My husband and I have three adult children. In March 2006, we became foster parents to two brothers, ages 2 and 10. Javaree, the youngest, had suspected fetal alcohol syndrome, cognitive delays, attachment and sensory disorders and club feet. When he arrived at our home, he could not talk, could barely walk and screamed constantly. We did not know how to handle Javaree’s behaviors. After a couple of weeks, we asked the social worker to come get him.
She convinced us to continue working with him and thankfully we were introduced to Fraser. We had never heard of Fraser, but immediately scheduled an evaluation. About a year later, we enrolled Javaree in Behavioral and Mental Health Services at Fraser.
Even though Javaree’s behaviors were off the charts, Fraser staff viewed him so positively. They helped us rethink the way we worked with Javaree and taught us techniques to deal with his screaming. His therapist suggested we give him a telephone book and “let him rip the pages until he can’t rip anymore.” Miraculously it calmed him.
Javaree participated in Fraser Preschool Mental Health Day Treatment for a year. He could now talk, walk and jump. He was progressing fairly well and meeting all of his objectives. Fraser suggested we transition him into preschool to introduce him to school and typical children.
At first it was tough. Javaree had grown accustomed to Fraser and the way they did things. Though the transition was difficult, Fraser staff walked us through the process step by step and made sure that Javaree had everything he needed to be successful.
Javaree didn’t understand why he had to leave Fraser. Fortunately, he saw some of the Fraser staff at his preschool. The partnership between Fraser and the preschool resulted in phenomenal changes in Javaree’s behavior. After only one year, his teachers felt he was ready to move to a mainstream pre-kindergarten program.
We enrolled Javaree in the program and it was a total disaster! He seemed to be losing all the coping skills Fraser had taught him. I called Fraser therapist Carrie Middleton in a panic. She organized a meeting with the teacher, Fraser staff and the school district to come up with a way to help Javaree. The group decided the best thing would be for Javaree to transfer to a school with smaller class sizes. I also wanted him to go back to Fraser. Now Javaree has the best of both situations — he splits his day between school and the day treatment program at Fraser.
Our story has a happy ending. On November 15, 2008, we formally adopted Javaree. This would not have happened without the love, patience and “we can do it” attitude of the staff at Fraser. Thank you, Fraser, for being like an extended family to us.
- Annie McKizzie