Child Schizophrenia - Jani Schofield's Story

July 13, 2023
Justin Lumiere

jani schofield

At six years old, Jani Schofield experienced one of the most severe cases of child schizophrenia. She hallucinated constantly that she lived in an imaginary world called Calalini. Additionally, she often attacked both her brother and strangers aggressively.

Michael and Susan recorded home videos of her as she developed. Michael noted her intelligence while Susan expressed concern over her sleeping patterns.

Born Schizophrenic

Jani Schofield was unique among newborns; unlike most, she would stare unblinkingly at people. They became concerned when she would only sleep 20 minute stretches each day for three total hours a night and refused to stop screaming and throwing tantrums.

As she aged, her behavior became more disturbing. Instead of engaging with kids her own age, she seemed to live between reality and an imagined island called Calalini where her "friends" included animals with numbers as names or people named after numbers.

Her parents struggled to keep her and Bodhi alive while searching for an accurate diagnosis, and now share their story in order to assist others. They even created an organization dedicated to supporting families of children living with mental health conditions. Watch the documentary to gain more insight into their journey; their family's odyssey will undoubtedly inspire and provide an excellent example of the challenges a family can face caring for a mentally ill child.


Experiences hallucinations can be frightening and disorienting for the person experiencing them, with symptoms including hearing/seeing things that don't exist, feeling things they shouldn't and olfactory (smelling) hallucinations. Hallucinations could be caused by factors like schizophrenia, nervous system issues such as Parkinson's or epilepsy disease or medications taken to control symptoms of such conditions as well as their medications themselves.

Jani's hallucinations consisted of animals, people and numbers. She believed she could visit Calalini where her imaginary friends, like Wednesday the rat and 400 the cat lived.

Jani's family struggled for an accurate diagnosis for Jani, visiting multiple physicians who could not pinpoint her illness and who kept referring to conditions like autism or bipolar disorder as possible causes. When Jani was finally admitted to UCLA under Dr Mark DeAntonio she was finally given an official diagnosis: schizophrenia. Jani continues to live with this illness but medication must be taken to manage her psychotic episodes.


Jani was not used to having imaginary friends who weren't playful; hers would order her to hit people and threatened her, prompting her parents to fear that their daughter had become dangerous to herself and others.

After several visits to doctors, taking large doses of medications and experiencing traumatizing hospitalizations, her parents came to realize that they were slowly but surely losing their daughter to schizophrenia - with only one solution remaining: how can they save her.

Jani's parents have since opened up about her struggle and created a blog to aid other families going through similar situations. Their journey was featured on Discovery Fit & Health television in 2008. Jani is still suffering but making strides forward thanks to medications and therapy sessions including equine therapy sessions. Her hallucinations and voices will likely never completely go away; she remains dangerous however and sometimes the family must part ways in order to keep her safe.


At age two, Jani Schofield began experiencing violent outbursts that her parents attempted to address through therapy but no one could provide a concrete diagnosis - from autism to bipolar disorder; nothing seemed to work until Susan Schofield decided to film Jani's tantrums, fits and toilet breaks for YouTube and post them online.

The Schofields would post the videos on their family channel, Born Schizophrenic. In doing so, they became ultimate parents to a child with mental illness - their story went viral as people around the world followed Jani and her brother Bodhi's journey as the videos revealed daily struggles, including hallucinations and violence that plagued Jani's life. Yet despite these challenges they found ways to help Jani - she now takes clozapine, lithium, and Thorazine; hallucinations episodes have greatly decreased since taking these medications; she still experiences hallucinations or voices sometimes but they occur less often than before.

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