the struggles of mentally ill kids, but almost from an entertainment standpoint. It isn’t the reporters (in print) or the producers (in TV). It is their higher ups that are only interested in the story from an entertainment standpoint and now interested in social change. Welcome to corporate journalism. So unfortunately, as much as reporters in the field might want to cover the story, their editors determine what they can cover and investigating the failures of American mental health care for children doesn’t make for great ratings.

  18. The Fish Report
    we’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl

    I think, in the absence of more formal therapy, it is imperative to work with Jani on the fish report. That stability has got to feel great from her, and as established in previous posts, she responds well to the praise when she does something well.

    If for nothing else, I’d be very interested in the fish reports.

    Love,

    S

  19. I’m with Christine.
    I’ve read your blog for a long time now and I do believe that you’re doing what you believe is best for Jani. No one can fault you for that. However, I also believe that Christine brings up some very interesting points in her post. I don’t think she’s attacking you, or trying to sway your opinions on things (I think it’s clear that would be pointless). But I do agree with some of the things that she said and I think that maybe, once you’ve taken some time to step back from your counter-attack, you might try sorting through some of them.

    I wish your family the best…I’m just not sure, from what I read on here alone because I know I don’t know anything about you other than this blog, that what’s happening to Jani and Bodhi really is “the best.”

    Note from Michael: Keppa, I didn’t feel she was attacking me either. I was simply pointing out that her argument is based on faulty logic (particularly the part about me ignoring the advice of medical professionals). I also find it interesting that I have criticized UCLA and its staff/doctors before, but no one ever had a problem with that. It is only now that I am attacking the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center that individuals like you are coming out of the wordwork to question my judgment. Coincidence?

  20. Hi Michael,

    I recently saw Jani’s story on Discovery Health and have been reading your blog and listening to Susan’s podcasts ever since. I just wanted to let you know that Jani really touched my heart…she, Bodhi, you, and Susan are in my thoughts. As the mother of an 8 year old boy who has Asperger’s syndrome, much of what you write resonates with me.

    Best wishes,
    Angie

  21. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and I have to say that it really confuses me as to what you want for Jani. You want the local hospital/insurance to provide unlimited care for her at a moment’s notice for as long as you feel is necessary, but you become offended when someone suggests residential care? I guess I just don’t see the difference, really…I mean, I understand that residential is out of state and that would be really hard, but if you’re able to get two apartments and take your daughter to non-stop stimulating activities everyday, why aren’t you able to move out of state so that you can see her in residential? Wouldn’t that be more effective in the long run?

    Also, I read that you think residential will do nothing to benefit Jani…if that’s the case, why do you trust UCLA to admit her in the first place when she becomes psychotic? Why is it that you are fine with one program taking her and not another?

    I’m not trying to attack, I’m just genuinely confused as to your thought process here. There might be some part of the picture I’m missing.

    Best of luck to you and to your family.

    Note from Michael: Yeah, there has been a lot of “confusion” lately ever since I started criticizing the Santa Clarita Child & Family Center. First, people like you keep saying I want “unlimited care for Jani.” No. What I want is for the Child & Family to do what is required of them under the law. Stop trying to change the subject.

    Second, if you can’t see the difference between placing your child in residential and placing your child in the best child psychiatric acute unit on the west coast, you either don’t have children or are a moron. I trust UCLA because they are genuinely interested in her care. I know this because I was watched them and fought with them (sometimes) for two years. Residential is not necessarily interested in her care. As for moving out of state, no I am not going to take her away from her psychiatrist (who is the best) and UCLA.

    And I don’t believe for a minute you’ve been reading my blog for “a while now” because you would know these things.” You know what I think? I think you are perhaps a future psychologist who is afraid someone like me might hold you accountable for your actions. Maybe not. Just a guess.

  22. Wow. You are highly defensive. Actually, yes, I am in grad school for Psychology, but for research, not clinical, so whatever “motives” you think I, as a complete stranger, have, are not related to fear of someday being held accountable for some perceived future wrong-doing. Maybe you don’t realize this, but a lot of the feelings you express on your blogs are very erratic and disorganized, and your writing is often confusing to follow. That is the only reason why I ask the questions that I did: For clarity, not for some hidden agenda. I don’t really appreciate being called a moron, when I’m just trying to understand your writing and situation.

