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Have you been to a CAMHS parent group?

(17 Posts)
FiloPony Sun 08-Jan-17 16:56:35

The invite arrived before Christmas and I've always been sceptical but in a whim have agreed evening post, tipsy xmas get together if I'm honest

DD is only 4, it's a post diagnosis autism group for parents. The child psychiatrist has rung to talk beforehand but I missed both calls. I'm feeling very nervous, that I'll be judged, that strategies will be patronising, that I will have read bits already. Nervous of the discussing family life, we home ed and conform less than many. Dd is very ritualistic and awkward but able. I've found it difficult so far with the limited support offered so far as it's been frankly patronising, from a standpoint of parenting basics. I'm not perfect but I'm far from neglectful or needing basic safeguards talk. I worry I've signed up to an intrusive form of this!

Does anyone have experience of such a group?

FiloPony Sun 08-Jan-17 16:57:19

Obviously I'd take good support

Ineedmorepatience Sun 08-Jan-17 17:02:42

It could be something similar to early bird or cygnet but designed ad run by your local camhs. Or it could be a support group.

My experience is that parents are good at supporting each other but sometimes need facilitators! Give it a whirl, it could be great and if its not, dont go back.

Good luck flowers

FiloPony Sun 08-Jan-17 17:04:42

Looking at the topics it looks cygnet like, but is run by the consultant child psychiatrist. I think dd would be young for cygnet?

Ineedmorepatience Sun 08-Jan-17 23:12:01

They have probably made up their own version to save paying barnardos for the materials!

Melawati Mon 09-Jan-17 22:51:23

I went on a post diagnosis parent group and found it hugely helpful. Mainly to meet other parents and to be able to discuss family challenges and brainstorm solutions. The facilitators weren't patronising and were open to being told what was useful and what wasn't, and had left one of the six sessions blank for us to fill in what we wanted.
I had read a lot and am a 'naice' well educated middle class parent grin and definitely found it worthwhile (had to rejig my work hours to attend).

imip Mon 09-Jan-17 23:03:28

Yes, I go to one monthly and find it very useful. It has psych, OT and slt facilitating. Good info from other parents on schools in the borough, especially as we are looking at secondary transfer next year.

Makes me feel a little less lonely and I see the same faces each month. It's a very diverse group that attends, but I'm in a very mixed inner city area.

I suppose you could go once and see what it is like?

FiloPony Tue 10-Jan-17 09:53:25

Thank you, that makes me feel better. Lol- not sure we are quite naice, but the salt course was definitely talking those that were in the troubled families bracket. Think sitting in a room to play with your child whilst two people with Clio boards stare at you then getting generic tips such as turning the tv off for an hour or putting five min a day aside to talk to your child (and remembering shouting at them a lot won't help!).

FiloPony Tue 10-Jan-17 09:56:23

I think our thing is we're pretty happy at home, bar sleep issues, it's interacting outdoors and dealing with reactions we struggle with. At home she is easy most the time, just young, but outdoors she is unpredictable, really struggles a lot. I think that is why they see her in a certain way, spinning, non verbal when at home I cm sustained in depth abstract conversation (with language support and patience)

tartanterror Tue 10-Jan-17 20:02:24

We went on one last year and I was cynical beforehand. In the end the course leader was lovely and really put us all at ease. We met lots of lovely parents and will stay in touch with them. Not all the course was relevant to everyone but going weekly for 10 sessions meant we all got to know each other better. The facilitator was great at writing letters of support for schools and helping signpost to other services. They were knowledgeable and experienced and never made us feel like it was down to bad parenting! It was great for DH as he never reads books. I am really glad we did it.

FiloPony Mon 16-Jan-17 11:58:30

I really really struggled. The room was tiny, chairs inches apart so person next to you would touch with every shuffle, I felt like bursting out. Intros dragging, personal details from the outset with unknown people in a large group. Then after about an hour of faff getting going half an hour of listening to a few dominant characters, one in particular talking 3-4x the doctor who was softly spoken.

I felt tearful after it was so pressurised. Every parent seemed to have self diagnosed themselves and wanted to hold forth on that. Nit picky discussion around diagnosis or pronouns.... in short not anywhere I can see finding my own solutions to a 4 yr old when all dominating parents have teenagers

I'm ranting I know, but I'm at the station in a right state

Melawati Mon 16-Jan-17 12:30:20

I'm sorry it didn't go well for you today. It sounds like you found the group situation particularly hard.
We're all different - personally I don't mind sharing personal details with people I know have had similar experiences to me, but I understand that others find it difficult.
It's interesting what you say about the parents of teenagers - we had a couple in our group too (and I'm onegrin). I remember one in particular whose DC had only been recently dx despite a lifetime of difficulties. She was at her wits end and very dominating because of that. She was just desperate to get some help and very, very frustrated.
I remember saying to one of the facilitators that I wondered if she regretted having us in the group as we were scaring the parents of younger children with terrible teenage problems - at the time my own DC was attending hospital as a day patient - but overall I genuinely did find it useful. Even if every word wasn't directly relevant to my own situation, I got insights from listening to others experiences.
The first session is always the worst - if you can bear to go back maybe try one more? If not, it's just not for you and that's fine - you've tried it and now you know. brew and cake for the train home.

F1ipFlopFrus Mon 16-Jan-17 12:30:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FiloPony Mon 16-Jan-17 12:41:13

The parents of teenagers weren't actually at wits end (two withlitttle ones with severe LD looked like they were). They seemedread up on everything, kids at school, even spoke of drama. Late diagnosing. My sister has autism, I think I could have scared them. Two had referred and had long fights over it, but seemed at peace- I'm not to minimise but they spoke a lot and didn't convey attacking/ self harm/ depression etc... maybe I'm wrong

One was stressed, but round a condition other than an asd diagnosis which she was querying

FiloPony Mon 16-Jan-17 12:43:51

I did expressly ask about noise issues/ sleep and routines as well as meltdowns and the louder ones didn't say these were their issues (social groups were) so they weren't talking about. It was the only sentence I said.

I think I just can't do it tbh, I honestly felt like bolting for the door. The one time I spoke having 30 pairs in eyes turn on me was excruciating

FiloPony Mon 16-Jan-17 12:46:01

I think a lot I forgot it to be fair is just me. I found the space very hard, down to stale coffee, touching and background noise. The purpose of the group seems to be to chat, I don't like chat, if love a bit of direct help to my issues such as sleep but I can't see how chatting will fix them

Melawati Mon 16-Jan-17 13:05:01

The group I went to had a balance of 'chat' and structured input - perhaps later sessions will have more input once all the introductory stuff is over with and facilitators have got a feel for the group.
Chat can seem inconsequential, but some of the best ideas and support I've been given have been through chat with other parents - at the group I went to, at our local NAS group and online here. Sometimes even from chats I haven't taken part in directly myself.
It sounds like you find the setting particularly hard. Is there anything you could do to make it easier for yourself? Bring your own coffee, ask if the group could move to a larger room since there's such a good turnout? Ear plugs for the background noise? My DD has some that still let conversation through, but dampen down the 'buzz' of crowds.

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