Does juvy really help?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MyHrt31, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    What are your thoughts or experiences with sending a difficult child to juvy? Does it help or make things worse? My 9 year old is on the verge of being sent there (he has to see a judge next week and sign a contract, if he breaks the contract, he gets sent there). I am just curious to know if juvy has any effect on Impulse control disorder, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder or aspergers. I do not mind sending him there if it will help but I want to know what others think about the system. Thoughts?
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Juvie is not going to do anything for bi-polar or aspergers. They can't be controlled by sending a difficult child anywhere. Do I think it can help impulse control or conduct disorder? Perhaps....but that is a big perhaps.

    My difficult child did go to juvie, just for the weekend. It had a big impact on her and I think she knows she never wants to go back there and she has modified her behavior somewhat. But she still has poor impulse control. She doesn't act violently at home anymore and that has changed since juvie. But she still does not think about consequences of her actions and still lives on the edge and engages in risky behavior.

    I think you have to know your difficult child very well and be convinced that the chance of it helping outways the chance that it will just teach them worse behaviors or start them on a slippery slope downhill.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Juvie is for juvenile delinquents, not the mentally ill. Your son is only 9. I can't imagine how it could help him--I feel it will only make him a lot worse. Are you saying he is being ordered into juvie without the option of mental health? I'd get a lawyer and fight that big time. This is not a juvenile delinquent. He is ill. I would take him to a new psychiatrist and reevaluate his medication. He isn't on very much and apparently it's not helping him.
  4. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Thanks! I have to wonder exactly how much difficult child can control his aggressiveness. He threw a chair and it hit a teacher. The principal admitted that he did not mean to hit her, she just ended up in the way. She was trying to stop him from going after another kid who was teasing him and who hit him (at least that's what my difficult child told me).

    The thing is, the night before this happened, I knew his anger and aggression had become increasingly worse over the last few weeks. He's going to an alternative school thats supposed to be for "behavior problem kids". At first, he was doing great. There were no issues except for the fact that he did not want to do his schoolwork (this he obviously can control). The last few weeks, he has come home every day talking about other kids teasing him and hitting him. I've addressed the issue with the teachers and they say that they tried turning his desk to face the wall so he can not see the other children. If he hears them, he'll turn around an mock what they do (they stick him the finger, curse, throw things at him).

    Thursday night (the night before he got into trouble), I showed him a video of boot camp so he could see what juvy was like. I explained that this is where the judge sends children who make bad decisions. He promised me he would have a GREAT day the next day. I dropped him off at 8 that morning and reminded him about the video. He promised he would do great because he did not want to go there. He was truly scared and I honestly believe that he did want to do better. He got into class and a kid stuck out his tongue at him and called him a name. difficult child decided to tell the kid to keep his tongue in his mouth or else (of course, this set the other kid off). My difficult child swears that the other kid hit first (I still have to ask the teacher about this) and it escalated to him throwing a chair to "scare the kid off". My difficult child was immediatlely remorseful and was worried about his teacher.

    He ended up in the principals office. She called me and told me to come and get him and that she wanted to speak with me. When I got there, she was talking to him very loudly about "how she knows he is doing everything just for attention and that this has nothing to do with his exceptionality" She told me that everything he does is for attention and that he threw the chair so he could get attention. HUH? I just shrugged it off because I am used to people trying to psychoanalyze my difficult child and thinking that they hold doctoral degrees. Whatever, lol....

    So anyways, she went on and on about "if i were your mom, I would make you clean and i would stand over you with a fly swatter the entire time" and "your mom wants to believe in you because she loves you but I can see right through you. You are doing this all for attention and you know EXACTLY what you are doing" and "the judge is going to fix you" Stuff like that... I let her go on because I was so stressed over the phone call that I couldn't think straight and I was afraid I'd say something I'd later regret. I kept my mouth shut and took him home.

    I made him clean the house and all the toilets and he was happy as can be (what 9 year old would rather clean toilets than be at school... I guess mine, lol). He told me that he deserved every punishment I gave him and that he was very sorry. He lost computer and Wii privileges for the weekend. He is irritated about it but he is not lashing out at me.

