Getting services for a mentally ill child

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Getting services for a mentally ill child

The challenges of getting services through the school system when you have a child with a mental illness are monumental. Joselyn had always had issues. We knew from early on that there were struggles and we could tell it from the moment that she was adopted, that something wasn't quite right. We were told that she had an attachment disorder but we didn't realize that that was mental illness until much later on. As she went through school she did very, very well but things escalated. There are certain milestones in their lifes that hit and then when hormones kick in and junior high school, oh, my goodness. And then you get to highschool and it gets even worse. So we had asked the school to do something called the IEP. It's a process they go through where they test your child and we had asked specifically that she be tested for an emotional disability, and they refused. They came back and they did only intelligence testing, which was something that we knew she already was, intelligent. A lot of kids with mental illnes are wickedly smart. However, they're facing emotional challenges that-- You know, they lose common sense. They may be smart, but not real bright. So you need to advocate for your own child which is what we had to do. In the process of being able to do that, we had to go out and get a private psychologist to evaluate her and the Orange County Mental Health Dept to evaluate her and guess what? Though the school said she was smart, didn't need services, they came back and said, no. Your daughter nees a lot more than services. She needs to be placed. Without the help of NAMI and knowing that we needed an advocate and without knowing that you really need to have tenacity and fight for your kid, we never would have gotten services. Don't give up. FIght for your kid.

Watch Jay Gaylen's video on Getting services for a mentally ill child...


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Jay Gaylen


Jay Gaylen is the dad of a now 22-year old daughter who was diagnosed as a teen with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Bi-Polar II and ADHD. Jay and his wife, Renu, adopted Joslyn from Thailand. The process started when Joslyn was just nine months old. It took nearly two years to complete the adoption process — a good reason why Joslyn is a RAD kid. They sought help from numerous resources before discovering NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Jay began lecturing for NAMI’s Parents and Teachers as Allies program while being trained to teach the Family to Family and Basics courses.

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