Aydan was just 1 and already the physical trauma and neglect he suffered during his early life left him unable to emotionally connect with others and caused him to react aggressively to touch. At 16 months, Aydan was removed from his home and placed in foster care in Silver Spring with Jenni Milton and her husband, Ben. Milton recalls Aydan having two moods: quiet and unresponsive, and irritable. “He would either avoid eye contact or show no interest in play,” Milton says, “or he would become easily agitated if I talked to him or held him.”

Recognizing that Aydan’s emotional and social challenges could limit his development, Milton sought help from the Lourie Center for Children’s Social & Emotional Wellness, part of Adventist HealthCare. She enrolled Aydan in the Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program, which is coordinated by Montgomery County Public Schools and staffed by Lourie Center therapists. While in the program, Aydan received the individualized care he needed as a toddler and began to show signs of progress.

giving children bright futuresAt age 4, Aydan was accepted into the Lourie Center’s Therapeutic Nursery Program (TNP).

“The TNP is a specialized preschool for children with emotional, social and behavioral challenges,” says Jimmy Venza, PhD, of the Lourie Center. The staff at the TNP is experienced in caring for children like Aydan who have post-traumatic stress disorder and attachment disorders.

After six months in the TNP, Milton noticed that Aydan was becoming less fearful of others, initiating play and beginning to establish trust.

Today, Aydan is a happy and energetic 8-year old who is working to transition from the Lourie Center School to a mainstream classroom environment. Milton and her husband have now adopted Aydan and made him a permanent part of their family. “He is a loving, caring and funny young boy,” Milton says. “He says ‘Mommy, I love you’ all the time and enjoys reading books.

“I am so grateful for the Lourie Center staff for their continued dedication to helping my son progress and live to his fullest potential,” Milton says.