The Housing Foundation’s Sharing Place Child Care Center in an all-inclusive child care center licensed to serve children 6 weeks of age to 10 years.
Ray started with us in July 2011 at 7 months old. He was placed in our infant program. Ray was a very active little baby. He only slept about 10 minutes a couple of times per day. His family was in a very stable living situation. Mom and Dad had little local support as family lived away. At times they seemed to be a bit unsure of how to raise a baby. Both parents relied on infant staff and other staff members to gain information. They were very involved in their child’s life. Ray was a happy but fussy, busy baby at The Sharing Place.
At 14 months, Ray started in the toddler program. He would only rest for a few minutes and did not nap at all. Ray would get upset easily if another child touched him, went first in the group, or took something from him. Although this is normal behavior for toddlers, Ray did not improve during the 16 months he was in the toddler program. He met all of his milestones with the exception of social skills. Recommendations were made to parents to see Ray’s physician to inquire about low sensory skill testing. His parents, however, did not wish to follow up.
At 34 months, Ray moved into the pre-school program. Our Pre-School I Program is located in a large room with many people walking through to get to other rooms and 14 children from 2 ½ – 3 ½ to 4. This was a huge difference from a small room with fewer children. Ray’s behavior became challenging for us to handle. When he was upset and frustrated he would lash out at others, remove his shoes, and throw them and remove most of his clothing. Staff would bring him into the director’s office. The director would shut down the lights and sit on the floor with him until he was able to communicate calmly. At times even the computer and copier needed to be turned off because the sound would make him anxious. During observations we noticed his small motor skills were not developing to meet the milestones. The pre-school teachers worked with him but he would get upset and refuse to try.
Ray continued with this behavior into the Pre-School II class room. Many days Ray would throw himself on the floor and scream, try to remove clothing, and become disruptive in the classroom. At that time he would again visit the director’s office for redirection. The director and teacher had a meeting with the parents, suggesting a complete battery of tests. At the meeting we shared our observations and assessments. This was a very hard meeting to have, as we had been met with resistance in the past. The director and teacher met before the meeting and it was decided to start the meeting with compassion and understanding of their reluctance to have Ray tested. Ray was set up for testing within two weeks. Ray had extensive testing when he was 4 ½. Both his teacher and director had to fill out questionnaires. Soon after testing was completed he started behavior & sensory therapy.
We are happy to report he now at age 5 has fewer melt downs. On stressful days he still needs to visit with the director but for shorter amounts of time. Ray still takes his shoes and socks off, but with a warning from the director not to throw them at her, Ray aims in a different direction. Ray has occupational therapy twice a week. His small motor skills are improving. He now uses a “pinch” shaped crayon and pencils provided by the parents and therapist. Ray is off to Kindergarten this fall. Parents have met with the teachers and all are on the same page. Therapy will continue along with medication if needed.