Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Ideas for Work? Online Colleges?

My son is very bright. He’s taught himself Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish. Latin. Does crazy math I have never heard of (Topology? ) . He obsessively studies to the point garbage fills his apartment from food wrappers, old fruit etc. However, he is condescending and is awkward to say the least with social situations and speaking to people. Prior to being diagnosed PTSD (hit by a car) and SCHIZ he finished high school in 2 years and had a grant to a great college for Physics and since withdrawing due to a psychotic episode he hasnt returned to school. he desperately wants to “be important” and have a prestigious job. He recently called the United Nations office ( i know…lol) asking if they are hiring and has emailed a place in Vietnam about teaching. (thats all i need is him getting on a plane to Vietnam…sigh). Anyone have ideas for work or online colleges that they have worked with ? I have to get him out of his apartment and working but Im also afraid of him losing his benefits and HUD housing.

You have many online colleges to chose from. Are you in the U.S.? I believe there are some scattered across the country. I almost enrolled in one that was centered in Connecticut but I ended up taking online classes at two local community colleges here in California.

Yes , we are in Ohio.

A lot of community colleges have on-line classes that are transferable to a full university.

If he wants to teach… there are a LOT of community centers in this nation that need people who can interpret… or teach English as a second language classes… that way he can use his talents… help people… and not be on a plane to a different nation.

If he’s not up for all that interaction… text books need interpreting… American Red Cross is always looking for people who will help them with their language bank… (forms and health care signs in other languages)

Since he knows Vietnamese and Korean… he could do very well with a behind the scenes interpreting job. I didn’t know this… but companies will hire contract interpreters…

I had no idea about that. That sounds like a good start. His problem is he has all this information in his head but when he tries to speak to people it just comes out in bits and random parts. I actually wasnt convinced he had learned these languages so I took him to OSU and he passed several placement tests. He seems to do well skyping people in these countries (in the middle of the night) and even plays his computer games in Vietnamese. He wants to teach but he can’t get his point across because he doesn’t speak fluently. Unless its about languages in which case he goes into deep deep on-going deep detail lol. But the math he knows is so advanced he cant explain it well. He knows what he wants to say but its just fragments. Interpreting textbooks would be perfect. This was his floor of his apartment last I visited.

That exactly what I was thinking. I was on the volunteer roster for disaster relief but I do not drive so they pointed me towards other areas within the org. There are a plethora of online classes concerning humanitarian law and others that can lead to actual employment as well…he may be a good fit. There is an interview process to volunteer so he needs to be somewhat stable, sounds like an amazing kid. My nephew is very similar. He is MIT >BYU bound with NO social skills.
Funny thing…my sister converted to LDS when he was younger and he bit so he’s currently on his Mission and will finish in December. I can’t imagine what he’s like now…hopefully still academically motivated. Can’t wait to see him.
Very difficult to converse with and seemed condescending until you could connect on his level. I was talking Mandelbrot sets and Binary with him at age 11…

I have PTSD as well as Bipolar with psychosis. I also suffer from delusions and paranoia.

The first thing I did to introduce myself was take the First Aid/CPR AED class and got my cert. I then joined the volunteer program and started to take the online classes. I’ve been in bad shape lately so I haven’t been there physically…don’t want to burn THAT bridge…but continue to take online courses.

He sounds like an amazing kid. Good luck and feel free to ask any questions.


Hi - it sounds like your son could do well if he can keep the psychosis under control and get into a lower stress area of study and work. Many people on our forums do, and do very well. Plus there are some very good role models out there too - I encourage you to look up Elyn Saks on Youtube - we have some videos on our site also here:

Also - there are a ton of good online programs online. I haven’t done a full evaluation of them - but since your son seems to do well academically I would encourage you to help him find a really good one. Here is a US News and World report rating of the best online colleges:

Since some improvement in interpersonal skills would be very helpful for anyone - I recommend you also try to get him into therapy for improved social skills training. This is a big issue for many people who have schizophrenia. Perhaps find a therapist close to you and direct them to this book:

Or find an autism therapist and get them to work with your son - since there seems to be a lot of overlap in terms of the social skills problems common in schizophrenia, and autism.

Also - on the work issue. You might search in these forums on the topic of “work” - its a common point of discussion. Here are some of the past discussions:

I have taken courses here as well.

He agrees that he has PTSD but denies having SCHIZ. ( I am just stupid because I dont know any foreign languages). He is very condescending , awkward and either racing, pacing, or ignoring you. When he has worked fast food they end up putting him in the parking lot to clean or menial jobs no one else wants to do. It makes me so sad. One day I went to his work at KFC, it was the coldest day of the year and he was cleaning the parking lot with no gloves, no jacket.I know he has so much to offer. I just have to find the right job.

Thats actually OK - the important thing is for him to get treatment to help him accomplish the things he wants in life. Don’t focus on the diagnosis, that can change and does change frequently with people over time.

Focus on the symptoms that are bothering him, or holding him back from achieving his goals - and become the facilitator for helping him achieve his goals.

Like most people his age he probably wants some independence, to have a girl friend, to enjoy school, etc. Try to find a psychiatrist and a therapist who can help him with his PTSD and also nudge him towards things that will help him with his psychosis.

Here are some tips to help you deal with his symptoms if he isn’t getting treatment:

This is me and has lead to horrible things.

that sounds exhausting…

I found the link to the red cross language bank and crossing my fingers ! Thanks SO much this is an avenue I never knew existed.

Yes - PTSD is ongoing stress. In your son’s case it may be the cause of the psyshosis. If you get the PTSD fully treated then the psychosis may even go away. It will certainly decrease the psychosis since stress is a key problem in terms of increasing psychosis.

he has a good psychiatrist. He only agrees to take zoloft 50 mg because of akathesia from abilify and other meds giving him suicidal and homicidal thoughts. But at least he takes that. he is finally in his own apartment which has made things less stressed. I was and am the target of anger and his first call when he gets hurt most of the other times he ignores my calls and texts.

Sorry to hear that - its unfortunatley common. Hopefully there are other family members that have a good relationship with him that can help you, help him.

yes, he was hit by a car he stopped going to classes because he was terrified of cars. he stayed in his room on campus smoking pot and obsessing over Latin. They say the pot caused it. I think it was a combination of stress from school, pot and the accident.

thanks checking it out now.

There are many free quality courses as well.

Yes - I think you are probably right.

It seems that since he’s got PTSD and PTSD is an anxiety disorder - that he would really benefit from some anxiety medication. There are a lot of good ones out there.