Breaking the Stigma


     My advocacy for students and children with mental illness has driven me to write my first book. It's imperative that we continue to dialogue about the stigma placed on members of our society dealing with this illness. Living with a spouse and child has taught me ways to cope with the day to day life, through the variety of scenarios the manic states present to loved ones. If you aren't living with it or helping someone to cope or deal and you haven't been through the many family therapy sessions, trying to incorporate the newest 'changed behavior,' coping skill or avoiding triggers; you don't have the inside know on mental disorder.

     I've been the champion for my son for the past twenty-two years, solely alone as a single mother of four; he's the youngest! My experience as a mother, teacher and a participant in over 400 family therapy sessions, has given me the expertise necessary to comment on the needs of children suffering bipolar disorder, ADHD, Asperger's and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. 

     Speaking from the maternal relationship and as an advocate my witnessed accounts of the state of my child has fostered the accounts included in this novel and in the series to follow. Both out of the desire to educate individuals about the behavior my son was experiencing and the urgency to ensure kids like him felt better about themselves; I authored this book.

     I also recommend the "Storm in My Brain," a short story as well. It's a real account from the perspective of a child about mental disorder! Enjoy, learn, teach and improve the broad spectrum of understanding world-wide!

~ D.N. Brenner

Steps to help your child:

     Initial Diagnosis:
     My advice to you, if you suspect your child has a mental illness is to document the behavior over a period of time. Consult your pediatrician and take documentation of your observations to the pediatrician. Depending upon the severity of it, by all means, if your child is harming themselves or others, consult emergency services right away. 
     Consultation should be followed up regularly and any changes should be noted and brought to the attention of your pediatrician or psychiatrist, should that be who diagnoses them.

     School communication:
     Once you have a diagnosis, or before, make contact with the school officials in writing. Let them know your child has special needs, regarding delivery of academic information, accommodations or other requirements. Maybe they need a specific space to go when they feel overwhelmed or frustrated. This written documentation will begin the trail of support for your child. Make sure you get your voice heard and don't let them trivialize your concerns or wishes. Schools are obligated to support students with specific needs, but without those in writing, you don't have the legal support you'll need to enforce your child's needs.
     Make sure they also perform a series of tests, psychological and behavioral. For more information, go to this link: Psychological Tests in school