In response to the increased need for mental health treatment for adolescents, ACS expanded our Treatment program to include clients who were both court-involved and at risk for court involvement.
One of our first referrals from a community partner was Ivan*. Ivan is 17 years old and had been struggling at school and home due to symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and a high level of family instability. He had difficulty navigating peer relationships and interpreting social cues, which resulted in ongoing conflicts with his teachers and classmates. He also lacked healthy coping skills to manage his stress and emotions during these conflicts.
When Ivan first met with his ACS clinician, he was very reluctant to engage. He was openly skeptical about the clinician’s intentions and ability to be helpful. Ivan’s clinician was undaunted and she continued to meet with him weekly for months. This patience paid off and Ivan began to engage more openly about his struggles. This foundation of trust enabled his clinician to lend much-needed support, nurture his self-esteem, enhance his self-awareness, and develop some critical interpersonal skills.
Ivan has engaged in treatment for the past year and his clinician has witnessed his self-confidence steadily grow. She has also observed improvements in his ability to manage stress, communicate effectively with his family, and advocate for himself.
He recently shared with his clinician that he was accepted to college. When his clinician inquired about any concerns or anxiety about his transition to college, he expressed his willingness to seek out support on campus, as needed. This openness to seeking help in the future is truly a testament to his positive experience with our clinician.
*To protect confidentiality, ACS does not use the names, photos, or identifying features of our clients.