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If you had a child who appeared to be regressing

(36 Posts)
izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 19:35:56

at the age of 4 (nearly 5), would you be worried??

I am sorry, I know nothing about SN, so this may the wrong place to ask.

We have been through a massively traumatic time, but I thought my 4 year old was coming out of things.

However at parents evening we were told, he cant count to 10 (I had noticed this), when he used to be able to, he cant write his name (when he used to be able to).

More concerning to me is the fact he is wetting himself daily (not flooding, but constantly damp, when he was totally dry to the point he has a triangular sore patch exactly like nappy rash.

He is wanting to be fed all the time.

He has started to be destructive, ripping up books etc.

He is beginning to refuse to sleep in his own bed, and last night started sobbing for his baby bed.

He has started pulling this strange face, hard to explain, constantly screwing his face up.

He is beginning to start having raging tantrums again (used to be 6 hours a day, but they had calmed down those were def related to the situation we were in).

I don't know if I am over analysing but I mentioned it to DH and he says he is worried, but not in a way he can put his finger on.

What do you all think, individually they are all small things, but I am beginning to have nagging concerns that all is not right.

catstail Thu 08-Nov-12 20:15:57

Yes I would be concerned, but from what you have said I would expect this to be a behavioural/environmental problem rather than a neurological cant be fixed kind of problem iyswim?

You mention that he has recently experienced many/all of these behaviours as a result of circumstances around him? My immediate thoughts are that for some reason he has not finished processing those issues or something has triggered his responses or unsettled him in some way whilst he is still healing.

Can you share a bit more about the background?

Did you have any cause for concern before the situation occurred that caused this last time?

sneezecakesmum Thu 08-Nov-12 20:23:32

Children can regress in response to severe emotional distress (eg bereavement). Their babyhood is where they felt safe and secure and they are trying to recapture that subconsciously. Tantrums and wetting are also signs of stress.

Rarely there can be regression due to neurological conditions and this must be investigated medically.

I would see your GP about these problems. A GP can also refer to child psychological services if there is emotional trauma.

TheLightPassenger Thu 08-Nov-12 20:33:01

I agree with sneezecake and catstail. Whilst this does sound like some sort of delayed reaction to trauma affecting his behaviour, I'ld certainly want some sort of medical check up to rule out anything physical e.g. check urine for a uti etc.

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 20:39:41

Its effectively bereavement, except without the explanations you can use, we see a therapist (DH and I), and she thinks he has attachment disorders, based solely on what we have told her.

Effectively one of his half siblings (was resident for a long time), has disappeared from his life, followed by another and then by a third (was always resident), although we are still in contact with this one, and I myself was totally traumatised by it all, which had a massive impact on DS, he thinks people just disappear and I am not in a position to really explain to him what has happened, nor would he understand.

I have explained to him in age appropriate terms, but he is way too young to even begin to grasp things (complex issues surrounding sibling abuse).

He was really badly traumatised, for a long time, but the last 3/4 months has been recovering - we have seen massive improvements in his behaviour and security, but I am seeing again huge backwards steps, with apparently no reason, although the old trauma is still quite recent and to a degree ongoing.

There were no causes for concern at all, prior to this, I had noticed that academically he is a little slow, but then he is young but he was a bright, sunny, happy child.

He is very loving and affectionate, no concern there, except he is all for me, dad and DD - he doesn't want to go anywhere without us and since he started school he doesnt want to go out on weekends, he just wants to stay home and have pyjama day all the time, DD (2) has started staying at my mums once a week, and he doesnt want to go, but nor does he like DD going (actually that may be a trigger thinking about it).

He refuses point blank to discuss school or to touch any of the work sheets he is given, occassionally he will tell you a "XXX went to school" story. He likes a LINE between school and home and the 2 shouldnt mix in his head.

Sorry for essay.

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 20:42:21

Can I add, he wasn't (as far as I am aware) a victim of abuse, but he has being living in a house dealing with the fall out of sibling abuse.

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 20:44:05

Thank you btw for answering, we are seeing a family therapist on Wednesday, I think I will print this out and take it with me as I never remember exactly what I want to say when I get there, I will see what she advises, I don't think a therapist would pick up on it, because to all outward appearance he comes across as a normal 4 year old, it is only when you spend a lot of time with him, you can see what is happening.

PolterGoose Thu 08-Nov-12 21:00:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lougle Thu 08-Nov-12 21:04:39

If you try to take all the emotion out of it (sorry that you are facing such horrible times, though), see it more objectively:

If he goes to school, he can't see you.
If he goes to school, he can't see his sister.
If he goes to school, who will be there when he gets back?

He is asking you, I think, to show him that you love him. Even if it seems that he is being destructive, he's just expressing his hurt in the only way he knows how. I hope you get some constructive help, but you may need to 'baby' him for a while, for him to know that no matter how he behaves, you won't disappear.

