Success Narrative: from lashing out to emotional control

Success Narrative #1

*The following narrative portrays the successful progression of a special needs foster child from Therapeutic Foster Care to being adopted. This narrative also illustrates the progress made with their medical condition. The following information is factual. To protect the confidentiality of the child and their family their name is being represented by the initials D.S.

Self-harm-brain_mapBrief History of D.S.:

D.S. was brought to the hospital in 2011 by their mother for a psychiatric evaluation due to concerning behaviors, including physical aggression towards peers and school staff, and self-harm. It was reported that D.S. was biting, scratching and stabbing their self in the face with a pencil. Medical staff stated that D.S. appeared to be mentally delayed and the mother appeared to be cognitively delayed also. D.S. was unable to be admitted because their medical insurance was not accepted. Additionally, D.S.’s mother refused to comply with mental health services and follow-up for the care of her child. D.S. came into foster care at the age of 7.

Initial Challenges:

D.S. was diagnosed with Depression Not Otherwise Specified, Attention Deficit Disorder Combined Type and Moderate Mental Retardation. D.S. also has Chromosome Deletion of Chromosome 17, which contributes to their short stature and developmental delay. She was prescribed Clonidine and Benadrayl.


Another depiction of an initial challenge with D.S. was after a visit with their mother D.S. began screaming, kicking, using profanity and attempted to jump out of a car.

D.S.’s behaviors consisted of: hyperactivity, aggression toward others, difficulty following directions and difficulty working independently.

chromosome-17Treatment Goals:

  • attend all medical appointments

  • maintain emotional self-control through implementation of behavioral techniques

  • maintain personal hygiene appropriate to age

  • maintain truthful communication with peers and adults

  • maintain an appropriate behavior and attendance in school

Interventions and Services:

D.S. received individual therapy, community-based intervention services, community support services and medication management. 


  • shown progress in reading/decoding words and in reading texts

  • able to copy words, sentences and very short paragraphs

  • learned to manage their emotional outbursts

  • able to be easily redirected both at home and at school

  • established healthy peer relationships

  • adopted in November 2013