    I guess I am just worried that it will traumatize him if he ends up there (in juvy). He's got sensory integration disorder and people yelling scares the *#_# out of him. He holds his ears when I put the bathwater on so I can imagine what that kind of environment will do to him. I'm sure it will frighten him at first but maybe he'll get used to it.

    I was just wondering if it could be something useful for his many disorders or if I should fight it. I have a meeting with the school on Monday. He was supposed to go back to his regular school but because of this, he will most likely have to stay at this "behavior school". I don't know if I should agree to keep him there or demand that they send him back to his other school. I have already asked for one on one aid and an assistive technology assessment for him for when he went back to the other school. I suppose I'll have to demand these two things at this school.

    I am just running out of options (we do not have Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s in this area) and juvy looks like it may be a possibility. He's not exposed to drugs, alcohol, or violence. His only friend is also Aspie and they spend most of their time watching Star Wars and talking about light sabers. He's never brought a "weapon" to school although he has a habit of either hiding under tables and chairs or throwing or pushing them at people when he's upset. No parent wants to see their kid go there and I will if it means it can help BUT if it will make things worse, than I plan to fight it.
  5. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    We haven't gone to the judge yet but if he goes off of what the principal of the school says, she is making it look like EVERYTHING difficult child does is deliberate and not apart of his exceptionality. From what she has mentioned, the judge will make him sign a contract. If he fails to abide by the rules in the contract, he will end up in juvy.

    The psychiatrist seems to think he has conduct disorder (in addition to many other disorders) and they even mentioned this in his diagnosis in the hospital. He's been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, ADHD, Impulse Control Disorder, and Aspergers. I haven't added them to my signature because I honestly believe that this is mostly Aspergers and Bipolar disorder. The medications that they've tried him on for ADHD do not work. They make him even more hyper and make his heart race. The drugs for the bipolar disorder do help a little but nothing seems to help much with his impulsivity. He's not an easy going kid, never has been.

    The stuff that I am told about my parenting can be annoying but I understand most people are just ignorant about mental health. They like to blame the kids and the parents because that's "old school" and before they knew about these types of issues.

    I take him to a psychologist (who definitely believes this is apart of his exceptionality and mainly relies on the Aspergers diagnosis because she has a lot of experience with Aspies), a psychiatrist (who thinks its Bipolar and Conduct disorder) and a therapist (who works underneath the psychologist and treats him for Aspergers). I have him on a schedule, I give him rewards and consequences and I role play with him. There is not much more I can do that hasn't been done already so hearing the principal say that I believe him because I love him kind of irritates me. Of course I believe him because I love him but also because I've educated myself on mental illness (I will have a Masters degree in Psychology in December) and I will do whatever it takes to help him. If this means to send him to juvy, then so be it. I will do whatever it takes, even if it hurts like heck to help him. I will not, however, let others dictate how I should hold my son accountable for ALL of his actions when he's got a heck of a lot of challenges that make it that much harder for him.

    I forgot to mention that when they put him on stimulants, it increases his aggression. He was put on Vyvanse (which seems to have the least irritability for him) a few weeks ago. I let his psychiatrist know that he's been pretty irritable lately and she's trying him on Trileptal as well. I may just request that he stay off of ALL stimulants because this seems to be when he is the most irritable and obviously does not help with his hyperactivity and impulse control.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    THat teacher needs to be reported. HOW ABUSIVE! She would be in deep trouble if she were my kid's teacher and talked to my child that way. I'd go over the district's head and report her to the Dept. of Public Education. That's criminal to say she'd stand over him with a fly swatter and that he's doing all this for attention. When did SHE become a psychiatrist?
    I wouldn't give her the time of day (the teacher). I'd be trying to get serious help for my son--and the teacher is really mean. I'd want her punished so she couldn't say those things to another child. There are a lot of useful things for your child, none that the teacher advises. These are useful things:
    1/I'd get him a complete and fresh neuropsychologist evaluation to nail down his different disorders in a better way. Seems as if everyone who is seeing him has no idea what is wrong so they are labeling him with everything that exists. In my experience, that means that they have no clue. See a neuropsychologist. They are the best and do intensive testing.

