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Monday 24th Jan between 1 - 2 pm - Live webchat with Dr Sally Hodges, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Tavistock Centre

(91 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Jan-11 14:26:41

Dr Sally Hodges will be joining us for a webchat on Monday 24th January between 1 and 2 pm. Sally is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust specialising in child disabilities. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is a leading mental health trust which delivers high quality mental health care, education, research and consultancy work. The Trust delivers out-patient mental health care to children, adolescents, adults and families, with a particular focus on specialist talking therapies and a developmental approach to the promotion of mental wellbeing and the prevention and treatment of mental ill health.

Sally lead on a brand new project to develop an interactive emotional wellbeing website for children aged 7-10 years in Camden, north London. Cam's Den's aims are to help overcome mental health stigma, address an existing gap in mental health education for young children and explain what actually happens in a therapy session.

Sally is happy to answer your questions on topics covering child and adolescent mental health and why a resource for children like camsden.co.uk is so important. Join us next Monday (24th) between 1 and 2 or send a question to Sally in advance to this thread.

asdx2 Sat 22-Jan-11 08:01:05

Ds almost 16 has a dx of moderate autism. Despite also having a dx of learning difficulties he appears to be cognitively average and will sit GCSEs this year. Socially and emotionally he has made little progress since dx at 3. I feel it is the gap between his social and emotional ability and his academic ability that is causing him stress anxiety and possibly depression.He is mostly selectively mute although will talk sports statistics as a monologue to a select few.He will not take medication so how can we get him the help he needs?

Hammerlikedaisies Sun 23-Jan-11 21:51:37

A young friend of mine (age 15) suffers from intrusive thoughts and mild OCD (dogs' muck, contamination fears etc).

What's the best thing for him to do to stop the intrusive thoughts? As far as I know there are only two main approaches: face the fear or distract yourself.

Hammerlikedaisies Sun 23-Jan-11 21:54:08

Another one - more important, maybe.

Do you think that mental health services are going to be able to survive the government's changes to the NHS?

KatyMac Sun 23-Jan-11 22:04:44

Last year my daughter suddenly without warning lost her sight (for 7 months). After a lot of toing & froing it was diagnosed as non-organic sight loss.

This was 'treated' by weekly sessions for about 2 months, then fortnightly for 4 months at our local CAMHS.

6 weeks after her sight returned (during the 1 session in that time) DD has been diagnosed as 'better' and her appointments have been cancelled.

Do children's mental health problems really "end" that quickly?

HairyMaclary Sun 23-Jan-11 22:04:46

Hi, I'm very pleased to have seen this before tomorrow as I won't be able to be online until about 1.45.
I have a 5.10 year old son with moderate spastic diplegia CP who is very aware of what is different about him already. He is academically bright but socially and emotionally immature.

Both his paediatrician and myself feel that he would really benefit from talking to somebody as he does have 'meltdowns' and has started to become very anxious about the many hospital visits, especially any involving anaesthesia. CAHMS have refused him 3 times and we have now been referred to the complex needs team but have been waiting for a response for over 6months - we have chased them up!

I wonder if you have any suggestions of things we could do with him at home to ease some of his anxieties or talk to him about having a disability. I can foresee that if he is not helped in managing his feelings and emotions now it will could easily cause problems in the future. We are very open about it all at home, have photos up of him in the incubator (he was very premature) and prepare him for each appointment, at the same time I have started pulling in all sorts of favours so that I have someone with me at appointments so that they can be with him and I can discuss his needs with Drs without him being there. However I feel he needs more and we are not quite sure how to go about getting him this help.

Is there any particular type of therapy you could suggest? Is it worth giving him yet another set of people to see, probably in hospital which would add to time away from school and further emphasise differences? How can we access this help if the complex needs team refuse to see us?

Thank you.

ouryve Sun 23-Jan-11 22:05:07

I don't really have any questions, but I have a son, aged 7 with ADHD and ASD who is a constant ball of anxiety. We have been dealing with a lot of aggression from him, recently. Cam's friends look to be a great tool to help him to identify his feelings and not actually be scared of acknowledging them, as that's something we're working on at the moment.

MmeLindt Sun 23-Jan-11 22:29:26

Several members of my husband's family suffer from mental health issues. One sister is bipolar, the other sister has suffered from depression and a niece has recently been admitted to hospital suffering from a breakdown. A cousin attempted suicide some years ago, after battling depression.

The family are rather secretive, and not good at discussing their feelings. We have only recently learned about the niece, but have no details. It happened several weeks ago.

My husband worries about our children, particularly our daughter - whether the likelihood of her developing some MH issues is higher, because of the family history.

What can we do to help our daughter avoid this?

spur Sun 23-Jan-11 23:13:04

I have a daughter age 3 who has a Global developmental delay. She has a speech delay and is suspected to be dyspraxic. She is delayed with her gross and fine motor skills. In a nut shell she is like a 2 year old that cant speak. Her understanding is much more advanced than her speech. Socially she is near age appropriate.

She has always been a very happy child and never cried or fussed too much since settling in nursery a year ago.

In December she started to have melt downs. Usually triggered by a change in a situation or not getting her own way. Not related to new people or new places. It seems to be the anticipation of what may happen that sets her off....

The meltdowns are continuing and happening more frequently now but they are getting shorter. I suspect that she is deliberately crying - at home she stops immediately if she realises i am not paying attention.

Sorry to waffle - my first question is in these early days what advice would you give to me to help my daughter with frustration now and in the future? Is there anything that I should look out for?

We have a great team at a specialist nursery helping my daughter - she is in good hands.

My second question is that my husband has decided that 'tough love' is needed. He loses his temper with her and shouts at her. Sometimes he finds her irritating and it is so obvious, and horrible for me to see. I wonder if my daughter is affected by it too.

