Jerry had been adopted as an older child. He had been in the foster care system for a while, and his early family background was not known to his adoptive parents. That he had suffered trauma seemed certain, and Jerry was able to recount more recent trauma in his foster homes, where he had been handcuffed to the bedpost and tied up in response to disciplinary infractions. At 13, he had diagnoses of ADHD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Reactive Attachment Disorder, and had been hospitalized numerous times. Jerry could become quickly very aggressive, and would lash out against both peers and family. He also engaged in self-injurious behavior, and often threatened self-harm. Although his disabilities were recognized, Jerry was frequently in trouble at school due to his behaviors. Jerry was exceptionally bright, but was not performing at his ability level in school.
The Department of Mental Health placed Jerry residentially in a private school, but the public school system continued to bus him back to a program at the public high school daily for school. Jerry continued to get in trouble, such as running away from school and threatening to jump out of a third floor window. Jerry’s parents and caseworkers felt that he would benefit from receiving his instruction at his residential facility, which also offers schooling. With negotiation and advocacy, MWLS was able to secure a school placement at the same institution where Jerry was living. Although Jerry has many challenges ahead, he has begun to show slow steady progress, enough so that he was able to come home this spring.