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Old 08-22-2012, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
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Some here may have heard about a little girl in California named Jani Schofield who at age 6 was diagnosed with childhood onset schizophrenia. She's been on Oprah, on two Discovery documentaries and recently her father released a book about her. She is supposed to be one of the youngest schizophrenics in the country. However, there are a lot of people on the internet who don't believe she has schizophrenia at all. The suggested diagnoses people give her range from autism to just an intelligent head strong child with an active imagination. I lean towards believing that the doctors are correct considering that she was being observed inpatient for four months before the diagnosis was made. But people are misdiagnosed with all sorts of things all the time and according to what I've read there are a lot of similarities between autism and childhood onset schizophrenia so kids with these disorders are sometimes misdiagnosed with the other. In fact Jani does have several symptoms typical for autism and, based on what I know, lacks some symptoms typical for schizophrenia.

The main reason Jani was diagnosed with schizophrenia was because she has a number of "imaginary friends" who are rats, cats, dogs, numbers and a little girl. These are believed to be hallucinations. She supposedly sees them, hears them and play with them. A couple are bad and tell her to do bad things like to hit her brother. Mostly they are just nice animals she sees swimming in the mall fountain or carries in her pocket, etc. To me these don't seem to be the typical kind of hallucinations people with schizophrenia have. Or am I wrong? Does anyone else have, or know of someone who has, these kinds of hallucinations?
Jani also doesn't seem to have the regular delusions schizophrenics usually have. Her only delusion is that her imaginary friends are real and she talks about them a lot. Except for that she doesn't seem to be saying bizarre things and her speech doesn't seem to be disjointed like it often is in people with this condition.

I'm curious what others think, though. Especially those with personal experience with schizophrenia. For those who are familiar with Jani's case and schizophrenia in general do you think she comes across as schizophrenic?

Thanks
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Old 08-23-2012, 02:42 PM
 
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I don't know a lot of details about her, but I saw the one documentary. She did seem to have some psychotic process going on, but it may or may not fit into the common presentation of schizophrenia.

I have seen a few kids with early-onset schizophrenia professionally, and I can tell you that their presentation is often very different from that of an adult with schizophrenia. Anything starting that young is going to look atypical.

From what I recall of the little girl in the documentary, she had other symptoms besides the imaginary cats and rats, including self injury and possible threats to the little brother's safety. Weren't they the family that ended up renting two separate apartments inthe same complex just to keep the little boy safe? Also, I seem to remember the imaginary companions were not always nice and friendly, but sometimes menacing and threatening. Also, a lot of her behavior and speech was disorganized and not goal-directed, common in schizophrenia (most people not in the field know about the paranoid symptoms, but not much about the disorganized symptoms of schizophrenia).
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:05 PM
 
Location: So Ca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
Weren't they the family that ended up renting two separate apartments in the same complex just to keep the little boy safe?
Yes. She's ten now. I've paid attention to this case because she and her family live here in southern CA and I have a cousin diagnosed with schizophrenia. Here's another thread about her, with a link to an article where readers have posted other possible diagnoses for her:
//www.city-data.com/forum/paren...zophrenia.html
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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Default Crystal from BBC documentary and Jani

A girl on the bbc documentary 'don't call me crazy' had very similar hallucinations to Jani. Right down to the land the imaginary friends live and call the cats and girls by number or seasons. She was eight when it started and that was before Jani was made famous. Strange right. check it out on youtube if your outside UK or this link in UK [url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01bv707]BBC Three - Don't Call Me Crazy, Episode 2, Crystal: Imaginary Characters[/url]
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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The parents appeared also on Dr.Phill. Her father stated that her hallucinations don't terrify her.
I watched many youtube documentaries about her. It didn't seem like schizophrenia to me. It is more like ADHD and imaginary friends, that her parents encouraged and allowed to continue.

