Noah, 9, bounces from one couch cushion to the other. He giggles as his glasses fly off his face. His mom beams and gives him a quick hug before he darts down the hall.
This wasn’t always the picture in this house. Smiles and laughter were rare.
Carol is a single mother of four. She has a history of strokes and her anxiety disorder keeps her close to home.
Carol’s 16-year-old son struggles with aggressive behavior. Four years ago, Noah started copying his brother’s every move.
“Noah was so disrespectful,” Carol said. “He was slamming doors, throwing toys, and starting fights in school. I was so stressed out.”
Carol’s therapist at Advocates Community Counseling suggested getting help for Noah. Over the last three years, Noah has been working with Duncan, an Advocates therapist. Carol and Noah have learned new techniques to help control their emotions and behavior.
“Duncan is truly a lifesaver,” Carol said. “He’s like a big brother to Noah and has gone above and beyond. He gave me my little boy back.”
Noah and Duncan meet twice a week. Duncan teaches Noah techniques to calm down when he’s anxious or upset. Noah loves playing video games with Duncan after he finishes his homework. On nice days they spend time at the park working on peer socialization skills.
“Noah still gets anxious and over-stimulated, but now he has tools to calm down on his own,” Carol said. “Sometimes he tells me that he needs space, rather than screaming and throwing something at me. Duncan taught Noah how to relax and he’s taught me how to redirect Noah – without yelling. Without Duncan, we would not have made it through this. He’s our rock.”