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Family vacation marks Heather’s success

July 8, 2010

The Eisens are going on vacation this summer.

That’s a routine event in the lives of many families, but for Ed and Amy Eisen of Topsfield, Mass., it’s a sign their daughter Heather is much better.

Heather, 12, has suffered from serious emotional and behavioral problems since she was a toddler. As she grew up, her behavior became more intense and disturbing.

“We could not control her, and she could not control herself,” her mother said.

It took years to get an accurate diagnosis; she has Pervasive Development Disorder, a disorder on the autism spectrum. Heather spent months away from her family in residential treatment.

Since 2007, Youth Villages Massachusetts has offered intensive in-home services as an effective alternative to residential treatment or foster care for children and families in the Commonwealth. As Heather was completing her residential program, she was assigned to the Youth Villages program and counselor Jen Mack.

Mack met with the family three times each week and was on call to help in an emergency 24 hours a day.

“She has given us so many tools to help Heather. I don’t think we could have lived at home as a family without this help.” — Heather’s mom, Amy Eisen, speaking about her daughter’s counselor, Jen Mack

Mack helped the Eisens develop a plan with consistent rewards and consequences that helped Heather learn self control. She worked with them on how to avoid crises and set up safety plans. Mack helped Heather learn to control her anger and supported the family as they chose a school that would better meet Heather’s needs.

“Jen is always available to help me,” Mrs. Eisen said. “We’ve used other programs, but never one that supported us in this intense way.”

Heather’s learned to ride a bike and will begin her second year of Hebrew school.

And this summer, Heather and her family are getting away to New Hampshire for a long-delayed and much-deserved family vacation.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 1, 2010 3:59 pm

    family vacations in a nice tropical country would be very very nice “’

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