I know that she is upset by other children crying and cries if she is shouted at. So she is aware.

I feel that his anger is confusing her. She now behaves differently with each of us. He is spending less an less time with her.

Home life is now becoming difficult as he feels that I should also be shouting at her and telling her off. I feel that this is not fair.....on either of us I want to address his behaviour.

Is it possible his shouting and short temper could affect her at this age......could this have a long term effect?

Sorry if this is a daft question. I know this may not be easy to answer without speaking with me but its on my mind at the moment.

Many thanks

Hi Sally,
My son is nearly 10. He is primarily down syndrome, SLD, tetraology of fallot part repaired, lung issues, mobility issues, sight and hearing problems, unknown seizures and severe sensory issues. However has many traits of other diagnosis, including asd, adhd and ocd.
A few professionals involved feel he should have a proper diagnosis and help for that. Though everyone seems to sit on the fence. The latest thoughts on him are pathological demand avoidance.
He is an extremely anxious child, has major problems in loads of areas, often causing extreme meltdowns, he is getting no support for any of this and some also impact on his health, such as stress and the lack of toothbrushing.
What should we be doing and what would all this mean for him?
Thanks.

SundayToast Sun 23-Jan-11 23:36:55

Hi Sally

What an interesting website - and I agree there should be more resources for children to find out about feelings in a neutral way...

I have an 8yo DD. From a young baby, she has always seemed tense, always striving for the next thing. She hates not being the best, is exhaustingly competitive. At the same time she is charming, caring, empathetic, insightful, very popular, talented at sport, academically able, socially at ease.

However, once at home, quite often the pressure of being such a 'golden child' becomes too much and she crumples - often with extreme rage and violence towards her sister and us. Once calm she can rationalise her anger, but she can remain fiercely cross for a couple of hours at a time. By violent I mean hitting, kicking, smahing things. She is too big to restrain now so has to be put into a room where the door can be locked until she calms down.

She hates feeling like this and knows when it is coming, but says she cannot stop it coming. She also finds it very hard to sleep - often taking 2-3 hrs to fall asleep - despite trying every tactic known to woman to help her. She then struggles to wake in the morning.

She has experienced nothing in the way of family trauma at all, although did have gastro issues as a child/toddler which caused her some degree of pain for an extended period of time.

Sorry for this lengthy background! My question is - is this within the realms of 'normal' for a child who measures high on perfectionism, or should we look into some sort of takling therapy for her and run the risk of her classifying herself as being 'mentally in need of help' which she would interpret as failure...help!

Thanks for any insight...

daisy5678 Sun 23-Jan-11 23:38:43

Hi Sally,
My son has (HF)autism and is very keen on self-harm and suicide/ murder threats. He's 9 and considered too young and lacking in self-awareness for CBT. How would you treat a child with these problems?

ToffeeChristmascake Sun 23-Jan-11 23:50:10

I have a question about the best way of dealing with my 11-year-old son's anxieties. He performs a lot of OCD-type rituals to cope with his anxieties, such as repeated hand-washing, counting things, checking doors are closed, looking around him a certain number of times when he sits down and so on. He refuses to eat in restaurants or go to cinemas because he is worried he will be sick. He won't go to friend's houses for the same reason. He was treated for his fear of vomiting two years ago (CBT) and we are going back to CAMHS, but my question is: how best can I help him to overcome these anxieties? I never know how much I should push him to do the things he is afraid of.

moosemama Sun 23-Jan-11 23:52:39

Hello Sally

Just been and had a look at the Cam's Den website. Its great, I think my son would really enjoy using it. He would be really pleased to see the feelings diary in particular, as I have designed one for him to use and its really seems to be helping him.

He's nearly 9 and was diagnosed with Aspergers just last week.

In addition to the ASD, he suffers from really bad anxiety and is highly reactive emotionally (not violent, just angry - lots of shouting and meltdowns etc). Until recently his anger was saved for home, where he felt safe, but its now seeming to erupt at school more and more often and I can see this becoming a huge issue if things don't improve quickly.

When we were told about his diagnosis, they told us that all they do is diagnose and that they couldn't help us with any help or support. Instead we were given a lot of leaflets for voluntary organisations and charities, most of whom are currently having their funding cut and are already really overstretched. Effectively we were told - your child has Autism, thank you for coming - goodbye. hmm

I have worked hard to understand the SEN process over the past two years and we are finally starting to make some progress with his educational support. (Although it has been anything but easy and there's still a lot more fighting to do.)

My question is, where should we go - or what route should we take to get him emotional support and help with understanding and handling his own emotions? He is a lovely, bright boy with such a lot of potential, but I fear without some help around handling his emotions he will never realise his potential.

The assessment centre suggested we contact CAMHS, but we've already done that via our GP and been turned down flat, despite at the time having an extremely anxious, school refusing 8 year old. Is there anyone else out there that can help?

Realistically, we can't afford to pay for him to have private support/therapy, but if there really is nowhere we can get help on the NHS obviously we would have no choice, so where can we go to find him the right therapist? My Mum is a clinical psychologist herself, but not a child psychologist and doesn't know of anyone locally who specifically works with children, let alone children with ASD and anxiety.

scubagal Sun 23-Jan-11 23:56:28

How can I help my child to deal with anxiety over school?

My 9 year old is becoming increasingly worried about changes in teaching staff ( even just to cover a day's sickness, friendships, disruptive pupils etc) to the point where she is becoming very emotional, easily upset, sensitive etc. Although I realise her worries have some foundation in what she has experienced at school, her worries seem far greater that the issues would seem to demand. I have spoken to staff before about her concerns, and now intend to spend some time helping out to observe for myself, but I think my child needs some support and some strategies to find a way of coping.