    So what is it that they are “required to do under the law” that differs from unlimited care? I am also not familiar with the law that you cite or any previous rulings surrounding it, so maybe you can shed some light on that.

    Also, I am confused on your therapist situation…I assume then that Jani has another therapist that differs from the one that you “outed”? There are many people to keep track of in this story. Have you looked into the reputations of the therapists at the residential facility? In what ways do they differ from Jani’s current therapist? Is there no way for her current therapist to continue to keep in touch with her at a residential facility?

    Or, you could just dismiss my questions and call me names again. Whichever.

    Note from Michael: No, Jani has no other therapist, so you assume wrong. IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) prevents any service being provided under a IEP (individualized education plan), in this case Jani’s therapy, from being terminated without being done through another IEP. This did not happen. Jani’s therapist and her agency terminated therapy arbitrarily which is not legal for them to do.

    How is that the same as unlimited care? She had therapy; they cut it all which is against the law.

    Finally, yes, if I could get her unlimited care I would, and quite frankly I will roll over whoever I have to to get it for her or the hundreds of other mentally ill kids who also lack services because they are “too difficult” for lazy psychologists to help.

  23. residential should not be considered lightly
    I have worked with families who have placed their children into residential care. Now, I will say that every family has (afterward) felt that this did help the child, in addition to assisting the family.

    Now, with that said…Jani is what…seven or eight? I have an eight year old. I cannot imagine handing him over to strangers – to care for him. I think that the DD population has an 80% rate of abuse and I am not sure what the rate is for those affected with mental illness…but at eight…I simply can’t imagine handing a child over to strangers. Residential might help with some things, but it also opens the child up to other possible problems (and problems is a nice way to put it). I find it amazing that people can just say, “Hey – you have an option…residential.” Really??? Do any of these people have kids of their own? If so, have they reeeaaallly sat down and thought about this “option”?

    There are predators out there. Sure, not all staff in residential are predators (in fact, most are not); however, this is a good place to be working if you want an easy target. Also, staff do not love children as their parents do (nor should they):It is just not the same.

    I believe that residential has a time and place. I do. Most people move out of the house at some point, but not usually at seven or eight (for some very good reasons). Residential could be considered at some point – but in my opinion there needs to be a LARGE number of self-advocacy skills acquired before that point (no matter the age of the person requiring that sort of care). I don’t know Jani…but I do know that my son wouldn’t have all of those skills at this point. I don’t know many kids his age who have enough skills in this area to really protect themselves. Jani becomes upset when water is spilled onto her clothes and strips naked. This is one thing that I would point to and question what sort of adult could suggest placing her in residential care. She does not have the ability to protect herself at this point.

    Before any person suggests that a child should be placed into residential, that person should be asking some pretty important questions. These are questions that I find people usually neglect to ask and answer.

    Wanting good comprehensive services should not have to include residential.

    Now – just to be clear…I am not knocking any family who has a child placed in residential. I work with families who do have younger kids living in a group home and we all have different circumstances that we live in/with. While I do not think I could ever consider this as an option for a young child…I am also one to “never say never” and certainly do not feel that any such decision was made lightly or should be judged by others.

    Note from Michael: Beautifully said, Lori.

  24. One thing that bothers me in most of your blogs, since you’re a English professor, is your constant incorrect use of the word “me”. Example: “no matter how angry or frustrated he got with me and Susan”. The correct way is “Susan and I”, you use this a lot saying “Jani and me” or “me and Jani” “I” is a pronoun that must be the subject of a verb. “Me” is a pronoun that must be the object of the verb. Correct examples: Jani and I went to the park. Please come with Jani and me to the park.
    Sorry, it just bothers me every time I read it in one of your blogs.

