My comment to an article about personal loss

In culture, family on November 2, 2013 at 17:23

David Sedaris was critized because he wrote publicly about losing his sister Tiffany Sedaris, who was a woman with inspiration who I sadly never met. Here is my comment to a blog about this subject.

I just recently saw the piece. It made me painfully aware that we as parents who have made the ultimate sacrifice to let others handle the emotional issues our children could suffer from always must be alert to hunt down damaging residential programs regardless of the country they are placed in. Only global awareness can prevent adults to live an entire life with the burden of the experiences they suffered while they were in so-called treatment as a child.

His sister was sent to Elan School brutally known for its so-called therapeutic boxing ring where the teenagers were forced to jump and insult each other. She suffered at this place for two years. The fact that every single employee involved in this scam which destroyed the emotional life of many teenagers have not been brought to trial has sent me as a caring parent into battle against abusive residential programs not only in Denmark where I live – but on a worldwide basis.

His parents are quote to say that they did not stop the world because they had 6 children and only one was ill. I believe that a child’s illness affects the entire family despite the number of siblings. I believe that each sibling easily could understand if everyone closed in as a family and dealt with the problem so it didn’t need to end up as a kind of exile process for the child who suffered from the illness.

We have no way to understand the pain his sister suffered during her adult life as result of her stay at Elan School. We don’t know many nights she got ruined due to nightmares as thousand of survivors from similar places speak about. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is so common that it should be listed as a subject on the graduation paper from a residential program.

Here is where I find that he fails a bit in the article. He didn’t realize how much he failed her by not attacking the programs very minute she returned home telling her family what Elan School was really about. Earlier this month an Amber Alert was sent out because boys were hidden from the authorities by the manager of a ranch for at-risk teenagers. The authorities only acted on the ranch before clients started dying because a parent had done years of investigation.

What if Elan School had been closed before they did if siblings and parents of Tiffany Sedaris had spoken out against the program? What if they had collected testimonies from former clients? Maybe there would not have been a conviction against Michael Shakel – a conviction which was so doubtful that they now – many years later – have to do a new trial?

Maybe Tiffany Sedaris had lived today knowing that while her parents made a mistake sending her to Elan they did do right by going after those so-called professionals who destroyed her life. His article was a sad piece to read but it inspired me to work harder doing what I am already doing – to find abusive residential programs and close them by using public awareness of their abuse.

I find the article fine and acceptable because it inspired me.


  1. It made me think as well .. you can find more abut the amazing artist at That seems a lot more like her.

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