A well-timed intervention from a social worker can help an isolated child like Bella* to shed her fears and bloom in school.
Bella’s mum had recently escaped from an abusive relationship and wasn’t well enough to care for the five-year-old. Her sister Diane* took in the little girl.
Diane observed that Bella was extremely shy and unwilling to try new things. She wouldn’t even play with her cousins. She kept her head down and refused to make eye contact with anyone.
Bella was also unprepared for school. The more her teacher reached out to her, the more Bella withdrew. She preferred to sit in a corner and spoke to no one.
Diane sought help from Family Works. She connected with Faye* a Family Works Social Worker in School (SWiS), who was able to formulate a plan to help Bella overcome her fear of new experiences so she could get the best out of school.
Proceeding gently, Faye used art and play so Bella could converse without feeling self-conscious. With a set of dolls that Bella liked, they acted out scenarios from home and school.
As Faye built trust and rapport, Bella’s fear of social interactions diminished little by little. She started to talk about herself. Then she began to respond to her teacher and make short conversations with her peers.
It’s taken 12 weeks but Bella has finally come out of her shell. She’s more talkative now and makes eye contact. She trusts her teacher and smiles when her name is called. When she comes home from school, she happily tells her aunt about her day. Bella’s even learning to ride a bike with the help of her older cousins.
*Names changed and representative photos used to protect identities.