Welcome to my blog, which speaks to parents, professionals who work with children, and policy makers. I aim to show how contemporary developmental science points us on a path to effective prevention, intervention, and treatment, with the aim of promoting healthy development and wellbeing of all children and families.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Helping a Traumatized Child: A Hopeful Follow-Up

I live in a small town, so I often have the opportunity to get follow-up on the children I cared for in my previous job. Walking down the street this morning I heard a voice call out "Hi Dr.Gold!!" I turned to see the mother of a child I had seen for a number of years. Similar to the child I described in the previous post, this child had experienced significant trauma in her early years. To protect privacy I will not go into detail. This family had come to me for medication for ADHD. While the child clearly met diagnostic criteria, and ADHD medication helped her to stay in school and not fail completely, it was obvious from the start that she needed more intensive help than I could offer. Yet her parents resisted. There were many reasons for this, ranging from transportation issues to a wish not to address some very painful subjects.

My leaving that practice actually forced the issue. The only person who would prescribe medication was a psychiatrist in a nearby town. She has a practice policy that anyone on medication must be in therapy.

When I run into families I know in public, I am hesitant to talk about our work in order to protect their privacy. But this mother seemed positively joyful, so I was moved to ask, How's Jane? (not her real name) ""She's thriving!" was her response. "We have her in therapy and she's on some new medications. I don't know why I resisted for so long!!"

This morning I also received an email from a pediatrician colleague bemoaning the fact that so many pediatricians have become simply drug prescribers. She asked: "Can we wipe the slate clean and start again? - maybe by listening and telling the stories over and over again; perhaps. Slow and steady." I like this cautious optimism, and believe strongly that it is the only way. We cannot give up on these kids!!

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Gold,
    Thank you for covering the subject of traumatized children. I raised a severely traumatized boy from the age of 3-1/2; he's now almost 21 and doing well. There is a saying: When God shuts a door he opens a window...but it may be hell in the hallway. We went through so many different kinds of hell, but it truly appears we have reached the window. I wish that when I was going through what I did, I would have had a blog like this to read. Thank you for doing this. By the way, if you are at all curious, I've started my own blog raisingatraumatizedchild.blogspot.com. If enough of us talk about this and educate enough people, perhaps we can help a few more parents help and few more kids.
    Thanks again,
    Other Mother