Well-Known Member
I did not have time to read thoroughly all of the replies you have gotten but you got good advice.

I want to underscore several points.

Many of us have dealt with aggression and violence; those of us with boys, I would say all of us.

It is never OK. Not at 2, or 5 or 20. None of us ever anticipated the moments and hours that we would come to live, or imagine what courses we would have to follow, to parent, or to cope.

Nobody could do this without respite.

The school district is responsible for educating him. Period. If it takes residential treatment, so be it. That does not mean you are any less of a parent. The reverse is true.

My son was in non public school from 6th grade on, except for the years we lived internationally. Paradoxically he did better in schools outside of the USA. One of the behavioral non-public schools here in the states had a residential component. It was wonderful. If it takes this, for now, to get him socialized, contained and educated I would do it.

I agree with culturanta except for one point:
He will destroy your marriage and your sense of who you are if you allow it. Don't allow it.
He is not doing this volitionally. He is responding to thoughts/feelings/bodily sensations that he does not understand by acting out. He does not have any other way to deal. For right now.

That is the reason that the proper treatment and educational setting is so vital. His capacity to contain himself will grow with effective behavioral intervention.

There is such a thing called a behavioral analysis where a trained professional will observe your child at home (and school) and develop a targeted and strategic behavioral plan, and will teach you to implement it with your child. This will be based on reinforcement. They will train you.

This could possibly be written into an IEP. I would go to a regional children's hospital, with referrals from your pediatrician to see a child neurologist and to get a full neuropsychological evaluation at the Child Development Center. They will know how to put you in touch with services to get a behavioral analysis, as well as other needed referrals. My own son was referred to a behavioral nursery school and to language therapy.

Eventually we were supplied with an attorney (free) through an organization called, I think, Disability Rights. That is how we got, initially, non-public school. I would do a google search for disability rights advocacy agencies around the country to get help/advice for the school portion and I would call whoever fits however remotely and ask them who to call, and what they recommend. My son had his first IEP a year or two BEFORE he went to kindergarten. I would not have known this was possible had I not reached out to everybody.

I am not surprised that son's agitation increased with the eye issue. It sounds like he is responding to internal stimuli THAT HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND. He does not know how to calm himself. He is as afflicted (or more) than are you. It is not AGAINST you, although any parent would feel as if they were being tortured and living with an oppressor.

I remember times when I thought I would go off the deep end. Desperate does not even begin to describe my sense of isolation, despair and complete and utter sense of hopelessness in those hours. But guess what? It got better.

I hope you keep posting. It really helps. Welcome.


New Member
Thank you, Copabana for all the suggestions. I knew he was not ok since he was an infant. He was not just having colic, his cry was not that of a baby, was an absolute hysterical cry. I have never seen or heard anything like it. He was 4 months old when it first occurred to me that he might be mentally ill just by the way he was crying (physically he looked perfectly normal). So I contacted early intervention before he was 2. He has been in speech therapy, Occupational Therapist (OT), play therapy since then. We hired a behaviorist to come over to our house and do an FBA (functional behavioral analysis) when he was 2. Despite his being a toddler, I knew those monster tantrums were not typical toddler tantrums. Had another FBA at 3. Got kicked out from everywhere, we put him in ABA ( behavior therapy) daily for 10 months. They threw their hands in the air and said they never saw something like that and did not know how to handle him, because nothing worked. It makes sense why: it was not because of lack of skills, it was because of his mental illness which is so unpredictable that you can`t train. It is a chemical imbalance that all the consequences in the world will not fix.
He just had another FBA done at school by the school psychologist. we will have our private therapist go in to observe his class as well. The only thing we get out of the FBA is that he is seeking attention and escape.
He was evaluated by a few neurologists, 3 psychiatrists, 2 therapists, had very comprehensive neuropsychiatric evaluation done at 2.5 and 5.5 yo. His IQ is close to 90 (they think lower than it probably is because of noncompliance), so he is not intellectually disabled, people say he is bright.
Given his medical problems, I cannot possibly put him in a residential place while undergoing chemo. This is a very long term treatment of maybe 18 months and might be needed off and on for years depending on how the tumor behaves (if it stops growing or starts regrowing). Also, if we put him in the residential place, we might have to hire bodyguards when he gets out as he would absolutely kill us after that. He is extremely vindictive and wants to be "the boss of the world". Most times he just misinterprets things and situations. Eg: my mom was doing the dishes, he went over and threw something at her head because she "did not want to play with me". Of course he did not say a word about wanting to play. If somebody does not pay attention to him because they are busy doing something else, he thinks the person hates him and he goes attacks the person. This looks like paranoia to me. You are absolutely right this is not his fault at all. I know it very well and my heart breaks for him every day. I try really hard to be understanding, but it is so hard to keep calm when you are being attacked and get threats of being killed every day. I cannot even show too much empathy for his medical problems, because his horrible behavior supersedes everything. It is such a horrible, worst imaginable situation.


Well-Known Member
it was because of his mental illness which is so unpredictable that you can`t train.
My g-d, with the further detail you have given, and the effort you have put into this, anybody would feel besides themselves, despair. It sounds like the professionals are tearing their hair out, with an hour or two of consult let alone 24/7. For 5 years.

I understand what you say about his treatment for tumor and how you feel YOU DO NOT have the option of residential treatment. Let me put it this way: you have sacrificed yourself now for 5 years? Has it helped? Of course nobody could know because it could have been worse without your self-sacrifice.

I have to say that while I was a single parent and handled things myself, my son did not have the intensity of problems and his did not manifest within our relationship until he was much older. But I was in a similar situation 4.5 years ago when my elderly mother was ill, and I volunteered to take care of her, eventually in my home.

I did not realize she was in the course of dying. While I saw that she had declined mentally, I did not realize what a commitment it was to care for a demanding, entitled and completely dependent mother, from whom I had no defenses. I became infantilized. I followed her every command. I was intimidated and enslaved in my own home. 24 hours a day. Every 2 minutes she graciously commanded me to get her: water, tissue, help her to the bathroom. And I complied. I became a person without a will; without substance or value.

I had quit my professional job to take care of her, believing that it was my responsibility as a daughter, without a clue of what I was getting into. And I abandoned myself.

My SO watched this and he gave me an ultimatum, and said: you will die before your mother does if you do not do something to help yourself.

