Jerry's Journey with Devereux
“After several unsuccessful treatment programs, we were referred to Devereux and this became the true turning point for Jerry.”
Thank you for taking a moment to let me share my family’s story. I hope that you will be inspired by our journey and will join me in supporting Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s mission to Unlocking Human Potential in the lives of people like my son, Jerry.
As I walked into my son Jerry’s kindergarten class one brisk autumn day, I found him sitting alone at a small table in the back of the room. He looked so sad and began to cry when he saw me. When asked, his teacher said the isolated desk was his assigned seat because his behavior was always so disruptive. The other children refused to eat lunch or play with Jerry because they were afraid of his constant outbursts. As you can imagine, I was heartbroken to hear this. I knew we needed answers to why our child was “different” than the other children and why he had these painful struggles every day.
When Jerry first learned to crawl, play and speak, it was unlike the experience we had with our two older children. Everything was an extreme. He could never sit still. He was often loud and demanding. Other children felt his play was too rough and when frustrated, Jerry would scream and bang his head against the wall. Like so many parents, we were in denial, hoping he would eventually grow out of this behavior. Accepting your child has some very special challenges does not happen overnight. We made the mistake of not getting professional help until that eye-opening day in kindergarten became a crisis for the whole family.
We consulted a pediatrician specializing in child emotional development. It was the first time a professional assured us Jerry was experiencing life differently than other children, but that “different” is just a misunderstood word. To understand Jerry’s unique challenges, we needed to learn how he perceives the world and how it profoundly affects his thinking and ability to communicate. He was diagnosed with variant challenging behaviors, which include attention-deficit/hyperactivity, sensory integration and oppositional defiant disorders. After several unsuccessful treatment programs, we were referred to Devereux and this became the true turning point for Jerry. The wonderful, caring staff at Devereux assured me we would get through this together, providing a sense of security that we so desperately needed.
“Throughout this process, every individual I have encountered at Devereux has been supportive, caring, and a true advocate for my son.”
Jerry wanted to stay in the school his older siblings were attending, but the school had very limited resources for children needing additional help. Nothing was truly effective at school until we found Devereux. Throughout this process, every individual I have encountered at Devereux has been supportive, caring, and a true advocate for my son. Their talented and creative staff provided daily therapeutic classroom support and implemented changes that made a world of difference. With this steady support from Devereux, Jerry was able to remain in the same school and is not only succeeding, but thriving, in class. He is no longer that little boy cast aside in the back of the room.
Today, at seven years old, Jerry has a confidence we couldn’t have imagined. Not every day is a home run, but the difference in Jerry before and after Devereux’s assistance is truly night and day. His biggest emotional challenge is having other children accept him. He has learned to compromise, to talk things out with his new friends, and that people respond when he takes a moment to relax. Most importantly, he feels accepted and part of his class.
Though we take one day at a time, I know we are finally headed in the right direction. No one said it was easy to have a child with special needs… because it isn’t. Jerry faces challenges that I am only now beginning to understand. While this journey has just begun, I am glad that Devereux is on our team. For me, Devereux is family who not only has Jerry in mind, but all of us. Knowing they understand what this is like for families and that they are a true leader in behavioral health, alleviates so many of my concerns and fears and, for that, I will be forever grateful.
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health cannot bring together compassionate care, industry-leading interventions, and family engagement without your support. Public agencies which fund our services simply do not cover the cost of our advanced care. Please make your gift today by visiting our secure online donation.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration. With your help, Devereux can help more families find peace, happiness, and hope.
Christina M. Philipp
PS: Your gift to Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health unlocks human potential and is needed now. You have the power to help us nurture adults and children like Jerry so that they may be the best they can be.
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