Samad in red shirt and hoodie sitting at a table holding a blue drinking glass with a big smile.

Samad is a young man who came to Lakota with significant trauma in his past. These traumas, along with having been skipped up a grade level presented a young 6th grade boy with major behavior issues. He was extremely impulsive and disruptive in class, frequently calling out things and interrupting others and even his teachers. He would be defiant and argue with even the simplest of instructions.

His behaviors and mood were also quite erratic; he could be super upbeat one day, extremely angry and irritable the next, and very sad the following day, with behaviors that followed suit. These shifts in affect and behavior could even cycle from day to day or period to period, which had led to a very high number of referrals.

Overall, Samad has been given as many opportunities to connect and thrive as possible! Shortly after our School Outreach Coordinator, Robert Daniel, met Samad, he deduced that many of Samad’s behaviors stemmed from a mis-aligned desire to connect with others and prove himself. In order to give him safer opportunities to meet these needs, Robert involved him in as many social groups as he could where Samad could exercise his social skills and learn to embrace gentle limits. He came to multiple after school programs (Aviation, Gamers, and Artist’s Studio), was with Robert every day during 6th grade Lunch Bunch, joined two Leadership groups, and also participated in a self-management group facilitated by Robert and the school counselor.

In addition to all of the intentonal social groups that Robert involved Samad with, Robert also aimed to form an informal mentoring bond with Samad. Through this bond, Robert set out to show him Unconditional Positive Regard, even in his most challenging of times. Robert wanted to show him that he is not defined by his behavior, and that he would be there for him even when he was having a meltdown. Through this regard, Robert became Samad’s safe place/person, the one to whom he would turn with trust in times of need AND in times of joy.

Overall, Samad’s biggest progress is that he feels connected to and supported by at least one adult. When Robert first met Samad, he expressed disdain and distrust for every adult in the building. Samad has come to see that not every adult is out to get him, and in fact, that they all have his safety and best interest in mind.

In terms of his behavior, Samad’s referrals slowed by the end of the year. He was much more aware of how his outbursts and interruptions affected other students in his classes and toned himself down accordingly. Academically, Samad was no longer failing any classes, and had been seeking support after school as well as in class. He felt more safe to ask for support and admit faults, which helped his grades as well as his relationships with teachers and peers.