He gave me my out (sort of). Permission. After 5 months of this (not 5 years) I was spent. I told my mother: we need to find a place nearby where you can live and get the care you need. Because I cannot do it. I want to go back to work.

Very proud my mother was. One time she said this: S. More than anything I would want to stay with you.

I said: No.

Well, this is what happened. (The very short version.) My mother had been a princess-type person who put her needs first. A warm, sophisticated, beautiful and elegant, but self-serving woman.

We found a board and care home maybe 6 blocks away. We had arranged for her to be transported to a day program. She liked it and was enthused after the visit. After a week at the new home, when I would visit she began to scream. She became incontinent. She completely regressed. Staring blankly. This was all within a couple of weeks. When the van came to take her to the day care program she screamed and told them she would file elder abuse charges.

And so it continued. Within a month the cost had doubled because of her behavior and needs. I had visited every day but she would just rage at me when I came. Or stare blankly. When I called, she told the owner she could care less if I ever came again. One day they dropped her off at the doctor and left her there. She began screaming and they had to call an ambulance. Imagine how I felt.

Within the first week, my response to al of this was to go to bed. I became overwhelmingly depressed.

Nothing got better. Eventually we discovered that she had untreated pressure ulcers which the owners were concealing. She was hospitalized and she never returned there. It was clearly elder abuse but I felt so guilty and responsible I could never mobilize to make a complaint. My rage/and sense of helplessness/guilt and despair were too great.

Five months later she died in my home. I devoted myself to her care for the rest of the time she lived, with M's great help (my SO.) We went through valiant efforts to keep her alive (guilt, I ask myself). And I blame myself for this, too.

When she died I was devastated. I believed my whole life had been lived badly. Three and a half years later I am only now emerging from this.

Why do I tell you this story? The rehab hospital staff asked me: why are you doing this? Why do you need to take her home? She is so much better off in a facility equipped to meet her needs. (We set up a mini hospital to care for her. Eventually she was on a feeding tube. The ambulance came 5 times, with fire engines.)

But you see, my decisions were not based upon her needs, but my own. I had such an exaggerated sense of my own responsibility to meet her needs at the expense of myself, that I made one wrong decision after the other. Oh. I may get the martyr award.

And I may have done the very same thing, the same way, again, without much changing. (But let me tell you what I would have done differently: I would have acknowledged my own wonderfulness and my humanity. I would have allowed myself to fall short or to not do it all. Because nobody can.)

To know that I chose to care for my mother despite all the water under the bridge in our relationship and all of the exhaustion I suffered, and the sacrifices we made, DEFINED ME as a person. But I would have given myself the opportunity to CHOOSE. I would have been able to see that I had options. I would have allowed myself options. That is the difference.

I wish all the time that I had never told my mother she had to move. But at that time I did not know she would be dead in 7 months. I could have been the one dead.

I do not know the moral of my story except that I do not believe I deserved to suffer for 4 years at my own hand. I needed to acknowledge myself for who I am, and who I tried to be. Even if I did it wrong. Instead of indicting myself as a failed daughter and person, because I could not make it right for her.

Sometimes there are no right answers. Or maybe it is better to say, sometimes everything is a right answer if you meet responsibility head on, like you do.

What I want to tell you is this: You would not be a bad mother to save yourself. It would not be wrong to save yourself. It would not be wrong to share the responsibility. It may even be selling your son short, to believe he will not have the capacity one day to understand your sacrifice and your limits. And to forgive you. Whatever you do. My own son forgives me every day. Not in words so much. He is becoming the adult he needed to be. He wants to be near me. He is trying to make a life and a relationship.

Tonight as I was writing this post he said: Mom. Don't think I am not grateful for what you do for me and how you try. Just because I do not say it does not mean I do not feel it.

Isn't that interesting that he said this very thing, (in a phone call) right when I was posting to you? Maybe this is a communication to you.

It is you who seems to have a hard time forgiving yourself, just as hard, possibly as it was for me. But in writing this post to you, I feel some healing.

I was not wrong to want to live. I was not wrong to want to survive. I was not wrong to want respite. I served my mother by getting help. Whether she could see it or feel it or not. I did not do wrong.

You see. Sometimes love looks like a screaming fit. Sometimes love looks like demonic rage. Sometimes love does not give us one hundred percent. But it is still love. Your son loves you. He will love you even if it becomes a little bit easier on you.

Writing this made me realize that my mother was not mad at me. She was mad at what life had presented her: and she raged. It was not me. It was not my fault. I did the best I could.

I want you to get from this post that it is OK to share the responsibility. It is OK to get support. That your son will be OK. That it is OK to take care of yourself, too. I want you to know how much he loves you. That you are worth this. That you are noble. I send my love to you. And all of the respect in the world.
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Well-Known Member
I try really hard to be understanding, but it is so hard to keep calm when you are being attacked and get threats of being killed every day. I cannot even show too much empathy for his medical problems
ravis. Do you acknowledge the utter impossibility of your situation, of what you are asking of yourself? Every single day.

To feel impelled to, to expect of yourself to show equanimity, calm, understanding and love in the face of constant attack, threats to be killed,

At the same time
to hold back your intrinsic, biologically driven mother love, the desire to give nurture to your baby.

To hold in, to hold back the empathy you feel for your child's pain--so as to not be vulnerable to him, to allow an opening for him to act horribly...

How could anybody alive do this?


Well-Known Member
his cry was not that of a baby, was an absolute hysterical cry.
it first occurred to me that he might be mentally ill just by the way he was crying
You know throughout reading your posts what I have wondered if it is something physical. That since his infancy he has felt pain and distress physically that is not within the normal range. And that now since the tumor, it is even worse. Or related to this, I have read about children who experience subtle mini seizures that literally seem to drive them mad. They do not understand what is happening to them.

They cannot stop it. They feel tortured. Furious. They beseech you to STOP IT, to help them. Their fury is that they do not understand that you cannot. This is further compounded by the circumstance that babies and little children do not fully comprehend that they are not part of their mother, or that their mother cannot feel, does not feel what they feel.

I go back to the idea of the neuropsychiatrist. Has he been tested for seizure activity?

Have you broached the idea that there could be some kind of something going on in him that is physical in origin that distresses, disturbs him?

What about a pediatric pain specialist?

I am not trying to be smart to think of the "right" answer. (OK. Maybe a little bit.) But more to brainstorm just what in the world it could be.

