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Stella and Alice’s testimonial

Stella and Alice are sisters. They are both in kindergarten. They completed a 6-month therapy program at KickStart.

Stella and Alice lived mostly with their grandparents when they were young. When their parents came to KickStart for their initial consultation, the younger sister, Alice, had just begun living with the parents for less than half a year. She often had trouble sleeping, which led to emotional outbursts. The parents have also noticed that her language and motor development is slower than those of her age. The older sister, Stella, had moved back a year earlier. Although Stella behaves well at kindergarten, she often causes many problems and mishaps at home. Now that both children have moved back, the parents are suffering from having to take care of both of them at the same time.

The first time I met them, I created a playtime environment to lower their anxiety level and to build a relationship with them. This was also a breather for the parents because they could sit idly on the side and watch their children play. During playtime, it was important that I, as a therapist, pointed out to the parents each child’s unique quality and character. This was very important as it’s harder for parents to notice changes in their children because they are together every day.

After approximately one month of therapy, not only had the children improve, but their mother also became less anxious. I began to ask the mother to be more involved in the playtime sessions. Playing, for children, comes naturally. However, it’s a whole different matter for adults. Adults easily become less playful due to the worries of life and reality. It’s important for parents to learn that ‘playing’ doesn’t always involve fancy toys or special effects. As long as you put your heart into spending time with your children, it will achieve better effects than expensive toys and games.

Aside from each child’s own individual issues to fix, this family faces another problem – sibling rivalries. When the sisters get along, they play well together. Yet, when they begin to argue with each other, they become mortal enemies, and neither is willing to stand down. Moreover, each sister craves individual attention from their parents. They want the adults to focus on them only, and not their other siblings. For the parents, this is a difficult situation. They love each of their children equally, but when there are two of them, how do they handle the situation fairly?

Having taken the above-mentioned issues into consideration, I encouraged the parents to put the sisters together in a group class instead of doing individual sessions right from the beginning. This is so that we can guide the sisters to think and discuss problems and issues when they come up during playtime, instead of arguing and fighting. Also, we can guide the parents on how to handle these kinds of situations. After about two months into their therapy sessions, the mother expressed that the sisters got along better with each other. They were able to air their differences instead of fighting. She, herself, also felt more confident about handling their differences.

Although the two of them are doing their sessions together, the activities that they perform are different to cater to their individual needs. Their home program, which are activities they are to perform from home, are also different.

During the course of the treatment, the sisters have shown great improvement. Alice has shown progress with her language and motor development. She gained confidence, learned to express her thoughts and followed her own opinions. Stella, who was previously more self-absorbed, adjusted herself to listen to her younger sister more. She would take her sister’s opinions into consideration now.

The parents are very grateful to see the change in their children. They understand that there may be other issues to tackle in the future as their children grow older. However, they are confident in KickStart to help them resolve these issues. This is exactly what KickStart wants for all parents and their children – let us find the root of the problem and work together to create a brighter future for your family!

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

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