    2. Get appropriate interventions in school and an IEP and make sure your child is nowhere near Miss Know-It-All. Just thinking about how she talked to you rattles my teeth.

    3. Get therapy for him and a Child Psychiatrist as well as taking him for a neuropsychologist evaluation and have them all three working on the same page.

    4. I would consider a smaller class for him, especially if he has sensory issues.

    Grrrrrrrrrrr. THat teacher really rankles me. And so does the idea of a 9 year old in juvie. A 16 year old, maybe, but not a 9 year old. Do you know the kinds of kids in there??? They are treated "bad"--there is no mental health or autism help AT ALL. His hiding under the table and having only one friend is very Aspergers-like. I wouldn't punish him for that--it's not his fault--and I certainly would not send him away for being wired differently. I think he'd be beyond traumatized. Juvy is a punishsment, not a place to help heal kids. And the kids are hardcore.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Double check your state laws (you should be able to find them online)- he might be too young to be sent to juvy and this could be a "bluff" for him, although if it is, I'm not advising that you tell him.

    My son has been in a few short periods and is now being sent to the state Department of Juvenile Justice. So far in the past, it has only served to make him worse.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    FIGHT THIS TOOTH AND NAIL!!!!!!! Juvy will help - help him learn MORE bad behaviors!!!!! He will NOT get mental health care there, no matter what they say.

    Even if they don't call them Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s in your area, there are placements. Therapeutic foster care, emotional growth boarding schools, partial day hospital programs, and lots more things. You have to SEARCH for them. You also may need to send him to a program in a different state. Just because a placement is close does not mean it will be a good fit with what your difficult child needs.

    This child is WAY too young for juvie. It is a bad thing for the mentally ill at any age, but it is esp bad for a child.

    The teacher needs to have things thrown at her. If she managed the classroom better the kids would not be teasing and flipping each other off and calling kids names. They would be BUSY. (The teacher in the class can make a HUGE difference. Wiz was in a pull out ED class in 5th grade. In the entire YEAR the teacher and staff did FIVE restraint holds. FIVE. A year after that the good teacher switched schools. The new ED teacher was much like the one your son has. She was averaging 3 holds per DAY by the end of her first year. Now, in her 4th year she is actually UP to 5 holds per DAY!!! I have a few friends in the school and one asked me if that was too many holds when she only has 6 kids, she has 2 aids and NONE of hte kids are in the class all day!!!! See the difference a teacher can make?????)

    anyway, you need a lawyer, you need to contact the Director of Special Services or whatever the person at the Board of Ed in your district is and get HER involved, AND you need to contact the State Board of Ed about this.

    They cannot threaten to HIT children, not even with nasty germy flyswatters, for ANY reason. Esp not kids with special needs.

    You will need to do training with the staff/teachers at this school. Have your psychologist come in and do it if possible. Or make a DVD to play for the teachers.

    You also need to give the teachers a copy of The Explosive Child or Dr Greene's new book. A copy of the Bipolar Child and any other books you find helpful would be something to suggest to them. Esp if you make the higher up people aware you are trying to help them learn new ways and an "in service" might be VERY helpful.

    The pricipal who yelled or talked loudly to your child must also be reported. It does NO good and LOTS of damage to tell an unstable child that his actions are just for attentionn. (If it worked MY son would have gotten better when husband kept telling him that. And WE almost divorced over it because I was furious and KNEW Wiz couldn't control the things that upset husband the most!)