Because think about this: an infant of 4 months old I do not think really can be mentally ill in the way we think about it, because their brains and personalities (developmentally) do not permit it.

You heard his cry and you interpreted it that way.

I cannot KNOW what is going on, of course, but I will try to look a little bit at the research to see if what I wrote is born out and supported by how others think. (I did teach developmental psychology in a university, but that was long ago, and not for a long time. And probably not very well either.)


Well-Known Member
Well. I was wrong. To a point. I will get the link to this article which talks about early onset mental illness in babies. In most cases there is some environmental or relationship factor that distresses the baby, but not all. Let me get the link. I will look for more.

Babies and Toddlers Can Suffer Mental Illness, Seldom Get Treatment

American Psychological Association
February 22, 2011

I found this article fascinating and more aligned with my thinking. It is a literature review and very informative. Let me get the link. Mental Disorders in Early Childhood

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2015 May; 112(21-22): 375–386.
Published online 2015 May 25. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2015.0375
PMCID: PMC4496484
Continuing Medical Education
Mental Disorders in Early Childhood
Kai von Klitzing, Prof. Dr. medication.,*,1 Mirko Döhnert, Dr. medication.,1 Michael Kroll, Dr. medication.,1 and Matthias Grube, Dr. medication.1

This one too, is interesting, I think.

Fear, anger or pain: Why do babies cry?
February 19, 2013

Researchers have studied adults' accuracy in the recognition of the emotion causing babies to cry. Eye movement and the dynamic of the cry play a key role in recognition. It is not easy to know why a newborn cries, especially amongst first-time parents. Although the main reasons are hunger, pain, anger and fear, adults cannot easily recognize which emotion is the cause of the tears.

"Crying is a baby's principal means of communicating its negative emotions and in the majority of cases the only way they have to express them," as explained by Mariano Chóliz, researcher at the University of Valencia.

Chóliz participates in a study along with experts from the University of Murcia and the National University of Distance Education (UNED) which describes the differences in the weeping pattern in a sample of 20 babies between 3 and 18 months caused by the three characteristic emotions: fear, anger and pain.

In addition, the team observed the accuracy of adults in recognising the emotion that causes the babies to cry, analysing the affective reaction of observers before the sobbing.

According to the results published recently in the Spanish Journal of Psychology, the main differences manifest in eye activity and the dynamics of the cry.

"When babies cry because of anger or fear, they keep their eyes open but keep them closed when crying in pain," states the researcher.
The adults do not properly identify which emotion is causing the cry, especially in the case of anger and fear.

Nonetheless, "although the observers cannot recognise the cause properly, when babies cry because they are in pain, this causes a more intense affective reaction than when they cry because of angry or fear," outlines Chóliz.

For the experts, the fact that pain is the most easily recognisable emotion can have an adaptive explanation, since crying is a warning of a potentially serious threat to health or survival and thus requires the carer to respond urgently.

When a baby cries, facial muscle activity is characterised by lots of tension in the forehead, eyebrows or lips, opening of the mouth and raised cheeks. The researchers observed different patterns between the three negative emotions.

As Chóliz notices, when angry the majority of babies keep their eyes half-closed, either looking in apparently no direction or in a fixed and prominent manner. Their mouth is either open or half-open and the intensity of their cry increases progressively.

In the case of fear, the eyes remain open almost all the time. Furthermore, at times the infants have a penetrating look and move their head backwards. Their cry seems to be explosive after a gradual increase in tension.

Lastly, pain manifests as constantly closed eyes and when the eyes do open it is only for a few moments and a distant look is held. In addition, there is a high level of tension in the eye area and the forehead remains frowned. The cry begins at maximum intensity, starting suddenly and immediately after the stimulus.

Journal Reference:

    • Mariano Chóliz, Enrique G. Fernández-Abascal, Francisco Martínez-Sánchez. Infant Crying: Pattern of Weeping, Recognition of Emotion and Affective Reactions in Observers. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 2012; 15 (3) DOI: 10.5209/rev_SJOP.2012.v15.n3.39389
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Well-Known Member
This situation is going to explode in a big way if you do not get relief soon. You and your entire family INCLUDING your son deserve and REQUIRE a break.

He is lucky that you are so devoted to him and love him so much, but please recognize your love has limits. Yes he's mentally ill and therefore not really to "blame" for the damage he causes, but an accidental fire burns down a house just as surely as an intentionally set blaze would. In the end, the reasons for his behavior don't really matter when the behavior is as destructive, delusional and dangerous as this.

You have a duty to yourself, your family, your son and your community to do everything you can to keep your son from hurting others.

Can you have him psychiatrically hospitalized based on the drawing you describe, which is clearly homicidal in nature?

I am sorry to say that from what you are describing, it sounds like your son needs a locked environment AWAY from your home, where he cannot possibly "graduate" to the level of acting out these fantasies.

It is a terrible thing to accept, the fact that our beloved children are so sick that we cannot reach or help them. I am very sorry for what we all have gone through. Your situation sounds extreme and potentially life-threatening for yourselves, people in your community, and your son. I hope you are able to make a serious change in the situation soon before tragedy strikes.

All the best to you and apologies if any of my comments sound harsh.


New Member
@Copabanana . Thank you so very much for your support, the information provided and for sharing you journey with you mom. You are a wonderful person and I am sure your mother knew it all along. You could not have done anything more than you did and I applaud you for it.
Did I mention that I also put my career on hold for 3 years and stayed home with him so I can take him to all the therapies and give him 100% of my time and attention. I read countless books on child psychology, autism, ADHD, mood disorders, behavior interventions and tried to do therapy with him myself as well. I was home with him between his ages 2-5 (as I blamed my working for the lack of healthy bonding with him) and went back to work last June. It was very hard on him and this is when we noticed the worsening in his behavior (which was already bad). I have a highly demanding job, I work at least 60 hours a week, but my job keeps me sane. It is my respite.
Very interesting information regarding the mental health in babies. He may have been in pain when he was a baby, I thought about that as well, but I don`t hthink he is in pain now as he is highly verbal and would tell us.
@culturanta . I agree with you 100%. My worst nightmare is him hurting someone. It is my greatest fear of all. This is probably the only reason for which I would have him placed in a residential program, if I thought he would actually be capable of hurting someone. At this point he is still little, we are with him all the time, but I can see this being a possibility in a few years.
I have always been very decisive and knew what the next step was, but this time I am in complete dark. I know it is not my fault, but can`t help but feeling extreme guilt for bringing him into this world and causing him so much hurt and suffering. I think he is beyond depressed as well, he hates his life and wants to "go to God". He has no friends, nobody likes him except for family and not even us sometimes and he is smart enough to pick up on this.
I also feel guilty for losing my temper with him, but you really have to be made of stone not to.
Next week we will have the ARD meeting, I dread it as I know how hard it will be to sit there and hear how he threatens to kill teachers, spits on them, sits by himself and basically how mentally ill he is.
We also have an appointment with the geneticist in early April as I do not think that his severe neuropsychiatric disorders and the brain tumor (optic glioma is a brain tumor) are independent of each other. I think his brain is failing him in every possible way and I think he may have a genetic mutation. We have zero family history of psychiatric disorders (except anxiety) or cancer.
I should also add that he has good days as well once every 1-2 months when he is nice and says he wants to change and be the best behaved kid, but the next day he attacks us again. Also, lately he has been begging God every day to turn him into a baby again as he hates being a "big boy" probably because of how miserable his life is (mentally and physically) and has no control over it.
Thank you all for your support. Just writing here and reading your compassionate and supportive messages helped a lot. I realized though that I need to get an appointment with a psychologist asap, as I feel like I am very close to a mental breakdown (never had one, but I don`t think I can hold it together much longer).


