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Devereux Florida Case Studies

Devereux Florida - Case Studies

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (For more information please see Devereux's ADHD Topic Center.)

When Candy was an infant, there was no evidence that she had any developmental problems and she seemed to be a "happy baby." The first sign that something might be wrong happened when she was 12 months old; her sleep pattern suddenly became erratic and she became a "fussy" eater. Her parents divorced when Candy was two. Although she had been toilet-trained at an early age, it was soon after her father moved out that she began to experience daytime wetting, had bowel movements in closets, and developed a fascination with toilet flushing. Her behavior grew increasingly disruptive and uncontrollable.

When Candy was five, the state human services department learned of a four-year history of parental abuse and neglect and she and her siblings were placed in foster care. By the time she was nine, her aggression had escalated to include biting, kicking, hitting, and scratching. Easily agitated and hyperactive, she had severe attention problems; then, she had temper tantrums and destroyed property. At her early age, Candy became sexually preoccupied, spoke frequently of her desire to have sex and have a baby, and she was increasingly sexually aggressive with males. By this time, she no longer had contact with either parent, her brother or sister.

Before being referred to Devereux, Candy lived in several foster homes, had numerous psychiatric hospitalizations, lived in a residential treatment center and several group homes -- all without success. Because the group home where she lived just before coming to Devereux focused on providing treatment to older teens and young adults, Candy couldn't develop relationships with a peer group, and she never felt that she "belonged."

When she was admitted to Devereux, Candy looked much older than her nine years. She wore heavy eye shadow and thick make-up, was preoccupied with her hair, and was provocative with boys in the program and with male staff. She was sensitive about being alone and became anxious and depressed when staff members were not in her sight.

The first noticeable response to treatment was Candy's decrease in anger. Soon, the disruptive behaviors disappeared, her sexual preoccupation was dramatically reduced and she was no longer sexually provocative. As her trust in others grew, she seemed genuinely happy and more positive about life.

Although Candy had not seen her brother in several years, they began to develop a close relationship over the telephone and this contact with family became an important presence in her life. Candy's brother was recently admitted to Devereux with problems and issues similar to hers. When they met, their joy at being together in a safe place was heart warming. They reminisced, sharing memories and experiences that brought them closer together.

Candy's brother has already moved to a therapeutic foster home where he is doing well. Soon, Candy, now 10, will be leaving for a therapeutic foster home of her own.