How Are People Responding To The News About Jani Schofield?

7-year-old Jani Schofield, born August 2002, has been diagnosed with Childhood Schizophrenia.  Jani was born, “January Schofield.”  However, according to Oprah.com and the interview documented there, she prefers to be called Jani.  Apparently during their interview they found out that calling her January is one of her triggers for an onset of emotional upset. Over time Jani has become more accustomed to violent rants and outbursts. She insists on being called Jani or Jani FireFly or Blue-Eyed Tree Frog, according to her father. These points of mention are small in comparison to the larger battles that this young soul battles on a consistent basis. This condition has affected a large number of our society and will require a great deal more research to gain any viable solutions. As a community,  however, we have been sharing our expertise. I have seen many posts and blogs around the internet on this little girl and I have seen lots of video footage as well.  There is a community of folks that have commented on this news story and have done everything from praise the family for its bravery and honesty in sharing what they have experienced on their journey to bashing them and calling the parents child abusers. There are varying degrees of emotional responses flooding the internet from a slew of observers.

Michael Schofield, Jani’s father, has his own blogsite where he regularly blogs the family’s journey with Jani.  There are claims that Michael Schoefield openly admitted to physically abusing and starving Jani out of frustration and as a means to an end.  Personally, I have not have not seen the comments that were allegedly made by Mr. Schofield and therefore cannot offer anything either way.  Many concerned citizens belonging to a group of onlookers that believe that Jani’s parents have been negligent and abusive in their care have gone to great lengths to express their disapproval and outrage.  Some of those who are concerned are even blogging endlessly about it and their readers, equally as put off, are commenting without cessation.  Many of which are pointing the finger at abuse and assigning it as the culprit for Jani’s condition. Apparently, quite a few people are under the assumption that Jani was a very spirited child prior to the onset of her Schizophrenia and her parents, in an uncontrolled state, physically assaulted this child as a means to controlling her, triggering her to go inside to deal. It is amazing to me how we can come up with all these conclusions about someone’s life that we lack the privilege of knowing outside of what has been observed in the media and community forums. I urge each of you to remember that without the observation of trained professionals and a proper diagnosis, no one can accurately gauge “when” Jani began to experience Schizophrenia. As we know, simply having imaginary friends and, or places does not constitute signs of a Schizophrenic, since those behaviors can be quite normal for many children. The psychiatric community currently has no documented evidence that concludes that abuse (physical or sexual) is a and, or the causative factor for this psychological disorder.

What comes to mind when I think of the speculation of abuse being the cause and, or a factor of Schizophrenia, I am reminded of the millions of Holocaust victims and the millions of slaves that were physically, sexually, and psychologically abused. The torture that was endured during these historical events were horrific and yet, there is no historical evidence that would lead us to believe that Schizophrenia was present in these populations. It would have been hard to ignore if it had. It would have also been very unproductive for their tyrants.

People seem to be hopping all over the place emotionally in response to Jani’s story because their buttons have been pushed.  Why do we always look for someone to blame?  Is this journey not challenging enough? There is too much speculation without enough evidence.  It is apparent that Jani is a very intelligent child.  She is also very verbal. If she was being abused, it seems likely that she would speak out about it. It is implausible that she would speak about it intentionally with her fragmented bouts with “our” reality, but I do find it probable that she would honestly and unintentionally speak on it or make some sort of reference within the framing of one her many outbursts and moments of sharing. Jani is very adamant about what she wants and does not. From my observation of her during some of the videos, she has no problem making her point when she is dissatisfied. I am not suggesting that this young girl can protect herself or that you should close your eyes and become unobservant to what stands out to you. I am simply saying, before you cast judgment and sentence her parents or anyone else, in any other situation for that matter, make sure your assessments are reasonable.

In addition to the personal attacks on the Schofield family, people have begun attacking, most recent interviewers, Shari Roan (LA Times) and Oprah (Harpo Productions), verbally whipping them in their commentary for allegedly omitting the facts about the physical assaults on this young girl, accusing them both of turning a blind eye.

My question is this, “why would Oprah or Shari, people whose fame largely comes from exposing truths, turn a blind eye to something like that?  What would they have to gain from doing such a thing?” I cannot conceive, with the information currently available to me, how they would gain anything. Maybe I am missing something here, but it is likely a stretch of the imagination, out of a need to justify and blame someone, anyone, to say that Shari and Oprah ignored to report Jani’s alleged abuse. It would actually have benefited them more by bringing those factors to light, considering the business that they are in, if in fact the rumors are true. 1) It adds to the drama of the story (drawing attention to a greater number of viewers/listeners) and  2) It would lend credit to the hypothesis that abuse is a precursor to the onset of this condition, offering greater evidence to the possibility of Schizophrenia as a subcategorical manifestation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Think about it, we would be identifying abused children by a whole new checklist, not just bumps and bruises or broken bones, but mental disorder. Wow!  The criminal charges behind that would be mind blowing.