Well-Known Member
A geneticist. Good idea!
begging God every day to turn him into a baby again as he hates being a "big boy"
I think your son seems remarkable in numerous positive ways:

1. he seems quite self-aware, remarkably so, for his age.

2. His use of language, very, very sophisticated. How very expressive he is.

3. His bonding with you, and his trust of you, seems palpable.

4. His awareness of g-d and his ability at this young age of the divine and the support there for him. (It took me maybe 60 years older to get this.)

5. Gosh, he is clever. He really nailed it. I do not much like being a big girl either, but I try, reluctantly.

That said:

This is what I would do (easy for me to say).

I believe truly in art and all expressive arts therapies which would include art, dance, music. There are clinics in big cities. I am thinking of Philadelphia here. Drexel University has a multi-art therapy clinic staffed by professors who have faculty practices as well of students. They work with children and adults.

The name of the clinic I believe is parkway, but it could be found by going to the website. I might try to read the short bios of the faculty members there (and other graduate programs for expressive arts therapies) and see who works with children.

I think I might call or email (what you have written to us was very thorough) and see if they might know colleagues near you and/or have ideas about what might support your son.

Your son is so smart and apt and seems to be able to connect so strongly I think he would do beautifully in expressive arts therapy. The more you can get him to move and to express himself...the better.

The music and art and movement might transport him to a place of healing, and give relief...and might be a way for him to express his individuality and his creative and spiritual force. Which I think may well be considerable.
I have always been very decisive and knew what the next step was, but this time I am in complete dark.
I was going to mention above that I work with a rabbi for spiritual direction (who is also a dance and movement therapist) and this work is what got me out of the dark space I was in for that long time, and got me to see that it was redemptive as well as despair. I think body work and a focus on the pre-verbal, and touch might be good for him. I guess I think that for everybody but especially those among us who have been traumatized as he has. Something in him seems to have caused him traumatic pain. (If you google somatic therapies for trauma a number of books will come up. There are two prominent figures in this work: Peter Levine who is a neuropsychologist, I think, and an MD from Holland named something like Von Bessl. You will see his name. Even though your son has not suffered an externally presented trauma, he has been traumatized by his experience (you have too, really. This work is very readable and interesting, how movement discharges bodily held feelings.)
I know it is not my fault, but can`t help but feeling extreme guilt for bringing him into this world and causing him so much hurt and suffering.
Look, ravis. Every. single. parent can be accused of this. I understand your son shares your genetic material. But to accuse your "want" for a baby, to share your love, as responsible for his pain, is taking a wild leap.

It is not that I do not understand why you would be motivated to do this.

I think we as parents want to take causal responsibility/and the self-accusation that comes with it to take the bullet, so it will not reach our beloved children, to relieve them of what they suffer by taking it on ourselves. There is a primeval urge to take the hit, so that they will not.

But it does not work. He does not need you either wounded or held accountable. It will not help. And it is not true.

My own son for a long time held me responsible for adopting him. Really? And would say: you shouldn't have adopted me. You should have picked a better and more deserving child. Not somebody so defective as I am.


We have already crossed those bridges, way back down the road. Let it go. Try.
the ARD meeting, I dread it as I know how hard it will be to sit there and hear how he threatens to kill teachers, spits on them, sits by himself and basically how mentally ill he is.
OK. Reframe here.

I want to hear exactly what are his behaviors and his distress because this is exactly what we have to solve here. This is our job. To address every single behavior. To provide him with the supports and interventions and the appropriate setting that will allow him to learn.

This is their job.

Every. single. thing. they. say: turn it back to them.

You already know the problems. What we need here are solutions.

The other idea I am having here is this: I wonder if there is spiritual direction for children?

One of my son's and my best memories is we used to go every Sunday to a Border's bookstore with a Toys R Us next door. This was my son's version of heaven. Well, the point is there was a homeless guy named Steve who we befriended who used to talk to g-d through his arm--yes--right in the crook of his elbow. Who told me that my son was like a Little Buddha, *but unfortunately I was not very spiritually evolved.

Could g-d help? A deeper connection with g-d? I have found that a lot of expressive arts therapists have a spiritual grounding.

Sometimes g-d is the only one who can help. I have found that out belatedly. Maybe your son is on to something.

I will try over the next couple of days to see what I see online with respect to spiritual direction and expressive arts therapy for children. I know that I am unlikely to find much out to help you (you have done everything a human mother could have thought to far as I am concerned) but I am interested in what I am learning.

I hope I am not being insensitive (or do not mean to be) about the ARD meeting (is that like an IEP? I am in the States.) I used to feel like a cornered and trapped animal in those IEP's and my defense was extreme verbal aggression. Attack. Fury. They hated me.

It is so hard. I felt so stigmatized. So inadequate. So labeled and blamed. Hated. Really. That was what I felt like. Over my head. I felt ridiculed and ganged up on.

My son is getting better. At 28. I feel like I am a little girl at my birthday party and got all the presents in the world. And everybody is singing happy birthday, and I got my wish.

There is no way to know the end of the story and what all of this is for. This pilgrimage you are making with *and for, your beloved child.

