It’s astonishing— given the tools, opportunities and environment, in time as short as six months youth who’ve suffered abuse and neglect can find their voice and find peace.
Born into chaos, Veronica was one of 19 children to a mother whose mental health instability kept her from providing a home to any of her children. Although Veronica only spent a short period of her life in her mother’s care, the formative years of her infancy and childhood left Veronica traumatized, and her behavior as a teenager was a reflection of that.
Defiant, threatening and aggressive— Veronica exhibited these high risk behaviors in her refusal for help. She became a physical threat to others, but mostly to herself.
Veronica was diagnosed with a multitude of Mental Health disorders after having experienced a multitude of adverse childhood experiences. One of her diagnosis was Selective Mutism. Veronica’s refusal to engage with others for days on end made psychiatric intervention nearly impossible as she refused to participate in assessments. When she would speak, she less than nice things to say and was identified as a bully without conventional relationships with peers.
After being dismissed from other facilities for her threatening and harmful behavior, no other facility would take her. But the unique therapies provided by The Village Network allowed the organization to confidently accept Veronica for treatment.
On a damp fall day, Veronica arrived at The Village Network exhibiting her observed behavior— unwillingness to communicate other than through physical threats. Despite her defiance to engage with those encouraging her, the staff’s individualized approach to her specific temperament allowed her direct caretakers to lay the foundation for trusting relationships. As staff continued to cultivate hope for Veronica, she began to utter slight audible responses to prompts while creating unique connections with each confidant.
When Veronica couldn’t find the words to say, she would leave notes of appreciation and was known for giving and receiving hugs. Her verbal communication would soon surpass her physical expression as she began speaking openly and honestly and utilizing coping skills of art, music and movement. Daily demonstrations of self-control and healthy behavior led to her participation in community outings and home visits with her foster family. Though she excelled in verbal communication, nothing articulated Veronica’s progress more than the smiles she shared while working with staff.
As spring awakened, Veronica was deemed healthy enough to return to live with her foster family and begin a new life. Although she will never completely forget the trauma she has suffered, The Village Network equipped her with the coping skills necessary for a prosperous life and introduced her to trusting relationships with positive role models.
Veronica hasn’t forgotten The Village Network and the staff that helped her reshape her life. She calls to talk to update staff on how she is doing, and to simply say, “Thank you.”