While most children are back to school and settled into their routine, for some it’s not that simple – life can be just an ongoing struggle from challenge to challenge.
Since June we’ve been working with a young boy with ADHD in Northumberland who is constantly bullied. The seven-year-old complained of having no friends, being lonely, and finding life difficult when we first met and got to know him.
His school referred him due to health and wellbeing concerns, low self-esteem and attention seeking, negative behaviour; they didn’t have the capacity to get to the bottom of the issues and needed help with the boy and the family situation.
When he was passed to us, the school indicated that he found it difficult to recognise and discuss his emotions. He was seeing an educational psychologist to ease his outbursts but was continually falling behind academically, leaving school concerned for his future.
As part of the referral process we discovered that there had been a catalogue of complex and worrying experiences impacting the child, including a situation at home involving a shotgun, and that the little boy had been in the room at the time.
Our Family Entrepreneur phoned Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) and discovered that the first referral for the boy had been declined, and a second one hadn’t been followed up due to catchment area issues so help had not been forthcoming from services. After explaining the situation and pushing for another referral for help because of the family’s dire need of support, we managed to get an appointment in the diary for them to discuss the case.
Whilst waiting for the appointment we continued to work with the family and visited the boy’s mother as well as observing the boy in his school environment. At one point, we were told he was very distressed because somebody had stolen from him.
“To keep him occupied, his mam had to give him tasks to do – one was litter picking. He loved it and it kept him busy until his litter picker was stolen. This was clearly upsetting him, however I instinctively knew there was something else and as the conversation developed the boy opened up and the situation went from that issue to ‘I don’t see my dad’. That was when we started to get to the bottom of what was going on.”– Family Entrepreneur
The school knew he saw his father on a weekly basis after a recent parental break-up, but the boy’s ADHD condition made everything heightened and it felt like months in between visits for him. Going from seeing his dad daily to weekly had a profound effect on the boy.
Knowing the school couldn’t cope with him and his mother was struggling, we were the important link between the family and CYPS, who again said there was nothing they could do to help. Desperate to help the boy, our FE challenged and explained he was about to have to leave school for a second time and this was unacceptable: they were thankfully given a follow-up appointment.
We’re in the process of helping the family work through the difficulties they face, even attending appointments with them so they never go through it alone. We won’t give up and our aim is to get the boy on the right track at school and enjoying his education again.
“We took the whole family surfing in the holidays and the boy loved it – he was like a different child. The family bonded very well. It was a major step for his older brother too, as he has autism. It was so lovely to see him smile, for them all to enjoy time as a family, and it was important for mam to watch them having fun too.”– Family Entrepreneur
Not only that, but after some children told him to cut his brakes so his bike would go faster, we were able to step in and get a new, safer one.
His assessments are now ongoing with CYPS and his mother attended the first assessment at the start of September. Our support will continue throughout.
Our Improving Futures programme supports families in this situation and others just like it, all the time. If you need us, please call 0191 643 8938 or get in touch with the Programme Lead, Lee Crosby.
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