I hope you keep posting. I will try not to be so long-winded. Your story touches me.
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Well-Known Member
It is a terrible thing to accept, the fact that our beloved children are so sick that we cannot reach or help them.
Your son is very young. He is too young to have intent to harm.

Many children spit and bite. They do this not necessarily to be obnoxious or to cause harm or to be aggressive but because they are over-stimulated. Your son is over-stimulated. He feels awful. He does not understand what is happening to him. He directs it outward, because it is overwhelming him internally and he does not know how to stop it or control it. He is telling you in every possible way he knows how it feels to be him. He is holding you responsible to stop it. That is why I think he is so mad. Because it does not stop.

This does not mean of necessity or surely that he will act on this in any extreme way. This is what you are dancing so fast, to prevent.

There is a very wonderful mother who is on this forum. She is a special education teacher. Her name is Feeling Sad. She has a son in his 30's who has Paranoid Schizophrenia which manifested in his early 20's. Of anybody here that I can think of she will understand your situation and know what to tell you. She has lived through this and it is her field of expertise. She has her onw thread or you can PM her.

I know I think differently than do many here, but I believe that there is a chasm between spitting and hitting and expressing feelings and the sorts of extreme acts that would be dangerous, if acted upon. I know that you are taking measures to protect your son and others.

I am not saying that there will never be a risk, but you are doing everything in your power to intervene. If he was already at the point where the kind of acting out that would be a danger to others, was a likely possibility, the physicians and psychiatrists and psychologists who have seen him and treat him would have hospitalized him already. Because they have a "duty to protect" both potential victims as well as somebody so ill that they would fueled by mental illness hurt somebody.

That at least is the law in the USA. A professional must act to protect the community and cannot not address somebody who is a danger to others. That is my understanding, in any case.

If you have this fear right now I would specifically ask the professionals who know your child. They will know. Not us. If your son could be right now a danger to others or to you. They have a responsibility to you and to your child--to take responsibility.

Take care.
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Well-Known Member
I forgot to address what you describe as his vindictiveness.

I was looking for I thought was a retaliatory act towards your mother, that I remember you described in your post, but could not find it.

Let me just start where I start (I have to go to the doctor with M, so this will be brief.)
Please forgive me if I cause pain by my remarks.

There is a linguistic bias in your remarks which while expressing a true thing, nonetheless affect your experience of your son and your life here. Let me try to explain.
he will wreck our lives completely
completely wrecked my life. He has made my life a living hell.
You have used the active form of the verb and put yourself (your husband, etc) as the subject.

He has done this to ME, US.

*Which of course is true. But only in part.

There is the possibility of seeing this in other ways with different language:

We *he and my husband and I have been beset by forces, or a problem.

And there is more: for which we are searching valiantly and lovingly for answers and remedies. Here you switch to the active voice in the verb. And all of this is true.
The last time I was happy was 5 years ago.
Nobody could be happy in this situation of heartbreak, pain and stress.

But there is a another way to see this, if you choose.
he is attacking us with knives, forks, pins, throwing things at us
You have chosen and you keep choosing to put his needs as primary.

Others (including myself) have brought up the option of hospitalization or residential placement and YOU CHOOSE "no."

Now. There has been consideration that guilt, responsibility, duty and/or love may be fueling this choice--but still, the choice must be owned.

The primary actors here are you and your husband. You are the adults. Your child is suffering. Does this mean he belongs at home? No. (He may or may not.) But you and your husband are the deciders here. The ones who have put yourselves in this situation where you feel his victim...are you. And you continue to do so.

Your son does not have the agency or the capacity to structure his life to protect you. You have the agency, capacity and responsibility to protect both him and yourselves and as the posters have said--others and the community, should this spiral out of control to a greater extent. But I continue to assert that IF the professionals felt there was grave and imminent danger--he would have been hospitalized by the professionals who are responsible for treating and evaluating him.
I cannot take any more of this.
This is a feeling, not a fact. Only you can take steps to change this, when and how you choose, according to options available.

As said earlier: you will act when and if you choose (or if circumstances force you to choose differently). Up to now you are CHOOSING to take responsibility to continue searching for solutions while you endure the impossible. You ARE HEROES. You would be heroes if you decided on residential treatment. That would not change things.
it is about the extreme fear and dread of what is to come
You do not KNOW what will come. NOBODY knows.
I am desperate for hope and help.
That is why you are here at this forum. Who of us in our right minds would post night and day to strangers in the middle of the internet unless we had arrived where you are? Not me for sure.
I am actually considering separating from my husband
Well. There are people who get divorces for medical benefits to preserve assets. There are loving parents who forfeit parental rights so that their beloved children have access to needed medical treatments. Who in life could just you? Not me. People do unimaginable things do deal with realities that are horrible.

You are my heroes.
play therapy
OK. I know last night I recommended expressive arts therapies, and play therapy could be thought of as similar. But it is different, I think. I would still investigate. And I will, when I have time.

Here is your hope:
he is now 19 and still a difficult child but not like in the past. He is not violent, he works two jobs, and volunteers at other jobs. He is doing very well
thankfully everything is so much better.
Here's more:
After that he's been a different person. He's cheerful and friendly most of the time and seems more like a typical kid.
These are great stories.
"friends"s house to go "bust them and cut their legs with a chainsaw and put nails in their heads and then throw them in the trash".
OK. Now I get to the vindictiveness and what appear to be revenge fantasies. A fantasy is not an act. Look at action figure games. At computer gaming. Look at cartoons. Look at action movies. All of them have extreme and sadistic revenge fantasies at their heart. And the appeal is the vicarious experience and expression of violence and victimization.

If everybody who thought about vicious pay back was held accountable, nobody would be left.

This is not to say he can be around other children unsupervised and that potentially he might not hurt somebody badly. I am not saying that.

I slammed the silverware drawer on purpose on my sister's hand. I did not turn into a serial criminal. (more on this when I have time.) He is 5. We do not know HOW this will turn out.

More Arnold Schwarzenneger:
"policemen are the dumbest people in the world and I am stronger than them and I will hit them".
Now here is where we get to the nuts and the bolts of the thing:
He is off the charts dangerous.
This is what you have to ask every professional you meet who has the responsibility for evaluating the extent of danger and potential harm. (And I might do so in writing, like presenting a written synopsis of his behaviors as you have done with us, dated and signed.)

