Sam* is small for his 12 years, with a slight build and a shock of dark hair that frequently covered his right eye.
He had been living at Nexus-Mille Lacs Family Healing for over a year, spending all of his holidays and special events with the staff there because family visits weren’t safe for him at the time. The staff at Nexus-Mille Lacs rallied around Sam, doing everything they could to make those days special for him. But they knew it was hard for him.
Sam could have been really angry. Instead, he worked hard with his therapist though, at times, she wondered how effective she was because Sam would often play with cars during therapy; he didn’t talk much and often didn’t appear to be listening. But the two continued to work together for many months.
An “Aha” Moment
One day, they met to talk through how thoughts and feelings influence behavior. Sam surprised her by looking her in the eye and saying, “Hey, I’ve got this!” Sam then took a marker, walked to the dry erase board at the other side of the office and slowly and methodically began to draw the “ABC Triangle” on the whiteboard. The triangle was a tool he learned from his therapist over the past several months.
It turned out that playing cars during therapy helped Sam focus and concentrate. Like many children, he was always listening. Sam just needed an adult who believed in him, helped him feel safe, and could give him the tools to connect and move forward in his own way.
*Name and some details have been changed to protect privacy.