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 21:21:16

yes we did have a period where he was refusing to go to school, I bought a load of much younger books about separation anxiety and how mummy always loves you, we talk about how I think about him all day, so when he is eating his sandwich me and DD are eating ours, when he is having fun playing, we are thinking of him.

He likes school once we get there, but he is reluctant to leave the house, I have an arrangement with the teacher that he can be late, so if he is reluctant in the morning, or he is tantrumming, I leave him come around in his own time, (I decided this when I had to pin him to floor to dress him and I felt dreadful, I almost pulled him out of school for a year, but they agreed to this instead), I told the teacher I wasn't prepared to put him through that.

Thinking about the recent regression, it is tied in with half term, he was settling I think up until half term, and off course he has spent a week at home (well we were on holiday but I think in his head home is wherever I am).

I am really worried about DS, DD is younger and not so affected, but I can see the changes in DS so much and I don't want to do anything that damages him further.

Accessing support, as you on the special needs boards well know, there is little of it and it is hard fought for, we were granted a whole 25 minutes with social services, who left me with 2 under 5s and a suicidal teenager as well as at that time a traumatised step daughter, they decided that as we had banned the abusing sibling from the house, there were no child protection issues so we didn't need any support. I begged them for help, but no, my children (not even the victim), are not in need, despite a huge trial.

It was only because I literally begged the local crisis centre (charity) about 5 months in that we got help, they give us an hour a week, and I am so grateful, they saved my sanity if not my life, but at the same time, I feel guilty because I am not a "victim", I have discussed this with the therapist and she says she is there for us so we can try to support the child who was a victim and my 2 under 5s.

I also had help from SNAP, because we were advised to move DD and DS out of the local schools, and the LA were unco-operative to say the least.

I find it ironic that all the help we have had has come from charities and not the LA who are supposed to be there to provide support.

Lougle Thu 08-Nov-12 21:36:01

Small tips - could you do a little drawing and slip it in with your DS's lunch in his lunchbox? Tell him that everyday you'll put something in there for him to remember that you're thinking of him?

Could you have something small planned for every day after school? Even if it's 'we'll read x book' or 'we'll look at the puzzle'. You could say to him 'I'll look forward to doing x with you when you get home - we'll wait for you'.

Could you write him a social story? So a story, with simple pictures, about the fact that x and y lived with you, but then something happened and they had to leave, but that DS is going to live with you until he is a grown up?

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 22:02:39

Thats a good idea, he has like a story strip stuck on the wall outside class (all the children have pictures, he just has an A4 collage so we are all on it doing different things).

Maybe I will get a pile of tiny thing and stick one a day in his lunch box, we do something special after school every day, today we made hats.

Poor, poor DS, he is so little, so be so troubled.

I know its trivial compared to a lot on here, but I can't bear to think he is unhappy and troubled.

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 22:52:05

lougle re the social story, I don't think I could bear it tbh! I could write one about DS staying with us until he is a grown up though.

catstail Thu 08-Nov-12 23:06:09

Oh izzy, i think u r goin t hv t b strong and bear it for his sake. He cant ever properly move on if he cant get it all out and free all the bad feelings, and you are the safest place for him to do that.

I think after school activity idea wasnt for sake if the activity itself, but so that you tell him tge pkan in the morning and he holds the idea in his heart all day, making home feel nearer.

catstail Thu 08-Nov-12 23:10:35

Stupid phone

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 23:12:10

Thanks Cats, its a total mess, thats for sure.

I cannot understand how little help there is out there when this massive thing lands on your family, they just abandon you to get on with it. We have had no help and support at all really, other than from the 1 charity and would say the LA have gone out of their way to make things more difficult.

izzywizzyisbizzy Thu 08-Nov-12 23:14:20

I talk to him about them (the SCs), but all the photos etc have been removed, personally Id burn the lot, but they are a part of the DCs and one day, god only knows when or how, I am going to have to explain it all to them, so I have kept them in a safe place where they wont be stumbled across.

I was hoping they would just forget but clearly they arent going to, even my 2 year old is still talking about them.

mariammma Fri 09-Nov-12 02:45:45

It sounds to me like he's expecting his dsis to vanish shortly. Which probbly makes perfect sense in the context of the previous gaps between his losses so far (perhaps adjusting for a child's understanding of time). You have all been bereaved, but with no funeral and precious few happy memories. Like a presumed suicide after a long illness, where the body hasn't been recovered. Competent, kind, professional therapy sounds just right. You will come through.

By the way, we don't do 'whose dc have needs most worthy of support' here. Nor do we divide up physical v. neurological v. emotional needs. Your dc have special needs currently. They're additional to what most people deal with, and beyond the normal range. So you are welcome, and before long people will be asking you for help too wink. And Lougle's advice is spot on.