I would start out with something like this sentence: I am concerned that my son might act out violently toward other people and I am requesting that you evaluate his potential to imminently harm anybody. I want to make sure I do the responsible thing, for him and for others.

Put the responsibility on them. I believe this might protect you morally, legally and financially. But I cannot know that. *I think I might call a family or disability rights attorney, too.

I will come back later tonight.

I want to say one more thing: every. single. word you have used to describe your son to us, is filtered by your own psyche. Your fear. Your hopelessness. Your overwhelm. Not too long ago (maybe 2 or 3 year) a psychiatrist, actually a psychoanalyst ($250 an hour type) told me that there was "no hope" for my son who he had never met. His only knowledge of my son was through the lens of my own depression, desperation and utter hopelessness. This was in the year or two after my mother died. I asked him: How can you know? Because everything you know of my child is through me. I cannot represent the situation without some measure of distortion. And he responded: When is it in the best interests of anybody, to deny reality?

Can you imagine? He told me that I had to accept that my son for the rest of his life had to live in a single room occupancy hotel room on skid row.
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Well-Known Member
Hmmmm. That post got me mad. A psychologist, also expensive, said in front of my son (age 4, but he understood) "There is nothing we can do for THESE kids!" He meant kids who were drug /alcohol exposed in utero.

I have wanted to write to him many times since then. "Idiot! You were wrong!"

Which brigs me to this.

Not even the best expert can say for sure if a child will act out violently or not. Nor will he or she promise. All the school shooters had gotten help before hand and none of them were nabbed as dangerous.

If you feel afraid of him, trust your gut. If you have other children or pets especially. We adopted an 11 year old boy and every mental health care professional he saw since he was little thought he was a sweet, timid kid who had cognitive delays.

They were all wrong. He killed two of our precious dogs by strangulation and molested my two youngest children. He held a knife to their throats. We have reason to believe he abused kids at school too and may have killed neighborhood pets.

Once we were not in ignorant limbo, we had to send him away and we undid the adoption. Later we found out he said to the professionals at the lock down residential he was at that he had been touching kids since he was five. And nobody caught it.

Obviously he was slso abused somewhere, although he doesnt remember, and that is very sad. But we could not risk him around our kids and animals ever again. It was only through CPS aid and our strong marriage that all of us survived and ate doing well.

And all those professional mental health exprts were wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Trust yourself. You need to be safe. And your son needs possibly more help than you can give. And cancer!! I feel like he just got dealt such a bad deck of cards. I do think, due to his age, there could be hope if he is evaluated and intensively treated. But do what you feel is safest. Not even a top psychiatrist can give you a guarantee and I dont think any will do so for their own legal protection and because they really cant promise.

You have my heartfelt empathy.
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Well-Known Member
Have you asked the neurologist (or whatever type of specialist you see for the brain tumor) if the tumor may be causing some of his behaviors?


New Member
I did read every reply to my post and appreciate everyone`s input.
@Copabanana : you are right, he is very smart (despite the modest IQ on formal testing). Every single professional that has worked with my son said he was extremely bright, "an old soul". He can be very funny as well and has a fabulous memory. He has lots of qualities and a great potential, that is why we have been doing all the things that we could think of in order to help him. Unfortunately he is equally mentally ill. I am mentally exhausted, emotionally drained, beyond depressed, but somewhere deep inside I still hope for a miracle.
'He feels awful. He does not understand what is happening to him. He directs it outward, because it is overwhelming him internally and he does not know how to stop it or control it. He is telling you in every possible way he knows how it feels to be him. He is holding you responsible to stop it. That is why I think he is so mad. Because it does not stop."
Copabanana; you hit the nail on the head this this. This is exactly what I think might be happening. I think he is mad at us because he thinks we could do something to stop his feeling so badly and we don`t.
@SomewhereOutThere For the most part we can still live under the same roof with him for now (we can still protect ourselves and he is always with us or at school, never unsupervised, so he cannot hurt anybody else at this time), but not sure if we can still do it in 2-3 more years. I would absolutely not hesitate to place him in a residential place if I truly felt he was ready and able to hurt someone for real.
We take him 2-3 times a week to appointments for chemo treatment, psychologist, other medical tests. It is an overwhelming time for all of us, but he has no ability to cope with all of these and he turned into a little monster. As I said, he has always been difficult, aggressive, moody, but he was somewhat manageable when we started him on Risperdal. Now his behavior is the worst it has ever been. I am sure the brain tumor plays a part in this as well.
Thank you all again. I will keep you posted.


Well-Known Member
Hi Raris

Let me tell you how to quote. It is easy. You hold your cursor over the words you want to quote which will then be highlighted in blue. Then a black box will show up. On the left you will see Quote. Press that.

Go to the bottom of the page to the box where you are writing or want to write. You will see a little box that says Insert Quotes. Press it.

A light blue box will show up. This box will have your quote(s) and the required programming language for them to show up as quotes.

It will say at the bottom Quote these messages.

It becomes easy. You can do multiple messages, and after putting the messages in the last box, you can move them around.



Well-Known Member
I googled expressive arts therapies for children (traumatized children, ill children, children with cancer, abused children, etc. to see what came up.) A lot.

I do not know who this person is who wrote the article below. But I thought it was a pretty good synopsis of the aims.

I will look more.

I want to underscore what others have said: you came here to this forum because of concern about your own survival through this, let alone thriving through this. This article refers to one aim of expressive arts therapy as creating "thrivers" of experience, not just survivors. I love that.

First, let me apologize. Because my focus in my posts has been too much on your son and not enough on you. You asked for help for you. I am listening now.

The same things that will help your son will help you thrive, I think. I would encourage you to go to expressive arts therapy yourself, and to find a spiritual director. The latter is what has helped me immensely. I am about to travel to a city that has a graduate program in Expressive Arts Therapy where it is my hope to immerse myself in these practices. If it pans out I will move there part time or as long as I need "to thrive."

Thriving, I am thinking is a learned skill that has not one thing to do with the quality of external experience and has everything to do with the quality of internal experience...which we can shape through the types of mentoring and support that I am writing about.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I speak on the phone with a woman Rabbi most weeks and have done so since October (I have never met her in person. I love her!) In that time I feel renewed some of the time. I am very, very hopeful and I am understanding my life in a different way. My relationship with my son has improved qualitatively and I believe my own changing has been in part responsible for his changing in ways that I could hardly imagine.

Now I am going to google spiritual direction for children and I support you to think about it for yourself.

