*Our Little Haven works to protect the privacy and rights of the children and families we serve. Casandra’s story has specific changes to protect her and her family’s privacy and all identifiable information has been removed.
*Photos used in this article are stock images and are not of children or families served by Our Little Haven.
It was August of 2018, Casandra’s last day at Our Little Academy Day Treatment Preschool at Our Little Haven. Having just turned six, Casandra was ready to move onto Kindergarten thanks to the care she received at Our Little Academy.
The day was filled with celebrations, hugs, and a new backpack full of supplies needed for her first day of Kindergarten; it was still bitter sweet for all. During the last two years, Casandra grew very close to her classmates and her Day Treatment Therapists, who were there for all of her ups and downs – good days and bad.
Rewind to Summer of 2016, Casandra’s foster parents were running out of options for preschool due to her behavior. Her previous schools were not properly equipped to manage Casandra’s outbursts and developmental delays. She was constantly pulling her friends’ hair, biting, yelling at her teachers, and significantly behind in school lessons. These behavioral challenges stemmed from the early childhood trauma she experienced before coming into foster care.
After talking with the pediatrician, Casandra’s foster mom was referred Our Little Academy. Casandra and her foster parents were welcomed by Program Manager, Sarah Thomas, MSW, LCSW. Ms. Sarah explained how the program focuses on mental and behavioral health treatment for the whole child, all while following a preschool curriculum. Casandra’s family was overwhelmed with emotions; their Casandra would receive the proper care needed to overcome the obstacles they thought would hinder her for life.
Every day Casandra worked with her therapists; learning how to recognize her feelings and express them properly. Instead of using her fists and feet, she started to use her words to express her feelings. Casandra started focusing better on her school lessons and building friendships. After a few short months, Casandra’s foster parents started to see a huge improvement in her daily life. Casandra was happier and able to grow her connection with her family. Her time at Our Little Academy was not always easy. There were struggles and setbacks, but with the care provided by her therapists combined with the continued support by Casandra’s family, she grew into a happy and healthy six-year-old. Casandra was ready for Kindergarten!
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