In many ways, Jacob* is your typical 11-year-old-boy. He is artistic, tech savvy, and enjoys school. His teachers describe him as engaging and cooperative, but that’s only when he can stay awake in class. Despite his interest in school, he would often fall asleep in class and was increasingly absent altogether.
Due to his chronic absences, Jacob’s school filed a Child Requiring Assistance (CRA) application with the Juvenile Court. The presiding Judge referred Jacob to ACS for a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. A clinician then met with Jacob, interviewed his family members and teachers, and carefully reviewed his medical and school records.
It soon became clear that Jacob was dealing with some challenges at home. Jacob lived with his grandparents because his parents both struggled with addiction. There was also a family history of mental illness and domestic violence. Jacob’s presenting symptoms, the painful events leading up to his separation from his parents, and his family history of mental illness led the clinician to suspect that Jacob was suffering from depression. Knowing that depression tends to impact energy levels, internal motivation, and having a sense of purpose in life, this insight was critical factor in understanding Jacob’s school attendance problems.
Jacob’s clinician recommended that he be referred for further medical follow-up to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment. She also recommended enhanced support services to assist the whole family. She asked the Judge to provide Jacob’s teachers and service providers with a copy of her report so they could be made aware of the family’s needs. With a better understanding of his needs and with the proper treatment, there is reason to hope that Jacob will be feeling better soon.
* To protect confidentiality, ACS does not use the names, photos, or identifying features of our clients.