I first sought therapy when I was 25 years old. I wish I had known to seek expressive arts therapy and spiritual direction. Now I do.

Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT Arts and Health
Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy
Tapping the arts’ powers as trauma intervention

Posted Mar 06, 2012

  • One of my first jobs as an art therapist and expressive arts therapist was with children in shelters for survivors of domestic violence. That work set me on the life-long path of developing and refining trauma-informed art-based (Trauma-Informed Art Therapy®) and expressive arts therapies (Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy®) approaches for the past two decades. I have been fortunate to be able to apply these methods with children, adults, families and communities that have experienced interpersonal violence, witness to homicide, combat or war, natural disasters, terrorism, complicated grief, and medical illness. For those who are unfamiliar with the term "expressive arts therapy," it is defined as the use of creative arts (music, art, movement, and other artforms) as a form of therapy (Malchiodi, 2005). As I have written in previous posts, the sensory-based qualities of art and expressive arts are key to helping individuals communicate traumatic memories, repair and recover.

Physician and neurosequential development pioneer Bruce Perry has noted that arts therapies can be a normalizing experience for children, one which children in all cultures recognize (in Malchiodi, 2008). Expressive arts therapy has a unique role as an intervention with traumatized children. In fact, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) (Foa et al, 2009) provides a comprehensive summary of the role of the creative art therapies in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The ISTSS statement underscores the growing interest the relationship between the creative arts therapies and the brain, including how the brain processes traumatic events and the possibilities for reparation through expressive arts therapies-- art, music, movement, play, and drama interventions.

Trauma-informed expressive arts therapy includes many concepts unique to the practice of expressive therapy (such as the Expressive Therapies Continuum which I will talk about it another post), but in brief it integrates neurodevelopmental knowledge and the sensory qualities of the arts in trauma intervention (Malchiodi, 2012). In general, this approach takes into consideration, but is not limited to, the following 1) how the mind and body respond to traumatic events; 2) recognition that symptoms are adaptive coping strategies rather than pathology; 3) emphasis on cultural sensitivity and empowerment; and 4) helping to move individuals from being not only survivors, but ultimately to becoming "thrivers" through skill building, support networks, and resilience enhancement (Malchiodi, 2011).

Because survivors of trauma may also be without the means to place memories in historical context through language, expressive arts therapy combined with neurobiological, somatic, and cognitive-behavioral approaches can assist individuals in bridging sensory memories and narrative. Trauma-informed expressive arts therapy is based on the idea that art expression is helpful in reconnecting implicit (sensory) and explicit (declarative) memories of trauma and in the treatment of PTSD (Malchiodi, 2012). In particular, it is an approach that assists the individual's capacity to self-regulate affect and modulate the body's reactions to traumatic experiences in the earliest stages to set the stage for eventual trauma integration and recovery.

Five Components of Trauma-Informed Art Therapy and Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy.

1. Uses a "neurosequential approach" via expressive arts therapies to stabilize the body's responses.

2. Identifies of the body's reactions to stressful events and memories through trauma-informed evaluation and sensory-based activities using expressive arts.

3. Responds to the body's reactions to traumatic events through somatic and sensory approaches to self-regulation.

4. Reinforces a sense of safety through reconnection with positive attachment and self-soothing.

5. Builds strengths by using the arts to normalize and enhance resilience.

And that's a brief overview! For more information, you can also visit the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Institute [ (link is external)]and check out the resources below.

© 2012 Cathy Malchiodi


Foa, E., Keane, T., Friedman, M., & Cohen, J. (2009). Effective treatment for PTSD: Practice guidelines from the International Society for Trauma Stress Studies. New York: Guilford Press.
Malchiodi, C. (2005). Expressive therapies. New York: Guilford Press.
Malchiodi, C. (2012). Art therapy and the brain. In C. Malchiodi (ed.), Handbook of Art Therapy. New York: Guilford Press.
Malchiodi, C. (2008). Creative interventions with traumatized children. New York: Guilford Press.
Malchiodi, C. (2011). Trauma informed art therapy with sexually abused children. In Paris Goodyear-Brown (Ed.), Handbook of Child Sexual Abuse: Prevention, Assessment, and Treatment. New York: Wiley.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2010). Trauma informed care. Retrieved September 12, 2010 from (link is external).


Well-Known Member
I am a bit hesitant to put this out there because I am coming from my personal experience and point of view, not your own. But hey?

I found this book on Amazon. When I googled spiritual direction for children, there was a result that mentioned "exorcism" and I got scared. Because being a Jew I am unaware of how other religions view things other than my own perspective, which I feel very, very safe within, I included this reference which I felt provides a good introduction.

So the book was written as the doctoral dissertation of by the author for a PhD in Theology and Religion, I think from a Hassidic Jewish perspective, but I think it illustrates the approach across religions.

Spiritual Direction for Jewish Children is the title and the author is Rabbi Leslie Schotz. She focuses on spiritual education but I believe what she writes is applicable to individual spiritual direction for children, too.

In what you have shared about your son his aptness for this approach (to me) screams out. You describe him as an "old soul." He has a profoundly intricate inner life, is highly expressive and verbal. He is demanding to find a way to make sense of his gifts, as well as make spiritual sense of the tortuous experience he is encountering.

The way you describe your child, to me, seems as if he has the potential for greatness, as much or more than disaster. (If you have not seen the movie, "Little Buddha" it is excellent. While the child in the movie was different than your own, the experience of the parents was similar, I think.) There is no road to spiritual enlightenment except great suffering.