    Anyway, I hope this can get straightened out soon. A whole bunch of mean nincomp00ps run that school!!!
  9. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Midwest Mom, it was actually the principal that was telling us this. She is the head of the behavior school he goes to and she has pretty much decided she does not like him (from what I can tell). I did email a mental health advocate here (attorney) and ask what our rights are because I am tired of going through this. I have a meeting tomorrow with this principal and special services of the school board. They are going to recommend that he is not ready to go back to his regular school because of this incident and God only knows what else. I may get a tape recorder and tape everything to let them know anything they say will be heard by others. The psychologist and therapist can't make this meeting because its such short notice but I do know they'd back me up whatever I'd decide.

    I am going to try and find a neuropsychologist here but from what I have heard, there are none. I definitely agree that it is about time we get one for my difficult child though because we need to pinpoint his exact diagnosis.

    klmno, that is what I am afraid of. I know you are going through something very tough right now and I thank you for giving your input. You and all these wonderful warrior moms are always in my thoughts and prayers. I worry that my difficult child will end up worse if he does go to juvy. Thanks for letting me know about your experience, it sounds exactly like what I feared most. I will definitely check the state laws and see if we have ANY other options at this point.

    Thanks again for all your advice. I am trying to figure out a game plan and this is definitely helping :)
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I truly and honestly know that I am NOT an expert....BUT...I have been dealing with difficult child behavior for decades and I do not believe that your son is getting the appropriate medications for his disorders. IF he is not properly medicated it does not matter a whit how you implement a reward system. He is, in my humble opinion, not able to respond appropriately in a school environment. How do I know that??? Reread what the Principal said. Would that be helpful to you if an employer said it to you? Heck, no.

    Conduct Disorder is rarely tossed out as a diagnosis for small kids. You have not mentioned whether he displays violence at home or at school but the last difficult child that I raised (now 18 and an Aspie) could not cope with the stresses and pressures of ignorant teachers and peer bullies. I sought out the best child/adolescent Psychiatrist in the State because there was such a big black cloud looming and I knew my child was not the next Al Capone!!

    Within a week he was prescribed two new medications (yes, at the same time which is not considered acceptable!!) and the childs actual features changed. We could "see" him as the excess stress disappeared. He was able to ignore bullying almost immediately. I became very involved as a helper at his school so the #^$@ staff could no longer get away with nonsense. His life changed. Our lives changed. He is graduating in May with a regular diploma. He is still "following the beat of a different drummer" but he would have crumbled in the juvie system.

    I don't know you. I don't know your difficult child. I strongly suggest that you find a specialist in child/adolescent psychiatry who has enough years experience that he will inspire your confidence and help share the weight on your shoulders. Without a moment's hesitation, having had multiple experiences with another child and Department of Juvenile Justice, I advise you to not even think of that as an option for your 9 year old. He needs professional help now. If the school is wrong.....bite the bullet and homeschool until he is stable.

    It is not easy. It is, however, "right". Good luck. DDD
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You know I didn't even notice he was only nine. Certainly a nine year old would learn nothing from juvie. My difficult child was 14 when she was there. That wouldn't happen where I live, juvie is not for nine year olds. Perhaps this is a bluff but I would fight for mental health services tooth and nail.

  12. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Thanks Susie :D

    The bad thing about this school district is, the staff/teachers/counselors, etc can do no wrong. Its all the kids fault and of course, the parent who needs "parenting classes through the DA's office". I've even agreed to go to these classes to prove that I am doing all I can with him.

    My son will never be "healed" and he will not change overnight. They have counselors at this "behavioral school" that are supposed to be there to help. The only times he sees these counselors are when he's in trouble. Hm.... so if this kid supposedly does everything "for attention" and the only time he sees the very person who is supposed to help him cope with his problems is when he does get in trouble.. than maybe he is trying to get attention. He wants the one on one skills that the counselors provide him but if they only do it when he's in trouble, what's that teach him? He needs much more than what that school can offer him.

    I considered pulling him out and homeschooling but I can't afford it. I can't even find someone to watch him so I can put him on homebound (this may change soon though because a girl down the street from us is looking for a job).

