Saturday, January 4, 2014

JACOB'S FUND :: Simple gifts stories from Sharon

Prior to Christmas, some of the children chose Reward Bag items to use as gifts for family members—especially caregivers—instead of choosing items for themselves. That touched my heart, so I added items to the bag that would be appropriate for caregivers.


A girl with borderline intellectual functioning and a history of abuse often has anger meltdowns when things don't go her way. She has difficulty regulating her emotions, and in the past has run away from school or home when emotionally overwhelmed. She has also reacted in risky ways to herself and others. In working with her, we have developed an emotional coping strategy, in which (she) takes a time out when becoming upset, and then use a variety of coping tools to calm down. We have also worked on her understanding that things will not always go her way. The girl has difficulty getting along with her siblings, and her caretakers were worried about her behavior over Christmas break, when all the siblings would be home together for two weeks. The caretaker, girl, and I set behavior goals for the week of Christmas. These goals were aimed at the girl using her emotional coping strategy and making efforts to get along with her siblings. I met with the girl and her caregiver yesterday. (She) was so proud of her Behavior Chart, because she had not had any anger meltdowns and her behavior with her siblings was improved over the past. She was very happy to have earned enough points to both go out to eat and to choose from the Rewards Bag.  


A boy recently benefited from The Red Threat Promise donation. He has Asperger's Syndrome and has spent a lot of time in mental health institutions due to his behaviors of anger meltdowns, aggression, running away, and threats to harm himself. Over the past few months, (he) has responded very well to a reward system for changing his behaviors. Both his caretaker and his Special Education teacher have reported improved behavior. I had never taken this boy away from school or home in my car, due to his risky, impulsive history. I told him, however, that I believed he had shown behavior change that would warrant a community outing, but he first had to practice good emotional coping skills over the Christmas week break. I recently met with (him) and his caretaker. His caretaker reported that the boy's behavior has been very good. So we had our first outing! He was so thrilled. We went to Sonic Drive-in for his foot long hotdog with chili and to the bowling alley where he beat me! The boy said he just wants to be "like a normal kid my age," and yesterday, I think he felt like one! 


Some gift cards. Simple gifts. 
Sometimes the simplest things can change a life. 

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