Here is the excerpt:

Dr Peter Pitzele writes:

What Rabbi Schotz realizes so clearly is the necessity of approaching the children with many different modalities. Implicitly she extends the by-now familiar insight of multiple intelligences to apply to the soul by suggesting that there are multiple pathways to reach the inner life of children. Resisting the pull of purely knowledge-based and rote-driven approaches to education, Rabbi Schotz is willing to experiment with yoga, music, meditation, journaling, and special kinds of children's literature. Moreover, she models the skills of reflective presence and spiritual listening which are the real tools of spiritual direction. Her book traces her progress and that of two enlightened teachers in developing new approaches to spiritual direction for children. These approaches seek to nourish the inner life of the child. While recognizing the need for a certain level of preparation for her students, Rabbi Schotz is willing to go to unusual lengths to cultivate their innate spiritual gifts. She records her attempts and those of her team to read and to reach each child. She tells eloquently of many small interactions in which we see her penetrate the initial deflections of students who are understandably wary and bored with enforced religious education. Bit by bit we see her win their trust and open their eyes and hearts. Above all what Rabbi Schotz shows us is the power of caring curiosity. She is willing to be eclectic and inventive, to adapt and to explore. While her book inventories the many methods she pressed into the service of spiritual direction, its real story is the journey of a committed rabbi to find the heart of learning and longing in her students. Her lively observation of the lives of her students brings home the quality of attention she brings to her task, making it clear that spiritual direction can only be undertaken by a person who is herself spiritually awake. Reading Reading Rabbi Schotz's book, I was reminded of the familiar Chassidic story of the prince who thinks he is a chicken. After many physicians attempt to cure him, the prince is finally restored to sanity only by the sage who is willing to join the prince where he is, pecking about for food under the table. To direct the soul of the child one must first discover the nature of the soul, its place, its needs, its ways of growth. Such an approach demands empathy and a deep faith that each child is already longing for the gentle touch of spiritual direction. Unlike education with its preconceived curricula, spiritual direction requires intimate and patient acts of cultivation. This book will encourage and inform those who wish to find a children where she or he is and to celebrate how each is made "in the image of God." Included is a Spirituality Survey for Jewish Students, a Methodological Bibliography: Resource Material for Teaching Ideas that Require Modification in Application to Hashpa'ah/ Spiritual Direction for Jewish Children and a Spiritual Direction Book List for Jewish Children: Bibliography of Resource Material to Read to Jewish Children in Hashpa'ah / Spiritual Direction.


Well-Known Member
Hi ravis

I want to make 2 quick points. (really I will get to the point.)

There is a quote by your son somewhere that I cannot find, your son talks about the STUPID DOCTORS....*I loved it.
I think he is mad at us because he thinks we could do something to stop his feeling so badly and we don`t.
He must really think YOU GUYS are quite dumb that YOU DO NOT get already his situation. He sees you as all-powerful and as loving him immensely and intensely. He KNOWS you could make him feel better and TRUSTS implicitly that you WOULD, if he is just able to get you to understand how HORRIBLE he feels. He is telling you OVER and OVER again HOW TERRIBLE he feels. And you and the doctors in your dumbness DO NOT GET IT. It is not, I think, that he is mad. He feels his JOB is to demonstrate to you exactly what is the problem. And he tries over and over again to communicate his distress. YOU ARE NOT GETTING IT. So he repeats. Then the anger sets in even worse.

He thinks you are all-powerful and in a sense omnipotent, I think. That is how children think of their parents, initially. Because he is suffering so, he has maintained this attitude borne now of desperation. With spiritual direction he would learn to transfer this orientation to g-d (which it seems he is already doing to some extent.)
Forgive me, again. I am putting my own point of view. It helps me to understand better my way of thinking about life, which is evolving.
Unfortunately he is equally mentally ill. I am mentally exhausted, emotionally drained, beyond depressed, but somewhere deep inside I still hope for a miracle.
You know I have lived my whole adult life within the framework of the culture of mental illness. First, because I sought help through therapy, and then because I became a doctoral level practitioner. I regret this trap, because I believe that it what it is, in part.

I know your child is disturbed and distressed. And depressed. But are you aware that there are places where for example there is no diagnosis of schizophrenia, because of how the societies respond to symptoms of psychosis? How they understand mental illness and respond to it (community and family-based) are so effective that the afflicted do not display symptoms or distress long enough to ever qualify for a diagnosis of schizophrenia which requires I believe 6 months duration of symptoms.

In this society through this lens we call suffering of the type you describe as mental illness. In other cultures they may call it other things: like brilliance or spirituality or intense creativity, or other things.

Now I realize that symptoms are real. And so is trauma. And so is serious illness. These are real things. And there is no lens that can eradicate what is real.

What we know about your child is that he has suffered for a long time.

The cessation of suffering is what is important. The discovery of meaning and purpose. That is what is important. Not the lens or the diagnosis or the category. The intervention is what is important. And how somebody sees something, is what determines how they respond and what they do. Mental illness is a categorization. It empowers the provider, often, not the sufferer.

That is why I keep mentioning spiritual direction and expressive arts therapy because people in these perspectives will see what is happening in a different way that could potentially lead your child out of this suffering to thriving. And you and me too.

I am grateful that you posted. I hope you come back and tell us how you are. I know that I am not the only one who has come to care about you and your son. I have learned a great deal by posting to you and I am grateful to you for that.
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pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
They threw their hands in the air and said they never saw something like that and did not know how to handle him, because nothing worked

The message that your son has gotten from the professionals who were supposed to help him has been that they cannot help him. That totally sucks.

He feels awful. He does not understand what is happening to him. He directs it outward, because it is overwhelming him internally and he does not know how to stop it or control it. He is telling you in every possible way he knows how it feels to be him. He is holding you responsible to stop it. That is why I think he is so mad. Because it does not stop.

I think if I were a little kid who had serious health issues and was on the autistic spectrum, I'd want to be alone, too. I can imagine that the world of medical adults he has experienced has been harsh, painful, and confusing to him.

raraavis, you seem like an extremely bright and compassionate mother. I am so sorry that your son's health issues have derailed your lives. I think if I were you, I would be attempting to find a place where my son could enjoy something.

Some autistic children love the water which is why I threw out swimming. There are also places who work with special needs kids in riding horses. With a child who cannot handle people, animals might be a place where he could learn to forge friendships. In my experiences with working with children, I have learned that every child has something he is passionate about. I worked with a child over the summer who was an amazing dancer. He could copy dance moves on a screen perfectly. In my area, there is a dance studio for special needs children. Music can be cathartic. One of the children that I am currently working with, loves clay. He is making the most amazing people, animals and aliens out of clay. He loves the feel of it and the fact that he can pound it. When I worked with the preschoolers, they loved fingerpainting. My son loved playing with shaving cream in the bathtub. My kids also loved the sandbox where I gave them actual spices so that they could practice cooking. Wally world has a cheap spice section. Sure my sandbox stank to high heaven, but there is something about digging in the sand that kids find enjoyable.

I want you to keep in mind that children with autism, although they may appear to be articulate, actually have a great deal of difficulty finding the words to explain how they feel. It is entirely possible that your son could be in a great deal of pain and not be able to describe it well.

My heart goes out to all of you.