I am also interested in scubagal's post as my son doesn't go to school due to his fears of noise, friends, crowds, dressing up, assembly etc.

hobbgoblin Mon 24-Jan-11 00:22:17

Would you agree that as a nation we have huge issues related to self esteem and the fostering of such in our children and that this in turn often leads to poor mental health in our communities?

What can be done to raise self esteem in individuals and to help parents raise their children in ways that create a positive sense of self when 'permissive parenting' seems to be the antithesis to pre and immediately post war parenting styles; perhaps creating as much of a problem with regard to behavioural and emotional problems in children/young adults?

lottiejenkins Mon 24-Jan-11 07:55:05

Hi Sally. My ds is profoundly deaf and has Aspergers syndrome as well. While i am very happy with the help we get from Deaf CAMHS i think there is not enough information for parents of children with both deafness and Aspergers. There is an online Yahoo Group but nearly everyone on there is in America so they have different facilities. What can be done for families like ours??

AtYourCervix Mon 24-Jan-11 08:39:26

Hi Sally

D2 is 12 (nearly 13) and is waiting for PDDAG assessment. I'm fairly certain she has some form of Aspergers.
We were referred a year ago and because she has been passed on she is no longer seeing CAMHS. She has a long list of 'issues' resulting in a hatred of school and frequent phases of school phobia/refusal.

My questions....

Is a label (HFA or AS) going to be useful or more harmful long term? I am vry concerned abou other people's perceptions in the future (things like driving licence, jobs etc).

would having an explaination for how she is be a help to her? she hasn't much self confidence at all.

Would it be worth looking into getting a private ssessment done? Where? Who? How?

Thanks v much.

coogar Mon 24-Jan-11 09:24:31

My son is 7 and is awaiting a formal assessment for ADHD. I have noticed a change in him since starting junior school. He has developed a short temper and prone to crying easily My question is: is it the ADHD that makes him angry or is it the way 'people/teachers' react to his behaviour that upsets him? He started school a happy, lively 4 year old who made loads of friends. He's becoming a sad, angry 7 year old hating school life as he finds the demands made on him somewhat 'out of his reach'. I have considered home educating him, but he is a social child and I feel I would be depriving him of this natural contact - which is even more important for a child with ADHD as he needs to learn how to socialise effectively sad

embracingtangents Mon 24-Jan-11 09:31:54

Hi Sally

DD1(11) has been diagnosed with Aspergers. DD 2(6) has no issues.

Do you have any advice please concerning relaxation/dealing with stress for children. I am asking specifically for children, as my idea of relaxation (reading a book etc) is very different to my DCs!

I wonder what has been proven to be beneficial for children, to cope with the stresses of their lives?

I'm guessing hobbies, physical activity etc but I would love to hear your professional opinion on what all families can do for their children?

Many thanks

CeliaFate Mon 24-Jan-11 09:34:57

Hi Sally

What self-help measures would you recommend for general anxiety disorder?

My daughter is 10 and is on the waiting list to see a psychologist.

Before she is "put into the system" so to speak, what can we do as a family to help her overcome her intense anxieties?

LeninGrad Mon 24-Jan-11 09:40:41

Would love to hear any ideas on dealing with anxiety and associated 'protective' anger in anticipation of anything stressful involving other people, which is most things.

DS1 is nearly five and has always been like this. We empathise, chivvy and most importantly just get on with things without telling him too much in advance. This is against common advice but it's the only thing that works to help him.

Lots more besides, but anxiety, how do you deal with it in very young children?

LeninGrad Mon 24-Jan-11 09:41:38

Looks like anxiety and anger are fairly common themes.

ellnlol Mon 24-Jan-11 10:11:14

Hi Sally
I'm an educational psychologist and regularly meet families where ASD/Asperger's has been diagnosed or is suspected.
Whilst on a personal level I have a good relationship with several colleagues in CAMHS, we seem often to get into the situation of each agency saying 'it's not us, it's them', to address difficulties, especially around anxiety/non-attendance, which is no help to the families and frustrating/professionally embarrassing for the agencies.
We've been talking about 'joined up services' for years, but so many families still get let down. Where do we go next, and how do we make schools (especially in the seocndary phase) more accessible/helpful/safe/enjoyable places for this increasing population of young people?
Big question, I know!
Thanks

DottyDot Mon 24-Jan-11 10:18:12

Awww - Hi Sally! I used to work with you at the Tavistock Clinic many years ago now - I was the Child and Family Services Manager! smile

Anyway, ds1 is now 9 years old (where did that go..?!) and we've discovered over time he finds it very difficult to settle into school at the beginning of the academic year. He doesn't show it at school - the teachers love him because he loves order and processes (and gets lots of stars reminding them when it's time to do things grin) and academically he's great, but at home we see how difficult it is for him.

This year he started not being able to eat in September - almost forgot how to chew and swallow food and although he's much better now (it tends to ease up by December/January), he had several choking episodes at home, and is still taking around an hour to eat any meal.

Do you have any advice on how we can best prepare him for each September starting in a new class, with a new teacher? Is it worth approaching the school in the July before to talk to his new teacher?

At the moment school are unaware he struggles, because it doesn't impact on them and we've debated about how much of a 'big deal' to make of it...

Sigh. I won't be able to make the web chat live so thanks in advance for any tips on how to help him - we're starting to look ahead to him starting secondary school in a couple of years, so want to get prepared really before this huge change happens for him.

Thank you and hope life's good at the Tavi!

