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Looks like we may get a diagnosis before ds reaches 18 <not holding breath mind>

(7 Posts)

Yet another meeting with ds at CAMHS. Previously I have been told he just needs hugs (3.5 yrs ago) and that I'm emotionally abusing him, complete with referral to ss (last Christmas)

Since then we've had formal complaint through pals, half arsed apology, and almost taking me seriously with a couple of questionnaires and then the connors scale.

Today I went with ds to discuss the grading of this, and straight away she said we were going to discuss a dx. I've come to expect bugger all, so this was a surprise. A family history, and one of ds' early years, but I have to go back for another appt without ds, as it involves dv, and he doesn't need to hear.

Anyway, at the mo we are looking at ASD, ADHD traits, partly due to low iron from not eating (some due to sensory some due to control) and PTSD. Also muttering attachment disorder, but that's another fancy way of saying blame the mum, and I'm well used to this. I am being strongly encouraged to do an attachment parenting course in Sept with a collogue of hers.

Well, attachment disorder could sum ds us, but so could many others. But am relieved to hear her muttering ASD and PTSD, given the "he needs lots of hugs" and "he can't be asd because he can make eye contact and hold a conversation with an adult" (the latter from the HCP who made a referral based on that, my insistence he perceives his world differently and loads of bollocks spouted by abusive xh)

So relieved, please don't burst my bubble, but talk to me about this possible attachment disorder/ attachment parenting class malarky

BeeMom Fri 05-Jul-13 12:00:23

If there is a history of dv and an abusive parent (father, NOT you) attachment disorder is a potential unfortunate reality. With your DS fitting the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, this scenario is not impossible and actually likely.

"Reactive" attachment disorder occurs in response to traumatic experiences as a young child, this is not a condemnation of you as a parent, but a survival mechanism for the child in an exceptionally traumatic time. I would be inclined to believe that your ds's attachment issues (and yours, in all honesty) are a direct result of the dv. It is also known as "maladaptive coping" as the coping mechanisms continue once the threat is gone...

Children with RAD require different supports and disciplinary measures - and a parenting course specific to his challenges might actually prove invaluable to you. The number of children with RAD in foster care is staggering, and

I am going to turn the tables for a second to try and explain RAD in terms that will pertain to you. You have had a horrible time with professionals who you believed (naively, maybe) would help you and your son during/after a very traumatic time in your life. These professionals first let you down massively, then betrayed your trust entirely. Despite the fact that you are likely not working with the individuals who were responsible for the betrayal any more, you are still involved (by necessity) with the organisation, but are unable to let your guard down, feel constantly on edge in their presence, and the mention of them or prospect of working with them causes you anger and anxiety. This colours the interactions you have with them and causes you to measure every word you share with them very carefully. Despite the fact that intellectually you know that the one person you are working with now might not have the same motivations as the ones who have caused you so much harm, emotionally you cannot let the protective walls you have built down lest you put yourself at risk of being betrayed again.

Make this happen to a child and have the perpetrator one of the most important people in their developmental journey, and you have RAD.

Not trying to burst your bubble, but just trying to suggest that you don't dismiss attachment disorder as you feel it is a judgement against you. It is not, in any way. It is a descriptive way to explain the challenges and interactions he has in terms of the trauma he has experienced.

Sending you un-Mumsnetty hugs. After experiences like these, it would be stellar if we could live in the present and make the past disappear. Sadly, this is not the case, and the past has an insidious way of making itself very "present". You can't change the past, but from your post, it seems that you are working very, very hard to influence the future for the better, and after what you have been through, you should be commended and respected.

BeeMom Fri 05-Jul-13 12:03:31

The foster care comment was supposed to read "The number of children in foster care is staggering, and there is a lot of good information on how to best support these children, giving value to their survival instincts and helping them to learn more adaptive coping mechanisms...

Sorry - computer is turned on, but apparently the brain is still booting up.

Thank you very much for your insight, that's really useful and I shall ponder on it over the next few days, as brain is not very functional. I get what you mean, and just wish she'd explained it more along those lines, because that now makes a lot of sense, especially in that you've got it spot on in your example.