    Note from Michael: Well, if that is all that bothers you then I guess I am doing pretty well. Actually though, you are not quite correct. The mandate to use the pronoun “I” is a prescriptive grammar rule, meaning it is a rule that doesn’t reflect how English language speakers actually use the language (what is called “descriptive grammar.” “Jani and me” is valid and correct grammer; it just doesn’t sound as “educated” as “Jani and I.” A lot of the prescriptive grammar rules that were taught to students in the 60s and 70s have been abandoned by English instructors like myself because they don’t reflect the actual descriptive use of the language.

    Having said that, I do indeed break rules of grammar all the time, like when I use sentence fragments. I do this for effect and it is quite deliberate. Sometimes it is necessary to break even the descriptive rules of grammar in order to achieve the emotional impact desired.

  25. You want the best for your daughter. Is the best really taking her to treatment with people who are clearly not invested in her care, willing to break the law rather than to treat her? Unlike dialysis and prescriptions, the personal bond between patient and therapist is so terribly important. While what they did is wrong and illegal, I feel like maybe it’s time to triage and not turn your already limited energy negative and focus on the most important thing – getting proper care for Jani.

  26. And S. Shepherd’s first example of the “incorrect” use of “me” is flat out wrong. “How angry he got with me and Susan” is correct, as “me and Susan” are the object o his anger. Sheesh. If you’re going to be “That Guy” who lamely corrects other people’s grammar on their own blog, get your usage right!

  27. I understand your frustrations about the human-interest spin on the 20/20 special and the corporate aspects of the industry. The latter is especially a growing blemish on what is supposed to be unbiased reporting.

    In my mind I can see how the human-interest aspect would be an important first step in the process. I think it brings some awareness to others about the reality your family and others face every day. No, it doesn’t achieve medical reforms, but I think it’s a step toward shifting social attitudes about people suffering from mental illnesses. Once the awareness is there, public attention can be drawn toward the inadequacies of our health system.

    However idealistic or ridiculous I might sound, I guess I just feel the strange need to tell you not to give up on reporters or editors. 😉 If I were in the position to send a team of reporters your way about your experiences with this office, I certainly would.

    At any rate, I wish you and your family the best.

  28. It sounds like Jani’s therapist wanted to terminate the relationship with you and your wife, and she had to stop treating Jani to do so. She was afraid to be honest with you, which says a great deal about your intimidating stance. You think you are a champion for mentally ill children, but you’re really just an angry, boorish person who likes to throw his weight around.

    I work in a helping profession. You are mistaken to believe that we are martyrs to our work and willing to work endless hours and put up with violations of our privacy to please people like you. Your standards are unrealistic and your combative approach is off-putting.

    I think you would be better able to help your daughter if you treated those who work with her with respect and gratitude, including at times when you disagree with them. You are the kind of parent that public employees *hope* will move out of their catchment area. You think your bullying ensures the best care for Jani, but you’re wrong about that. Those of us in these professions will do right by the children every chance we get, sometimes in spite of terrible circumstances. However, if we are bullied or mistreated we will sometimes be driven to do as Jani’s therapist did and protect ourselves by ending the therapeutic relationship. We have other clients who need us to be whole, healthy, and free of distractions such as people who don’t honor our boundaries.

    You’re also incorrect about the agency breaking the law by refusing to treat your daughter. The IEP and AB3632 may specify that she will receive therapy but just as in the case of a speech therapist who goes out on maternity leave, it’s not out of the question for a new provider to be substituted. If the agency believes Jani’s needs are too severe, they are within their rights to refer her out.

    I hope you will have the courtesy to show this blog to anyone who might consider entering a professional relationship with any of your family members. I know if I had a choice about whether or not to work with Jani, I’d say no in order to avoid you. I think that kind of disclosure might help you avoid abrupt terminations in the future.

    Note from Michael: I’m glad you wouldn’t want to work with me. You don’t belong in this field. You are only willing to help children if and when it suits you. Your “clients” are human beings that need you to help them, not be “happy and whole.” If you are not happy doing what you are doing, get out. I am glad you wrote what you wrote and I am glad I have the opportunity to publish it. Your arrogance comes from never having been on the other side. You expect us to be grateful? We are fighting for the life of our child. I am not going to be grateful for therapists like you who expect to get away with substandard care or doing the bare minimum. See, that is really what you are upset about: I’m “not grateful.” I challenge people like you to do a better job. You are the one who is arrogant and boorish, because you assume that parents should be grateful for what little we can get from people like you. When a parent stands up to you, as you said, you hope they move out of your area. They have a name for that, Lisa. It’s called “cowardice.”