PixieOnaLeaf Mon 24-Jan-11 12:22:20

Message withdrawn

AspieTeenSuspect Mon 24-Jan-11 12:43:41

Have an 18 year old DS with drug and alcohol addiction issues who I strongly suspect has AS. Hasn't been willing to seek in the past although I suspect that it is getting to the point where one way or the other he will have some help. I saw an AS specialist myself who felt that, given the addiction issues, we needed someone with specific experience of AS/addiction combined. Any thoughts on how we could get him the help that he needs would be much appreciated.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 12:49:57

Testing

testing works lol smile

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 12:53:09

Testing

and again wink

minipen Mon 24-Jan-11 12:55:09

1,2,3

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 24-Jan-11 12:58:07

Hi all, Sally's here and just getting settled.

Thanks very much to her for coming on Mumsnet and thanks to everyone who has posted questions.

Sally will be starting in a minute.

walkingonthemoon Mon 24-Jan-11 12:58:21

Hi Dr Sally. Just wondering about passing 'depressive dispositions' through the generations... My dh has suffered with depression from adolescence to date and only a few years back he had a crisis where we got help, different meds and CBT that has worked wonders (why does mental health support have to reach crisis point to get help? - that's another webchat I think!!). He is insightful now and manages his moods well (they said that he has 'unstable mood disorder).

Anyway, his father is like this so I am fearful that he may pass this tendency to our ds (only 2 now)... Is this a common occurrence or in my dh's case, co-incidental? If common, what can we do as a family to watch out for it and lessen the impact as ds gets older?

Hope this makes sense, thanks.

Walking

LeninGrad Mon 24-Jan-11 12:58:50

Welcome!

Pixie, that must be very difficult.

mary21 Mon 24-Jan-11 13:00:13

Hi
My 13 year old son is Visually impaired and has aspergers. Over the last year he has become increasingly angry at school. He attends a specialist residential school.alot of his problems seem to stem from peer relationships I feel he needs more intense parenting. what would you suggest. He is intolerant to critism and enjoys praise

asdx2 Mon 24-Jan-11 13:01:06

Is depression in a teen with autism inevitable? Are treatments successful? How do you protect a child's self esteem when they become aware of the disability?

breasticles Mon 24-Jan-11 13:04:52

Hello.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:05:09

Hello all, I am really pleased to be here, and will do my best to get through as many questions as I can.

Just looking through the questions its seems like anxiety, anger and depression are key issues in people with ASD diagnoses, and this is something we find at the tavistock too.

One issue we have found is that families experience services as putting everything down to a diagnosis rather than thinking about the whole story, it sounds like some of this has been happening to some of you too.

LolaShh Mon 24-Jan-11 13:05:31

Hi
DD is 17, she has been diagnosed with a whole host of anxiety related disorders and AVPD.
She's attended CBT since she was 16, but currently she's at an inbetween stage. She's now too old for CAMHS but not old enough for the adult MH services - what on earth can I do to help her?
Are there any books you can recommend for either me or her, or just any advice would be welcome.
Thank you!

hello to you Sally,
Please help my son, no one acknowledges his issues and he is being left by the wayside.

belledechocchipcookie Mon 24-Jan-11 13:08:25

Hi Sally.
I have a lovely 11 year old boy who's very bright. He struggles socially and he often says that he doesn't understand who others are so horrible to each other/him. He's struggling to make friends at his new secondary school because he can see how immature his year are and he doesn't want to be around them. He's constantly telling me that he's unhappy and I don't really know how to support him. He does activities outside school and has a few friends there but it doesn't appear to help.

Thak you smile

pillowfight Mon 24-Jan-11 13:09:12

ALso concerned about any hereditary nature of bi-polar. My 9 1/2 year old is very influential/aware of what others think of her. Also very anxious - dislikes going to toilet/getting into bed on own etc. A potential move from the area and worries about making new friends etc has sparked off rather tense, "mad" behaviour. Constant yabbering, hysterical, forced laughter at own jokes. What is normal behaviour? Can sending a child to psychiatrist if not needed actually trigger an illness?

wasuup3000 Mon 24-Jan-11 13:10:10

Hi Sally

My daughter is in year 7 at school she has a non verbal learning difficulty (assessed as significant 0.1 on her scores wisc tests), selective mustism and since a extended virus some weeks ago has developed pains in her arms, legs, hands and joints in general.

She goes to a small, friendly secondary school which she wanted to go to at first but now it seems that we are getting into the old "I don't want to go" cycle that we have been on for two extended periods twice before.

Everyday she has a headache, feels sick or can't walk. I sometimes have to shove her out the door ( she has home school transport). It is very draining just to get her off to school and she has 3 brothers one who has ASD as well who see this daily. Then she comes home upset saying its all my fault if she has had a bad day.

Can you advise?

Thanks.

aristocat Mon 24-Jan-11 13:10:36

hello
my friends DD is 5yo and pulls her hair out, she has been referred but is there anything my friend can do to help her daughter in the meantime

thank you

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:10:40

asdx2

Is depression in a teen with autism inevitable? Are treatments successful? How do you protect a child's self esteem when they become aware of the disability?

Its not inevitable, but statistically is it more likely. Treatments can be sucessful, but they do need to take into account the contributing factors in the development of depression, sometimes its to do with the wider system issues, like difficulty in relationships, across all areas in school, or home, and shouldnt be viewed as a purely 'biological' and therefore inevitable problem.

I agree that self esteem issues can be a problem, but talking about and reflecting on these can help.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:14:13

aristocat

hello
my friends DD is 5yo and pulls her hair out, she has been referred but is there anything my friend can do to help her daughter in the meantime

thank you

Im glad that she is getting help for this. Sometimes its hard not to focus on the problem and comment about it, but sometimes taking the emphasis off the actual problem can help, so for example if your friend is able to reward her daughter for periods of time when this doesnt happen it might help.

nottirednow Mon 24-Jan-11 13:16:32

Message withdrawn

aristocat Mon 24-Jan-11 13:16:57

thank you - friend is so worried as the hair loss is clearly visible

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:21:05

MmeLindt

Several members of my husband's family suffer from mental health issues. One sister is bipolar, the other sister has suffered from depression and a niece has recently been admitted to hospital suffering from a breakdown. A cousin attempted suicide some years ago, after battling depression.

