Jorge’s father had a history of severe mental illness and his mother was the victim of domestic violence. When Jorge, a fifth grader, first arrived at The Child Center, he ran and hid under the table to avoid talking to his therapist. During subsequent months, Child Center therapists were able to understand the real reason that Jorge, a child of above average intelligence, was skipping school so often. He was afraid to leave his mom alone with his dad.
“I feel like I’m going back to school with a fresh start,” his therapist reports him saying. His return to a healthy routine is a real turnaround for this child who had suffered so much from educational and emotional neglect.
Over the summer, Jorge’s therapist focused on prepping him for a whole new year and a brand new start. This effort culminated in a special workshop in which Jorge and the other children received new backpacks for the school year, and parents had the opportunity to share tips about how to get children back into the routine of school.
When the first day of school came along, hopes were high, but Jorge refused to go into the school building. He still expressed great fear about leaving his mother on her own. The therapist worked with mom to understand that that she needed to get an order of protection against her husband, both because of the violence she was experiencing, and also to help alleviate her children’s physical and emotional distress. The day that Dad got out of the house was the day that Jorge returned to school. He is now attending therapy three times a week at The Child Center, where his mom is also in counseling.