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Behavioral help for your child’s pandemic struggles

If you’re worried about your child, the experts at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center said they’re ready to help no matter how severe the problems.

HARTFORD, Conn — As more and more schools are going remote and postponing sports, many students may start to feel more isolated again, which, in turn, can lead to behavioral problems.

If you’re worried about your child, the experts at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center said they’re ready to help no matter how severe the problems.

For an example, look no further than the story of Jen Paquette and her daughter Tori Carrero. Currently, Tori is flourishing, especially at school.

“Sometimes I will come home with a stack of finished work,” Tori said.  

For years, though, that wasn’t the case. Tori was having problems adjusting to schoolwork, and connecting with others.

“She would have these outbursts at school,” said Jen, “I would get calls every single day to come pick her up.”

“All of this [looked] so similar to autism,” she said.

Jen said some outbursts were violent.

“Some of them got as big as her trying to choke her teacher,” Jen said, “it was a pretty big deal and then when I would go and get her it was almost like she had no recollection of it.”

“Whenever I have those moments, I don’t really understand what’s going on,” Tori said, “it felt like something or someone was taking control of my brain.”

It wasn’t autism, but what was it?  Jen went years without answers, until she took Tori, following an especially bad outburst, to the Emergency Department at Connecticut Children’s, where she works. 

“It was just so different,” Jen said, “we got there and they were all so kind to her and they spoke to her of course they were talking to me, but they spoke directly to her.”

The diagnosis was almost immediate as well, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. 

“It’s almost like being bipolar and autistic at the same time but there’s slight differences to both,” said Jen.

“Literally in the assessment they were like, ‘Oh, we know exactly what this is and this is what the game plan is and this is what she needs’,” Jen said. 

Jen said the stigma that still surrounds mental health issues was can leave parents feeling isolated--  and that’s part of the reason Connecticut Children’s developed a Behavioral Health Tool Kit that parents can access online…

“The Behavioral Health Kit is something you can do on your own,” Jen said, “you can read through and understand that you’re not alone, you’re not the only person who is dealing with this.”

Jen and Tori were also part of a recent fundraiser for Connecticut Children’s Behavioral Health program.  She said the gala raised nearly a million dollars.