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Aidan, 8

Chesterfield | Services: Mental Health

Discovering a New Relationship

From a young age, Aidan, 8, often threw tantrums, was disagreeable, and had a very difficult time adjusting his behavior when he did not get his way. His parents, MJ and Michael, recall Aidan’s meltdowns being so extensive and frequent that they had to alter their family life to avoid his triggers and allow time for recovery. When he was three years old, Aidan was diagnosed with a mood disorder by a psychiatrist at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC), the mental health branch of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

Since beginning treatment at VTCC and receiving in-home cognitive behavioral therapy, Aidan is learning how to articulate how he feels when he experiences extreme emotions. The family has been trained as well with techniques for how to respond to him, and they all practice identifying Aidan’s ‘triggers’ and encouraging him to use his coping skills.

“When he started taking medication at age five, everyone in our family finally got to know Aidan,” MJ remembers. “Now he can tell us he loves us, and we can see that he wants to be a good boy. There’s a tenderness in our relationship with Aidan that wasn’t there for the first five years.”

While there are still challenges, Aidan has much better relationships with his parents and siblings, Evan and Brenna. “The extraordinary level of intervention,” MJ explains, “is going to position Aidan for success.”

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