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The Boy They Call Chucky

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Twelve-year-old Christian Cunniffe has beaten up his entire family, set fire to his bedroom, and stabbed his sister with a knitting needle. But doctors say he’s not evil, he’s just ill. The Boy They Call Chucky is the story of a mother’s fight for her son. In a desperate bid to prevent Christian from going into care--or to prison--she’s embarking on an ambitious journey in search of a cure.

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Meet Christian Cunniffe "Chucky" (03:58)
The normal looking 12 year old suffers from a complex medical disorder making him prone to sudden violent outbursts. His family fears for themselves and him if a cure is not found.

Violence Against Mother (02:02)
Chris takes a mixture of drugs for his violent outbursts, dyslexia and conduct disorder. Cath describes an attack against her. Christian talks about attacking his mother and feelings of regret.

ADHD Support Group (01:29)
Cath meets with Andrea Bilbow of ADDISS. She recommends finding someone who specializes in dealing with extreme rage.

Installation of Hidden Cameras (01:09)
Chris immediately discovers the secret cameras meant to capture his sudden violent outbursts.

Violence Against Siblings (02:20)
Natasha receives counseling to cope with years of abuse from Chris. Hear about several incidents.

Nicknamed Chucky (00:59)
Coping with Chris' violent behavior has put a strain on his parent's marriage. Hear how he earned his nickname.

Restraining Christian (01:38)
Chris demonstrates aggression towards his mother and siblings before heading to school. After school, he threatens his mother and has to be physically restrained.

Interview With Christain (01:04)
Chris discusses his violence toward others. He believes 12 years of professional help has not made a difference.

ADHD Conference (01:39)
Cath attends lectures by leading ADHD experts. A lot of information, but no solid answers leaves her feeling disillusioned.

Feelings of Desperation (01:29)
Natasha feels like no one hears her and Chris is receiving all the support. Depressed at her inability to find answers for Christian, Cath feels suicidal and scared.

Natasha Moves Out (01:54)
Fed up with her abusive brother, Natasha collects her things and leaves home.

Cath's Premonition (00:29)
Drugs help with Cath's depression. She expresses concern about Christian's possible reaction to her illness.

Threats of Violence (02:14)
Chris comes home angry after getting in trouble at his new school, which he attends after being expelled from another school for violent behavior.

Dr. David Coghill's Evaluation (03:16)
Chris forgoes his daily drugs so an ADHD expert can evaluate him. Coghill explains the viscous cycle created by negative comments toward Christian. He is concerned Amitriptyline might trigger more extreme mood swings.

Nutritional Imbalance and ADHD (02:40)
Chris gives hair and blood samples at a pioneering clinic where staff try to ween kids off drugs. A diet free of additives, such as MSG, is recommended.

Natasha: Safe at a Friend's (01:30)
Natasha discusses why she doesn't want to see Chris and how her mother deals with her absence.

Violent Outburst (01:30)
Cath sits on Chris in an effort to calm him. His dad takes over.

Uncertain of His Future (00:58)
Chris says being violent feels normal. He is asked if he can control his feelings and what will happen if he doesn't.

Center for Collaborative Problem Solving (05:35)
Dr. Ross Greene interviews Cath about her fears and Chris about what frustrates him. He works with them on thinking skills and compromise.

New Hope for Chris (02:24)
Dr. Ross Greene commends Cath's dedication to helping Chris. Cath expresses regret that help wasn't found in time to keep her family together.

One Month Into New Diet (03:35)
As Cath is describing their progress, something she says sets Chris off. His behavior escalates to punching and strangling, driving Cath to tears.

Natasha Visits (02:04)
Two months later, while Chris is away, Natasha comes for Cath's birthday. Chris has improved and is only taking one drug.

Credits: The Boy They Call Chucky (00:31)
Credits: The Boy They Call Chucky

Length: 48 minutes

Copyright Date: 2005

The Boy They Call Chucky



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