During this technological era, we have enormous bits of information at our disposal. Yet, it does not stop us from spreading invalidated rumors. We hear one person say it or we read it somewhere and we automatically assume it’s the truth. This is one of the reasons Snopes.com has become so popular, to encourage people to advocate and pass on good information, to at least attempt to get the facts before arbitrarily cosigning the rumors.  We, as a people, cast too many stones and judge too quickly.  Hasty judgments are made and nasty rumors are spread before substantiating what is real or not, never considering the damage that such accusations can cause. If there is foul play, I am prayerful that those truths will surface.  However, in the meantime, I must give the parents the benefit of the doubt and you should too.

Empathy at this point would be a far stretch in helping those of us on the outside touch the tip of  the iceberg in trying to understand what is going on in the minds, hearts, and lives of this family.  Nonetheless, it is the most realistic sense of comfort that we as a society can offer.  Please send your prayers and hold a vision for healing, not only for Jani, but for her entire family.  Regardless of what perspective you hold on the story, the bottom line is that they all need help and prayers.  Let us be compassionate and extend loving thoughts for the health of the Schofield family and our communities at large.

For those who are unfamiliar with the family and Jani’s story, I have embedded a clip below, compliments of the LA Times.

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26 comments on “How Are People Responding To The News About Jani Schofield?

  1. In another life, I’ve been a mental health care worker. During college, I worked in a state hospital on a juvenile ward, a schizophenic ward and a criminally insane ward.

    One holiday, volunteers came to sing Christmas carols only to find 17 schizophrenic and autistic children ages 6-18 laying on divans and the floor with their hands down their pants. What people don’t realize is that, despite mental illness, kids are KIDS. They have humor, brattiness, big huge open hearts, hormones.

    As for this family, if Jani’s father was at the breaking point, I completely understand. I worked with both abused and non-abused mentally handicapped kids. Didn’t seem to make a difference in their mental illness. One bit me every day. One swallowed a tampon and I had to take him to the ER to get it out. One broke a car window with his head. Another ran out onto the freeway – thank God it was a newer car with a good brake system. Some of these kids were abandoned. Some were loved more than a normal kid.

    In fact, I met many parents while working in the field who were riddled with guilt at institutionalizing their children. They gave birth to them, saw their light and then lost hope. Their kids were 5, 7, 9, 10, 13…still innocent, but already a lost cause and part of the system. Some died of seizures, accidents, suicide. Once kid I worked with was an expert lock picker…we could not keep him inside. He wandered out of the hospital one night…never to be heard from again.

    As for the Schofields, BRAVO to them, I say. Parents who get no sleep for seven years and have no help are in the same boat as the child whose innate inability to cope with the real world them there. They love their daughter. They are doing the best they can to get her some help. She loves them back. It’s called being a family. Let’s leave it at it at that, shall we?

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  2. Being an athiest, it’s rediculous how a majority of people who – upon discovouring January – consider her “possessed by demons”, as well as cosidering Calalini* “Hell”, and that she’s “getting closer to Hell everyday”.

    *Calalini is what January calls “a place between your world and mine”, which is a place in her mind – that of which her imaginary friends inhabit – that’s a boarderline of reality and her own personal world. I’m not quite wure whether Calalini IS her imaginary world or not though. But neither way.

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  3. This girl is being abused hence the imaginary world she’s created. These numbers and animals she is associating with the bad things going on in her home. She’s not schizo but autistic and her parents are using her for their own attention. They’ve discarded any previous asperger diagnosis of Jani so they could get the one they wanted which was schizophrenic.

    The father even admitted to hitting her and starving her on his blog which he edited. He wants her on these meds to drive her crazy so she can’t flat out tell on him so instead she lives in her world. These parents are sick.

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    • Thank you for your comment, passion and response Sal. Apparently, you have come across some evidence that would support your claims and fuel your passion for this topic. If you have documented proof from a credible source that I can verify, I would be more than happy to add it to this story. However, due to the gravity of such allegations, it would be unconscionable to promote such information as a truth without validation. I appreciate your understanding.

