Sucess- GOOD NEWS TO SHARE (but it's VERY long)



There are not too many people around anymore who remember the very dark days with my son. Most of you who know me at all recognize me from Special Education 101 where I try to help, with Alisha and Lizz, to answer the questions of people with school problems --and keep up hope-- despite my son being out of the public school system for four years.

A long time ago, we had a section of the board called "It worked for us" or something like that but unfortunately, it didn't have all that many posts on it, so good news now appears of the General Board. Before I go on, I want to say that in some ways, my son never "fit" here and in fact, the first day I was on the board, someone said, "get a life--your kid is not a difficult child--just spoiled." (That wouldn't happen now--newcomers always are warmly welcomed no matter what brought them here.)

However, that poster was incorrect. Despite my son having some clear strengths: no Learning Disability (LD) or ADHD, above average intelligence and musical ability, his was the real deal in difficult child-dom. My son had a diagnosis of major depression at age 8 and was diagnosis'd with ODD and a mood disorder at 11. He also was close to school refusal and social anxiety disorder then. So he was a genuine difficult child who also happened to HATE school (he was bullied) and have a very easy child sister who was a model of very high school achievement which didn't help the dynamics of our family (sigh...)

I found this board, Ross Greene's book, and set out to MAXIMIZE my son's abilities instead of focusing only on the negatives, and step out of the ODD struggle with him (I think Tx is important, and he was in therapy and on medications, but the only thing that was ever said about him in school was negative--outside of music.)

Lots of kids don't have Learning Disability (LD) or ADHD and are bright but the main thing that was really different about my son was his passion for music. However, the public school did NOT buy into my "maximize" theory: we were told by the school that he "should do homework first," that we spoiled him by acknowledging his talent in music and ability in math--while they hounded him about his above grade-level tested reading (which he hated and would not do although he could.) In 7th and 8th grades, he attended school part-time so he would have time for music. I had homework restricted as well. The school was outraged by this but psychiatrist was very clear that less (school) was more for him.

Finally, adolescence, 9/11, and high school came together and by October of his freshman year he was on his third high school. He was kicked out of a music conservatory high school, our public high school as "too suicidal"--if you know Special Education., you know this isn't legal but it was not a time for me to play legal games with his life, and ended up in an egbs that was unlocked. His psychiatrist said, "one more failed placement and no unlocked facility will take him."

That was scary enough, but so was his future: he rejected music as not for him and went for the dark side: a full Goth--dressed in black, painted nails, red streaked hair, etc. The only thing he missed was a hard drug habit and tattoos: he just didn't have the connections to get into hard drugs before we got him into egbs and he was afraid of tattoos.

He was an egbs success story: he decided to come back to his passion and entered a (day) conservatory h.s. two years ago. He was a musical success there and studied organ outside of school.

He still hates English--he got some D's in English-- but ironically, turned out to be very good at Spanish and likes it. (You can't have an Learning Disability (LD) in your native language and suddenly have high facility in another language--but by then the public school was out of the picture so, who cares?) He has never been easy to live with and still isn't but his moods do not rise to a diagnosis of BiPolar (BP) so we are hopeful that with maturity, the mood swings will diminish.

So I would say, "GO FOR IT" if you difficult child has clear strengths. The schools are supposed to build on strengths but in my opinion they don't: they perseverate on failures and blame us as parents. I know there are positive exceptions but they are not too common, especially for older difficult child's.

My son never did all that well in school except in math and Spanish but he now has post high school opportunities: he was acepted at the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School--as well as one liberal arts college.

MrNo is going to THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL in NYC!!!!

If I had listened to the public school and not let this boy focus on his strengths, this would not have happened.

Thanks to all who were here for me, to Nancy who encouraged me to post this news, even though there are not too many people around who remember our darkest days, and Fran who keeps this wonderful operation running...

I guess what I should do now is go to Parent Emeritus moderated by my old friend SUZ, but I will also continue to post in Special Education 101 to try to help there. I might even drop by the Watercooler for a laugh...

When I joined the board, my son was 11. He will be 18 in a week. I know that he is different from some kids here in terms of his basic underlying talent that none of us had anything to do with—he was born with it. Nevertheless, I still believe that what went "right" for him applies to all: try to help your difficult children find something that matters to them while they are young enough that you can influence the outcome. It made a huge difference in perspective for us—-focusing on the positive was hard--right up through those high school D's in English—we had to remember that his life is not about D's in English, it is about what he wants to do with his life.

I hope to see you all in cyber space for a long time to come but I hope I am NOT posting about my son :laugh:

Martie :Warrior:


New Member
SO GREAT TO HEAR. My son is only 4 (next week) and I just wrote that I can't log on too often because I find it so sad that there are so many hard stories and for soo many years. I find it frustrating and hopeless at times BUT you have a WONDERFUL STORY.

Gotta keep trying and not give up the hope.
Thank you and enjoy every note of every piece of music he plays.


Active Member

Thank you so much for posting this. I also have a Mr. No who is very talented musically. In homeschooling we were able to allow him to explore his talent extensively however, he has no desire to go on to further education in Music. Doesn't want it to wreck his style.. :rolleyes:

Julliard School of Music ....I would be so proud.

We need these stories of hope..those of us who seldom see it...

I do believe in my heart that things will be ok...eternal optimist.. and hearing your story, and others, just reinforces that this is possible.

Thank you so much...



Active Member
I'm glad you posted your successes, WOOOHOOO to your difficult child and congrats on Julliard. I wasn't here for your dark days, but I'm very happy for you that the days have turned to the light side.

