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26 Feb 2003

Mentally retarded boy
Dear Cybershrink,
I have a mentally retarded boy turning 13 soon.
His brain functions at the age of 6 years, his body is overweight (98 kgs), his hormones that of a 16 year old. His behavious problems is driving me insane, and its getting worse by the day.
I am on anti-deppressants, and calming medication just to help cope, I also have two normal children a boy aged 15 from a previous marriage and a daughter of 3 from my late husband.
I dont know how to cope anymore, the schools he has attended dont want him, he is just too much too handle, what do I do with him - where do I go with him - I still love him, he is my child - but he he is killing not only myself, but he brother sees him as an embarrasement as well, and I have to understand him too.
There is very little institutions left for this child, and I cannot affort a private institution - Please tell me with who I can speak. His pediatrician can only advise private institutions that I cannot afford.
I am also the sole breadwinner and raise them alone - Help
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Exhausted,
I wish there was an easy answer to this sort of problem. Mental health services in this country continue to be shamefully neglected by the Government, sadly, with Mental Retardation perhaps the most neglected area within a neglected speciality. There's a lack of suitably trained specialists and facilities even within the expensive private sector ; and public/state sector is a disgrace. What a pity no-one seems to want to start the African Renaissance in needy areas like these, rather than in fat cat conferences in luxury settings.
Enough grumbling, though. You will need to be persistent and a skillful nuisance in badgering the local authroties in Health, and Welfare, in the State sector, to find suitable facilities for his care. From the sound of it, institutional care will be wisest, before he exhausts all the rest of you, to no benefit to himself. These State and local authorities have a constitutional duty to make proper provision for all citizens, including your son, and too often they rely on being allowed to ignore whatever and whomever they can get away with ignoring. Consider involving the media on the issue of the lack of resources and caring, and the authorities might get moving.
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