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      • Perhaps a little late(not sure this website is still active) but here is some evidence that both Jani’s parents have beaten her rather badly(when an adult says he’s hit a 5 year old as hard as he can on many occasions, I consider that child abuse):
        Screencap from Michael(dad’s) blog from July 2009 :
        http://postimg.org/image/598ypzxwf/
        So yes, at least for some accusations, there is still some proof that Michael hasn’t erased.

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    • I agree I also think the tapes they made of the little girl jani as a baby where big red flags. I mean they sit there what do you see jani? Oh she is seeing things if your told your crazy and seeing things from the time your born you will be fuckin crazy. i think there is allot to this madness and think there are allot of things off with this whole picture it makes me sick.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with you. Child onset schizophrenia is so unknown. We have little to no information about this illness, and as humans we need to know where it comes from and understand the illness. Since people don’t understand, the easiest thing to do is blame the parents. That is what we do. I feel for this child and her parents. They are living in a 24 hour nightmare, with no stop in the future. I see they have completely changed their life to attempt to fullfill her needs. Hopefully with research, we will come to know more about this illness until my prayers are with the family.

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  5. The allegations of abuse come from here: http://bipolar-stanscroniclesandnarritive.blogspot.com/2009/07/6-year-old-jani-schofield-schizophrenic.html

    I would like to add that I only recently saw the oprah episode featuring jani where the dad speaks of having to split a tablet in half for jani – and just casually says “so I bit it in half and swallowed half” (paraphrased from memory). The point was apparently to demonstrate the strength of meds she’s on, since he was basically incapacitated and she was bounding around like it was nothing.

    However, this is very much a “WHAT THE???” moment. Nobody in their right mind takes strange meds not prescribed for them. The dude was apparently a lecturer, so it’s not like he’s just a bit slow. It’s completely reckless. Then I read excerpts from his now heavily edited blog including descriptions of domenstic violence stretching back to before jani was born (sorry not at the link above. If I refind it I’ll post). Very sus!

    Also, there was was interesting talk about whether jani might have a form of synesthesia – which is something that jumped out at me watching the oprah episode. http://incorrectpleasures.blogspot.com/2010/04/jani-schofield-evidence-is-there.html

    I do think that something is amiss and the parents have some SERIOUS issues that are complicating the picture. I’m not rabidly gunning for the parents, but I do suspect something is not quite right there and Jani and Bohdi will pay the price for that.

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    • In the book “Hurry Down Sunshine” about his daughter’s bipolar disorder, the author Michael Greenberg writes that he tried some of his daughter’s anti-psychotic meds to get a feel as to what she must be experiencing.

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    • I saw that..but I took it to mean that when he was biting it in half he accidentally swallowed it.

      I can’t imagine as a parent having to deal with a child with schizophrenia. I would not even begin to judge these people.

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    • I would like to say in regards to the meds… 🙂 I have a SEVERELY Autistic son on a butt load of meds (no it’s not what we wanted but between seizures and stabbing ppl it became necessary) and while I have not out right “taken” my son’s meds I have tasted them. How can I expect him to swallow crushed (doc’s orders before you criticize) pills mixed with liquid med without even knowing what I am subjecting him to? I don’t find that crazy at all that a parent would want to know what effects their child is suppose to be getting from their meds. You can’t know what you would do with a child that is severely affected by ANY condition UNTIL you have a child that affected. In our house we try to survive Autism. There is no making a life, just surviving. We don’t have one of those kids that suddenly learns not only to speak but to sing, play piano, and do quantum physics, we have one of those kids that we PRAY that we will be ABLE to manage to keep in our home until he is old enough to go to adult services. We are spending everyday just hoping that we can manage to avoid the crisis center one more day and until you have a child like that you just honestly can not tell what you would do. Hell, I still don’t know what I am going to do! 🙂 But before anyone throws too many stones you may just want to keep a little perspective. Honestly, I think the parents behave like the parents of High Functioning Autistic kids. The parents with hopes for a brighter non Autistic future for their Autistic kids are, in my opinion, more vocal (advocating, even if it isn’t needed), hypersensitive (looking for every conceivable “sign” of everything), and confrontational. They see the prize and push for it. I think the Mom here in particular is like that. But at the end of the day when you put your life under a microscope for the public to play with then you are going to have to put up with the public “playing”. Playing doctor, psychiatrist, social worker, and Omnipotent God Himself. And what is a complicated life style then becomes a sideshow for all the world to throw poo at like the rotten bunch of monkeys we tend to be! 🙂

