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What do you do if you think your child might have a mental health problem?

(9 Posts)
MyschoolMyrules Tue 15-Nov-16 09:30:15

Ds is 9 and has verbal dyspraxia. His speech is good but he his pronounciation is not great. He finds it difficult to make friends, he only has two friends at school and they don't always want to play with him.

He is a high achiever academically, plays an instrument, goes to Cubs and has gymnastic lessons (it's a club at school and very relaxed, they are not pushed).

Since September there has been a number of issues, he cries a lot, finds reasons to cry, blames everything in his life, often refuses to go to activities which he used to love, cries at night, is sad in the morning. He often doesn't want to get out of the house and if we'd leave it to him he would stay indoors all weekends. We spoke to school about it and they made some changes in the classroom for him and are accommodating generally and not pushy with him.

He is top of his class in every subject but he is not a perfectionist or worries about not achieving (not that we can see anyway).

We are at a loss to know what to do. Ask for a educational psychologist at school? Go to GP? Any ideas welcome. Thanks.

Ekorre Tue 15-Nov-16 12:17:50

Any chance he is being bullied? Do you know any of the other parents and they could ask their kids? Other kids are often aware that someone is being bullied even if they aren't involved.

I would maybe keep a diary to see if you can spot a trigger (e.g. Tuesdays or after seeing a particular family, a certain film or type of homework).

GP is certainly an option but be aware that some areas do not offer any help to people with ASD. Hopefully yours is one of the good areas but I wouldn't rely solely on it as there may be waiting lists etc.

zzzzz Tue 15-Nov-16 15:44:21

I'd say he was unhappy, possibly depressed. What does he say?

MyschoolMyrules Tue 15-Nov-16 16:05:01

His reasons for being unhappy vary from feeling that he isn't responsible because he hasn't done enough homework, to feeling that his brother isn't nice, that he isn't good enough because he gets home sick if he goes on a sleepover. There is always a different reason. This morning when I asked him if he was ok he said no I am just sad and I don't know why. We speak to him a lot about managing his feelings. That everyone can feel a bit dark sometimes but doing things that we like makes us feels better and we encourage him to do things that he likes, such as drawing, climbing trees, going to the park, etc.

He also says things like 'I just want to be a normal boy' which is very worrying.

He sometimes struggles to get to sleep (no different from other children) but he really works himself up into full blown tantrums.

zzzzz Tue 15-Nov-16 18:05:20

What does make him happy?

Ask him what he was doing the last time he was happy, if you don't know.

Do more of those things.

Create things to look forward to. Think daily (tv? Snack? Bubble bath?), weekly (trip to a cafe or the pool), monthly (zoo, cinema, visit). Sometimes clunky as it is, this works wonders.

youarenotkiddingme Tue 15-Nov-16 21:48:05

As school are supportive can you ask them if there are services you can access for advise?

I also think getting him to look at and remember the times he felt good is really helpful - it's what camhs suggested to me for Ds

MyschoolMyrules Tue 15-Nov-16 22:08:42

He wrote a list of things that he enjoys doing, but we don't have a list of 'happy moments' to look back at. Will work on that and also speak to the school.

tartanterror Wed 16-Nov-16 22:52:03

I think you are quite right to think about nipping this in the bud. Our DS is ASD/asperger profile and there are a lot of similarities to dyspraxia. Our paed was very clear at the diagnosis earlier this year (age 7) that we had to be very careful with self esteem to avoid mental health issues.

Firstly I took that to meant keeping things very positive and supportive at home so that it is a refuge. School gets very tough socially for the academic but immature kids from about age 8. I do a "quiet time" every evening at bedtime with DS. We sit and do some reading, or a quiet game, or a comic strip conversation. It has helped a lot.

Second could you think of ways for him to feel competence and achievement? Helping around the house? Tackling something that is a challenge (for him) and having success?

Someone suggested that we start a "Wow book" where we collect memories and social stories about how DS has done good things and where things went well. He i's often told that he is so bright, why is he not able to do x, y, or z? I hate it - somehow turning a strength into a weakness! Somehow being bright and verbal raises the bar on all sorts of unrelated social/emotional things. Sigh - sorry I will stop ranting.

Anyway in anticipation of possible problems I have stored away some contact details from the Human Givens website. They have some good tools and some practitioners are very experienced with children - using relaxation, guided imagery and therapeutic stories. I have myself sorted out a traumatic experience with an HG therapist and was really impressed with how quick and effective it was. I didn't get the impression that CBT with CAMHS would be at all like that. Anyway, have a look here and if you are within travel distance of Herts/Barnet I have the number of someone who I haven't used, but will take DS to in the future.

Good luck

MyschoolMyrules Thu 17-Nov-16 14:11:06

Thanks for loads of new ideas and resources!

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