The video received positive comments like, "This is pretty DOPE ........ amazing."
But then came the comment, "... you would of (sic) being (sic) better off going for a suicide cause this music suckz (sic)."
Someone else came to Brian's defense by writing, "why the HELL would you EVER say that to ANYONE?" another said, "you're messed up. get some serious psych evaluation..."
But Brian seems to be taking it in stride.
"I feel more confident with myself, with being who I am," he said. "We're all champions."
Coincidentally, while her son was in high school, Alma was training as a volunteer guardian ad litem, a child's advocate in court. It was that training that shed light on the possibility that her son might have ADHD. A lawyer was explaining a child's behavior, when a light bulb went off in her head. The lawyer then revealed that the child was later diagnosed with ADHD.
"Oh my God! Could my kid have ADHD?" she recalls thinking.
The mother promptly hired an educational advocate for her son, noting that no one had ever told her of the special services that were available to him through the school system. In September 2011, she says a doctor at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven diagnosed Brian with ADHD and severe depression.
Now, under the law, Brian has protections at school because of his disabilities. For example, officials have a legal obligation to help him succeed and discipline him differently.
Alma says her best resource has been the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center, a statewide nonprofit group that offers information and support to families of children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. The center maintains that parents can be the best advocates for their children provided they know special education law and procedures.
Still, a month after being diagnosed, Brian, then 16, told his mother he wanted to quit school.
"That night he came into my room. He was crying, but he didn't want to tell me why he was crying," she said.
Later that night, Brian took the six tablets of Vicodin, a narcotic painkiller that contains hydrocodone, and blacked out. When he awoke, his mother knew something was wrong, so she called his pediatrician, who insisted the teen go to a hospital. Brian ended up at Hartford Hospital, but his mother later transferred him to the exclusive Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan.
At Silver Hill, he saw other kids just like him, and realized he had a choice: be cooped up in hospitals and therapy for years or break his silence and share his experience with others. He chose the latter.
"They had me thinking, 'Wow! I am crazy,'" he said. "I don't think that now."
The advocacy center's director said children with disabilities can be diagnosed by a pediatrician, but sometimes they are not. Even if they are, some parents are in denial about the diagnosis and don't seek help. Still, Prescott said, all teachers, in special or general education, should be able to recognize unusual behaviors in children that could help identify disabilities.
Still, children do go undiagnosed. How often?
"I think the fair answer is more times than they should. I think the reason for that is lack of understanding," Prescott said.
Diagnosed or undiagnosed, children with disabilities are sometimes labeled bad by other children — and even adults.
"If it happens once, as far as I'm concerned, it's too much," Prescott said.
Alma says she knows this first hand. She cries, saying she could've lost her son, who she loves more than herself.
"It's a scary spot that your child could've plummeted this deep. I could've woken up that morning and he would've been dead," she said, her voice cracking. "It appears now that we're seeing him turn the corner."
But she adds, "I still watch him."