Ds is seeing his father tomorrow (court ordered, and imo damaging). We will spend tomorrow evening settling him, and his sisters, before hopefully getting back to normal Sunday.

Can I pick your brains? If Ds has in all likeliness PTSD, what are the chances of at least the older of the two sisters having it as well? DD1 fits the bill in many ways, with different coping mechanisms. The dc were 5 (ds), 3 and 15mths (dds) when we fled.

MumuDeLulu Sat 06-Jul-13 00:05:44

Remember that attachment disorder can look like asd /adhd etc, but can (and very often does) also co-exist with them. In the either-or diagnostic mentality, it's easy for staff to forget the both-and possibility. Though from what you've written the current lot look sensible.

Given a set of bad circumstances, a neurologically vulnerable dc with odd sensory stuff etc would be less resilient than average and possibly more likely to develop an attachment disorder.

BeeMom Sat 06-Jul-13 01:05:22

MuMu makes an exceptionally important point - ASD/ADHD are by definition organic neurological dysfunction, while PTSD/RAD are mental illnesses, with a causative factor - that is, anyone can have ASD/ADHD, but something has to occur in order for PTSD/ASD to develop. The presence of the former does increase the potential (with associated triggering influences) for the latter.

They are not the same "critter" and can very much occur simultaneously as a pair or a cluster. Of course, the challenge, when you are facing multiple diagnoses, is to tease out the best method of support for the individual, with respect to their unique needs and level of function (or you can just hug them more... right? hmm ) - as what "works" for one diagnosis might trigger a dramatic reaction as a result of the trauma that led to the other, if that makes any sense...

With regard to your DDs, it is definitely possible. I will explain this on a VERY broad base... PTSD was first described in WW1, and known as "shell shock". It has gone through many monikers over the years, combat fatigue, operational exhaustion, and now post traumatic stress disorder, but what is common across all of these is that not everyone experiences it. A platoon of soldiers (for example, carrying on its origin) may all have the same "experiences", but only one or two may suffer serious mental health related consequences. What renders these individuals more susceptible is unknown, but the after effects, without support, can be devastating. In the last 20 years or so, it has become evident that survivors of abuse can demonstrate some, if not all, of the markers of PTSD. In fact, research in the last 5 years has shown that the primary caregivers of children with exceptional needs (disability, critical or life threatening illness, traumatic accidents) frequently display them as well - it might explain the "always on" mentality.

It is not impossible that DD1 may be exhibiting signs as well, and could definitely benefit from some (late) crisis counselling. A lot of this depends also on the nature of the violence, whether or not she was a victim of abuse individually, and the support and stability immediately after you fled. Developing a positive therapeutic relationship with someone for her now might help you to defuse "puzzling" behaviour as she gets older - even if she only pops in once or twice a year to see them for a "tune-up". Early exposure to abuse/dv can set a young girl up for some troubling relationship patterns in the long run - and it is evident that keeping your dcs safe if your number one priority.

Frankly, I think you might find (if you don't already have someone) that a safe and non-judgemental ear might be of benefit to you... I don't know how long ago you fled, but being forced by the courts to continue to allow access to your dcs is a continuing trauma for you - and being able to "tie up" the past is bloody impossible, when the parcel is being untied with every access.

If you would rather not discuss this on open forums, I'd be happy to make myself available via PM to talk further. I might be able to help you understand these diagnoses a bit better with a couple of details, but of you'd rather not share them (either on the open forum or privately) I understand.

Thank you. In response, to your queries about the dds, The older one was a victim, he threw her across a room. I was using the name readyisknitting, and one similar, but the info is here- somewhere! We fled just over 4 years ago, but it is very obvious that he hasn't moved on. I think I will push for them to look at the older one esp.

They have come back, it's been a long tie since they were last as unsettled as they are tonight. I was collared by a woman I know who'd been beginning to get involved but had told him he needed to parent better, and wanted to know if I was ok about. she then told me yesterday that she'd decided to not get involved and had told him, with him then kicking off, which might explain why the dcs are so fragile. dd1 is in the biggest state, ds has been following dp around, and trying to help dp do the lawn grin

I'm quite lucky, this dr seems to be of the 'both and' mentality. still don't trust them an inch!

Stared writing this and got distracted. watch this space I guess...

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