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  6. Michael admits to the abuse of Jani in the blogs titled “It’s in her head…painted room,,,can’t deny there’s something wrong” and “It’s just another day when people wake from dreams with voices in their ears…that will not go away” (From his old blog). He admits to abusing Jani all through his blogs but these go into detail about his abuse against his wife and daughter, and the abuse against his daughter that his wife has participated in.
    Very few people are insinuating that Michael’s abuse, especially his admitting in the first listed blog entry that he shook Jani and screamed in her face at 2 months old (Because she wouldn’t stop crying and go to sleep, the same reason that abusers who are in jail for murdering their child via this manner list as the reason.), is the cause of Jani’s “Schizophrenia”. They are of the opinion that Jani is suffering some other mental disorder (PTSD for example) because of the abuse.
    Jani has told the medical community that she was being abused, both physically and sexually, but the CSA seemed to think that abusing a child with “schizophrenia” was acceptable.
    The Schofield’s supporters are supporting child abusers in the most conventional sense and if they are abusing her in the most acute application of the term then it isn’t much of a stretch to consider that her medical diagnosis and treatment is just another, more obtuse, form of abuse.
    Think of it this way: The Schofields justify their abuse of Jani because she has schizophrenia. Replace the word “Schizophrenia” with “Cancer”. They believe their child to be sick and punish her because of it by beating and starving her, feeding her mind altering medications and exploiting her personal medical information on television.
    The Schofields are a part of a very peculiar generation of people who seem to WANT their children to be ill. The parent with the sickest child acheives the perverse fame of bering the biggest martyrs. Many people without the tools to parent properly screw up their kids, but profiting off of their inadequacies is diabolical, to my way of thinking as dictated by my moral compass. The Schofield’s, sadly, are not the only parents engaging this sort of exploitation. There are far too many blogs written by parents who are doing the exact same thing. Their children have ceased being children and are now just symptoms (RADtastic, RADishes, Aspieboy, Tic kid are just a few of the disgusting labels that these children have been reduced to in their parent’s damaged minds.).
    The Schofields refuse to put Jani into the residential care that could benefit her because they would lose their pity paycheque if they did . Michael begs their rent and living expenses every month from his readers and uses his pull as a faculty member at UCLA to keep Jani’s far fetched diagnosis. If they moved Jani away from California Michael could no longer use his pull in academia to keep his daughter misdiagnosed and sick.There are plenty of residential situations where Jani would flourish but if she were to go there she would likely get a proper diagnosis and Michael and Susan would lose the “fame” that they’ve acheived from being the parent’s of a “Schizophrenic” and the sickest child.
    Susan and Michal thought that they would be famous themselves (Susan worked in television reporting) and when their talents proved to be lacking they doctor shopped until they got an exotic diagnosis for their child that they could cash in on.
    My wife has contacted “A Minor Consideration”, an advocacy group in California that works toward limiting the exploitation of children in entertainment and the media but has yet to get a response. While there may be very little that we can do to help Jani as far as her horrific home situation goes, we can at least take steps to ensure that her personal medical information isn’t exploited by the Schofields for financial gain. Thankfully Oprah is now off the air so that her half assed fact checking and cherry picking journalism can no longer make child abusers like the Schofields out to be saints.
    I suppose that this is just the logical conclusion of our voyeristic society: As long as we entertain ouselves with the suffering of a child there will be sick parents who will abuse and exploit their child for our entertainment.

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    • I think that’s possible. I thought when I saw this article here in Brazil!
      I also saw some strange things in the article. But I think this girl needs JESUS​​!!!

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  7. Shari Roan, when questioned as to why she omitted the Schofield’s abuise of Jani in her LA Times piece responded that she thought the abuse to be understandable, considering Jani’s diagnosis.
    Again. I ask you to replace the word “Schizophrenia” in the following sentence with “Cancer”:
    The Schofields abuse Jani because of her schizophrenia.

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    • Thank you for taking the time to post your perspectives. I did not read Shari Roan’s comments that are mentioned here. Can you provide a citation so that I can review?

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  8. January does not have schizophrenia; she is functioning within her subconscious mind where ‘quantum weirdness’ is king. The energies she refers to as the days of the week are her seven emotions, and it is either ‘Sunday’ or ‘Monday’ who makes her cry, depending on the age of the calendar her soul is working with. I am not a secret society member, but have stabilized within my own subconscious mind for the past 4 years.

