Chris lived with his mom and sister before coming to Evergreen. His sister got married and left home to start a family of her own and wasn’t able to help their mom with Chris as much. His behaviors were so explosive that it became too much for his mom to handle on her own.
When Chris first came to Evergreen he was a danger to himself and others. He had daily explosive outbursts, usually triggered by a loud noise. If a train went by or a motorcycle revved its engine, while he was riding in the Evergreen van, he would lose it and start punching the driver. He would pull fire alarms. If someone new came into Evergreen’s Day Center, he would start screaming and yelling.
Many providers would have lost patience with or not have had the resources needed to control an individual like Chris. They likely would have sent him to a psychiatric hospital. Evergreen staff has decades of experience in working with individuals like Chris. The team was able to combine their knowledge and experience to develop strategies to help Chris.
To help Chris, Evergreen staff created coping tactics for control of his outbursts. They encouraged him to wear an eye mask in the car to prevent him from seeing something that would upset him. They showed him how to snap a plastic bracelet whenever he started to feel anxious.
Once Chris started to improve, his Evergreen caregivers knew that he needed an incentive and reward system to show his progress. The team at the Evergreen Day Center in Fort Worth, Texas, had just finished building Nona Mae’s Dairy Freeze for Evergreen individuals to enjoy snacks at break time. Staff was looking for a manager and offered Chris the role. After a day of consideration, he eagerly accepted the role understanding that he was required to manage his behavioral outbursts.