The family are rather secretive, and not good at discussing their feelings. We have only recently learned about the niece, but have no details. It happened several weeks ago.

My husband worries about our children, particularly our daughter - whether the likelihood of her developing some MH issues is higher, because of the family history.

What can we do to help our daughter avoid this?

The fact that you are doing things differently for your immediate family is really important; you are able to think about and talk about these issues which will make a difference.

How mental health difficulties develop is very complex and in most cases not purely down to a biological basis, that is the environment has a real and powerful influence on mental health.

talking about concerns and providing a thinking space to deal with issues for your children will help them deal with adversity, and will really reduce the likelyhood of more serious difficulties.

CaptainNancy Mon 24-Jan-11 13:24:09

I will be very interested in your answers to sundaytoast and leningrad- our issues seem somewhere between the two...

I want to know how we can help our daughter.
She is about to turn 5, and has had issues with sleep from birth. She needs a lot of sleep, always has, but finds it almost impossible to drop off- she cannot stand to lose control it seems. We have had a consistent bedtime routine from birth, and bedtime is 6:30 (it was 7 until she started nursery school 18months ago, but she was too tired so moved it forward).

She has suffered nightmares from around 14mo, and night terrors from around 2yo, she talks in her sleep (every night) and we recently had our first sleep walking incident.
None of these things wake her usually, but obviously her sleep is far from restful. On a normal night she will yell/scream out probably 6-8 times over 12 hour period, night terrors once a week or so. At the moment the yelling is reduced because she is sleeping in our room (at her insistence) but still 2 or 3 times a night, and I don't mean just calling "Mummy!", I mean full-on blood-curdling, being murdered type screaming!

Like Lenin's DS, us informing her of upcoming events (to prepare her) sends her loopy behaviourwise before bedtime- running screaming round the house, hitting and kicking us (if we restrain her she screams that we're hurting her), if I shut her in a room to contain her (and prevent her waking toddler DS) she will hammer with her palms on the door- you can hear her halfway down our street my DH and MIL have confirmed this!
She will be up until 10, then will stop, calm down and sleep normally (for her). Rewards (star charts, stickers etc), sanctions, ignoring, and shouting at her do not work!

She is (almost abnormally) interested in people who are asleep- especially when it is time for them to wake up- and always begs to be present when my toddler is woken from his naps. I think it stems from a perfectionist streak- she didn't say a word until 19mo, then started talking in sentences within 2 weeks, she refused to crawl, pull herself up, or toddle until 16mo, then stood up and walked one day- no wobling/falling over. She is perfectly behaved in school, and has many friends, and is doing very well academically (is Reception, but free reading already); she rarely ever (or has ever) tantrums - they are almost exclusively over sleep.

Sorry (turned into an essay) but I really want to help her get over this- for all our sakes... DH and I have no evening times some weeks whatsoever, DD is obviously disturbed by her behaviour but lacks any capacity to change it, DS is suffering from being kept awake/woken up by her noise and is also (as an impressionable toddler) starting to copy her antics at bedtime... grrrr.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:24:40

PixieOnaLeaf

My daughter is 12 and was discharged from hospital last week. She was admitted in November after an asthma attack which was so severe that she had to be ventilated.

She is finding it very difficult to 'come to terms' with the attack and is, I think, frightened that she is going to have another attack which will prove fatal, although she won't admit this to me, or her counsellor (who she is doing Play Therapy with).

She finds most aspects of life very difficult, but is having a number of panic attacks every day and is really struggling to cope with them. We have been told that we just need to be there for her and support her and that she'll get better with time.

Is this a normal reaction to what's she's experienced?

Is there anything other we can do than just waiting for her to get better?

To be honest, I just feel useless.

Please dont feel useless, your capacity to think about your daughter and her distress will be helping her, even though she is still anxious; it will get better. What you are describing can happen, she went through an extremely traumatic experience and she is trying to find a way of dealing with this, but clearly with thoughtful support.

crazypanda Mon 24-Jan-11 13:26:32

hi this is what we are experiencing too we are also being fobbed off by school it is soul distroying.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:27:41

wasuup3000

Hi Sally

My daughter is in year 7 at school she has a non verbal learning difficulty (assessed as significant 0.1 on her scores wisc tests), selective mustism and since a extended virus some weeks ago has developed pains in her arms, legs, hands and joints in general.

She goes to a small, friendly secondary school which she wanted to go to at first but now it seems that we are getting into the old "I don't want to go" cycle that we have been on for two extended periods twice before.

Everyday she has a headache, feels sick or can't walk. I sometimes have to shove her out the door ( she has home school transport). It is very draining just to get her off to school and she has 3 brothers one who has ASD as well who see this daily. Then she comes home upset saying its all my fault if she has had a bad day.

Can you advise?

Thanks.

Your daughter is clearly showing her distress about something and it sounds like you have been working hard to try and support her. Is the school working with you to help her, sometimes having someone from school come to the home to talk through options eg shorter days, support/counselling in school ?

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:30:11

devientenigma

hello to you Sally,
Please help my son, no one acknowledges his issues and he is being left by the wayside.

