Sunday, March 02, 2008

Clinic Notes: Broken Promises in a Bottle

Broken promises in a bottle is not a lyric in a country song, but it could be a title to a bad country song that five year old Janie hears three or four times a week. Janie's mom is an alcoholic and former recreational drug user who has lost custody of her children. The court awarded custody to the grandparents. When mom calls every night she tells Janie that that she is going to come and get her the next day and take her to a movie, or the playground, or perhaps McDonalds for lunch. Janie gets excited and the next day waits patiently for her mom to pick her up. But mom never comes. Now Janie cries when she hangs up the phone after talking to her mother, because she knows that mom is going to not come the next day as she promised. Of course, Janie is learning to not trust people. Alcoholics and drug addicts are always going to leave causalities in their wake. Janie has a learning disability because her mom did drugs while she was pregnant and I had been doing ABA and behavior management for school problems. Her grandparents asked me if I could help. Social Stories are the only therapy that I know of that would be appropriate in a case like this. So I have been writing social stories on alcohol and drugs and broken promises and going over them with Janie. It's a lot for a five year old to take in. But Janie is not crying anymore.

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