    Second note from Lisa: No response, Lisa? Or do just have nothing else to say after that big hole you dug yourself? Perhaps later you went back and read what you wrote about your attitude and thanked God that no one knows who you are, because I can’t imagine anyone would read what you wrote and want you to see their child. Please do all of us a favor and get out of this profession. You don’t want us (meaning parents who fight for their children’s right to quality care) and we don’t want you.

  29. Good luck to you!
    I have read all of your blogs, so I know that you write what you are feeling in the moment. Some are very objective, but when you have gone head to head with someone that you feel is not doing their job, I know you bare it all. It’s admirable, and your children could not ask for better advocates. I will say, however, that even Winston Churchill had respect for his enemies. He didn’t call them morons, or resort to petty names. Hitler was afraid of him for his calm, chilling resolve.

    In the long run, I think your course of action will definitely have more effect than the “sugar-coating”. Advocating for change is never easy. I don’t know if Jani will benefit directly from it, but others will.

    On a personal note, every time I see you and Susan in the media I am struck by how tired you both look, especially around the eyes. I hope you get some respite, and I have nothing but admiration for you.

    Note from Michael: Thank you, Nancy. You are right; it can be difficult to set aside my personal feelings when talking about those who I feel fail Jani and other children like her. As for Winston Churchill respecting his enemies, I do, but that is because I consider the schizophrenia to be the real enemy. The schizophrenia is my primary fight. The Santa Clarita Child & Family Center aren’t really my enemies. They just get in the way, making life harder when they could be making it easier. They are more an irritant than an enemy.

  30. Shame…
    While it will undoubtedly cause an unwelcome and difficult transition for Jani, leaving that practice was in her best interest. Hear me out…

    Were she still their patient, the cowardly “professionals” of Santa Clarita Child & Family Center would have continued to treat and make recommendations for Jani, which were not in her best interest. It is fortunate for Jani that Santa Clarita Child & Family Center has exposed its perspective on providing for the needs of children and families before they could become more deeply embedded in Jani’s life.

    Kudos to you, Michael, for standing up for Jani. If Santa Clarita Child & Family Center wishes to avoid negative “press”, they should act in the best interest of their patients, not merely in the interest of staff egos.

    Note from Michael: Thanks, Summer. So far Jani has handled it extremely well. We and her teachers/occupational therapists at the Newhall School District have worked really hard to keep her stable.

  31. Note to S. Shepherd
    You’re writing about “incorrect” grammar on here, S Shepherd? You’re a moron. Your grammar is incorrect, and you ought to fix it or you risk sounding like an idiot to everyone around you.
    CORRECT: “She talked to Bob and me.”
    CORRECT: “Bob and I took a walk.”
    Go back to remedial English. And for the love of God, realize this blog is NOT about his English teaching career. This is an emotional outlet on raising his daughter. See how well your grammar stacks up in that situation. Since it’s already failing, I can’t imagine it would be any better.

    Note from Michael: Don’t be too hard on dear S. Shepard. Different people are bothered by different things and like I said, if my perceived grammar mistakes are the only think that bothers him or her then I think I must be doing pretty well. I actually teach remedial English at CSUN and I love it. Nothing wrong with remedial English.

  32. Strength
    I really hope that you continue to have the strength to keep advocating for Jani. I know lots of people who do not have the advocates from their own families and many of which are those whom I work with. I agree with your previous blog about the school system and IEPs. But at the same time I must agree with the person that told you they failed Jani. The system is still highly flawed, and they have failed her in a way but if they keep trying they will figure it out. I do believe that Jani is an extremely bright child but she needs structure that the school is failing to deliver to her. And I agree with what you said on the Child and Family center. But keep going you are doing great despite the many challenges that have been given to you. I have seen Jani’s story a few times on discovery health channel, and you are doing the best you can and keep up the good work on it all. and I wish you and your family the best of luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *