Katie's Story

Katie’s Transformation at Gifford

The Gifford School has been transformative for Katie and her catalyst for change. She has developed into a new and improved person because of The Gifford School. Before The Gifford School, Katie had problems with socialization and behavioral self regulation. Every day was like walking on egg shells and you never knew what storm you would face.

Katie was not self aware of her frustration or anger and she could not communicate her needs. She basically shut down and isolated herself from others. She was guarded and untrusting of others. Katie’s self esteem and sense of self worth were non existent. When she was angry about something, she would go from 0-100. She was behaviorally dysregulated and would have several outbursts a week and her reactions were explosive.

Katie lacked the tools to express herself and could not cope with the multiple demands that were placed on her with school. She could not learn because her behavior was a barrier impeding her progress. She was a child who others did not understand because of her many deficits. She was a mystery, and I had to become a detective with all her providers. Katie was not her labels or her diagnoses but rather a creative, artistic kind soul who hid and sheltered herself under her hood of her sweatshirt.

The staff at Gifford were patient, unraveling each layer of the onion and getting to the root of the behavior and social isolation. Gifford has taught Katie to become more self aware of her emotions and have given her the tools to tackle her feelings in a more positive way. Katie has become more self aware, self prepared to use her toolkit of tools in coping with life’s many frustrations. The Gifford School has also taught Katie how to socially communicate with peers and learn how to make friendships and engage in conversations. Katie is more present, open and engaged because of Gifford and it’s excellent, caring, empathetic, non judgemental and understanding staff.

Our family is so thankful to all the wonderful staff at The Gifford School. It takes a village and words cannot express my gratitude to everyone at The Gifford School for creating a new person and its role in a birth of positivity.

The School is truly a gift to our family and it has taken a long time for her to make progress. Change does not happen overnight; it is a learned process which can take years before any positive progress is seen. Gifford has the students examine their self and reactions and have the student and family engage as active participants in teachable moments in their therapeutic milieu. The school values and validates the student’s feelings and have the student feel that they are heard and have choice into decisions. My mantra is keep moving forward everyday and do one positive thing to make change, baby steps turn into footprints to a path of positivity for life lessons.

Barbara and Ronnie B. 

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