At only three years of age, Jeanine has seen the world through the eyes of an adult. As her mom struggles with addiction and drug abuse, Jeanine’s daily routine suffers and is consistently unpredictable. Some days, when her mom is functioning reasonably well, Jeanine is provided with care and attention. Other days, Jeanine will attend adult parties with her mom where she witnesses reckless behaviour and unsafe situations.

Because of Jeanine’s early experiences, she has a limited awareness and understanding of appropriate boundaries, and what is reasonable for a child her age. She will often come to school dressed in sequined mini-skirts, hair extensions, or in a bathing suit. While other children are playing house and dressing up in costumes, Jeanine is acting out adult situations.

We work steadily with Jeanine on learning what it means to be a child, and on defining herself in terms appropriate for a four-year-old, and not an adult. With repeated exposure, play scripts about night clubs and dating are being replaced with pretend cooking and themes from school. With support from the therapy and classroom teams, Jeanine is learning about safe touch and stranger awareness. It is rewarding watching Jeanine explore appropriate play through the eyes of a child.