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I really need some help.

(9 Posts)
someHelpPlease Mon 20-Jul-09 10:49:25

I have name changed for this but I'm not a troll and I'm not trying to start any trouble.

I have posted here before about this issue but it has got worse. Please don't think that I'm an interferer or a muddler into other people's problems. I really am concerned and want to help. I can't point out the specific relationship between myself and the other people but it is a close one.

My close friend/sort of family member is the stepfather to a little boy who will be four in a few months. I have many concerns that this little boy is autistic. I have thought this for over a year. The mother (who is not a close friend of mine but is someone who I do socialise with because we have the same group of friends) does not want to hear that her son has any sort of special needs (which I can understand). However it is now getting to the point where she and others who know the boy cannot ignore it anymore.
She constantly cancels any visits from the HV who has now become very angry. Her DP (the stepfather) convinced her a while back that he needed to se the HV and after a long process the child went to hospital to have his adenoids and tonsils out and gromits put in because they thought he couldn't hear so well and his breathing was a little difficult.
The HV (who was at the hospital) had said that she will leave it a while after the operation but if there is not much change he would have to be assessed at an autism centre. The mum is unresponsive to this and just moans that she has to take time of work and she doesn't want to go to these appointments because they are pointless.

I have never ever mentioned any thing about special needs to her as I know she would be angry and then push me away. If her or her DP ever have any questions then I answer them as much as I can. I don't know a ton about autism but I read about it for hours every day and have been brought up around it because my brother went to a special school and my mum is a special needs teacher.

I am getting more and more concerned about the boy because I know that early intervention is the key. I don't want to interfere in their lives but I find myself thinking about the boy every day and wondering how I can help. I am also concerned about the parents getting into trouble because of the cancelled HV visits.

Please help. I'm not sure what to do but I have held my tongue for over a year and I have been polite and as helpful as I can be but it's getting too much now.

FioFio Mon 20-Jul-09 10:55:07

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madwomanintheattic Mon 20-Jul-09 11:16:08

does the boy go to nursery?

often if parents are in denial then it is left for nursery (or even school) to highlight issues and attempt to instigate an assessment process.

it is not unusual for schools to do this - and sometimes children do not receive intervention or dx until this stage or later, so hopefully the education system will kick into action pretty soon.

so difficult, but at the end of the day you can only do what the mother is happy with - if she is not yet ready to recognise sn or ask for/ receive help, then there is very little you can do. just be there and keep talking, hopefully she will appreciate your concern at a later point.

if you are unable to do this, then you need to decide whether to have the conversation with her and be prepared for her to drop you (in which case you must butt out). not easy...

someHelpPlease Mon 20-Jul-09 11:41:12

He is at nursery full time. The nursery has raised concerns and organised for a speech therapist to come in and see him. The mum didn't bring him to nursery that day on purpose. His dad (biological) mentioned autism and she stopped his visits for a while. I am just so concerned. He has meltdowns all the time and he gets put in the naughty corner. You can see that he is so frustrated. The main thing is his speech. He has a maximum of ten words but only uses them if he is prompted.
I can't risk upsetting her because her DP is already isolated enough.

madwomanintheattic Mon 20-Jul-09 11:49:13

if the dad has concerns then he is fully within his rights to speak directly to nursery - particularly if the mum is having trouble dealing with the issue. would there be a suitable time for the dad to arrange an assessment during his visits etc?

if nursery have concerns, then they are already not dealing with the child appropraitely by continuing to 'punish' so i would suggest that the father arrange to go into nursery to discuss with the manager.

it will be really difficult. no-one wants to go behind the mother's back to ensure provision.

in those circs, if the father was seriously concerned that it might be endangering the child, then he would need to think about discussing custody with his solicitor. even if he didn't get custody, then there might be some way of persuading the mother to accept some help.

i feel a little sorry for her tbh. if she dealing with these hbaheviours etc at home then she will be exhausted. she is probably petrified of asking for/ accepting help in case she is 'blamed' and her child is taken away. v v difficult. she sounds very depressed and in need of support.

the father needs to be involving himself a little more, and you need to be involving yoursefl a little less. in all honesty there is very little you can do. it's really tricky when parents do not wish to access help for their children, and very little anyone can do to 'force' help onto them. in this case, as the mother and father obviously differ in this respect, it is up to the father to get involved on his child's behalf. if he doesn't want to, there is v little that can be done.

someHelpPlease Mon 20-Jul-09 11:56:59

The father has the boy every other weekend. He has never been to the nursery and this is the way the mum wants it. She and DP pay for it and it has nothing to do with him.
The nursery aren't putting him in the naughty corner the mum is.
There is no way the father would get custody. He is currently living at his parents after being made bankrupt.

I really haven't 'involved' myself or pushed upon them. They probably don't even know that I'm that concerned. I really try to hide it from them.

I guess I'll just have to do what I've been doing for the last year. Keep quiet but make sure I'm there if they need me. I am just feeling so guilty and useless every time I see them.

jasdox Mon 20-Jul-09 11:57:42

if his biological father has taken these concerns on board can it not be done through him and the nursery directly, and he attend the meetings. My oh, is not interested in my LO's asd, but still a great dad, so just ignores all meetings, they do not till him, and i do it all.

madwomanintheattic Mon 20-Jul-09 12:18:08

whether or not he would get custody is fairly irrelevant. if he is concerned enough about his son's welfare to believe that his mother is preventing him from getting the support he needs, then he has a moral obligation to attempt to get that provision for his child. whether he is bankrupt and living with his parents or not.

but then i guess you don't really know the father, so can't really approach him and discuss... but really, this should be his battle.

what does your friend who is the stepfather think? i'm assuming that you are closer to the stepfather than the mother? does he have no say in matters that affect their family unit? does he think the child has issues that require external support? is he giving the mother enough support so that she can make sensible decisions wrt the child?

smallwhitecat Mon 20-Jul-09 12:42:19

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