IMO, her father seems very aggressive towards pushing the "schizophrenia" diagnosis on her, which is kinda suspicious.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:21 AM
 
Location: So Ca
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Originally Posted by lil kitty View Post
It didn't seem like schizophrenia to me. IMO, her father seems very aggressive towards pushing the "schizophrenia" diagnosis on her, which is kinda suspicious.
It's a pretty well established fact that she has schizophrenia. The physicians at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute put her through a great deal of testing.
Jani's at the mercy of her mind - latimes.com
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lil kitty View Post
The parents appeared also on Dr.Phill. Her father stated that her hallucinations don't terrify her.
I watched many youtube documentaries about her. It didn't seem like schizophrenia to me. It is more like ADHD and imaginary friends, that her parents encouraged and allowed to continue.

IMO, her father seems very aggressive towards pushing the "schizophrenia" diagnosis on her, which is kinda suspicious.
She is unafraid of her hallucinations because she has *always* had them - she's never know anything different. She has a lot of very typical schizophremia symptoms -- like disassociation.

Both in the book and in the documentary the parents emphasized that they fought *against* the diagnosis -- they didn't want to stigmatize her, and they held on to the belief that her issues stemmed from being hyperintelligent.

No one would willingly curse their child with the label of schizophrenia. First of all the treatment is very *dangerous* -- the medications Jani takes are toxic and could eventually kill her (read about Davey Johnston -- manager of the Washington Nationals baseball team -- and his daughter. She *died* from the toxicity of her schizophrenia medications).

It is *extremely* difficult to get a prescription for thorazine, and the very best neuroscientists in the world determined that nothing else would help this child. I doubt they would go on record on a public documentary if they were unsure about the diagnosis because to do so would damage their reputations and that of UCLA.

But Jani simply wasn't getting better - and she became dangerous to herself and her entire family. The diagnosis was a relief -- now that they finally knew and accepted what was wrong with her, they could treat it and try to help her get better.

And if the father now seems aggressive, it's because they have been and continue to battle for good and accessible care for their daughter, plus special education (she couldn't go to school for much of the time, although that has changed - finally). They have been repeatedly denied insurance coverage, and the state of California has threatened to send her to Florida to a residential treatment facility.

I doubt their motivation is money or fame.The disease is too awful and marginalizing, and the public is too afraid of it. There is nothing glamorous about it. Yes, they were paid for the documentaries and TV appearances -- most of it was used to pay for Jani's treatment and care. They are far from rich -- they are both unemployed and they still live in a two-bedroom rental apartment. They have started a foundation, and they are trying to raise money for things like an after school program for emotionally disturbed children so that Jani and kids like her can socialize and a be a little more *normal.*

To me they give every appearance of a family that is coping with an unspeakable tragedy -- something that most of us (myself included) would run away from --- and are now trying to break down the barriers and stigma that exist for the mentally ill. They deserve admiration and sympathy.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:44 AM
 
Location: tampa bay
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I think the parents only have the best intentions...I think they want to help de-stigmatize her disease...just like some kids have "adult" illnesses of the body...they can also have "adult" diseases of the mind...
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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Autism may play some role. Imaginary friends may comfort or express a childs anxieties about unspoken things. Has anyone seen the parent's blog at http://www.januaryfirst.org/www.janu.../About_Me.html
A quote:
We tried everything. Positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement. Hitting her back (I won't tell you how many people told us that all she needed was a good beating). We took all her toys away. We gave her toys away. We tried starving her. We did EVERYTHING we could to try and break her. Nothing worked.

Even then, it did not occur to us that our daughter was mentally ill. Now I wonder who was really delusional. Susan and I held fast to our belief that Jani was just a misunderstood genius.

The violence became so bad that at times Susan and I both lost it and hit Jani as hard as we could. We hit in impotent rage.
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:29 PM
 
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The link I sighted is old..from this blog Is Something Not Quite Right With Stan - A Mental Health Blog: 6 year old Jani Schofield - schizophrenic or abuse victim
This is the link to the Jani Foundation October | 2006 | Jani Foundation
And see Michael Schofields book "January First"
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