And yes, I agree with you about the school and music thing. As long as your difficult child can read and write properly, does it matter that he gets a D just to get through it? I don't think so. It was probably always obvious writing was not going to be a big factor in his life, it's not something he was ever interested in. Schools are built for the majority round pegs, and our square pegs just don't fit. It really hurts them more when the school tries to make them fit. I don't sweat the reading/writing stuff with my difficult child too much either. I'm just happy that he attempts the assignments, he's passing, and I realize it will never be his strong points.


Active Member
I literally got chills when I read the news that he's going to Julliard. Well done, MrNo, and well done to you, Faithful Mom. What an encouragement to us all.


New Member
martie, since our boys are of the same age & share some of the same difficulties...tho jarrod would never get accepted to julliard lol....i've always felt a special connection to you & your former difficult child.

i can't begin to tell you how thrilled i am for you all. this is so HUGE!!! he has persevered through so have you.

please tell him this board auntie is just as proud as could be.



New Member
Martie, I do remember your difficult child very well; he seems to have a personality very similar to my difficult child and, in fact, Mr. No and I share an interest in pipe organs and organ music. I just about cried when I read your post--what an achievement for both of you! I'm so proud of him.

My husband and I go to organ recitals from time to time and we listen to organ programs on the radio and I'll bet that one of these days we'll be listening to Mr. No!

He is lucky to have you as a mom!


New Member
Martie, I remember your "dark" days, and you've always helped and offered advice to me thru out my years here, and still of which I'm fighting tooth and nail with this new school my son is in.

You should be very proud of yourself and your difficult child. No matter what challenges we face for our children, we all have to fight for them no matter what. My son does have talent in music and picks it right up, but when they do th "boring stuff like ring bells" he just can't cope with it. He did great when they were learning the recorder and really picked it up, I thought this might be something he can be really good at, but of course they are done doing this now so his interest has been lost. I'm proud of you for fighting for your son and getting him where he is at right now.

Way to go!


New Member
I loved reading your story about Mr. No.

My girl has been home from Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for 3 weeks now and although she is still her very unique self, her anger has dissipated and her relationship with me is mended. She has learned alot!

There is still a long journey ahead, but I take refuge in your son's achievements with hope that my girl can find her passion and move into adulthood safe and sound.


Former desparate mom
Martie, there are success stories in the General Archives. I would like to move this to the success stories when it's done being read and posted.

It's an incredibly wonderful accomplishment for Mr.No. You really have been through some tough dark years. You must be walking on air.
You and I both share the experience of egbs turning our kids around. Different schools, different kids but it gave us hope that we would see our real son's again. Not a cure but a chance.

Big congratulations to your difficult child and big pat on the back to you for seeing what your son needed and doing it. It takes courage to go against the status quo. Raising a unique talent requires even more tolerance than a easy child but to have a unique talent who is a difficult child is huge responsibility.

I am thrilled for your good news.

PS: As always thank you for being a back bone of the Special Education forum.


New Member

I am glad you posted of this success. It certainly gives me hope for the future. I recognize at some point I will have to remove my difficult child from the school system if I am unable to move to another area.

You must be so incredibly proud and exhausted. MrNo might have been born with this talent, but your :Warrior: talent helped bring it to the end result of Juilliard. WOOHOO!!



Well-Known Member
Yeah for MrNO!!!!!! What a great accomplishment. You must be so proud.

Tell Mr No for me or maybe he will not rock, but he will play music!


New Member
Thanks for sharing your sucess story Martie!
But would someone please tell me what is egbh? I did not find it in with the other "terms".

Again, congratulations!


Former desparate mom
Vtgrandma40, egbs is emotional growth boarding school. There are several. The one that Martie's son attended was just written about in a book. It's title is What it Takes To Pull Me Through by David Marcus. It's pretty accurate.


New Member
Thank you, Fran. I will gather information to give to my son when I go back in 2 wks.. Sounds like a possible placement for grand difficult child.



Well-Known Member

I am still so thrilled with your good news. I think about you in some of my darkest hours and I have hope. I told you years ago that some day I expected to hear wonderful things about your son and his passion for music. He is half way there. I believe the world will hear more wonderful things about him as he pursues his passion.

You have always encouraged me and been there when I needed you. Your encouragement did not fall on deaf ears. You will be happy to hear that I am now considering some sort of boarding school for my difficult child.

Thank you for posting your good news and giving us all hope. And best of luck to MrNo as he enters this new phase in his life.



Well-Known Member
Oh Martie...

I am sitting here with tears running down my face.

I remember so much of what you went thru. Im just so thrilled for him. I think somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, I was always hoping this would be an outsome for him. Julliard! The best of the best.

He has made it.


member since 1999

This also gave me the shivers... what an amazing place your difficult child has arrived at. I think you're right about focusing on strengths (just having a hard time finding them right now, LOL) - they can lead our kids to where they're supposed to be.

Julliard - how fantastic. Does NYC intimidate him at all? And is he half as proud of this accomplishment as you are?

You did a great job advocating for him, Martie. A wonderful story to give us hope.


Well-Known Member
You have no idea how much I needed to read this post. The future has become very scary to me lately, but this has given me some hope and strength. Mr No has done well for himself, despite the obstacles. It gives me hope that Duckie can do well for herself and the strength I'm going to need to help her find her way. Thank you.
-TM (Oh darn! Now I'm crying, and we leave to go to dinner in a few minutes...)


Active Member
Martie - I remember those "dark days" well. You always provided me with a calming word and a steady shoulder to lean on. You will never know how much I appreciated this. Congratulations to you for having faith in your son and congratulations to him for achieving success. You are both winners.