Three years ago, even a simple trip to the grocery store was almost impossible for Cheyenne.
Her 3-year-old son, Christopher, was crippled with anxiety. Whenever he was around strangers, especially other children, he became afraid and stressed. He couldn’t leave the house without wearing sunglasses and noise-cancelling headphones. All of the light, colors, and sounds were too much for his senses to handle. And at home, Christopher struggled to bond with his new baby sister, Kylee. Cheyenne felt helpless, and she worried that she wasn’t doing enough to help her child.
“We needed to find a way to help him cope, and help him through uncomfortable situations. Something needed to change,” Cheyenne says.
That change came in the form of LSI’s Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS).
LSI’s BHIS services pair families with an expert social worker who provides visits in the privacy of the family’s home or in a community setting. Families learn how to help their children cope with their severe emotional or behavioral disorders in a happy, healthy way.
When Cheyenne first met her family’s BHIS worker, Jose, things began to change for the better. Every week, Jose visited the family in their home or met with them at the local library. He brought activities to engage Christopher and help him develop the coping skills he needed to feel better when he left the house. And at the same time, he provided words of encouragement and helpful parenting tips and tricks Cheyenne could use to help her child.
“All the challenges we were facing weren’t fixed overnight, and sometimes that feels a little disheartening as a parent,” Cheyenne says. “But Jose’s reassurance – that we were working towards the right thing, that we were giving Christopher as much as we could – was extremely helpful for me.”
Jose continued to work with Christopher at the public library to help him become more comfortable around strangers and other kids in the play area. When he felt stressed, he and Jose took an “unwinding walk” outside or they practiced deep breathing while walking up and down the stairs in the building. Christopher especially liked singing the ABC song while walking to help get his mind off his fear. He also began carrying a special “emotional tool bag,” which includes his favorite toys that help calm him down when he feels stressed.
Cheyenne proudly remembers the first time she saw Christopher sit down and play – even with other kids around – in the library play area. Now, he seldom uses the noise-cancelling headphones he used to need every day, and he feels comfortable being in public without wearing his sunglasses.
Christopher recently celebrated his seventh birthday, and his confidence continues to grow. He has graduated out of LSI services, he recently made a new friend all on his own, and he has a healthier relationship with Kylee at home. Cheyenne feels confident that even on the tough days, she has the knowledge she needs to help her child thrive, thanks to Jose.
“Jose has been such a great help to our family and helped us tackle so many challenges. It’s amazing to look at where Christopher was and where he is now,” Cheyenne says. “LSI gave us the tools we needed to help him succeed, and the reassurance that we were doing the right thing, even when it was hard.”