Help give a troubled young child a voice

  • 15 December 2021

At just three years old, Ashleigh was discovered by police. Alone and dirty in a derelict house, this young girl had been terribly neglected; both physically and emotionally. She was taken into care and then spent three years with different foster carers before Coram was asked to find her an adoptive family.

This Christmas, will you help give a troubled young child a voice and the chance of happiness?

Coram matched Ashleigh with Becky and Dan who welcomed her into their home and they became a family.  She settled in very well, but after a couple of years Ashleigh started to experience troubling behaviours such as screaming nightmares and bed-wetting. And in her play she seemed to be re-enacting aspects of the abuse and neglect she had suffered years before.  Becky and Dan needed help to enable Ashleigh to deal with the experiences from her past that she was unable to talk about.

Art and Music Therapies give a troubled child a way to address the legacy of their past.

Ashleigh began a course of Art Therapy at Coram and she immediately immersed herself in painting, acting and imaginative play. Initially she would only speak to her therapist in a babyish voice, using lots of sounds and gestures to communicate.

But over time, as her trust in her therapist grew, her vocabulary developed and she started communicating in a more age-appropriate way. She was able to explore her life story, and together they covered themes including ghosts, being trapped, the police, rescue, vulnerability and much more.

After 26 weeks of therapy, Ashleigh was no longer having nightmares or wetting the bed. Becky and Dan told us that she was much more confident and settled in her daily routine and playing with her parents was much more relaxed and mature. At school, she had grown closer to friends of her own age and most of her learning targets have now been met.

It’s only because of your support and the support of other kind people like you that we were able to be there for Ashleigh.  There are many more children like Ashleigh who need our help every year.

Thanks to a stable home environment, and the support provided by Coram, Ashleigh is now settled. Coram has offered extra sessions of therapy at a later date, should she need them. For now though, Ashleigh has been given a book of the art she created during her therapy sessions. Becky later told us that she’d been using it whenever she was feeling upset:

 “One time she chose it as her bedtime story – she talked me through each photo in minute detail, recalling conversations with you in connection with each picture… It was clear to me that she wanted to think herself back into her safe space with you.”

There are so many more children like Ashleigh in need of help. Unable to deal with feelings of loss, frustration and emotional or physical trauma, Art and Music Therapies help children and young people overcome complex and traumatic experiences in their past.

Your gift could help pay for the special support a child and their adoptive parents need to build an unbreakable bond.

 *All names, images and some of the details have been changed to protect the childs identity.