Family Reunited After Young Girl's Schizophrenia Forced Separation


Reining in Jani's Imaginary World

Schofield wrote that slowly, they managed to fight Jani's corrosive imaginary world "back to a stalemate" -- so much so that in October, 2011, the family moved back into one apartment.

The Schofields say Jani is no longer a danger to her little brother, who was recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. They told "20/20" that Jani is protective of Bodhi because she understands that he, too, has problems.

Money is still tight for the Schofields and they hope Michael Schofield's book will sell well so that the family can benefit from royalties.

The Schofields are also working to help other families through The Jani Foundation, a group they founded in 2010 to pressure government agencies and others to provide better care for mentally ill children. The foundation also connects donors to families of mentally ill children in need.

Michael Schofield has said that Jani's next challenge is coping with "the social isolation of her disease."

In a recent blog post, Schofield recounted sadly how he watched as Jani failed to sustain a conversation with a girl her age at their apartment complex and how, ultimately, his daughter withdrew to talk to her hallucinations instead.

"This girl has cats. Jani talks to her about her cats, none of whom actually exist, at least not in this universe. I don't bother to tell this girl that Jani's cats are hallucinations. If the other girl believes they are real, that is a connection. And I desperately want Jani to have a connection with a girlfriend," he wrote. "(But) the girl ends up talking to me more than Jani. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Jani dancing in and out of the conversation..."

"...She continues to come and go, but each time now she gets a little further away and doesn't come as close when she comes back. I know what is happening and it breaks my heart. Jani is giving up on the conversation. Eventually, she drifts away and I hear her talking to one of her hallucination friends."

Schofield said that the only time Jani is truly happy is when she is in the company of other children like her, but those would-be friends live across the country.

Jani "has (to) learn to live in our world," he wrote. "Because being human is just as hard as being schizophrenic."

"20/20" spent almost eight months profiling three families in Southern California whose children suffer from childhood schizophrenia. Watch more on Jani's story and those of others like her Saturday on "20/20: My Extreme Affliction" at 9 p.m. ET.

Click here for more information on childhood schizophrenia.

Read about earlier coverage by "20/20" of children with schizophrenia.

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