Navigating the school system with a mentally ill child

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Navigating the school system with a mentally ill child

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When you are dealing with a child who has a mental illness, you need to know how to get services through the school system. The last thing the school wants to do is provide those services. It costs money. They have some funds and they are always cut, and they have some Federal funds. There is a small bucket of money, and they'd rather hold on to it, than provide your child with the services that they need. You will probably go through something called the IEP process. It's an evaluation where they are going to test your child on intellectual ability, whether or not your child can really cut it. Your child needs to be tested on emotional ability. That is part of the IEP process. They don't want to do that. You have to demand it. Even when we demanded it, in our case, they didn't do it. So at that point, you need to make sure that you are responsible in advocating for your child and hiring an advocate. This isn't cheap. You need to hire an advocate or an attorney. They need to be there, throughout this process, in order to help you gain services. Without it, it's not going to happen. Again, they are holding on the purse strings really tight. The last thing they want to do is fund it. They want that kid 18, and out of the system. Fight for your kid.

View Jay Gaylen's video on Navigating the school system with a mentally ill child...

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Jay Gaylen

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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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