Jimmy Randolf is a 12 year old whose behaviour presents a challenge because he is emotionally disturbed.
When Jimmy started school, his parents and teachers began to notice that he had a difficult time making friends and was prone to sudden and often unexplained angry outbursts. In first grade, the school guidance counsellor referred the family to the local mental health center where his therapist diagnosed Jimmy as having an emotional disorder. In school, Jimmy was assigned to a resource room to provide him with the best possible learning environment. His resource teacher worked with him on behaviour and incorporated a system of contracts and rewards to help Jimmy learn appropriate boundaries.
Jimmy also attends counselling sessions with a therapist. He is sometimes embarrassed about his meetings at the Cleary Street Mental Health Center but talks with his friends about what he does there and the help his counsellor gives him and his parents:
“Marlene is my counsellor. I have to go every single Tuesday to talk about my problems and stuff… Marlene is real nice.”
Children who don’t know Jimmy have a difficult time understanding him. Since his behaviour can be inconsistent, they often don’t know how to react. Sometimes Jimmy is friendly, calm and caring and other times he can be distant or loud or verbally abusive. It is the inconsistent timing and randomness in which all of these behaviours manifest themselves that can confuse his friends. Jimmy talks with his friends about his emotional difficulties and shares a variety of strategies that teachers have taught him to pay attention in school, behave appropriately and develop and retain friendships.