Connecting as Father and Son

Michael, a 50 year-old father, self-referred for Early Childhood Attachment services for himself and his toddler son, Aaron. Michael gained primary custody of his son after Aaron was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a developmental disorder that greatly impacted his sleep, speech, regulation, and impulsivity. Michael shared openly in therapy that he did not have a good role model in his own father and spent most of his adult life in prison or battling substance abuse. He has been in recovery since 2016 but felt unsure about how to balance addressing Aaron’s behaviors and cognitive delays while also creating a nurturing environment.

Over the past nine months in Early Childhood Attachment services, through D.A. Blodgett - St. Johns, Michael has learned a great deal about Aaron’s needs and strategies to encourage his development. In sessions, he has learned to set realistic expectations, recognize sensory needs, and use playful engagement to redirect misbehavior. Some successful changes Michael embraced included limiting Aaron’s screen time and rearranging the sleep environment to reduce over-stimulation. Another goal achieved included shifting Michael’s perception of Aaron’s behavior from a view of willfulness and non-compliance to providing Aaron with the support and tools to succeed.

The Early Childhood Attachment therapist shares, “Michael is very connected with his son. He engages in imaginary play, teaches him words and colors, and is affectionate, but he also understands Aaron’s disability and redirects him with patience and intention. For a man with his history, nurturing parenting has come naturally for him, and he absorbs everything that service providers are teaching him.” Michael now reports, “I think I am a good dad. I know there are more challenges ahead, but I know I have a good relationship with my son.”

This service is available because of the generosity of the Kent County taxpayers and the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage. Learn more about D.A. Blodgett - St. Johns, Early Childhood Attachment here.

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