Misty Hall had been taking her two-year-old son Solomon to a Montessori school in Spartanburg when she noticed that he was displaying some aggressive habits. He was lashing out at his classmates, throwing tantrums, and had a sense of defiance that went well beyond what most would expect from a child going through the “Terrible Twos.”
Misty, herself, had experienced some mental health issues in the past and was increasingly aware that Solomon was engaging in some worrying behavior. She realized that she had to do something for her son to ensure that he would be able to experience a healthy and well-adjusted childhood. It was at a Parents Anonymous meeting that Misty first learned about A Child’s Haven—a Greenville based organization that treats children with developmental delays as a result of limited resources and other contributing factors.
This past July, Misty met Janice Gray, a Family Support Counselor who would work with Solomon at A Child’s Haven. Janice remembers how nervous Misty was when she first met her, but she took her apprehension as a sign of her devotion to ensuring the best for her son. “I knew immediately that here is a mother that is very loving, observant and attentive to her child,“ said Gray.
Misty knew that in seeking treatment for her son that she, too, would have to be willing to work on parenting methods. At A Child’s Haven, parents are required to be just as involved as their children. It is a holistic approach to childcare that goes well beyond the confines of the school. Parents are required to take a 12-week parenting class, and they must also allow their Family Support Counselor to make weekly home visits where parents learn different skills to ensure their child is engaging in healthy developmental activities at home.
In late 2014, A Child’s Haven, which had been established in 1992, moved into a brand new 25,000 sq. foot building that made it the largest treatment facility in the Southeast for children with development delays or behavioral challenges. From the outside, the building doesn’t look too much different than an average school. There are school buses, a playground and garden, and freshly completed school projects all around. But the inside reveals classrooms with built-in observational rooms that showcase the high level of individual treatment that each child receives, making this a very special school. A Child’s Haven serves 58 children from the Greenville area, with room to grow in the future. There are conference rooms for parents to take classes, a kitchen that makes nutritious food, and a multitude of resources for children and their families that might normally be difficult for them to access.
In the 6 months that Solomon Hall has been at A Child’s Haven both his mother and his classroom providers have seen him make some great strides. Solomon has applied self-regulation skills to better manage his reactions to negative feelings, which has helped him to cope with his aggressive tendencies. Each child enrolled at A Child’s Haven is provided with customized therapies that address his or her own specific needs. Solomon has been encouraged to manage his behavior by practicing deep-breathing exercises and by increasing positive interactions with his peers and with the staff by engaging in interactive play.
The program has also been extremely beneficial for Misty who has found the parenting classes especially helpful. Misty says that it was very easy to trust the staff at A Child’s Haven and that they immediately put her at ease.
“ Everyone has been very respectful of my wishes. They have been great advocates for me, and they have helped me get the things I wanted for Solomon,”
There are nearly 8,000 children in Greenville living with limited resources. Through no fault of their own, these children struggle to survive under the weight of their circumstances leaving them at a high risk for developmental delays. A Child’s Haven provides an incredibly valuable outlet for parents like Misty Hall who know that they need to do something for their child that may go beyond their own means.
Without fear of being judged, and with the encouragement to embrace their own individuality, the program is well positioned to help families like the Halls dramatically increase their child’s potential to live a healthy, self-reliant life. Yet, in order for the program to work, both parent and child need to be committed and fully invested in A Child’s Haven’s holistic approach.
For more information about A Child’s Haven visit achildshaven.org or call (864) 298-0025.