    I just don't know what else to do. His anxieties about school are HORRIBLE. He even mentioned not eating in the cafeteria because the other kids call him fat. When I mentioned this, the principal rolled her eyes and said, "He's not as innocent as he would like for you to believe". You guys are really helping me because I wasn't sure if I was justified in feeling IRRITATED about this whole situation. I even have a stomach ulcer developing because of all the stress! :faint:
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Also- I would suggest digging deep into how funding works in your jurisdiction and state. This might take online searching of link after link- forms and stuff that you think apply only to those working in the system can sometimes be very informative. You might not need this yet, but I am suggesting it because I found that here, once a child is under the control of one agency- such as Department of Juvenile Justice- you cannot get them help from another agency without going thru (and getting approval from) the agency the kid is already involved in.

    It is my understanding that in some places, Department of Juvenile Justice can be a great way to get necessary help for a child. In ours, it is not. I have met two other families with kids about my age and involved in our Department of Juvenile Justice, while I'm sitting waiting to visit my son. One family said they had to jump thru all kinds of hoops for 2 years and now their son is going to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). My son is going to sate Department of Juvenile Justice, then we'll be jumping thru hoops or he'll be turned over to dss- actually- I'll have to jump thru hoops while he's in there, too. The family I met today- well, her son did the EXACT same thing is mine, is the same age and also has an axis 1 diagnosis. The Mom has been trying to get Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for her son. They go to court in April- she is about to lose her son and he is probably going to be a ward of the state.

    The funding issue is because the funding that Department of Juvenile Justice has access to does not fund mental health treatment for axis 1 diagnosis's. If your kid needs this and is involved in the Department of Juvenile Justice system, it is a nightmare to get those in charge to see what is needed, jump thru hoops while they try all their crime prevention methods, then get them to "cross over" and try to access help from other agencies for you and your child.

    I obviously cannot tell you what works- only what didn't work for us. But from my standpoint, I think you have a Special Education issue and would contact a Special Education attny first if I were you. But again, what I tried did not work for my son.

    Giving what I know now, I'd also advise checking to see of GAL's in your area are attny's that have NO experience with mental health issues or if they are warrior parents. This could help you decide what to ask for. One of the reasons my son's gal blamed me for difficult child's problems was because she said he wasn't "cured" yet. I found that here, a GAL has to be ready to get a license as an attny and get 6-7 hours of special training- this is for 8 subject areas and only 1 of those has to do with advocating for mental health- so I don't think they quite "get" the idea of what is needed and wouldn't dare ask for help from our Department of Juvenile Justice again.

    Anxiety: I can honestly say that I think my son's BiPolar (BP) diagnosis is not correct, or at least is a minor case, now. His chaotic behavior is a result of anxiety and depression, I honestly believe. His latest psychiatrist in in=patient care changed his diagnosis to Mood Disorder not otherwise specified. If you can get someone to help you deal with the school district and get Department of Juvenile Justice to allow transfer to the mental health dept, I think you'll be a lot better off. Early on, I tried to keep Department of Juvenile Justice involved in the sense of overseeing things thru probation while I got mental health for difficult child. In hindsight, this was a HUGE mistake. But, our mental health dept HOOVERS (except the crisis center portion) and takes 1/2 day for a 1 hour scheduled appointment, which nearly cost me a job. They lost difficult child's file for weeks and after 3 mos. threw their arms up in the air and said they didn't know what to do, so they aren't very high on my "have faith in" list. This is why I didn't push for transfer to their dept. I'm bringing all this up to let you know how things can differ so much, depending on how the system in your jurisdiction works.

