Eli’s mom reached out to MountainStar for help when she left her violent husband. She was distraught, and as soon as Eli started in our therapeutic class, it was obvious he was struggling as well. He used to scream at the top of his lungs and couldn’t seem to play nicely with the other children. MountainStar provided mom with individualized therapy and parent coaching. She’s learned how to help Eli feel safe, and how to motivate him to improve his behavior. Together, they’ve made major progress; Eli is enjoying class now and starting to make friends, while mom is looking into enrolling in community college classes.
Loud noises, lots of people, and different textures touching her skin — these things bother little Caty more than most kids. She has sensory processing disorder, and may be on the autism spectrum. Wearing ear muffs and a tight vest help make her feel more secure. She's beein in MountainStar Madras' therapeutic classes for two years now, and these days when she arrives she pulls off her ear muffs and vest right away and goes out to the playground with her friends! MountainStar staff are helping her adjust to new experiences through sensory play like finger painting and building with sand. Caty's parents get new ideas from our staff, and they're helping Caty adjust to new sensations and move toward not needing her muffs or vest at all!
Amanda arrived for a home visit with a family she works with through MountainStar’s Relief Nursery program and she found 2 ½ year old Danielle coloring all over the walls. Mom, Rachelle, didn’t seem bothered by it at all. Amanda saw a learning opportunity and kindly reminded mom that rebellious behavior like that should be re-directed into something more positive. Thirty-five year-old Rachelle flew into a child-like tantrum, sobbing and yelling angrily. Little Danielle tried to comfort her mother but she was pushed away, triggering another tantrum. In the middle of that chaos, Rob arrived home to join in the home visit. Dad was able to calm both of them down and Amanda gently guided the family through the remainder of the visit.
“It’s really like Rob is constantly parenting three children – Danielle, her brother Colby, and his wife,” Amanda said. “Rachelle is developmentally delayed; she operates at the level of a fifteen year-old.” Rob is patient, reasonable, and kind with all three of them. He is also a great advocate for them, and has an optimistic attitude toward goals despite all the challenges his family faces. They don’t have a phone, a computer, or a car. When they first came to MountainStar, baby Danielle had health problems, but no insurance. Amanda helped order a social security card and birth certificate, submit paperwork to obtain insurance, and set doctor appointments – but credits Rob: “He was there every step of the way doing all the work. He walked her to every doctor’s visit. He walks Danielle and Colby to school, and then walks across town to get groceries and apply for jobs.”
The family has been involved for years in therapeutic classes and Rob brings Danielle and Colby to every single family activity night. It is inspiring to see him get down on their level, playing with them joyfully. His kids benefit greatly from his ability to set aside all their struggles and enjoy being a dad. Recently Amanda has started talking with him about self-care, making sure he doesn’t burn out so he can continue being a positive parent to his kids. She said Rob is working on it, and she’s impressed by his perseverance. “Without dad, these kids would have been taken away by DHS a long time ago,” said Amanda, “He is the glue holding this family together.”