I rarely come here anymore other than to occasionally lurk. Since my doctor found a medication combination for me that stabilized my condition, I have been able to work. I have 3 part-time jobs, two of which are my own businesses from home and am slowly getting my bills caught up from my extended period of not being able to work. I keep up with a few of you and wanted to come back and give the rest of you an update on my difficult child's progress because it is remarkable and, I hope, offer hope and encouragement to those of you in the middle of crises. BACKGROUND: At 3, my son was showing signs of serious emotional disturbance, but I couldn't find a therapist willing to work with a child so young. At 5, he was vocalizing concerns about the "monsters inside of him". At 7, he was a danger to me, having tried to stab me on several occasions with various implements from knives to screwdrivers. By this time I had had him in therapy for a couple of years. I had the therapist and the school officials telling me he was ADD and I was in denial. But, I saw a boy who held his act together for an hour, yet was needing constant restraints at home to keep him from destroying property and harming me or himself. I tried everything. I took him to a different therapist. I took him to a pediatric neurologist. I cried. I went to a therapist myself. Finally, just before my son's 8th birthday, I realized I could no longer do it alone. I had him pinned to the floor in restraints and I knew I could no longer do this. I couldn't help him and I had to find someone who could. That night, I took him to a psychiatric hospital and admitted him. The hardest thing I ever did was to leave my little boy on a psychiatric ward. I had gotten my then boyfriend to drive us and I was glad to have him drive me home because I cried my eyes out on the way home and for days afterwards. Three days later, I was told by the child psychiatrist that my son was extremely disturbed, suffering from PTSD and AD, and that he needed to be hospitalized for treatment. That started what has turned out to be 5 years of treatment, so far. He spent 30 days in that hospital, stabilizing on medications. He was transferred to a children's psychiatric hospital, where he stayed for 7 months. Then I got him in an Episcopal residential treatment center on a scholarship since we didn't qualify for any other financial help. He was there for over 2 years when they moved him into their group home. He left there for a therapeutic foster home, which didn't work out. Since then, for the last year, he has been in an independent living group home. He is now 13 years old and is doing beautifully. NOW FOR THE HOPE AND INFORMATION The first two psychiatric hospitals were paid for by insurance. The deductible, which was enormous ($200/day) was written off when my ex-husband tried to file for bankruptcy (long story there that I won't go into). The scholarship at the residential treatment center paid for about 1/3 of the cost and I still owe them thousands of dollars, but I pay as best I can. While he was in the Episcopal group home, I went into crisis and ended up in the psychiatric hospital a couple of times myself. The state run mental health clinic I attend referred us into a program that is unique to my county. It is a committee made up of decision-makers from several agencies. Our case was presented to them and they recommended us to a state-run agency called the Governor's Office Continuum of Care for Emotionally Disturbed Children. Only a few new cases are taken by Continuum each year and we were lucky enough to be accepted. Continuum functions as a case management agency. They filed for SSI and Medicaid on his behalf and got it. The SSI check goes to them, but they pay for all his expenses that Medicaid doesn't pay for. They located the current placement in the county where I live (before, he had been a 5 hour trip away -- a trip I made every other weekend for 3 years). Our caseworker attends the IEP meetings on his behalf. She works with the placement facility, the mental health agency, the school, etc. She arranges for any and all services that we need as a family or that he needs as an individual. Thanks to our caseworker and the mental health clinic, he was accepted into a pilot program at school. There are only a few such programs in the US and we were able to get my son into one it's first year of operation. It is a day treatment classroom co-sponsored by the school district and the mental health center. There is a full-time therapist assigned to this class of children, along with 4 specially trained teachers. There are academics taught, although the emphasis is on behavioral modification. They are housed in a facility away from the public schools (actually in an older school that is now used for school admin offices, so they have a gym to themselves as well as other normal school facilities). They have one room that is filled with "prizes" that they can purchase with points that they earn for good behavior and academic work. They have academics, a lot of physical activities, group therapy and individual therapy daily. The therapist also holds weekly family sessions for each child and his/her family. Most of the children still live at home. My son is the only one living in a group home. Between this program and the independent living skills group home, there is a lot of consistency and coordination. The point system is the same. The group home staff and the teachers communicate daily. I have watched my son thrive and grow between these two wonderful programs. His behavior is mostly under control. He's not perfect of course. He acts out under stress still. But he's learning to control himself without medications. He is becoming more and more like a normal teenager. We are hoping to mainstream him within the next year. He will be mainstreamed for one class at a time until he is fully mainstreamed. There is hope out there.