It sounds like you are having a tough time, have you talked this through with your sons GP ? they should be able to think with you about local services that might be able to help ?

wasuup3000 Mon 24-Jan-11 13:31:27

Thanks Sally - She has a statement and some support at school via a TA. One of the main difficulties she has is that she doesn't like talking( communicating her feelings) so will just tell whoever it is whatever she thinks they want to hear to get rid of them.

hi Sally, the Gp and social worker are doing there best, just not getting anywhere. His problems have remained the same since being small. I just don't know how to help. He's sitting here with me as he is scared of school. His teacher came out for him this am, to no avail.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:32:51

LolaShh

Hi
DD is 17, she has been diagnosed with a whole host of anxiety related disorders and AVPD.
She's attended CBT since she was 16, but currently she's at an inbetween stage. She's now too old for CAMHS but not old enough for the adult MH services - what on earth can I do to help her?
Are there any books you can recommend for either me or her, or just any advice would be welcome.
Thank you!

She shouldnt be too old for CAMHS, the service is funded through to age 18 and many areas have specialist young people/adolescent services. I would go back and talk to your GP about this, to see whats available in your area.

babartheelephant Mon 24-Jan-11 13:33:24

Hello
My 7 year old son suffers from night terrors most nights. He wakes up after about 1.5 hours screaming, sweating, with his hands clasped over his ears to block out the 'noises' and his eyes wide open and terrified of the 'things' he can see around him. He always breaks down after about 5-10 minutes saying 'I'm scared, I want my mummy' and I am always saying 'Mummy's here'. It's very distressing for us, but he never has any memory of it the next day.
I worked out that if I disturb his sleep pattern, ie. I go into the room and semi-wake him after about 1 hour, I can sometimes prevent the terror from happening, but not always.
What I have noticed is that he is soaked in sweat after about 1 hour of sleep, and his hair and PJs are drenched in sweat.
For reference, in his early years, he had a lot of difficulty with sleep and I found Millpond, the sleep therapists, very helpful and since he was about 5 his sleep seems to be good, apart from these night terrors. They are much worse at the moment because he had a bad bout of flu-B over xmas/New Year, when he had such a high temperature that he was sometimes having visual hallucinations. I suppose my question is : is this something that he will grow out of and is there anything else I should do? Could the latest patch of terrors be linked to the illness over xmas?
Thank you for reading this message.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:33:46

Several of you have asked for references for relevant books, which I do have, but not with me, will get them to mums net for posting later.

It's also whats all this stress and anxiety doing to his heart. HIs fingers are all broken and sore where he has been biting them etc.

InterestedInMoving Mon 24-Jan-11 13:36:32

Hi, I am as the name says putting things in place to move. The children are year 7 and 8, and I am thinking of moving out of area. The only link we have here is their school and friends, and up to now it has been holding us. I feel for me to feel free and move on, I need to move out of the area, for many reasons, one being in the past few years I had a breakdown, after emotional abuse from exh and the various court cases, and then I realised my own family were emotionally abusive so I have cut contact with them and some friends. I have had some therapy.

I am concerned that I may hurt the children by putting my needs first, what do you think?

crazypanda Mon 24-Jan-11 13:36:39

hi sally, we are having real problems with school accepting our childs needs,currently awaiting diagnosis asd,the school punish him like a naughty child would be, but the things he does he cannot help,i'm always on the phone to school ,and at meetings,but nothing ever gets properly sorted out.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:39:45

Just going back through the messages. thank you very much for your kind comments on Camsden, and I would welcome any further feedback. We developed this owing to our research at the tavistock that showed that there is very little support and information for younger children about emotional issues.

A couple of you have asked about diet, and I guess exercise would come into this category. I think there is a good research base to show that having a rounded approach to 'emotional well being', that does take into account life style issues is important, and can make a difference to mental health, for children as well as adults.

sickofsocalledexperts Mon 24-Jan-11 13:41:21

I would love to ask Dr Sally why it is that the behavioural methods of ABA are so hated by the education and health establishments in this country, when they are so successful in helping autistic children like my son? Every time I mention to one of the experts I come across, either in Education or Health, that ABA is having good results in improving my son's concentration span, ability to learn, ability to talk, and anti-social behaviours, they look at me as if I have just confessed to using witchcraft! Why is this country so anti behavioural methods, whereas in the US ABA is the absolute standard for young autistic children as an early intervention. Actually, the only exception to this universal prejudice is the nice clinical psychologist who I saw at CAMHS, who was very much more open-minded.

wasuup3000 Mon 24-Jan-11 13:44:00

I like the ideas on your cams website particularly the feelings diary which maybe useful for my daughter.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:46:02

moosemama

Hello Sally

Just been and had a look at the Cam's Den website. Its great, I think my son would really enjoy using it. He would be really pleased to see the feelings diary in particular, as I have designed one for him to use and its really seems to be helping him.

He's nearly 9 and was diagnosed with Aspergers just last week.

In addition to the ASD, he suffers from really bad anxiety and is highly reactive emotionally (not violent, just angry - lots of shouting and meltdowns etc). Until recently his anger was saved for home, where he felt safe, but its now seeming to erupt at school more and more often and I can see this becoming a huge issue if things don't improve quickly.

When we were told about his diagnosis, they told us that all they do is diagnose and that they couldn't help us with any help or support. Instead we were given a lot of leaflets for voluntary organisations and charities, most of whom are currently having their funding cut and are already really overstretched. Effectively we were told - your child has Autism, thank you for coming - goodbye. hmm

I have worked hard to understand the SEN process over the past two years and we are finally starting to make some progress with his educational support. (Although it has been anything but easy and there's still a lot more fighting to do.)

My question is, where should we go - or what route should we take to get him emotional support and help with understanding and handling his own emotions? He is a lovely, bright boy with such a lot of potential, but I fear without some help around handling his emotions he will never realise his potential.

The assessment centre suggested we contact CAMHS, but we've already done that via our GP and been turned down flat, despite at the time having an extremely anxious, school refusing 8 year old. Is there anyone else out there that can help?