    If there is any way to meet other parents with similar issues in your exact locality, I would strongly suggest that, too.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have never heard of such an abusive school in this day and age. I don't know where you live but in Wisconsin, that principal AND his teachers AND their attitude would make them toast. I'd call the Dept. of Public Education on them and they'd be seriously investigated. You may want to do the same in YOUR state. The Dept. of Public Ed is usually at your state capital, and they WILL take your complaints and they have tons of control over every school district and can discipline harshly and they WILL intercede. The way this crew is dealing with your son is as bad as beating him up.
    As for where you can find NeuroPsychs, NeuroPsychs can be found at Univeristy and Children's hospitals. Whether you have to inconvenience yourself and drive a few (or several) hours to see one, I think it's well worth it. Ya can't just shoot eveything down.
    The principal is a nightmare. I go along with homeschooling him to get him AWAY from this principal. He is going to make your child feel hopeless and worthless. You need to know what is wrong with your child. CD is rarely diagnosed under 18--I'd run from anyone who diagnosed CD in a 9 year old. I do think you should do all you can to find and see a neuropsychologist in your area (and don't trust school testing, especially not THIS school testing). And forget Juvie. You and I, as adults, may not be able to survive juvy. The Judge is pretty nuts for even suggesting it to a child so young. He's going to think he's a criminal, something you don't want at nine. He may just decide to become one since everyone thinks he's so "bad." (((Hugs))) and keep looking. Maybe somebody from your state can help you, if you don't mind letting us know where you live. Each state varies a little bit (or even a lot). I feel so bad for you and precious son.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  15. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Thanks again to each of you for these suggestions. klmno, I will definitely check out the Special Education attorney. I'm to that point where I need legal advice because the psychologist is doing all she can, really she is. She's awesome! She has even come with me to IEP meetings in the past and told the teachers that they were not allowed to call me at work (it worked for a few weeks but after that, it all went to heck, lol). I have contacted a mental health advocate for this region and I will definitely call her tomorrow before the meeting to see if she can offer any suggestions. I defnitely need to do more research!!

    DDD, My difficult child's behaviors are similar at home but on a very mild level. He's got the anger and irritability and occasionally he throws things but he does not try to hurt me. He's made it look like he was coming at me, but he's never actually tried to harm me. The more people that are around, the more hard it is to control him. For instance, we could be sitting around watching a movie (just the two of us) and a visitor would come over. All of a sudden, he's bouncing off the furniture and talking a hundred miles a minute. I'll ask him to stop interupting and he'll get angry but he doesn't hit anyone or throw anything. Its MUCH worse at school and pretty much in all public settings. He freaks out and has a hard time concentrating.

    After his hospital stay, he did so well. The new medication (Invega) seemed to work great! Over the last few weeks, he has become increasingly more anxious and irritable so this situation with school is no big surprise for me. He started off at the behavioral school not saying ANY bad words and now he's cursing every other word (hmm.. guess where he's getting all of this, certainly not at home). I honestly feel that this has to do with his medications not being as effective anymore and the environment that this SO CALLED school provides for him.

    MW Mom, I will definitely try and call the Department of Education. I didn't realize that they would take this seriously because of what happened. I guess I just assumed that because of his "reputation" thanks to the principal, its a lose lose situation. That's why I'm going to call a lawyer :)
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with DDD. I wouldnt even consider actual juvy for a nine year old. Now saying that, we did have contact with the juvenile system when my son was very young but it was for a "greet and meet" type thing. He had done something wrong and we went down there and the court officers met with him and gave him a stern talking to. They showed him around the building and took him into the courtroom and explained what breaking the law meant. Kind of a scared straight program but gentler. I think he was 7 or 8.
  17. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Janet, I am hoping that this is all that it will lead up to but I want to be prepared just in case. My difficult child looks like he is 11 or 12 because of his size (all of the medications have made him gain weight over the years) and I think sometimes people expect him to act like he's 11 or 12 when he's mentally about 6 or 7. Does this make sense?
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Also, call NAMI and your local or state Office for Protection and Advocay- do this soon- I waited until my son was in too deep. Oh and another REAL good one- your Parents Education and Advocacy training Center or something like that- it's called PEATC in VA.
  19. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Thanks! I'm going to have to start a list of numbers I need to call. I have a second job interview on Wednesday and if I get the job, I'll probably have to start on the 30th. I want to get as much as I can done before then. Thanks again everyone!! (If I disappear on and off for a little while its because my connection keeps breaking up)
  20. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You have received great advice. I just wanted to add in my support. As a teacher, when I read how she and the principal reacted it gets me very angry! I would definitely be going over their heads if need be.