Lougle Fri 09-Nov-12 06:44:43

Izzy, you know they're not going to forget,just as you can't.

The social story doesn't have to be detailed, and can focus on how important your DS is. The key is to give him something he can use to reassure himself that it's all ok now.

The more he thinks you don't want to talk about it, the more he'll think he needs to be worried. It sounds like you're doing incredibly well though -no parent signs up for this sort of thing, do they? sad

BeeMom Fri 09-Nov-12 11:37:53

The social story can be about getting ready for school in the morning, and what mummy does while he is at school.

Mummy waves goodbye at school, then all the BORING things you do while he is with his friends at school, iykwim.

As well (and I am sure this has already been covered, but I'll throw it out anyhow) maybe touch base with your GP. I think we can all agree that the likelihood that this is a physical reaction to a very big emotional trauma, but perhaps your GP can refer him to a psych to help you all get through this.

Anti-anxiety meds, if deemed necessary, are not unheard of in children to help them to process events as traumatic as these...

izzywizzyisbizzy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:03:01

Thank you - I have this morning made a start on a photobook for him to keep in his school bag - I'm going to include a typical day here and my mum and him in school and on the weekend.

You are right - I asked him some gentle questions this morning and he hasn't forgotten anything or anyone sad or who he loves (he told me).

I'm doing my best but there are dockage conflicting demands - an hour a week isn't really cutting it re help - but that's what we have and compared to some families we are lucky to have that.

The therapist is very restricted - we don't talk about what has actually happened - that has to wait - just about feelings in general and there are so many issues.

I had a bit of a breakdown so for a while he "lost" me too.

Make a lot of sense to me that as time passes he is more scared of losing DD - seems so obvious when someone else points it out, me I couldn't see why he is getting worse.

I wish with all my heart they could see what they have done to our family. DS was such a happy little thing. He is a different child to who he was.

It's seems never ending - we are going to be dealing with this for ever.

sneezecakesmum Fri 09-Nov-12 13:58:25

izzy. Of course you are a victim as is DS and DD. The emotional fallout in this type of situation is incalculable.

There must be other charitable organisations that can help or point you in the right direction? Sorry I dont know much about this area.

Would it be an idea for DS to just attend school afternoons until he is 5? He doesnt need legally to be in full time school until the term after his 5th birthday. He needs to regain his security and its going to be a long slow process, sad.

Lougle Fri 09-Nov-12 14:09:38

Some really good ideas I've heard about:

-You could do a little weekly calendar, with a picture of the thing you will be doing each day on it. So he can look and see what he has to look forward to after school.

-"Best thing, worst thing." - Some time, just for you and him, where he gets to tell you the best and worst thing about his day.

-Perhaps a little 'diary' you could keep together. After you make your hats, you take a picture of him wearing one, then stick it in - after a few weeks you'll have a nice little memory keepsake for him.

Simple, but reassuring things.

mariammma Fri 09-Nov-12 16:25:00

The school also need to know that this year, the only thing he really needs to learn is that he is safe. Hopefully they're onto that.

izzywizzyisbizzy Fri 09-Nov-12 21:47:24

Thanks for the latest ideas, he is happy enough this evening, my oldest is home for weekend and that always cheers him up.

DS teacher is aware of the issues (we had huge rows with the LA about getting him into a different school, apparently giving him any extra consideration was "unfair" on other families, I ended up with the Director of Education after contacting my MP numerous times), then we had a huge row with the school about the need for him to be in class with the one child in the whole school that he already knew because by the time we got him a place, the class lists were already set.

Teacher is very sweet, but a bit clueless, the school is honest and this is not a situation they have come across before, so I tend to "tell" them what we are prepared to do, rather than ask, which is how they agreed the late starts.

He is fine in school - apparently exceptionally well behaved (although I am even concerned about that, as in he is worried that if he is "bad" in school that someone will take him away), I over analyse everything to the tenth degree though, am always looking for answers, where tbh there are none.

I am going to finish my photo book of our normal week, I do photo books every 6 months that work as a sort of diary of our life (excluding all the bad stuff), pictures of pictures, school reports, photos, little quotes they make, all go in, the DCs love them (also do one every holiday) and I am going to print a photo calendar for next year.

Hopefully Christmas will be busy and happy, we do 25 days of Christmas, with Elves and also we "do" a christmas thing every day, even if its only Christmas colouring.

Its hard week days to have a best and worst bit as he categorically refuses to discuss school at home, he wont even say what he has had for lunch if he has been treated to a school dinner!!

I don't want to paint a picture of a totally unhappy little boy, he is loving and affectionate with me, DH, DD and my eldest, but he doesn't really want to be with anyone else, and he is going backwards with all the things listed in my initial post.

Thank you mariammma, that is a lovely summary, I think I would do well to remember that myself, his whole world has been shattered, rebuilding it is far more important than anything else.

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