Reyna joined the CHIP program when her son Jeffery was almost four years old. Jeffery was facing significant health and developmental challenges which were evidenced by his lack of ability to articulate any words, make eye contact, or follow one step direction. Additionally, Jeffery was exhibiting frequent severe temper tantrums, compulsive actions, and destructive behaviors. Such behaviors were intensified when his mother attempted to discipline him or when something was denied to him.
Reyna was terrified to apply any limits to her son. She knew he would have an out of control temper tantrum and worried her neighbors would call the police due to his screaming frantically and kicking the walls for extended periods of time. The behaviors mentioned above greatly interfered with Reyna’s efforts to provide structure and appropriate discipline. Reyna was also concerned about Jeffery’s inability to observe many social norms including lack of potty training, and relating to other children and adults. Due to these complications, Jeffery and his mother stayed isolated away from friends and family and spent very limited time out of the house.
When the CHIP team first met Jeffery, he was frantically running around, communicating with gestures and was not heard saying an identifiable word. He could not focus on an activity, and made no eye contact. He did not respond to any of the prompts or questions offered during this encounter and did not articulate any words. He was observed getting easily frustrated if his mother did not give him what he wanted. His mother looked overwhelmed. She verbalized feeling stuck, and a lack of control over her situation and did not know the steps to take to better her situation.
Jeffery’s mother informed the CHIP team that he had recently attended an appointment with Dr. Accardo, a Developmental Specialist, who suspected him of having Autism.
The CHIP team immediately began discussing effective parenting techniques such as strict consistency with meals and bedtime schedule as well as daily exercise and exposure to the outdoors, water and sand play. Jeffery’s progress was very positive and almost immediate. His destructive behaviors decreased significantly. He began to use the bathroom, using real words and demonstrated an improved ability to interact with other children and adults. He improved in his ability to focus and was able to actively engage during the PAT activities provided by CHIP’s Parent Educator.
The CHIP team referred Jeffery for an evaluation by the LEND Clinic, a panel of renowned Child Development Specialist, five months after CHIP enrollment. Dr. Accardo, Developmental Specialist, part of the LEND clinic team, evaluated Jeffery several months prior and speculated autism. During this team’s evaluation, Dr. Accardo stated, “Jeffery has made vast improvements since I last saw him; his behaviors are not consistent with Autism.” During this evaluation, Reyna thanked the CHIP team for the parenting tools she learned. She is now a much more confident parent and able to manage Jeffery’s needs more effectively.
Jeffery is currently enrolled in Special Education Services and attends regularly. His mother, Reyna, demonstrates an ability to parent in a more informed and effective manner. She continues to increase in her capacity to recognize Jeffery’s needs and implement a more informed approach. She reports to the CHIP team that Jeffery is enjoying school and talks about his daily experience with his friends and in the classroom. Jeffery is a perfect reminder of the reason for CHIP services. Now when the CHIP team arrives to this family’s door, Jeffery rushes to greet them, opens his arms wide, and welcomes the team, excitedly expressing “Señoras!”