Posted by Holly McCarthy
In November 2012, JF&CS launched In-Home Behavioral Services, a program for children and youth on the autism spectrum. The goal of this program is to improve children's behavior at home and in the community by enhancing communication skills and teachings strategies for self-regulation. Services are adjusted to meet the needs of each child and his/her family.
We love hearing from our families about how In-Home Behavioral Services have changed their lives. We recently received this from a mother in our program:
I am the mother of a five-year-old boy with autism. Justin was diagnosed at three and it has been quite the learning curve for me and everyone in my family. We desperately needed assistance in developing the necessary skills to handle certain behaviors. There were many ups and downs, but there came a time when it seemed like things were making a downhill turn. Every time he didn't get his way, Justin started displaying aggressive and self-injurious behaviors. This had proven to have a significant emotional impact on us. There were times I felt completely overwhelmed and helpless as a parent.
After a few phone calls, desperately searching for help, I received a call back from JF&CS. Our in-home sessions were scheduled quickly and Jennifer was sent to us. She worked so hard with Justin and my family. It felt like she was always thinking of us even when she wasn't around. Jennifer kept in constant communication with me, coming up with ideas on how to handle situations, how to use reinforcers, and how to get Justin to display appropriate behaviors. Within a few weeks, things turned around. Justin was able to appropriately verbalize his needs, and there was a significant decrease in the number of tantrums. This has been a very rewarding experience. Jennifer has assisted me in recognizing my own strength and coping skills, as well as Justin's. We are grateful to Jennifer and her continuous support. Thank you for bringing my son back.
Holly McCarthy joined the CHAI Works team at JF&CS in 2011 as the program's Communication Specialist. Now the program manager of the JF&CS Children's Behavioral Health Services, she her masters degree in severe/profound disabilities from Rhode Island College. Holly enjoys playing softball, traveling, and is a Boston sports super fan.