Abby, a 10-year-old girl and her temper.

 

A mother who was at her wits end with her 10-year-old daughter, Abby, contacted us. Abby was having what mom described as tantrums and meltdowns almost daily after school. They had made considerations in her diet, took her to see a psychologist but nothing had helped so far. Abby’s teachers reported that she was doing fine at school but mom saw another side of her daughter at home when it was time to do homework and go to violin lessons. Sharon, Abby’s mom, desperately wanted to find some help for her loving and creative daughter. Sharon was referred to Sage Education and Therapy by another mom at Abby’s school who heard a talk at a PTO meeting the previous year given by Sage Director, Stephanie Johnson. When Abby came in for her intake appointment she was very polite, outgoing and eager to please. The first impression of Abby was not one of a girl having daily meltdowns. However, we honor a parent’s intuition about their child and trust that when they have a genuine concern and are willing to seek support from us, then we will do our best to reveal the cause of symptoms and create a treatment plan to support each family.  

 

Our assessment revealed that Abby had neurological disorganization and retained primitive reflexes which was causing her nervous system to work overtime to complete her work and keep it together all day at school. However, when she got home after a day of working harder than her peers to do the same amount of work, her resources where tapped out and she melted. Students who have a finely integrated and organized nervous system maintain enough energy to do all that is demanded in a day, so long as they get quality food, sleep, play and down time. Students who have even slightly disorganized nervous systems work much harder than their peers and simply do not have the resources to complete a full day of school, play, lessons and activities without experiencing a system crash.

 

Our treatment plan for Abby was designed to address the immediate need for self-regulation strategies AND go deeper to reorganize the nervous system at he core to truly alleviate the need to melt down. A combination of breathing exercises, reflex integration, balancing the arousal system and gentle movements designed to calm the nervous system were just part of Abby’s weekly sessions at Sage.  She was also given some “home play” to do that really helped her stay calm and in control between sessions. This type of work gets to the core and requires a commitment from the family to see optimal results. Abby and her mom were patient and stayed the course and proudly reported a significant decrease in episodes at home. Abby was 11 when her treatment at Sage ended and mom joked… “We might be back when Abby becomes a hormonal teenager!”