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Three Springs - Duck River
Parent Letter

For anyone even having to go to this website for their child, I am so sorry. I know what you've been through and I know the pain you are in.
My son, Alex, started to fall apart when he was about 12. He always was very sensitive and seem to perceive life a little different than my other two. He's very comical and charming. Alex became extremely defiant right around this age and it escalated as time went on. I've never experienced anything like this and had a hard time understanding him. We started counsleing for him which lasted for about 3 years, several therapists, ADHD meds. His volitlity increased as he got older, his comical and charming ways got buried under anger and boldness. When we would try to discipline, he would up the ante, everything was a challenge, a threat became us suffering much more than him.

It was easy for me to minimize how serious this problem was because I worked in an intensive care at a children's hospital. I'd see death from all kinds of medical diseases and tragedies not thinking Alex's problems were this intense. When Alex got to be around 14, the car was being stolen, pot and alcohol were used, unknown by us. When I read an article by a local columnist talking about 9-11 and our local charities suffering, I cut it out and stuck it on the fridge thinking I'd send a donation for Christmas. About a week later, I read the article again and it talked about a local homeless shelter and what kinds of people end up there. It described my son. It hit me like a ton of bricks.This is where Alex will end up, either that or dead, if we didn't do something. I had already started looking for different schools because he wasn't going to school at all! By this time, he was in 10th grade or supposed to be and he could be faced with truancy charges, by the time the court would see his case, he would have been 16 and could legally drop out here in Michigan. The really sad thing is he needed mental help so badly and he wouldn't ever get it in a juvenile home, and where would he be now? I had to look at his life just like I did with the patients I'd see at work. He was so out of control, so defiant and would do the craziest things maybe not intentionally but risking his life.

We were seing a therapist that suggested Three Springs of Duck River down in Tennessee. Quickly, I went down to check it out, my Dad and I drove down on a rainy December day. The feeling I got when I pulled up there, got out of the car and went into the cafeteria with the other residents was one of calmness, peace, and safeness. The staff at Three Springs just welcomed us in and offered us lunch with the boys, we sat down and ate. I felt my son would be safe. And he was for 17 months.

It was definitely and emotional roller coaster for all of us and it was tough for Alex, but he will tell you today that he needed this program.
Alex is now 22 and going through college, he just finished one year. He had some bumpy roads when he got out, but the most important thing Alex got was tools do deal with his emotions and everyday life. I feel we saved our son's life by sending him to Three Springs. He was heading for a life in the criminal justice system, if not dead.

One of the most crucial points about Three Springs is the way it is run. Those boys always have someone to talk to, cry to, someone that cares and will listen to them. They also have someone that will confront them and have them look in the mirror at themselves and their behavior. They learn to take ownership of their actions and this is done on sometimes an hourly basis. Three Springs helped us as parents deal with our family issues, our personal problems, yet taught us to be stronger and less enabling.

Three Springs was expensive, we had to re-mortgage our home, it was tough, but the very best money I have ever spent because I feel Alex has a second chance at life.
If you ever want to talk, I encourage you to call me, my name is Sue Casinelli, I'm from the Detroit, MI. area, my number is 248-882-3991.

Good luck and God Bless You

Sue Casinelli
Detroit, MI

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