Realistically, we can't afford to pay for him to have private support/therapy, but if there really is nowhere we can get help on the NHS obviously we would have no choice, so where can we go to find him the right therapist? My Mum is a clinical psychologist herself, but not a child psychologist and doesn't know of anyone locally who specifically works with children, let alone children with ASD and anxiety.

I am really sorry to hear that your son has not been offered support from CAMHS and its really hard to understand why given your thoughtful description of his difficulties. Sadly with reduced resources, CAMHS sometimes do have to make difficult decisions, but you are right to be concerned, there is considerable evidence to show that intervening early can make a big difference to outcome, and that waiting for a more serious problem to develop is not the most sensible response. At the tavistock we run a specialist service for children and adults with autism/ASD, are you able to travel to us, we are an NHS resource ?

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:47:53

sickofsocalledexperts

I would love to ask Dr Sally why it is that the behavioural methods of ABA are so hated by the education and health establishments in this country, when they are so successful in helping autistic children like my son? Every time I mention to one of the experts I come across, either in Education or Health, that ABA is having good results in improving my son's concentration span, ability to learn, ability to talk, and anti-social behaviours, they look at me as if I have just confessed to using witchcraft! Why is this country so anti behavioural methods, whereas in the US ABA is the absolute standard for young autistic children as an early intervention. Actually, the only exception to this universal prejudice is the nice clinical psychologist who I saw at CAMHS, who was very much more open-minded.

I cant really speak for all professionals, but I would take the view that each child with autism is an indvidual and different approaches work for different people, if its help to you and him then thats great.

mumbar Mon 24-Jan-11 13:49:08

Hi Sally,

My question is, does a schools attitude towards a childs personality/ traits have a negagtive effect on their learning as well as self esteem? My son is 'quirky' but this years teacher seems to laugh and/or ignore them. He seems genuinely happier. Also when he is 'naughty' he now gets upset. I think this is positive as now it means something. Could this be he is finally believing he's not a 'bad boy' just a child who sometimes does things wrong?

mumbar Mon 24-Jan-11 13:51:07

Sorry should have said I was ready to go to GP and ask for CAMHS referral, but the different attitude my son has received I no longer (atm) feel it necessary. We are coping.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:51:43

ellnlol

Hi Sally
I'm an educational psychologist and regularly meet families where ASD/Asperger's has been diagnosed or is suspected.
Whilst on a personal level I have a good relationship with several colleagues in CAMHS, we seem often to get into the situation of each agency saying 'it's not us, it's them', to address difficulties, especially around anxiety/non-attendance, which is no help to the families and frustrating/professionally embarrassing for the agencies.
We've been talking about 'joined up services' for years, but so many families still get let down. Where do we go next, and how do we make schools (especially in the seocndary phase) more accessible/helpful/safe/enjoyable places for this increasing population of young people?
Big question, I know!
Thanks

I agree that this can be a problem, and in times of even more pressurised resources, I guess it might be easier to hope that others are picking issues up. I also agree that this is not acceptable and that we know that outcomes are better for children where there is greater linking up, its a big question indeed. For what its worth, face to face contacts with the professional network at the begining of involvement always helps me understand where other professionals are coming from.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:53:21

crazypanda

hi sally, we are having real problems with school accepting our childs needs,currently awaiting diagnosis asd,the school punish him like a naughty child would be, but the things he does he cannot help,i'm always on the phone to school ,and at meetings,but nothing ever gets properly sorted out.

I guess this might be a case of the school not really understanding his needs, can you get the school to link up with the diagnosing professionals to get a better understanding of his needs ?

MyOneAndOnly Mon 24-Jan-11 13:54:19

Hi,
Trying to be a proactive mum, wanting to have dd (age 5.5) assessed by an educational psychologist for various questions: ie she has problems with concentrating, she is far too quiet and shy, clumsy, confidence issues, problems with fitting in socially and reading social clues... with past speech problems ( now discharged by SALT), problems with learning at school...she may be dyslexic as she confuses some letters and also may be adhd etc all in my lay-person observations but also with a mother's insticts!
I tried KUMON lessons etc as supplement to her school work but her learning is progressing slow. I would very much like to find her learning sytle, her strenghts and weaknesses etc and specific advice.
School and one specific edu psychologis that I found from internet, both say she is far too young for dyslexia assesment, not before she is 7! whereas dyslexia specialists say 7 too late. I do not want to pay the odds for unnecessary things but I am willing to pay privately if it is useful.

Where do I find reliable starting point? For a full educational psychoilogis report? Apart from the randon names on the internet?
Dyslexia centre I think only asess dyslexia and not much else am I wrong? I want a fulkl picture.
Would you pls put us in the right direction? Many thanks.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 13:58:17

HairyMaclary

Hi, I'm very pleased to have seen this before tomorrow as I won't be able to be online until about 1.45.
I have a 5.10 year old son with moderate spastic diplegia CP who is very aware of what is different about him already. He is academically bright but socially and emotionally immature.

Both his paediatrician and myself feel that he would really benefit from talking to somebody as he does have 'meltdowns' and has started to become very anxious about the many hospital visits, especially any involving anaesthesia. CAHMS have refused him 3 times and we have now been referred to the complex needs team but have been waiting for a response for over 6months - we have chased them up!

I wonder if you have any suggestions of things we could do with him at home to ease some of his anxieties or talk to him about having a disability. I can foresee that if he is not helped in managing his feelings and emotions now it will could easily cause problems in the future. We are very open about it all at home, have photos up of him in the incubator (he was very premature) and prepare him for each appointment, at the same time I have started pulling in all sorts of favours so that I have someone with me at appointments so that they can be with him and I can discuss his needs with Drs without him being there. However I feel he needs more and we are not quite sure how to go about getting him this help.

