SSP Associate’s name and Discipline: Deborah Parker, PhD; Mental Health Practitioner
Name of Organization: Healing at Home LLC
Client Pseudonym and Age: Ava, 3.9 years old
Clinical History Before SSP: Child was removed from severe abuse and neglect. She is nonverbal, non-communicative, and is developmentally delayed. She is the size of a 15-month-old child.
Implementation of the SSP: The goals included encouraging eye contact and tolerance of physical touch. In addition, the hopes were for brain/body connections for some self-awareness as well as to create a pathway for this child to establish the foundation for some sort of communication system for her.
Response to the SSP: Initially, the associate did not believe that Ava would be receptive to wearing headphones, however she became captivated as soon as she heard the music. The associate used this time to move Ava’s arms and legs back and forth, up and down, and incorporate some stretching of arms and legs to encourage body awareness.
On day 2, Ava was lying on her back cradled in the associate’s arms. Ava changed body positions about every 10 minutes. As she was lying on her back, she suddenly turned over onto her stomach. The associate was cradling her across the chest and hips. Initially, Ava dangled there but quickly discovered that she had control of her body and began moving her arms and legs. After a few minutes, she was on her back again being cradled like an infant. Then suddenly, she stiffened her body and tapped her stomach, which indicated to the associate that she wanted to be on her stomach again. While on her stomach, she realized that she could stiffen her arms and legs so that she was in the “flying” position. She laughed and enjoyed it a great deal. After Day 2, Ava smiled a lot more. She also made eye contact a lot more.
On Day 3, Ava repeated “uh-oh” to the associate four times. She had been completely nonverbal until then. She also repeated the word “hey” three times. She attempted to say “please” as well. Ava also began attempting to interact with her older sister. Ava made eye contact with her and attempted to trade a toy with her sister.
On Day 5, Ava held eye contact with herself as the associate held her and moved side to side. In addition, the associate cheered on Ava’s brother as he ran. Associate said, “Go Michael Go!” while clapping her hands. Ava then ran up to the associate and tapped her own chest, indicated that she wanted the associate to cheer her on as well. Ava also said “uh-oh” on her own without prompting.
Summary: After completion of SSP, the associate has observed that Ava makes consistent eye contact. Before SSP her facial expressions were almost nonexistent, except when she was upset. After completion of SSP, Ava is almost always smiling. She is much more tolerant of physical touch. She often reaches up to be picked up, and she also offers hugs sometimes. She is beginning to attempt to interact with her siblings, which is something she has never done before.