Taking Baby Steps

Posted by | December 19, 2017 | Mental Health Services, Services for Children and Youth

When his little sister was born, things started to change for Jaimee.

His mom, Jaymee, noticed he began to act out more, and she was afraid he felt neglected while everyone focused on the new baby. He struggled to stay focused in school, he never wanted to get out of bed in the morning, and he often became angry.

But after working with LSI’s Behavioral Health Intervention Services, six-year-old Jaimee is creating a stronger, loving bond with his siblings and his mom.

Four months ago, Jaimee began meeting with his worker, José. During the initial meetings, Jaimee was quiet and reserved, and he would get impatient with the new activities Jose brought to show him.

His anger reached a boiling point one day during a meeting with José. Jaimee had just been suspended from school. He was upset and at one point, he kicked his mom.

“It was as if Jaimee knew at that moment that things needed to change,” José says.

José decided to use a game of Connect Four as a tool to interact with Jaimee. He sat across the table from Jaimee, and the two began to play the game. When Jaimee had calmed down, José asked him to play a new round with his mom. The two played together for more than an hour. When the game ended, they were able to talk about Jaimee’s actions and behavior.

Jaimee, his mom, and José now use games every week as a way to empower Jaimee to stay focused for longer periods of time. But these interactions provide a springboard for other lessons, interactions, and coping strategies.

José is teaching Jaimee new songs to help him stay calm in stressful situations. When it’s time to get up every morning, he sings a simple tune to help him wake up and start the day.

“Now he has music he can use to get him through the day,” José says. “He’s a charming boy to work with. He’s a hard worker, and he’s come a long way.”

When he’s not spending time watching his favorite movies, Jaimee has started playing more sports at home with his cousins. He especially loves to wrestle any time he can.

“It’s all about the baby steps,” José says. “What might be a really small thing for him can be a really huge change.”

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