The Jones family was struggling. Like so many families, theirs was one affected by drugs. Shawn (4) and Charles (7) were placed with their older sister in foster care. They are both autistic with extreme behaviors that were very difficult to manage. Charles was nonverbal, and expressed himself through animal sounds and attention seeking behavior including climbing on furniture and not listening to his foster parents instruction and direction. Similarly, Shawn only spoke in one word phrases and had lots of aggressive behavior towards others. Without the words to express himself, Shawn was often found clinching his fists and crying alone in rooms. Our services began by providing parent-coaching services to their mother who was assigned to Youth Care & Beyond after the children were removed for drug use and neglect. To make already tough situation harder, she was also struggling physically and later died while the boys were in foster care. The loss of their mother caused the boys’ already difficult behavior to increase, making it harder to place them in a home with their sister. During this trying time, hope came in the form of their biological father, Leon, who was released from prison providing an opportunity for the family to reconnect. Youth Care & Beyond began parenting and visitation services with Leon, working with the family for over a year to improve parenting skills and providing direction on how to manage austistic behaviors. Over time Leon reduced his yelling, slowed his speech and offered the boys quality play time and rewards for positive behavior. Slowly, their behaviors became manageable. He learned how to monitor their behaviors and recognize triggers that caused behavioral changes. Leon successfully potty-trained Shawn and increased their communication to using words and sentences. With help, Leon was also able to find and maintain a job, purchase a car and find a home for the family. The family continues to remain close to Youth Care & Beyond and six months after our services have officially ended, we are proud to report that the family continues to do well. Leon checks in with his family partner every holiday, not because he has too, but because she was an instrumental part of healing his family.
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