Is there any particular type of therapy you could suggest? Is it worth giving him yet another set of people to see, probably in hospital which would add to time away from school and further emphasise differences? How can we access this help if the complex needs team refuse to see us?

Thank you.

Again another very thoughtful question. It is worth helping your son access somekind of talking treatment, it doesnt have to be in a hospital, many CAMH services can be provided somewhere locally and even in school if this was appropriate. Re what you can do at home, its hard to say if there would be anything more than you are already doing, which is being receptive to his needs and helping him prepare for things. Good luck with accessing help.

moosemama Mon 24-Jan-11 14:02:04

Hi Sally, hope I'm not too late - unexpected guests!

Thank you so much for answering my question.

We are near Warwickshire, so it would be a long way to travel, but we are willing to do anything to help and support our son and would be happy to do whatever's necessary to get him there if you thought you could help.

What would we need to do for him to be seen at your centre?

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 14:02:08

DottyDot

Awww - Hi Sally! I used to work with you at the Tavistock Clinic many years ago now - I was the Child and Family Services Manager! smile

Anyway, ds1 is now 9 years old (where did that go..?!) and we've discovered over time he finds it very difficult to settle into school at the beginning of the academic year. He doesn't show it at school - the teachers love him because he loves order and processes (and gets lots of stars reminding them when it's time to do things grin) and academically he's great, but at home we see how difficult it is for him.

This year he started not being able to eat in September - almost forgot how to chew and swallow food and although he's much better now (it tends to ease up by December/January), he had several choking episodes at home, and is still taking around an hour to eat any meal.

Do you have any advice on how we can best prepare him for each September starting in a new class, with a new teacher? Is it worth approaching the school in the July before to talk to his new teacher?

At the moment school are unaware he struggles, because it doesn't impact on them and we've debated about how much of a 'big deal' to make of it...

Sigh. I won't be able to make the web chat live so thanks in advance for any tips on how to help him - we're starting to look ahead to him starting secondary school in a couple of years, so want to get prepared really before this huge change happens for him.

Thank you and hope life's good at the Tavi!

wow time does fly doesnt it! I think its possible to prepare without it being a 'big deal' talking to the school in advance of the comming term is a sensible idea. take the emphasis off the food during mealtimes, rewards around success will help.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 14:03:44

moosemama

Hi Sally, hope I'm not too late - unexpected guests!

Thank you so much for answering my question.

We are near Warwickshire, so it would be a long way to travel, but we are willing to do anything to help and support our son and would be happy to do whatever's necessary to get him there if you thought you could help.

What would we need to do for him to be seen at your centre?

Its a long way, but happy to help you think about what might fit for you. you can call our intake administator on the main switchboard for the tavistock.

moosemama Mon 24-Jan-11 14:05:54

Thank you. smile

I'll discuss it with my husband when he gets home from work and hopefully make the call then.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 14:08:42

Hammerlikedaisies

Another one - more important, maybe.

Do you think that mental health services are going to be able to survive the government's changes to the NHS?

This is a good question and one that child mental health professionals are concerned about, one of the main worries is that services to vulnerable children can be marginalised, particularly as children dont have a voice as adults in the same way. I guess its our responsibility as parents and professionals to raise the need for good quality mental health services for children where ever possible. This is especially important for specialist CAMHS for example for children with disabilities or children in care, who have particular needs that cannot always be met in mainstream services.

domesticslattern Mon 24-Jan-11 14:08:58

Sorry I'm late!
Can you recommend any books or resources suitable for parents who have just found out that their child is disabled? Karnac books said there wasn't anything. Seems like a big gap to me.

crazypanda Mon 24-Jan-11 14:09:39

dianosing proffessional going into school later this week.

DrSallyHodges Mon 24-Jan-11 14:13:55

Dear all,

I have to go now and I havent been able to get to everyone, which is a shame as you have raised really thoughtful and insighful questions. I wanted to wish you all the best with your indvidual issues, and thank you to mumsnet for having me here.

Sally

wasuup3000 Mon 24-Jan-11 14:15:08

Thanks for your response Sally and for coming on here.

That is a shame. I would love to come across someone who can help my son. Thanks anyway.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 24-Jan-11 14:15:30

Thanks very much to Sally.

We're going to talk to her about getting other members of her team back to cover specific topics around children's mental health.

Thanks to everybody who took part.

ouryve Mon 24-Jan-11 14:18:03

Thank you, Sally.

And Geraldine, that would be great.

moosemama Mon 24-Jan-11 14:19:04

Thank you Sally. smile

crazypanda Mon 24-Jan-11 14:49:11

thanks for your advice,would love to talk again.

cliffsgirl Tue 25-Jan-11 11:37:45

My daughter is 15 and has suffered with anxiety and fear and now depression, regarding the school day, from infant school. She has missed a lot of school, and been prescribed numerous medication, which have caused severe side-effects. It has now reached the point that she is not able to attend school at all, due to severe anxiety. We are awaiting our appt with CAMHS, and meanwhile I am teaching her at home the core subjects. Pressure to do well at school and being given 12 GCSE's to study has pushed her over the edge, this past year. Health Needs Education is apparently over-stretched, and cannot accept any more children.....!? What are they doing to our children? It is supposed to be the happiest time of their lives... life is tough enough, soon enough, PLEASE take the pressure off our children, somebody.... if anybody has a similar story, and found answers.......

Hammerlikedaisies Tue 25-Jan-11 22:29:23

Sorry to hear of your daughter's problems, Cliffsgirl. sad Hope things get better after your appointment with CAMHS. Wish her good luck for her GCSEs.smile

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