As stated in my previous post (rather ironically, it now seems) although I haven’t been posting much recently, I have regularly logged in to WordPress to catch up on my favourite blogs.
The following post was scarily poignant for my current situation:
Last Thursday, finally, we had a meeting at CAMHS for my middle child. We were first referred well over a year ago. My father’s death, a man whom my son had lived with all his life, had led my child to threaten suicide.
It wasn’t the first time he had done this though. Over the years, when in the dark depths of one of his meltdowns, he would state that he ‘may as well kill himself’ and that he wished he was dead. So what made this time different? It wasn’t said in anger or in a place of no control. It was said in emotional exhaustion, through tears – yes – but in weary heartbreak. He meant it.
This post is not to criticise CAMHS although it’s very tempting. My son did get help, but from a different organisation. During the initial assessment, I expressed concerns about my son’s general well-being and behaviour. I mentioned that primary school had recently suggested he may have ADHD. I talked about his melt-downs, his anger and distress. I explained how for years I had expressed worries about him to primary school but that it was only recently that they had started to take an interest. I explained that he had been under Occupational Therapy in Year 5 and 6 and had real issues with fine motor skills and that, along with the many personal circumstances that have clouded his childhood, I’ve blamed them for his unhappiness and lack of progress.
A year later, and CAMHS had done nothing.
Then Thursday’s appointment arrived and as well as describing the whole story again to the third practitioner, I complained about how little had been done.
- My son has no control of his emotions
- There’s no middle ground – it’s elation and hyper activity or depression and tears or anger and violence.
- He breaks things accidentally all the time. He breaks things in temper.
- Poor fine motor skills
- Poor relationships with most people. He thinks he isn’t liked.
- His memory for his favourite things is astounding (cars, Star Wars) . His organisation for everything else is poor.
- He hates change and becomes angry and anxious.
- He can be loving and caring towards me but had poor social skills in other ways. Little empathy.
- He has meltdowns that can last an hour of more. He had no control, is like a boy possessed, but then will be in utter distress afterwards.
- He has poor concentration and cannot sit still.
My son is bright. He smashed all his developmental targets as a child. He is loving. But over the years my concerns have grown. I’ve blamed these concerns on so many things. Looks like now he may have Autism or ADHD.
How did I miss this? I’m a teacher for goodness sake!
Fact is, when you watch someone grow up and you love them unconditionally, you perhaps miss things. Or accept them.
All the same, as time has gone on, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I knew he needed help and what I was ding wasn’t enough.
It has taken years. Years. Referrals and waiting for appointments and the ridiculous rigmarole. So my son may have ADHD. He may have ASD. The label doesn’t matter. The help does.
I’m frustrated with myself that I didn’t push harder. I’m frustrated that I didn’t see the signs sooner. I’m frustrated that our health care system is not good enough. But at least we something is finally happening.