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  9. What an intelligent article, and what a bunch of qwack comments.
    Lester – you are NUTS. I’ve read your comments – or comments that are almost word-for-word like the one above, on just about every comment section about this particular case.
    You keep saying that he ‘openly admits to abuse’ – um – nope. He’s admitted to striking her on very rare occassions (early on I believe) — which is something that is bound to happen when you are pushed to your limits, aren’t sleeping, have your family ripped apart, and oh-ya, have a psychotic individual you so love come at you in a rage that leaves you physically scarred and bleeding. He didn’t say he ‘pummelled her’, or beat her mercilessly, or beat her to exact some kind of revenge. Beit a momentary lapse of judgement or a result of utter desperation – it hardly qualified as abuse. It’s not something to be excused or applauded, but to cite it as evidence of ‘abuse’ borders is absurd.

    What strikes me as super-duper-odd about people like you is that you think you know more than those who
    (a) have spent most of their lives studying human behaviour, biology and the brain
    (b) have observed her intensely for YEARS, including months of in-patient treatment at UCLA, where they would have administered every test in the book and observed her both with and without her parents

    And what morsel of ‘evidence’ do you have that they do not? What is this holy grail of information that you detractors have that allow you to lambast these parents, accusing them of the worst-of-the-worst??? A FEW BLOG POSTS?! Seriously!? Blog posts by the parents, no less… Do you really think if they were abusers that they would be so frank and candid?

    To cling to notions that mental illness is caused by abuse is just plain ludicrous given the current research. A few decades ago autism was blamed on ‘cold unloving mothers’ – today we know that to be COMPLETELY FALSE. Autism & schizophrenia are physical abnormalities where the brain of the afflicted do not work like the brains of those not afflicted. It clearly runs in families and there is clearly a genetic component.

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  10. Wow, how you people can judge and make diagnoses when indeed she has seen
    A qualified phyciatrist.Mental illness is real and thank god she was properly diagnosed.As regards to abuse, no parent is perfect, but I can clearly see her
    Parents. Love and are doing the best they can for their daughter! Bravo
    To the the family, and jani,and thankyou for writing the book, as many children
    Suffer with various forms of mental illness, and by writing this book it may save
    Some other child who might otherwise slip thru the cracks.And yes schizophrenia
    Is real, and by watching I can clearly see she is suffering from this disease.
    You people should not judge and only pray for jani and her family.

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  11. The Hearing Voices Movement: In Response to a Father – ‘My Daughter, the Schizophrenic’

    January 21, 2013

    There was a heart-breaking and disturbing story in this weekend’s Guardian newspaper entitled ‘My Daughter, the Schizophrenic’, (1) which featured edited extracts from a book written by the father of a child called Jani. He describes how Jani is admitted into a psychiatric hospital when she is 5, diagnosed with schizophrenia when she is 6 and by the time she is 7, she has been put on a potent cocktail of psychotropic medications:

    ”Jani is on three medications: Clozapine, lithium and Thorazine (known in the UK as Largactil). This combination has been the most successful. Are her hallucinations completely gone? No, but as she will tell us, they are not bothering her. It’s like having the TV on in the background, volume turned down, while you’re doing something, and every so often you look up at the screen to see what 400 the cat and other hallucinations are doing. They remain on Jani’s periphery, but she can still function in our common reality.”

    This harrowing description exemplifies the worst excesses of responding to a deeply troubled child’s distress as if it were a pathological illness, with the full psychiatric arsenal. What ensues can only be described as an account of psychiatric, human rights abuse.

    Read more http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/01/the-hearing-voices-movement-in-response-to-a-father-my-daughter-the-schizophrenic/

    That’s how the hearing voices movement responded and having taken these drugs myself I agree with them.

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  12. I think the parents are certifiable. They play into the delusions, reinforce the bad behavior and get off on the attention. Granted the child is probably autistic and needs help but these aren’t the kind of parents I would leave either child with. Both parents really seem to enjoy the media circus. The younger child is probably mirroring the older one’s behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. See how the father is openly admitting beating &starving the child ( which usually parents don’t admit to ) and saying publicly that he nearly had an affair and overdossing I believe that this man Is trying to steer everyone away from the truth…. I have seen alot of young people and kids with similar behaviour to this little girl because of sexual abuse… The signs are there.

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  14. I find it disturbing that the parents are almost excited and estatic when describing all particulars of their children ‘s diagnosis. They were almost euphoric when hoping the son had the same thing as their daughter. Would they welcome a cure? Or other expert opinions and tests?. Sorry for them but they act really weird. Munch syndrm?

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